As a Winthrop Harbor bankruptcy lawyer, the most powerful took that I can acquire for my clients is the automatic stayand it goes into effect immediately. One of the main reasons that people file bankruptcy is that their wages are being garnished. This is one thing the automatic stay can definitely help stop. As soon as we file your bankruptcy case, the automatic stay goes into effect and your wage garnishment has to stop. Therefore, you would be better off; you would be always better off getting a bankruptcy filed in order to stop a wage garnishment because the creditors won’t stop garnishing until they fulfill their whole judgment.
The automatic stay can also stop the sale of a home. If your house is going through a foreclosure process, and a sheriff’s sale is set, then once the automatic stay goes into effect, that sale has to stop. This is a powerful tool which can often help by people time in order to work things out with the bank or to come up with money in order to save their homes which I will discuss more in bankruptcy Chapter 13. Also, any court dates that you have coming up. People don’t like going to court. Once you file your bankruptcy and the automatic stay goes into effect, those court dates are in effect canceled.
I want to talk about the different kinds of judgments, the different kinds of court proceedings that you’ll get from creditors. Let’s say Person A takes out a credit card and they run up a $10,000 bill and they are not able to pay and they default on the $10,000 debt.
After that, the creditor will file a lawsuit in order to get a court order to enforce a judgment against the person who took out the credit card. At the end of the day, that first court date is not necessary to attend. At the end of the day, what you are doing is you are going to pay $187 appearance fee in order to tell the judge that you owe them the money. Unless you have a valid defense as to why you don’t owe them the money, you should really look at it as an opportunity to save $187 on an appearance fee. The exception would be if your goal was to somehow avoid claiming bankruptcy
But there is a second court case called a citation to discover assets. This is a court date where you are going to really want to show up because at the end of the day if you don’t show up, you will have a warrant out for your arrest and they will come after you. But like we were discussing earlier, if you file for bankruptcy and the automatic stay goes into effect, that citation to discover assets will end.
Now I want to discuss the chapter 7, 341 meeting of creditors. This will take place depending on what county you are in and if you are in Chicago, it will be in the Dirksen Building. What you want to make sure you bring with you is your photo ID and Social Security card. Who will be at this meeting? You will be at the meeting, the debtor. Your local bankruptcy lawyer will be there with you and must be there with you and a bankruptcy trustee will be there as well.