What to do if we are just beginning to navigate the Chapter 7 process on our own without an attorney?

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2013

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What to do if we are just beginning to navigate the Chapter 7 process on our own without an attorney?

The outstanding debt we have is associated with unsecured credit card debt only. We rent our home and have no assets. Our vehicle is paid for and is 11 years old. Should we notify the credit card banks while we begin the process and, if so, what and how should we communicated with them? At this point in time we are less than 30 days late on any payments due and have not been late on any payments for over 30 years.

Asked on March 18, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should obtain the The Chapter 7 bankruptcy packet from the bankruptcy court (federal court closest to where you live).  Complete the bankruptcy schedules (forms).  Review and comply with the requirements for credit counseling.  Complete all of the bankruptcy forms.  Just write not applicable on the schedules which don't apply.  You don't need to notify the creditors because the bankruptcy court will do this after you file your bankruptcy with the court.  That is why it is important to list the names, addresses, account numbers, and amount of each balance and approximate date (month and year) each debt was incurred.  Don't list any creditors with whom you have a zero balance.  You will also need to include the exemptions (exempt property such as your car, clothing, books, etc.)  You will need to select either all federal exemption amounts or all state exemption amounts.  You can't use both state and federal.  In order to determine whether to use all federal or all state exemptions, use the one that has the largest exemption for your personal property. 

When you have completed all of the bankruptcy forms, and complied with the credit counseling and other requirements set forth on the bankruptcy forms, file your bankruptcy packet with the bankruptcy court.  There is a filing fee.  Your bankruptcy takes effect immediately upon being filed with the court.  The court sends notices of your bankruptcy filing to the creditors you have listed in the bankruptcy.  The court will schedule a hearing before a trustee.  This hearing is the first meeting of creditors.  If all issues are resolved at the hearing which is usually what occurs, the bankruptcy trustee will set a date for discharge of your bankruptcy.  Discharge means your bankruptcy has been finalized and creditors won't be able to raise objections after that date.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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