Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
Once you have decided to pursue bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7, you will undoubtedly be curious as to what this process may look like. This page is intended to provide you with a general overview of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process in Illinois and Iowa. Of course, our lawyers and staff are available to help guide you through this process every step of the way.
Credit Counseling: A Bankruptcy Requirement
In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to obtain a credit counseling certificate through an approved credit counseling provider. At Buckrop & VanDeVelde, we enroll you in the required course, which may be taken at your leisure either online or over the phone. Once your counseling is completed, the company will send your certificate of credit counseling directly to our office. You do not need to worry about downloading, saving, or printing your certificate.
The next step is to call our office and schedule an appointment to review your petition and schedules for accuracy. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, you are responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in the petition and schedules. You will be given an opportunity to review and revise your information. Once everything is in order, you will sign your petition and schedules, and we will electronically file your bankruptcy.
Debtor’s Education: Another Bankruptcy Requirement
Once your case has been filed, you receive a bankruptcy notice telling you when and where your meeting of creditors will take place. Generally, you and your spouse will need to show up at this court date, unless you are excused due to disability, active military duty, prison or other similar reasons. Your case number will also be listed on this notice. You will need this case number to complete the debtor’s education course, which is required of every person filing for bankruptcy.
This course will be taken online or over the phone. Once you have completed this course, you will have completed all of the required courses under the Bankruptcy Code. The next step in the process is the meeting of creditors.
The Meeting of Creditors: Will They All Be There?
The meeting of creditors is generally set 30-45 days after your case has been filed. Although it is called a meeting of creditors, they rarely show up. The creditors as a whole are often represented by a Chapter 7 trustee. In general, the people who will be in attendance at this meeting are the Chapter 7 trustee, other bankruptcy attorneys, and other individuals who are also seeking Chapter 7 protection.
You are required to bring two forms of identification to this meeting: 1) a driver’s license or other state issued photo ID, and 2) a Social Security card. When your case is called, you and your attorney will meet with the Chapter 7 trustee. The trustee will verify your identity and review your bankruptcy petition and schedules. The trustee’s job is to look for assets to distribute to your unsecured creditors. If you have fully disclosed this information to your attorney, you will be aware of the items you can keep and the items you may lose.
What Is a Reaffirmation Agreement and Why Do I Need It for My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Many individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection own vehicles, boats, homes, and other assets that act as security for a lender’s debt. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, individuals are required to enter into a reaffirmation agreement or are required to redeem the property in order to keep their homes or their cars. Failure to reaffirm or redeem may result in the loss of the item.
A reaffirmation agreement is essentially an agreement between you and your lender that your debt to them will not be discharged in your bankruptcy. You will continue to make your monthly payments as they become due and you will continue to be liable for the debt. If, after your bankruptcy is over, you default on the loan the lender will be able to seize the collateral, sell it, and hold you accountable for any deficiency.
A redemption is somewhat different than a reaffirmation. Unlike a reaffirmation agreement, a redemption requires you to pay the value of the collateral to the creditor within a certain period of time. Once you have paid, the lender will no longer have a lien and you will own the collateral free and clear.
For Bankruptcy Help, Contact the Law Firm of Buckrop & VanDeVelde, P.C.
Our office is located in The Law Centre in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, just a short distance from both Iowa and Illinois federal courthouses. Our lawyers and professional staff proudly serve most clients throughout Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. Contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced Quad Cities Chapter 7 attorney today.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.