If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in California, knowing what to expect during the process is important. While bankruptcy can be a complex and intimidating, understanding the steps involved can help you feel more prepared and informed.
Step 1: Consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney
The first step in the bankruptcy process is to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a consultation. During this meeting, the attorney will review your financial situation and advise whether bankruptcy is the right option.
If you decide to proceed with bankruptcy, the attorney will help you gather the necessary documentation and information to file your case. This may include proof of income, tax returns, and a list of all your debts and assets.
Step 2: Filing Your Bankruptcy Petition
Once your attorney has gathered all the necessary information, they will file your bankruptcy petition with the court. This officially starts the bankruptcy process.
In California, bankruptcy cases are typically filed in either the Eastern or Central District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, depending on where you live. Your attorney will file your petition in the appropriate district.
Step 3: Automatic Stay
Once your bankruptcy petition has been filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This legal injunction stops all collection activities against you, including phone calls, letters, and lawsuits.
The automatic stay can provide much-needed relief for those struggling with debt, giving you time to reorganize your finances without the added stress of collection activities.
Step 4: Meeting of Creditors
Approximately four to six weeks after your bankruptcy petition is filed, you will attend a meeting of creditors. This is a meeting with your creditors and the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case.
During the meeting, the trustee will ask questions about your finances and bankruptcy petition. Your creditors may also attend the meeting and ask questions.
While meeting creditors can be nerve-wracking, it’s usually a straightforward process. Your attorney will prepare you for the types of questions you can expect to be asked.
Step 5: Discharge of Debts
Assuming everything goes smoothly at the meeting of creditors, the next step is the discharge of debts. This is when your debts are officially eliminated or reorganized, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many unsecured debt are discharged, meaning you’re no longer responsible for paying them back. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be put on a repayment plan to pay back a portion of your debts over a period of three to five years.
Step 6: Financial Recovery
After your debts are discharged, you can begin the process of financial recovery. This may involve rebuilding your credit, creating a budget, and establishing healthy financial habits.
Hiring A Bankruptcy Attorney
While bankruptcy can be a complex process, it can also provide much-needed relief for those struggling with debt. By understanding what to expect during the bankruptcy process in California, you can feel more prepared and confident as you navigate this challenging time. If you are considering filing for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy call 800.400.9000 and speak to a bankruptcy attorney from Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC.