What to Do Before, During & After Bankruptcy
When filing for bankruptcy, there are various steps you must take to increase your chances of a smooth and successful filing process. While each case is unique, following these timelines can make your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing as stress-free as possible. At Gudeman & Associates, P.C., our team of skilled bankruptcy attorneys in Royal Oak and Southeastern Michigan can walk you through each step of the bankruptcy process.
Contact our firm today for a no-obligation consultation! Call 248-546-2800 to get started.
90 Days Before Filing Bankruptcy
You must be a resident of the state that you are filing bankruptcy in for a minimum of 180 days. To avoid having any creditor considered as receiving preferential treatment, do not pay any creditors in the 90 days before filing. Also, do not obtain any loans are make any luxury purchases on credit 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy, for those types of loans will usually be non-dischargeable.
Right Before Filing For Bankruptcy
After you meet with us and we decide which type of bankruptcy proceeding is best for you, you’ll need to take a workshop on other options regarding debt relief in Michigan, “Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling.” This program usually lasts about 30 minutes. Once completed, you will receive a completion certificate which must be filed with your bankruptcy petition. You can take it online or over the phone. The best thing to do is to get it done when you first come to our office. We will get you set up to do it online with a registered credit counseling service.
The Filing of Bankruptcy
Once you file bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay, which will stop creditors from contacting you in any way. The court will send a notice to all of your creditors and will assign a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your case.
Immediately After Filing for Bankruptcy
Usually within 5-6 weeks of filing, and after a trustee has been assigned, a creditors meeting is scheduled. All of your creditors have a right to show up to this meeting and argue that their money owed is not dischargeable and should be paid in full. However, this seldom occurs, and the meetings are usually very short. If it does occur, we’ll be there to fight for you and protect your interests.
30 Days After Filing For Bankruptcy
At this point, you’ll need to file a Statement of Intention (Chapter 7 only). This will state whether you plan to keep the property that serves as collateral for your debt. If you chose to keep the property, then you will either need to continue to pay for it or you will have to sell it to discharge the debt. We usually file the Statement of Intention at the time we file your petition.
After The Creditor Meeting
At this point, you’ll need a second credit counseling class. The point of this second class is to educate you and set you on a path to avoiding budgeting problems in the future and limit the risk of having to file for bankruptcy again. You cannot get a discharge, whether in Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy without this second counseling, “Debtor Education” session.
60 Days After The Creditor Meeting
This is the cutoff date for creditors to contest any claims (Chapter 7 Only).
90 Days After The Creditor Meeting
About 5-6 weeks after your creditors’ meeting, your plan will be ready for confirmation. You may have to attend a “Status Conference” with the Trustee. At the Status Conference, your attorney will work out any minor details and solutions to the trustees’ and creditors’ objections necessary to address in order to get your plan confirmed. If those details and objections are not resolved, your plan will be submitted to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge for final determination. We will represent you at that hearing which is typically held the same day as the status conference.
Assuming that you can comply with the terms of the judge’s order, your plan will be confirmed and you will continue under the protection of the Bankruptcy Court for the length of your plan. You receive your discharge after completing the plan.