BANKRUPTCY

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  Our office is a debt relief agency. We help our clients file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. The biggest differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases are simple. However, the Bankruptcy Code is a complex statute that can really be overwhelming. It is important to have a skilled attorney knowledgeable in this area of law to help you make a decision which type of Bankruptcy can accomplish your objectives.   All Bankruptcy cases start with a client making a full, accurate, truthful and complete disclosure of all of their debts, all of their assets and their current monthly income over the past 6-month time period. Our clients will also need to disclose any and all transfers of assets that took place within the past 5-year period. With this information, we can determine what type of Bankruptcy our clients can qualify for and what the best type of Bankruptcy is best suited to serve the needs of our clients.   Lawyers, like many professionals, have become highly specialized. Having a strong background in real estate and mortgage foreclosure law helps us determine which course of action is best for our clients and gives our clients a unique perspective on what options are available to them. We caution all clients from consulting only with a lawyer that only handles Bankruptcy cases or a lawyer that only handles foreclosure litigation or real estate transactions. Although closely related, not all attorneys have the experience and perspective that are necessary to properly advise a client of all available options. 

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

  This Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code helps individuals get a fresh start. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy usually results in a client eliminating all of his or her debts. Although some debts are not dischargeable in Bankruptcy (like debts owed to governmental agencies or for past due child support), many of our clients find out that most, if not all, of their debts can be discharged in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case.    

Time frame: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases will usually take 90 to 100 days to complete before the case is concluded.    

Before and After bankruptcy classes: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases require our clients to take an online credit counseling class before the case is filed and an online debtor education class before the client can receive a discharge. These courses may also be completed by telephone.   

Meeting of Creditors: A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case also requires that our clients to attend a Meeting of Creditors pursuant to Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. Our clients must bring with them to the meeting their Social Security card and a government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, State ID or passport. At this meeting, the client will meet the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to his case and will be required to answer questions about the case. The meeting usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes, but in many cases the actual meeting is much shorter. Of course, Arthur C. Czaja will attend the meeting with you and prepare you at every step of the way.    

What do I need to do?: The most important thing to remember is to be truthful, honest and up front with your attorney and the Bankruptcy Trustee. As long as you remember this, you can rest assured that no matter what type of problems exist in your case, we will be able to deal with them in a prompt and professional manner. Not every case is the same and problems do arise. However, as long as we are prepared for the issues, we can address them with you and work toward a solution.   

Documents I will need: For a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, our clients will be required to provide us with the following documents: 

1) Copies of their last 3 federal and state income tax returns, including W-2’s; 

2) Proof of income (i.e. pay stubs or a profit and loss statement) for the 6-month period before the case is filed; 

3) Copies of all bank statements for the 6-month period before the case is filed; 

4) A complete list of all of your assets.***


***This list is not exhaustive. Each case is unique and further document may be required. Our office will also provide you with an Intake Sheet to complete before your case is reviewed. We encourage our clients review the Intake Sheet and ask as many questions as possible to ensure everyone understands the process.  

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

This Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code allows an individual to reorganize his or her debts into a manageable payment. Most of our clients seek to retain ownership of their home and they can use Chapter 13 to catch-up on their missed mortgage payments over time. In this Chapter of Bankruptcy, a client can reorganize their debts and pay them off in 3 to 5 years, with little or no interest. In some cases, we may be able to reduce the amount owed to your unsecured creditors (i.e. creditors who do not have a lien on your property). Credit card debt is a good example of unsecured debt. We may even wipe away second mortgage liens (and other liens) if the value of the property is less than what is owed on the first mortgage.    

Time frame: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases will usually take 3 to 5 years to complete before the case is concluded. The length of time depends on a number of factor, including your ability to pay your debts and your income.   

Before and After bankruptcy classes: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases require our clients to take an online credit counseling class before the case is filed and an online debtor education class before the client can receive a discharge. These courses may also be completed by telephone. Most Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustees also offer the second debtor education course free of charge to any client in a Chapter 13.   

Meeting of Creditors: A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case also requires that our clients to attend a Meeting of Creditors pursuant to Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. Our clients must bring with them to the meeting their Social Security card and a government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, State ID or passport. At this meeting, the client will meet the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to his case and will be required to answer questions about the case. The meeting usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes, but in many cases the actual meeting is much shorter. The Trustee will ask questions specifically about alimony and child support and our clients will be required to sign an Affidavit (a sworn statement) about whether they pay or receive alimony or child support payments. A Chapter 13 Trustee is very concerned about a client’s continued payment of these alimony or support payments. And, Arthur C. Czaja will attend the meeting with you and prepare you at every step of the way.    

Documents I will need: For a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, our clients will be required to provide us with the following documents: 

1) Copies of their last 4 federal and state income tax returns, including W-2’s; 

2) Proof of income (i.e. pay stubs or a profit and loss statement) for the 6-month period before the case is filed; 

3) Copies of all bank statements for the 6-month period before the case is filed; 

4) A complete list of all of your assets.***


***This list is also not exhaustive. Each case is unique and further document may be required. Our office will also provide you with an Intake Sheet to complete before your case is reviewed. We encourage our clients review the Intake Sheet and ask as many questions as possible to ensure everyone understands the process.