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davidtrump

Step 3,4,5 & 6 - How to File Bankruptcy : A 10-Step Guide

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3. Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

This is the most time-consuming step. The Bankruptcy Forms include 23 seperate forms totalling roughly 70 pages. The forms ask you about everything you make, spend, own and owe.

If you download and print out the forms online, you will have to enter repetitive data and make lots of math calculations.

So if you’re not able to hire a lawyer, you probably want to buy a bankruptcy software program or use Upsolve.org’s free online bankruptcy service.

4. Get Your Filing Fee

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy normally requires a $335 filing fee, which must be paid to the court in person in exact change.

If you don’t have the funds to pay the filing fee now, you can complete a special form, asking to pay your fee in installments. You can ask to pay the $335 fee in up to 4 payments within 120 days of your filing date.

If paying in installments isn’t even possible, you can submit another form to apply for a fee waiver. To qualify, your total household income must be under 150% of the federal poverty line. The court will decide whether you get a fee waiver after you file. If your application is denied, the court will order you to pay the fee in installments.

5. Print Your Bankruptcy Forms

Once you have prepared your bankruptcy forms, you will need to print them out for the court. You must print them single-sided. The court won’t accept double-sided pages.

You will also need to sign the forms once they are printed.

Most bankruptcy courts require just 1 copy of the petition, but some courts like the bankruptcy court in Manhattan require 4 copies. So call your local bankruptcy court to find out how many copies you will need to bring.

6. Go to Court to File Your Forms

Once you enter the doors of your local court house, you will be greeted by security guards, who will ask you to pass through a metal detector. Once you pass security, you will go to the clerk’s office. And you will tell the clerk, “I’d like to file for bankruptcy.” You’ll hand the Clerk your bankruptcy forms, along with your filing fee of $335 in exact change. Or if you are filing a fee waiver or installment plan, you hand the clerk the fee waiver form or fee installment form instead of the cash.

The clerk will take your bankruptcy forms and ask you to take a seat in their waiting room. It shouldn’t take long for the clerk long to process your case - about 15 minutes. During this time, they will scan your forms and upload them to the court’s online filing system.

As soon as they are done processing your forms, the clerk will call you back to the front desk. The clerk will give you:

  • Your bankruptcy case number

  • The name of your bankruptcy trustee

  • The date, time, and location of your meeting with your trustee (this is called the “Meeting of Creditors” or “341 Meeting”)

At this point, your case has been filed! Congrats! Something very important has just happened. Your debt collectors are now legally prohibited by bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay from contacting you to collect your debts, from garnishing your wages, or foreclosing on your property. This lasts until the end of your bankruptcy case, at which point most, if not all, of your debts will hopefully be erased.

But you’re not home yet - there are other steps you need to complete to get a fresh start!

upsolve.org

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