Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically the quickest and most dramatic form of bankruptcy. It was designed to fully resolve your credit card and medical debt in only a few months, and it may also include the strong protections of the Automatic Stay and Chapter 7 exemptions. These two programs are part of the bankruptcy code in every state and may prevent foreclosure and help you protect your home, car, wages and other important possessions.
Typically, Chapter 7 bankruptcy works best for people who:
- Owe lots of credit card and medical debt. Bankruptcy is designed to completely eliminate unsecured debts like credit card and medical bills. Typically, it works quickly, meaning you don’t have to wait years for a fresh start.
- Do not own much property. Chapter 7 property protections vary according to state laws, but, generally speaking, Chapter 7 offers less protection for your property than Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, Chapter 7 exemptions may allow you to keep your home, car and other valuable items like work tools, furniture, clothes, appliances, photos and books.
- Do not have much income. In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the means test. A local bankruptcy lawyer can help you with this test, which looks at your income and debts to determine true need.
When you contact us regarding bankruptcy filing, we first collect certain documents from you and look back at your actions before filing bankruptcy. The documents may include your annual credit report, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage documents and etc. If the look-back period is clean, we can proceed with preparing to file your case. If not, we may have to wait or take actions to deal with any complications that arise prior to filing.
Upon filing your case, a few things happen. First, an automatic stay is triggered. This stay stops most collections, lawsuits, wage garnishments and creditors from otherwise contacting you. Chapter 7 also temporarily stops foreclosure.
Second, once you file, your assets automatically get placed into the bankruptcy estate. Understanding your assets and their value is critical before filing Chapter 7. The Chapter 7 trustee controls your property in this bankruptcy estate until he or she abandons your property and your case is closed. Depending on the situation, it may be possible to keep your car and home provided your payments are current, and the equity does not exceed the exemptions. We can usually “exempt” and protect most if not all of your property, meaning you get to keep everything even though you get rid of your debts.
Third, your case is assigned to a Chapter 7 trustee. A hearing called your 341 meeting of creditors will be scheduled approximately 30 days after you file. At this hearing you will meet with the trustee. The trustee will inquire into the representations made in your petition, including income, assets and debts.
From the date of your 341 meeting of creditors, a 60-day window of time is triggered. If at the end of the 60 days no party objects, your debts that are dischargeable are forgiven by order of the bankruptcy court, meaning you no longer have to pay for them.
To consult with a bankruptcy attorney in Wilmington Delaware to assist you in Chapter 7 bankruptcy process as quickly and efficiently as possible, please contact Huang Law LLC at (302) 478-2900 for a free initial consultation.