Chapter 7 involves the filing of a petition with the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The petition is filed electronically, and notice is sent to all of your creditors, to yourself, and to your Peotone bankruptcy attorney. You will have a meeting before a Chapter 7 trustee within about 4 weeks after your case is filed. At the meeting, the trustee will ask you a series of yes/no questions based on the documents that were filed in your case. The trustee is going to want to know if you signed the documents under all penalties of perjury, if you’re listed all of your assets and all your liabilities, if you’ve given away or sold anything for less than its fair market value in the last two years, if you’ve ever owned a business, and basically all of your statement of financial affairs. The trustee wants to look and see if you have any assets that could be administered for the benefit of creditors. In 99 percent of all those that file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are no assets that could be administered for the benefit of creditors. Thus, most Chapter 7 cases start and end after about 120 days with the debtor being able to keep whatever property he or she has in their current possession, and the debts are easily eliminated.
There are some debts that are not eliminated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Those debts include student loans, recent taxes, parking tickets, child support, alimony, maintenance payments, debts due to personal injury caused while driving intoxicated, and debts due to some sort of fraud. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer should be able to advise you as to what debts are going to be eliminated and what debts are going to stick around. This way you can know going in what type of fresh start you’re going to get. Many of my clients receive a complete fresh start in that they do not have any non-dischargeable debt. Other cases, we know there’s going to be a particular debt or two that’s going to survive the bankruptcy, but it’s still worth it to file the bankruptcy in order to eliminate the other types of debts that we can eliminate, such as credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, old taxes, and old utility bills.
For more information about your particular situation, find a bankruptcy lawyer who can provide further assistance.