Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – The Process

Hi folks.  Most people who need to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland have heard of it, and no a little bit about it, but don’t know how it works.   Well, here it is, the process, which is pretty much the same in every case.

Once you decide that you want to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland, you should find an attorney that you are comfortable with.  Bankruptcy is not complicated and it is something that literally hundreds of Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyers are able to do for you, and all of them will achieve the same results.  However, the service that you receive, the personality of the bankruptcy attorney and the cost and payment plans are all things that you should look at.   Every lawyer should offer you a free consultation, if not, head in another direction.  Consult with lawyers until you find the right one.  Usually, you will be happy with the first attorney that you actually meet with, but if not, keep on trying, it will be well worth it.

Now, the process:

1.  Meet with lawyer and explain your situation in detail.  Bring 3 years of tax returns, 6 months of pay stubs and 6 months of bank statements to the meeting.  If you can’t find them, or don’t have them, that’s okay, the attorney will discuss that with you and explain what it is that you need to do.

2.  Fill out paperwork that your attorney provides you to fill out.  Sometimes it may seem overwhelming, but it’s not really that bad, and of course it is well worth it.  If you need help, call or e-mail your attorney, they should always be available to help you.

3.  Once you actually pay your bankruptcy attorney money, you have “retained” your bankruptcy attorney.  Once you have retained your bankruptcy attorney, you can refer your creditors, when they call, to your bankruptcy lawyer.  That’s right.  When the credit card company representative calls, just say “I am filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and I have hired a bankruptcy attorney.”  They are required, by law, to write that down and put your phone number in a system that does not allow for you to be called any longer.  It will be a great feeling for you.  Then, the creditor will call the bankruptcy lawyer directly and the bankruptcy lawyer will take care of it.  No more worries for you.

4.  Your bankruptcy attorney will show you how to complete a brief, inexpensive, online credit counseling course which is required to be completed prior to actually filing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Do it as soon as you can.

5.  Once you have filled out all the necessary information for your bankruptcy attorney, and provided all of the documents to your bankruptcy attorney, your work is done and the bankruptcy attorney does all of the work from there.  The lawyer (hopefully within a week or so) will complete all of the paperwork and then call you back in the office to review and sign it.

6.  Once the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition is approved and signed by you, the bankruptcy lawyer will file it, electronically, with the Court.  At that point, you have “filed” bankruptcy.  Remember, you have to pay your bankruptcy attorney in full before anything can be filed with the bankruptcy court.

7. About 3o days after you “file” the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court, you have a “Meeting of Creditors.”  Your bankruptcy attorney will be with you at the meeting of creditors, and the entire meeting usually takes less than 10 minutes, and it will be at the United States Federal Courthouse.   Depending on where in Maryland you live, it will either be in Baltimore or Greenbelt.  Even though it is called a “meeting of creditors” in about 98% of the cases your creditors will not be present.  You will be asked questions by a United States Assistant Trustee to make sure that the information that you provided in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was true and accurate when you filed it and remains true and accurate through the date of the meeting.

8.  After your meeting of creditors you are required to complete a debtor education class.  Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Maryland will show you how that is done, it is a simple process.

9.  About 90 days after the meeting of creditors, you will receive a Chapter 7 Notice of Discharge in the mail, which means your bankruptcy case has been successfully discharged and you are no longer legally obligated to pay back any of the dischargeable debts (usually credit cards, medical bills, judgements, etc.).


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