These are the steps necessary to get your bankruptcy case filed and finished using The Law Offices Of Law Offices of John T. Orcutt.
Step 1: Your Call:
It all starts with your phone call to 1-888-234-4181 to set you up with a totally FREE debt consultation.
Step 2: The Debt Consultation:
At your appointment, we gather all the information necessary for us to fully understand your situation, including your goals, assets, debts, income, and expenses. We then analyze your situation and tell you about the various options for dealing with debts and creditors. In this process, we will tell you about any options we feel would achieve your stated goals. In addition, we will try to answer all your questions and concerns. If one of your best options is bankruptcy, we will tell you how it works, what needs to be done before you file, what it does and does not do, and what it costs. Whether or not bankruptcy is an option for you, up to this point there is no obligation. So, you are free to find out about your options and to get your questions answered for FREE and then leave no strings attached. How can we afford to do this? Because we know that if we help enough people with a free consultation, at the end of the day we will end up with enough new clients to stay in business. So, it's a win-win situation for both of us.
Step 3: Signing Up With Us:
If you decide to proceed with bankruptcy, the next step is to get started with the paperwork right away. For as little as $0 down, we would sign you up as one of our clients and start the process of gathering all the information needed from you to file your case. Having signed you up as one of our clients, you are now free to call us with any questions or concerns about your debts. Even though your case is not yet filed, you have our attorneys and staff at your full disposal to answer any questions you have and to instruct you on how to deal with your creditors.
Step 4: Things We Need From Home:
Back at home, you will Fill out some simple forms and gather all your bills, documents and other information necessary to get your case filed. Once you know that filing bankruptcy is right for you, this part of the process is fun because you know this will be the last time you have to deal with these bills. You see, after you make the decision to file bankruptcy and follow through with your filing it's like telling us, "Here are my bills, you deal with them." How cool is that?
Step 5: Bringing In The Things From Home:
At your next appointment you give us all the filled-in forms together with the bills, documents, and other information you have collected. Usually at this appointment, you will make another payment toward the fees necessary to get your case filed.
Step 6: Getting Your Case Ready To File:
Next, we draw upon all the information you supplied, to prepare the various forms, schedules and addendum required by the bankruptcy court. During this process, if we have any questions or need any additional information, we will call you. Otherwise, you sit back and relax until we get the necessary paperwork done. How long will this take? In most cases, we work as fast as you pay our fees and provide us the information we need to get your case filed. We do nothing but bankruptcy so we know how to get things done. That means if there is a hold-up in getting you filed, in most cases, it won't be caused by us. If need be, we can get you filed in less than a week. In an emergency, assuming you do your part, we can get you filed the same day.
Step 7: Completing A Credit Counseling Briefing:
The bankruptcy law now requires that you submit to a briefing about the various alternatives to bankruptcy as a condition of filing bankruptcy. This is easy and usually takes less than an hour, a small price to pay to get rid of debts you can't pay and creditors intent on getting money out of you. Residents in California can obtain these classes right over the internet and if need be on a computer in our office.
Step 8: Final Signing Appointment:
After all the forms, schedules and addendum are prepared, you will come into our office for a final signing appointment. At this appointment, we will go over all the final documents and have you sign them.
Step 9: Filing Your Case:
After your signing appointment, we will file the final signed documents with the Court. In most cases, this is done by electronic filing over the internet, which means we can get you filed the same day you sign to give you fast protection from your creditors. Why? Because as soon as you file, you have the protection of the automatic stay.
Step 10: The Powerful Automatic Stay:
Immediately when your case is filed, the court issues an order to all creditors telling them to leave you alone or suffer the wrath of the court. This is called the "automatic stay." The automatic stay forces creditors to go bother somebody else. After this order is issued, if the creditor has any questions or concerns, the creditor is forced to deal with us instead of you. After your case is filed, you will still get some calls and letters from your creditors, for up to a month or so. Why? Because some of your creditors are big organizations and it can take some time for the news that you filed bankruptcy to trickle across to all the departments in charge of sending you letters and making collection calls. After you file, if you get a call, just tell the creditor, “I filed bankruptcy” and give them the chapter (either 7 or 13), the name, address and phone number of your attorney, and if you have it, your bankruptcy case number. Whatever you do, don't worry. You are still protected because once your case is filed, you are protected by the powerful automatic stay.
Step 11: The Meeting Of Creditors:
After your signing appointment, in approximately 24 to 45 days you will attend with one of our attorneys what is called a meeting of creditors. This meeting is the creditor's opportunity to show up and ask you questions. Most creditors do NOT show up because they know bankruptcy protection is powerful and there is NOT much they can do. In most cases this meeting would be more appropriately called meeting your trustee. You see, every time a bankruptcy case is filed, the court assigns a trustee to oversee it. You can think of your trustee as a bookkeeper or gatekeeper for the court. His job is to review the schedules filed in your case and make sure you told the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. At this meeting, your trustee will also ask you any questions he has to get a better understand of your situation and the information set forth in your schedules. In most cases, that's all that happens at this meeting.
Step 12: Getting Your Discharge:
Chapter 7: In most cases, the next step is the issuance of your “discharge” by the court. This usually happens about 3 to 4 months after the filing of your case. Chapter 13cases are different than for Chapter 7, in that they stay open for 3 to 5 years, depending on your particular circumstances. During this period of time, you are required to make a monthly payment to your trustee. This payment is used to pay as much as money as possible to your creditors, which is almost always a lot less than if you did not file bankruptcy. In addition, you may be required to keep paying certain debts outside your case, such as a home mortgage, alimony, child support, and your other normal monthly living expenses. During this period,assuming you make all your payments on time, your creditors are not allowed to contact you. At the end of the 3 to 5 year period, if you have made all your payments the court issues your discharge.
The foregoing steps assume that everything in your case proceeds as originally planned and anticipated. If you use an attorney other than the Law Offices of Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, please know this: The specific steps will vary to some degree from State to State and even from Court to Court within the same State.