Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
The past few years have not been easy on the wallet. The pandemic, rising prices, low income, and employment problems, among many others, have pushed many Americans to despair. Bankruptcy is one of the best options for relieving financial burdens and getting a second chance at a secure financial future. Our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys at Phoenix Fresh Start is here to help you take that first step on your renewed journey.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Another name for Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy. In this case, a trustee buys the debtor’s nonexempt assets and sells them to pay creditors. After filing for bankruptcy, your unsecured debts are then discharged.
Throughout the bankruptcy process, you’ll come across plenty of terms that may not be familiar to the average person. We’ve compiled the ones you’ll come across the most when you file for bankruptcy.
In bankruptcy, discharge means you no longer have any personal liability for your debts. In other words, you don’t have to pay them anymore. Not all types of debt can be discharged, so it’s best to ask a trusted Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer so you know whether your debt qualifies for a discharge.
An automatic stay is a bankruptcy court order that stops all collection efforts. This includes collection calls, wage garnishment orders, and lawsuits.
The means test is how it’s determined whether you can file for bankruptcy. It takes the median income of an Arizona household and compares it to your income. If your monthly payment exceeds the median, you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Calculating this can be complicated. Luckily for you, our Phoenix Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys have the tools to determine whether you qualify via the means test. Call our office now to schedule a consultation!
Steps to Filing Bankruptcy in Missouri
Collect Your Arizona Bankruptcy Documents
As with any legal case, Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings involve a lot of paperwork. Here is a list of documents you’ll need:
Here are the required documents:
- A current bank statement that covers the filing date.;
- The last 60 days of your paycheck stubs; and
- The last two years of your federal tax returns.
Here are some documents that aren’t required but will be helpful:
- Letters you’ve received from collection agencies or third-party debt collectors.
- Statements or bills from all your creditors.
- A current copy of your credit report.
- Older bank statements.
Talk to a Credit Counselor
Upon filing bankruptcy, federal law requires debtors to take a credit counseling course during the 180-day period before submitting the petition. Take note that there are approved providers for credit counseling. Once the course is over, you receive a certificate of completion. You should submit this to the U.S. bankruptcy course together with your other bankruptcy documents.
Fill Out the Bankruptcy Forms
More paperwork. Many of these forms are federal, so most are the same regardless of state. You can find these forms online on the Bankruptcy Court’s page or from the District of Arizona.
These forms are crucial for the approval of your petition. One mistake may mean a delay, or your petition may not get approved. Talk to our skilled Phoenix Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys to ensure your paperwork is 100% correct.
Pay The Filing Fee
It costs $338 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your options for payment include a cashier’s check or money order. Credit card payments are not accepted. If you can’t pay this fee when you submit your bankruptcy case, here are a few things you can do:
- Pay in monthly installments. If you need your lawsuit filed ASAP, you can make a downpayment of $80, then pay the rest monthly. One reason to file quickly is to stop a wage garnishment order from taking effect.
- Fee waivers. You can qualify for a fee waiver if your income falls below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
File Your Forms With the Arizona Bankruptcy Court
You have two options for submitting your Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork in Arizona: by mail or in person at one of the division offices of the Arizona Bankruptcy Court. They are situated in Yuma, Tucson, and Phoenix. When you file, you must pay the filing fee. You can pay for this with a money order or cashier’s check. Cash and credit cards are not accepted for payment. Additionally, you cannot make payments in the Yuma division office; instead, you can mail payments to the Phoenix or Tucson offices. Although you can prepare for some aspects of the bankruptcy procedure online, only attorneys can submit bankruptcy cases electronically.
Send Your Documents to Your Trustee
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is a court-appointed person who will handle different aspects of your case, including:
- reviewing the bankruptcy petition and supporting documents
- examining the debtor, and
- Selling a property for the benefit of your creditors.
Bankruptcy law requires you to send some documents to the trustee assigned to you at least seven days before your meeting with creditors. After filing your case, your trustee will send you a letter which usually includes a questionnaire and a request for the documents they need from you.
Attend Your Meeting of Creditors
This is also known as the 341 meeting. Here you, your trustee, your lawyer, and your creditors discuss the details of your bankruptcy petition. You will be placed under oath and asked to answer questions about your petition. Your creditors are free to ask, but it’s unusual for creditors to attend a 341 hearing. It can be a stressful experience feeling like you’re being interrogated, but once your information is verified in this meeting, the pain will be over. The questions are usually “yes” or “no” questions.
Complete a Debtor Education Course
Before the court discharges your debts, you must take a financial management course. You must submit the certificate of completion to the bankruptcy court within 60 days of meeting with creditors. Failure to do so may result in your case being closed without a bankruptcy discharge.
Can I File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Myself?
The short answer is yes, but we don’t recommend it.
Many think it’s much cheaper to file bankruptcy by themselves than hire an attorney. However, bankruptcy law is a complicated field. A simple mistake can cause delays in your petition. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may overlook some exemptions or forget to include some types of debt. Worst-case scenario: your petition gets rejected.
We know that you may be in stressful times to the point where you must file bankruptcy. However, avoiding attorney fees may cause you to lose more money and time than you would have saved. Our Phoenix Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys have handled hundreds of cases, guaranteeing an efficient and accurate petition from our years of experience.
If you have any more doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Call our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys Now!
One of the ways for Americans to get out of debt is by declaring bankruptcy. Bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a challenging journey that leaves you worse off. Speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney with experience with bankruptcy laws and procedures to help you start down the path to a stable financial future.
In Phoenix, bankruptcy attorneys often don’t offer attorney fee payment plans, and few provide payment plans for post-filing attorney fees. We understand that debt can be overwhelming, which is why we have payment plans that just about anyone can afford. Our Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer wants to do more than represent you. Our bankruptcy lawyer wants to give you a fresh start financially.
If you want to file bankruptcy, contact our trusted Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys to schedule a free consultation!