Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – What Happens When You File?

petition to file Chapter 7 bankruptcyBankruptcy can be confusing and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. At Limitless Law, we pride ourselves on helping make the legal system easier for our clients to navigate. Here is a general idea of the steps involved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in the Western District of Washington, where our law firm is located:

  1. We work with our clients to gather the documents and information needed to prepare their bankruptcy petition. These documents include credit reports, tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. If you are interested in filing for bankruptcy, our office can provide a complete list of the information needed to file a bankruptcy. Clients also need to complete a credit counseling course online or via telephone prior to filing a bankruptcy case.
  2. You sign your bankruptcy petition and file it with the court. This is when your filing fee, usually $335 for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, will be paid to the Court.
  3. The court will assign you a date for your case interview, called a “Meeting of Creditors.” You are required to attend this interview in order to successfully complete the bankruptcy process. Typically these interviews happen within three to six weeks of filing your case.
  4. Your attorney will provide the court with your most recently-filed tax return, proof of your income and bank statements, to verify that the information that you provided in your bankruptcy petition is accurate.
  5. You will complete your Meeting of Creditors interview.
  6. If you are planning to keep your car after your bankruptcy, and it has a loan on it at the time that we file your case, you will be required to sign a “reaffirmation agreement,” which is essentially a new loan that replaces your old car loan.
  7. After your Meeting of Creditors interview, you will need to complete a second credit counseling class on the phone or online.
  8. If all goes well, and all of the above steps are completed successfully, you will receive a court order discharging your debts approximately three months after your case is filed.

That’s it! I hope that this timeline has helped de-mystify some of the stress of uncertainty that can go along with thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You are welcome to call Limitless Law at 360-685-0145 for a free 15-minute new client consultation to answer any questions you have about bankruptcy or forgiveness of your debts.


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