Some people seem to be under the impression that once you file for bankruptcy, it’s simply a matter of waiting a set period of time and your debts are cleared. In many cases, that’s the process for a Chapter 7 filing. However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition is a little more involved than that. The following is a typical Chapter 13 bankruptcy process.

  • Undertake credit counseling – you cannot file until this has been undertaken and a certificate obtained.
  • Petition filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
  • Payments made as described in the repayment plan – note, failure to make payments will see your petition rejected by the court.
  • First Bankruptcy Court hearing – you must take proof of ID and your social security card to this hearing or risk having your petition dismissed there and then.
  • Objections by creditors – this is normal and if you have provided all the paperwork, should not be a hassle.
  • Second Bankruptcy Court hearing – this hearing closely examines your financial affair and can be quite lengthy
  • Education program – different from counseling, this is a financial training program and again is compulsory
  • Discharge from bankruptcy – once you have completed all the requirements of the repayment plan, you will effectively be debt free so you are then discharged from bankruptcy.

You can see from the steps that the process, while not complex, can be quite long. It is also a process that has many areas where the slightest hiccup (such as forgetting your social security card) can see your petition dismissed. Creditor objections can also be tedious to deal with.

Consulting a lawyer that specializes in bankruptcy law can ease the process considerably. For example, they handle the filing process, do all the talking in the two court appearances and even handle creditor objections.

Bankruptcy is serious business. Contact someone who is trained to work in the field and they will ensure a smooth process from start to finish.