By Cara O'Neill, Esq.

While the bankruptcy process is daunting to most people, it doesn’t have to be.  From start-to-finish, the Chapter 7 process follows a predictable course that is spelled out below in ten distinct steps.  

If you are consulting with an attorney, you may want to take this list with you to the meeting.  Referring to it will help you organize your thoughts, trigger questions you may have about the Chapter 7 process and help you organize the answers in a manner that will be easy to find in the future.

1.  Client assembles financial documents;

2.  Attorney and client meet to review the documents and discuss the appropriateness of filing bankruptcy;

3.  Attorney prepares bankruptcy petition and client takes first online credit counseling course;

4.  Attorney and client review petition, and if accurate, the client signs the petition and the attorney files it with the court;

5.  Attorney sends out urgent notices to collectors, such as with pending foreclosures or repossessions (this does not happen in all cases);

6.  The court sends notices to all creditors, assigns a bankruptcy trustee, and sets the date for the §341 Meeting of Creditors;

7.  Attorney sends supporting financial documentation to the bankruptcy trustee;

8.  Attorney and client attend the §341 Meeting of Creditors. In Sacramento, it is located on the 7th Floor at the Federal Courthouse located at 501 I St # 3200  Sacramento, CA 95814;

9.  Client takes second online debt management course; and

10.  Attorney provides second course certificate to court and additional documents to the bankruptcy trustee, if needed.

After approximately two months, both the attorney and client receive notification of a discharge of all eligible debts and the case is closed.  The process, from start to finish, takes about four-and-half months.

While this is a generalized overview, most bankruptcies follow this course.  However, issues can and do arise depending upon the particular case which require additional appearances before the bankruptcy trustee.  Your attorney will keep you advised of any deviations and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Attorney and author Cara O'Neill, Esq. not only writes, she has practiced law for 18 years and currently maintains a bankruptcy practice at the Law Offices of Cara O’Neill.

Tags: chapter 7 process, chapter 7 bankruptcy process, chapter 7, bankruptcy process, chapter 7 bankruptcies, what to expect with a chapter 7 bankruptcy, what is the chapter 7 process, understanding the chapter 7 process



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