After our initial meeting
- Our office files our bankruptcies in the last week of every month. If you wish to file in any given month, you need retain counsel (pay on your attorney fees) by the 15th of that month so we can include you in our preparations.
- We will call you when your “checklist” is prepared. This is the packet of information that specifies what we are missing from your file and provides you a chance to look over the information we already have for accuracy. This includes deadlines, definitions, and information about bankruptcy in general.
- The checklist must be returned by the deadline, at which time we can generate your petition if all of the information requested is provided. Failure to provide the information or complete the checklist may result in a delay in your filing.
- Please complete the Credit Counseling course in sufficient time for our office to receive the certificate.
- Petitions are prepared when a complete checklist is returned. Failure to answer all questions or provide all requested documentation will result in a delay in the preparation of your petition. You will be called immediately when your petition is ready to be signed.
- You creditors must be provided to our office with complete addresses in order to prepare your petition. If you do not provide the complete address, or do not pay to have your credit report pulled, it will result in a delay in the preparation and/or filing of your petition.
- Failure to return your checklist with all required documents, signatures, information, fees, and/or certificates will cause a delay in your filing and incursion of additional fees. Any changes that are made at the request of the client (typically failure to disclose property, list a creditor, inaccurate materials left uncorrected in rough drafts) will result in a change fee of no less than $50.
- The attorney fees are due in their entirety before we can file your petition.
- The filing fee for the court is due in its entirety, absent another arrangement, before we can file your petition.
- As soon as you begin to pay on your attorney fee, you may refer creditors to this office. We will confirm that you have retained our office for a bankruptcy.
After Your Case is Filed
- Approximately 3-5 days after filing, the court will provide a date for your Meeting of Creditors.
- At that time, we will be contacting you to come pick up your petition, which includes your court date, court orders, and all documents filed with the court.
- As soon as available, provide the bank and/or retirement account statements for all open accounts on the day your case was filed. This is required no later than one week before your court date as the Trustee in your case must review the documents.
- When you know your case number, we recommend that you complete the Personal Financial Management credit counseling right away so there is no delay in your filing. This is approximately a 2-3 hour course. You must provide a certificate of completion for your case to be discharged.
- Failure to do the counseling will result in your case closing without an entry of discharge.
Meeting of Creditors
- The Meeting of Creditors is a low-pressure situation. It is typically not held in a courtroom, there will not be a judge present, and only bankruptcy cases will be heard.
- Failure to appear at your Meeting of Creditors will result in a charge for a second appearance by the attorney. Make sure you mark your calendar with the date and time of your meeting.
- The Trustee will ask approximately 10-15 required questions. There may be more questions for you to answer, depending on your situation. These questions are most often about specific property or to clarify your situation. (Examples: “Have you read the petition? Did you sign the petition? Is the signature your own? Did you list all of your debts and all of your assets? Did you fairly value those assets? Do you owe any person or agency child support? Have you transferred any real property in the last four years? Have you received and read a copy of the United States Trustee’s bankruptcy information sheet?”)
- The Trustee is required to verify your most recent tax return, the date of filing bank statements, your social security number, and your picture identification. Failure to provide all of those documents will result in your case being marked for dismissal.
- If you forgot to list a creditor, you can add them while your case is open. The charge for this is a $31 filing fee for the Court and a $60 processing fee for our office. If you believe you have left off more than one creditor, it is more beneficial for you to bring them all in at the same time, rather than pay multiple fees.
- If your petition is deemed inaccurate after the time of filing and discharge / dismissal, or you need to reopen your case to file your Personal Financial Management Certificate, the filling fee for this is $260. The attorney fees to reopen a case for any purpose is $200.
- If you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may not refinance or sell any property, or incur new debt, without permission of the Chapter 13 Trustee. Make sure you contact our office if you have any question about whether you need special permission for any actions.
- If you discover that there were judgement liens on your real property at the time your case was filed but did not report those to the attorney, your case will need to be reopened and a motion to avoid the lien will need to be filed. Each avoid lien motion is $150, not inclusive of the fees to reopen a case ($200 attorney fees, $260 filing fee). It is recommended you ensure there are no judgement liens against your property before your petition is filed.
- Fees are subject to change.
Things you need to know
- Try to use email or personal drop-off as much as possible. We charge $2.00 for the first page of each fax, plus an additional $.10/page. This bill will be sent out at the close of your bankruptcy.
- Please bring us copies, not originals. We charge $.10/page for copies. This bill will be sent out at the close of your bankruptcy.
- If you have a person you want to pick up your information, please call us first to let us know. We will not release your information to anyone other than an individual authorized by you.
- You will receive notice directly from the bankruptcy court when your case is discharged, which is approximately 100 days from the time that you filed your case.
Next Steps After Meeting With An Attorney