Chapter 7 is the most commonly filed bankruptcy case. It is a liquidation-style bankruptcy case--meaning, in exchange for discharging the debts without repayment, there are limits on the amounts of property that can be kept to get a fresh financial start. Most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy have a modest amount of property that can be protected in the case, and no property is sold.
Chapter 7 has a few basic requirements:
1. You are honest and forthright throughout the process
2. You have not received a discharge in a prior Chapter 7 case within 8 years (filing-date to filing-date)
3. You do not make too much money as a household (Not straight-forward, please discuss with our office)
4. You need to participate in your case by providing documentation and appear as scheduled
Clients are often surprised to learn that they have more property interests than they initially expected. Property, for the purposes of the bankruptcy case, is not limited to what you can physically touch. Also, property is not limited to "what is in your name". You may have an interest in an inheritance, a tax refund that you have not received yet, or a claim for an auto accident lawsuit that you have not even considered filing yet. Your spouse may have property "in their name" that you might have a property interest in. These, and other property interests, must be discussed and protected on your bankruptcy petition. You should never transfer property out of your name prior to filing bankruptcy or sell/give property to another person prior to filing bankruptcy to try to avoid a problem--that only creates more problems.
TIMELINE & DURATION
About 30 days after filing the case, Clients are required to appear at a "Meeting of Creditors". Ironically, it is quite normal that no creditors appear at this meeting. Generally, it is more of a property review session with the Trustee.
Our office provides a great deal of time preparing Clients for this meeting, beginning with the initial consultation. It is our goal to thoroughly explain the types of questions that will be asked of you and why those questions are being asked. Our office will explore any complications with your case before your case is filed.
In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, Clients receive a discharge of their debts 90 days from the day of filing the case, and the case is then closed.