If you are considering filing bankruptcy through a local bankruptcy lawyer, please keep in mind that a Chapter 7, fresh start filing can go way beyond the basics. In fact, cases can become so complex that there are separate lawsuits contained within the bankruptcy case. Those can be adversarial complaint pertaining to a particular debt or adversarial complaints where the entire bankruptcy filing is opposed. If successful in bringing a complaint, either a particular debt or the entire debt can be held to be non-dischargeable. This is a very harsh result in that the debt can never be discharged in the future. Bankruptcy is only for honest debtors. If a debtor commits fraud or otherwise doesn’t follow the law, there can be extreme consequences.
Not every case has to be difficult. In some cases, the time duration is 110 days or so. In other cases, the lawsuits within the bankruptcy case can stretch out more months, even years. There are some things to keep in mind if you are thinking of claiming bankruptcy. First, have all of your information organized so that you can provide same to your attorney. Missing information can do a lot to hurt your case. If the court does not receive the required information, your case can be dismissed. Thus, you will be forced to re-file and do it all over again.
For those who are unable to pay their debts, there is Chapter 7. For those that wish to reorganize their debt, there is Chapter 13. In any event, I would recommend seeking the advice of a qualified Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. Your lawyer should be very experienced in the bankruptcy process from start to finish. Without the advice of counsel, a pro se debtor can find his case dismissed or worse. Often times, I am hired to clean up a prior case that has gone bad. Perhaps the debtor did not know all of the requirements and was afraid to ask the right questions.
Whatever you do, please do not think that you can file bankruptcy yourself. The law has changed and the process has gotten more and more difficult each year. Things have gotten particularly complex with Chapter 13 cases. The Trustee is requiring more and more information with each passing year. Just recently, the Chapter 13 Trustees have begun to ask for tax return information as the cases are progressing through the years. Failure to provide said return can lead to a Trustee’s motion to dismiss the case. Thus, even if the debtor is current on payments and all creditors are being paid, the Trustee can and will ask that the case be dismissed.