At the Law Office of Susan Dodds our goal is to make the process as straight forward for you as we can. It is difficult enough for you to reach out to an attorney, we hope to make the processes as smooth for you as possible once you do. Please contact us today to discuss your case.
- Step One: CONSULTATION We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. At this step we will discuss with you your situation and based upon that information we will review the options that may be available to you. During your consultation we will review the attorney and court fees, the documents required and some typical things that you should expect during the bankruptcy process. It is very important that you are as upfront as possible with your attorney so that she can determine the best course of action in your case. We do offer payment plans and can discuss a plan that will work for you during your consultation. Learn more about what to expect at a consultation.
- Step Two: PREPARATION Once you decide to move forward and retain our office we will begin to build your file. We will not have you fill out any questionnaires, but we will require specific documents. The documents that we need will include, but are not limited to, copies of valid picture identification such as a Driver’s Licenses, copies of your Social Security Card, proof of income, bills, vehicle and house statements, copies of the last 2 years of your tax returns and other items that may be specific to your case. You are also required to take a Credit Counseling course by telephone or internet and obtain a certificate of completion prior to filing your case. Once we have all the documents we require, all fees required prior to filing paid in full, and it is determined that it is best to move forward with the filing of your case we will move on to Step Three. Learn more about what to expect when you are preparing to file.
- Step Three: FILING YOUR BANKRUPTCY Once we have all the documents, fees and you are ready to file we will schedule a third appointment with you. In this appointment you will work with your attorney to prepare the Petition, Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs and in the case of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy a Chapter 13 plan with your attorney. Although there may be a lot of paper work to review and sign, our goal is to explain everything to you so that you understand your case, your Petition, Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs and your Chapter 13 plan. We will walk you through each page and schedule in addition to explaining the Chapter 13 plan to you. In this appointment we will also discuss what to expect when you go to Court. Yes, you have to go to Court. Learn more about what to expect at the signing appointment.
- Step Four: COURT Yes, you do have to go to Court. In every Bankruptcy case the debtor(s) (the individual(s) filing Bankruptcy) have to go to what is called a 341 Meeting of Creditors. An attorney will be appearing with you at the Meeting of Creditors, and the attorney will appear at other hearings for you, if an appearance is required. You will need to bring your Driver’s License and Social Security Card with you to each court hearing that you are required to attend. If you do not bring these documents with you to your First Meeting of Creditors, you will have to appear again. For any hearings other than the Meeting of Creditors, your attorney will discuss with you whether or not you should appear. Most cases only require you to appear at the First Meeting of Creditors, so it is very important that you bring your identification documents so you do not have to go back to court just for proof of identification! In some cases the trustee assigned to your case could ask you to return for additional documents or for further questioning. Read more about the Meeting of Creditors here. Learn the details of the court hearing here
- Step Five: CHAPTER 13 CASES Generally the process for a Chapter 13 case is a little different than a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy because Chapter 13 cases will last approximately 3 to 5 years. After the Meeting of Creditors is concluded, your Attorney will likely appear many times on your behalf before the court. Additionally, you will begin making the plan payments immediately even if your plan has not be confirmed by the Court. The creditors and trustee may object to your plan, and several amended plans may be prepared by you and your attorney. Once the plan is confirmed, the case will continue to be open until the terms of the confirmed plan are completed. Throughout the plan the trustee will be overseeing the case and will occasionally send documents to the debtor, the attorney or both. Creditors will file proofs of claims, or your attorney might file them for the creditor so that they will be paid according to the plan. The trustee will also send out statements showing what creditors have filed claims and whether or not they have been paid. The attorney and debtor will be in contact, especially if there are any changes of information during the case. To learn more about Chapter 13 Plans, click here. To learn more about the time frames in Chapter 13 cases, click here.
- Step Six: CLOSING YOUR CASE You must complete a second course called a Pre-Discharge Debtor Education course in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. You usually can complete this online or by telephone. You must receive a certificate and return that certificate to our office so that we can properly file it with the Court. If you do not complete this course and/or do not have it filed with the Court, your case could close without receiving a discharge. That means the debts that could have been discharged will not be discharged. So it is very important you complete this course whether you filed a Chapter 7 case or a Chapter 13 case. Learn more about closing your case and receiving a discharge.
In many Chapter 7 cases the trustee will conclude the Meeting of Creditors and find that there are no assets to liquidate. Read more about liquidation. The debtor will then receive the Notice of No Distribution (no assets are being sold), the Notice of Discharge and the Notice of Closing of the Bankruptcy case. If the case has a “liquidation issue” or other issues arise, this process could be a little different. Because each scenario is different, if this occurs your attorney will discuss with you what to expect in your specific case.
In a Chapter 13 case the Bankruptcy is not completed until the terms of the confirmed plan have been completed. Once the terms of the plan are completed the Chapter 13 trustee will send notices including, but not limited to, a Notice of Accounting to the attorney and debtor. This will indicate to your attorney final documents that they have to file with the court. At this point the attorney will contact the debtor and complete the final steps of the case. Once these steps are completed, in a typical case, the debtor will receive their Notice of Discharge and then the Notice of Closing of Bankruptcy Case.
Once the Court has issued and filed the Notice of Closing of Bankruptcy Case, and the Court has closed the case, the case is completed.
Contact us today to discuss your case!
This website does not, and is not intended to, provide a comprehensive guide to your Bankruptcy or Bankruptcy in general. Furthermore, nothing in this website provides any guarantees, warranties or predictions regarding the outcome of your legal matter. You should consult with an attorney to determine the effects of Bankruptcy in your case. Results are not always typical because each case is different. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for Bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.