Free Online Legal Resources
After you have decided to file for bankruptcy, the first step is to file a petition with the Bankruptcy Court. On the petition, all your of your debts and property must be listed as well as other schedules of assets and liabilities.
No. Once a discharge is granted, a debtor who filed under Chapter 7 or 11 is prohibited from filing for another 6 years. However, a debtor who filed under Chapter 7 can file a chapter 13 before the 6 year bar is over, but not another Chapter 7.
Typically, child support obligations cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Child support obligations might include other types of support as well, such as medical bills or educational expenses for children. This means that even if all of your other debts are discharged in bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for your child support obligations.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, debts can be discharged in a matter of months in a relatively uncomplicated case involving few or no assets. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcies involve repayment plans that can stretch over a period of three to five years before debts are finally discharged.
Federal forms include: Form 1Voluntary Petition (2 pages), Form 6 Schedules A through J, Summary, and Declaration, Form 7 Statement of Financial Affairs, and Form 8 Statement of Intention. In addition, you must file the appropriate local forms.
If you are a creditor, or someone to whom the debtor owes money, then you will be given notice of the bankruptcy proceedings, as well as notice to file a claim for the amount of your debt in cases where some assets are available. You also will receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that indicates if and when the debtor's debts are discharged.
Federal bankruptcy court records are public records to which the public has free access. You should contact the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the area in which the debtor lives for more information about examining bankruptcy court records. Furthermore, bankruptcy records are now available online in many states.
In the broadest sense, a claim is any right to payment held by a person or company against you and your bankruptcy estate. A claim does not have to be a past due amount but can include an anticipated sum of money, which will come due in the future. In filling out your Schedules, you should include any past, present or future debts as potential claims.
In some cases, your landlord can evict you for filing bankruptcy, even if you have paid your rent in full. Some leases give your landlord the right to evict you and/or terminate your lease for any reason or no reason, including filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy might temporarily delay eviction and/or lease termination proceedings, it will not stop the proceedings.
The best course of action is to schedule an appointment with an attorney who practices within the area of bankruptcy. Many attorneys provide an initial consultation for little or no money. You should not rely on the information you get from a book or website (even this one) when it comes to such an important decision.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified bankruptcy lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.