What is an Emergency Bankruptcy Filing?
An Emergency Bankruptcy filing, also referred to as filing a skeleton petition, is a fast-tracked method of filing bankruptcy. Emergency filing is available for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. An emergency filing requires far fewer documents than a full bankruptcy petition. However, you will only have 14 days to submit your full petition once your skeleton petition is filed.
What are circumstances that may require an Emergency BK Filing?
The most common reason we see clients needing to file emergency bankruptcy is because of a wage garnishment. Thus, once your emergency BK is filed, the wage garnishment will be stopped on any active pay periods. Therefore, you will not be refunded for wages garnished during completed pay periods before the emergency bankruptcy was filed.
If you are facing a foreclosure or repossession, or your utilities are about to be shut off, an emergency bankruptcy will postpone these situations until your case is dismissed or discharged. You may be able to schedule a time for your lender to pick up your vehicle as opposed to a messy and dramatic repossession.
What documentation do I need to file a Bankruptcy in an Emergent way?
To file an emergency BK, you will need to provide your attorney with the following: a copy of your driver’s license; a copy of your social security card; a completed intake packet; and six months’ of paystubs. Plus, you will also need to complete an online credit counseling course. Also, on the day your bankruptcy is filed, you may have only up to $300 in your bank account for single filers, and $600 for joint filers.
Is this a Type of Bankruptcy I Can File in Arizona?
You must have resided in Arizona for the majority of the last 180 days, or 6 months, to be able to file an Arizona Emergency Bankruptcy. Plus, you can emergency file both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, as long as you qualify. To qualify for a Chapter 7, you must either make below the state’s median income level for your family size. Additionally, you could qualify by passing a Means Test. Therefore, if you don’t qualify through either of those methods, you may still be able to emergency file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Also, there are certain debt limitations for a Chapter 13. Finally, you should speak with an attorney to see which chapters are available to you.
Why would I need to file a Bankruptcy so Quickly? Is normal speed not good enough?
A full bankruptcy petition is typically over 50 pages long. It goes without saying that it takes time to analyze documents, draft the petition, review it, and edit it based on the client’s review. If you have a garnishment, foreclosure, repossession, or utility shutoff impending, the emergency bankruptcy buys you and your attorney more time to gather the rest of your documents and draft your full petition. If you aren’t in one of the emergency situations listed, normal speed bankruptcy probably is good enough for your case.
Do I need an attorney to file an Emergency BK?
No. You do have the option to file your case, pro se, or without an attorney. While it is more feasible to file pro se for a Chapter 7 than a Chapter 13. Thus, filing with an attorney is the best way to ensure you don’t end up with a dismissed case. If you’re considering an emergency filing, you likely are in a high-stakes situation. You should proceed with extreme caution if filing alone. If your case is dismissed, you lose the protections of bankruptcy. Thus, once your case is dismissed, creditors can proceed with collection efforts such as garnishment and foreclosure.
What is an Automatic Stay? How does it factor in with an Emergency Bankruptcy?
An Automatic Stay protects you from collection efforts from your creditors, such as repossession, foreclosure, and wage garnishment. It can also stop an impending shutoff of utilities. The stay begins once your bankruptcy is filed. If you are filing an emergent or skeleton bankruptcy, it is so you can be protected by the automatic stay sooner. The stay remains effective until your case is discharged or dismissed.
What are the advantages of filing Emergency Bankruptcy?
Declaring bankruptcy in a fast manner will help you permanently stop garnishments on dischargeable debts, and temporarily stop garnishments on non-dischargeable debts. Therefore, it will also delay foreclosure, repossession, and utility shutoffs. Plus, if you are being harassed with annoying creditor calls, your creditors won’t be able to contact you once you provide them with your attorney’s information and/or case number.