Filing bankruptcy is a serious matter. If you (or your attorney) makes mistakes in the process, you may be left liable for some of your debts, or your case could be dismissed. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is by being prepared. Understanding the steps of the bankruptcy process will help ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Below we run through the 6 steps to a successful bankruptcy filing in Arizona.
1. Consult with an Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney
Even if you decide to file pro se, or without an attorney, a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney should be your first step to filing a bankruptcy in Arizona. The attorney should help you figure out which chapters you qualify for and any potential issues in your case. If you do choose to retain the attorney, they will provide you with a list of documents necessary to draft your petition. Many Arizona Debt relief Attorneys offer Free Consultations
2. Gather and Submit your Documents
Your next step will be assembling your documents for your attorney (or for yourself if you are filing pro se). Documents typically needed include two years of tax returns, six months of paystubs, registrations to vehicles, any divorce or child support documents from the past six years. Additionally, you will need discharge paperwork from any prior bankruptcies, and bank statements. Plus, you will also need to submit bills for debts that you’d like to be discharged. Be aware that submitting your documents doesn’t mean your bankruptcy is filed– your bankruptcy attorney will need some time to draft your petition once receiving all of your documents.
3. Take your First Credit Counseling Course
Before your bankruptcy case is filed, you will need to take an online credit counseling course. This is part of the Bankruptcy Laws passed in 2005. The aforementioned course should take about 30-60 minutes to complete
, and will involve conversing with a credit counselor at the end of the course. Additionally, most course providers charge a nominal fee. Our preferred provider is: Allen Credit and Debt
. Therefore, you should not wait until the day you want your petition filed to take the course. Whereas, you will be risking issues with time stamps and technical difficulties.
4. Review and Sign your Petition with your Attorney
After you have completed your first course, you and your attorney will go over your petition to make sure there are no mistakes or updates to add. Your wet signature will also be required on the Declaration of Electronic Filing. If there isn’t anything to fix on the petition, your attorney will file the petition during or shortly after your petition signing. They will also likely take the chance to prepare you for your 341 Hearing.
5. Attend your 341 Meeting of Creditors
You should receive a letter from your trustee after your petition is filed. The trustee will provide you with your court date, and likely request additional documents. You should provide those documents to your trustee as soon as possible, or bring them to the 341 Hearing if you are unable to provide them sooner. Your 341 Meeting of Creditors will usually be held approximately 30-45 days after you file. Attending your 341 Meeting of Creditors is absolutely necessary, whether or not you have an attorney. Your case may be continued if you fail to attend, but it may be dismissed if you miss too many hearings. The trustee will have questions about your petition, along with any creditors who choose to attend.
6. Take your Second Credit Counseling Course
You must take a second credit counseling course within 60 days of your 341 Meeting of Creditors. Once this step, along with all of the steps listed above, is completed, you will just be waiting for your case to be discharged. Your creditors will have 60 days after your 341 Hearing to object to your debts being discharged if they were unable to attend the hearing. Your case may not be discharged exactly on the 60th day- it may be a few days or even weeks before the court completes the necessary paperwork.
While Chapter 7 can be boiled down to six simple steps, it is usually more complicated than that in practice. If you have further questions about Chapter 7 or any other chapter of bankruptcy, our office is here to help. We offer free consultations to help you get started towards a financial clean slate 100% risk-free. The only way to get started is to call, so schedule your consultation today!