Our chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers are ready to speak to you about your case right now. Chapter 7 is the most well known type of bankruptcy filing. This is because most cases filed are under Chapter 7. Many refer to it as “total liquidation bankruptcy” or “straight bankruptcy.” This is because you will should get a discharge without having to pay anything to your creditors. Thinking about bankruptcy can be scary. Fortunately, our Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers have years of experience in offering comfort and support for your decision.
One of the biggest concerns in filing for Chapter 7 is that you will lose your property in a liquidation sale. This is a sale that a Chapter 7 Trustee conducts to sell your non exempt property. This is not something to be afraid of because most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are what we call “no asset” cases which means that you will not lose anything. We assess your risk for being an “asset” Chapter 7 bankruptcy case by in a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
For more about how Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Illinois works please visit our bankruptcy blog.
Who Should File For Chapter 7?
You should consider filing for Chapter 7 if you have a lot of unsecured debt like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and even some tax debts. Usually, you will be able to include all of the types debts that are causing you problems into one filing. If you are looking to manage student loans then a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 repayment plan will usually be a better choice.
The Means Test
Since the 2005 BAPCPA Amendments you have to qualify to file for Chapter 7. Qualifying is based on your monthly income and ability to repay debt. This is more commonly referred to as the means test. Because of this, you will not always be able to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Our attorneys have been navigating the Chapter 7 filing requirements since they were introduced. This means that we can help you to figure out if you qualify for a Chapter 7 filing. After the initial consultation our law firm will guide you towards receiving a Discharge in Chapter 7.
What to Expect
Should a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing be right fo you then these are the steps between overwhelming debt and financial freedom:
1. Prepare for our initial consultation by gathering 6 months of pay stubs and 4 years of federal tax returns. We ask you to gather this information because it allows us to assess your financial condition.
2. Have the initial consultation with one of our bankruptcy attorneys. This consultation will last 45 to 60 minutes on average. This is just an estimate. We will not end the initial consultation prematurely because we need to make sure that we have answered all of your questions.
3. Take a credit counseling course prior to filing. This is an online course. Because of the BAPCPA amendments in 2005 you must take this course prior to filing your case.
4. Review your completed petition. After the consultation we will email you your completed Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for review. This information must be as accurate as you can make it because it will soon be filed with the court.
5. Authorize us to file your petition and become protected from your creditors. Once you have reviewed the petition and verified that it is accurate your case can be filed online. Within minutes you will be assigned a case number. After this happens you are protected from any collections efforts your creditors make. The protection is called the “automatic stay” and as the name suggests it is automatic upon case filing. The protection will stay any civil collections efforts which include: lawsuits, sheriff sales, invoices, and harassing phone calls.
The case does not complete for 3-4 months and there are other steps to getting your discharge that are discussed in more detail in our bankruptcy blog.
To take the first step in becoming debt free, contact one of our Chicago Chapter 7 Lawyers for a free virtual or in person consultation