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Bankruptcy FAQs

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about bankruptcy.

What Is the First Step in Filing for Bankruptcy?

After you have decided to file for bankruptcy, the first step is to file a petition with the Bankruptcy court.  On the petition, all of your debts and property must be listed as well as other schedules of assets and liabilities.

Can I File for Bankruptcy Every Few Years?

No. Once a discharge is granted, a debtor who filed under Chapter 7 or 11 is prohibited from filing for another six years. However, a debtor who filed under Chapter 7 can file a Chapter 13 before the six-year bar is over, but not another Chapter 7.

Is Child Support Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

Typically, child support obligations cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Child support obligations might include other types of support as well, such as medical bills or educational expenses for children. This means that even if all of your other debts are discharged in bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for your child support obligations.

Does Filing for Bankruptcy Allow Me To Modify My Child Support?

It depends. If your income has drastically changed for various reasons, such as layoff or illness, then you may be eligible for a modification of your child support obligation. The circumstances under which you can modify your child support obligation will vary according to your state’s laws.

How Long Does the Bankruptcy Process Take Before Debts Are Discharged?

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, debts can be discharged in a matter of months in a relatively uncomplicated case involving few or no assets. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcies involve repayment plans that can stretch over a period of three to five years before debts are finally discharged.

What Documents Do I Need To Start a Bankruptcy?

Federal forms include:

  • Form 1, Voluntary Petition (2 pages)
  • Form 6,­­ Schedules A through J, Summary, and Declaration
  • Form 7­­, Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Form 8, ­Statement of Intention.

In addition, you must file the appropriate local forms.

Someone Who Owes Me Money Filed for Bankruptcy. Can I Still Collect My Debt?

If you are a creditor or someone to whom the debtor owes money, then you will be given notice of the bankruptcy proceedings, as well as notice to file a claim for the amount of your debt in cases where some assets are available. You also will receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that indicates if and when the debtor’s debts are discharged.

How Can I Find Out if Someone’s Debts Were Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Federal bankruptcy court records are public records to which the public has free access. You should contact the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the area in which the debtor lives for more information about examining bankruptcy court records. Furthermore, bankruptcy records are now available online in many states.

What Is a Claim in a Bankruptcy Case?

In the broadest sense, a claim is any right to payment held by a person or company against you and your bankruptcy estate. A claim does not have to be a past-due amount but can include an anticipated sum of money, which will come due in the future. In filling out your forms, you should include any past, present, or future debts as potential claims.

Can I Be Evicted for Filing Bankruptcy Even if I’m Current on Rent?

In some cases, your landlord can evict you for filing bankruptcy, even if you have paid your rent in full. Some leases give your landlord the right to evict you and/or terminate your lease for any reason or no reason, including filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy might temporarily delay eviction and/or lease termination proceedings, it will not stop the proceedings.

Where Can I Get Advice About Bankruptcy?

The best course of action is to schedule an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney. Many attorneys provide an initial consultation for little or no money. You should not rely on the information you get from a book or website (even this one) when it comes to such an important decision.

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