The last blog post set out the primary documents and information you need to gather for the bankruptcy attorney. Once all the documents are gathered and delivered to the attorney, then the attorney begins to prepare the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition.
Generally the preparation of the Petition takes approximately two weeks – the more documents and information provided by you, the quicker the preparation. If there is an emergency situation such as an approaching debt collection court hearing, the petition can be quickly prepared.
Usually a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition is approximately seventy pages in length. The Bankruptcy Court requires detailed information and lots of facts. Once the petition is prepared, you and the bankruptcy attorney will meet and review the petition line by line. Your participation in reviewing the petition before filing is critical.
You want to be sure all your debts, creditors, assets and information are correctly listed on the petition. Often between the time the primary documents and information are given to the attorney and the review of the petition, you may have been contacted by additional collections agencies or been served with court papers by a creditor – this new information must be added to the petition. And sometimes individuals or couples filing bankruptcy simply overlook a debt in the information gathering process.
Also important in the review process is to compare the debts provided to the attorney against a very recent copy of your credit report. Often your credit report will list forgotten debt or debt that has been charged off by a creditor. This additional information also needs to be included on your petition.
During the review of the petition, you will be asked to sign and date various documents and schedules in the petition. Just as with any legal document, do not sign the documents until you are sure they are true and accurate.
Once the petition is completed but before filing the petition with the Bankruptcy Court, you must take a credit counseling course. The attorney will provide you with the information needed to take a credit counseling course which has been approved by the Bankruptcy Court. These courses are on line and available at your convenience.
Once you have completed the credit counseling course, you must make sure the course vendor emails your certificate of completion to the attorney. The certificate from the credit counseling course is required to be filed with the Bankruptcy Court at the same time as your petition. If a husband and wife are filing a joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy, both the husband and wife are required to take the credit counseling course and both certificates must be filed with the joint petition.
The petition and certificates are filed by the attorney once they are finalized. What happens after the filing of the petition and certificates will be discussed in the next blog posting. Beacon Law Office is ready to work with you in evaluating your financial issues, guide you through document gathering and help you with the best resolution of your financial issues for you and your family. Please give Beacon Law Offices a call at 207.710.0250 for professional attention on an individual basis. I look forward to working with you.