Bankruptcy is a legal process guaranteed by the US Constitution to provide persons a second chance with a fresh start free of the burden of past debts.
The bankruptcy court fee depends on the bankruptcy chapter of the case filed.
Chapter 7 total fee is $306.
Chapter 13 total fee is $281.
Once any bankruptcy case is filed, including Chapter 7 or 13, an automatic stay becomes effective preventing anyone from taking any action against the debtor and joint debtor without approval from the bankruptcy court.
All debt collection activities, lawsuits, letters and phone calls related to the claims against the debtor and joint debtor must stop.
Simply inform any debt collector or individual of the bankruptcy case, then any more contact outside the bankruptcy court by that person or company is illegal.
Chapter 7 (Standard) refers to bankruptcy cases where dischargeable debts will be cancelled within several months at the end of the case. This is also known as immediate relief bankruptcy.
About 75% of individual bankruptcies are filed under Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 (Payment Plan) refers to bankruptcy cases where dischargeable debts will be cancelled at the end of the case after payments are made to the bankruptcy trustee for three or five years.
The payment amount depends on disposable income.
About 25% of individual bankruptcies are filed under Chapter 13.
A creditor is any person or organization owed money to by the debtor or joint debtor. To cancel a dischargeable debt owed to a creditor through bankruptcy, the creditor debt must be listed on the bankruptcy forms.
Debtors and joint debtors are eligible to file bankruptcy only after completing a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course unless excused by law. This course is required before filing your bankruptcy documents with the court.
Legal excuses are mental incapacity, physical disability or active military duty in military combat zone.
Debtors and joint debtors are eligible for a bankruptcy discharge (cancelling) of debts only after completing a post-bankruptcy financial management course unless excusedby law. This course is required soon after filing your bankruptcy documents with the court.
Legal excuses are mental incapacity, physical disability, active military duty in military combat zone or that Bankruptcy Trustee / Court Official determined no or insufficient courses are available for your bankruptcy district.
A debtor is the individual person or organization filing for bankruptcy. In joint petitions, rules apply equally to the debtor and joint debtor.
A married couple may file bankruptcy together, or a married person may file bankruptcy alone while the spouse does not file.
Debts refer to any financial obligation of the debtor or joint debtor whether described as debts, claims or liabilities including current or future liabilities arising out of past conduct. For example, a potential lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident, if the debtor was not intoxicated, is dischargeable.
Discharge is the bankruptcy term referring to the cancelling of debts at the end of a bankruptcy case. Most debts by individuals are dischargeable except in certain circumstances, e.g., spousal or child support, cases of fraud, and debts due to driving while intoxicated or other criminally related financial liabilities.
Alimony, maintenance, spouse and child support are all forms of domestic support obligations and are not discharged (cancelled) by bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy estate is the legal entity holding title (ownership) of all debtor and joint debtor property during the bankruptcy case. The estate is automatically created when a bankruptcy case is filed.
Exemptions relate to bankruptcy laws permitting individual debtors to retain personal property and real estate despite certain creditor claims. Exemptions are only available to individual persons, not organizations.
Ownership of all debtor property automatically transfers to the bankruptcy estate managed by the court trustee when filing for bankruptcy, however, exemptions are how ownership is returned.
Providing a fresh start to individuals is an underlying theme of bankruptcy exemptions which enable debtors to keep the necessities of life.
Family farmers in bankruptcy are generally defined as a debtor or debtor and spouse who engage in commercial farming or fishing operations.
"Homeland defense activity" refers to an activity undertaken for the military protection of the territory or domestic population of the United States, or of infrastructure or other assets of the United States determined by the Secretary of Defense as critical to national security, from a threat or aggression against the United States. 32USC § 901(1)
Installment loans are repaid with a fixed number of payments over defined period such as 60 months. The payments are the same if the interest is fixed, but the payments may vary if the interest is variable. Typical installment loans are car loans and mortgages.
A joint debtor is the spouse of the debtor where the spouse is also filing for bankruptcy. In joint petitions, rules apply equally to the debtor and joint debtor.
A married person may file bankruptcy alone while the spouse does not file.
A joint petition is when both spouses file bankruptcy together as debtor and joint debtor. Only spouses may file jointly.
Personal property refers to all property except real estate. Examples of personal property include stocks, jewelry, inventory, retirement benefits and timeshares.
A person's debts are primarily consumer debts when the majority of the financial obligations (money owed) are from consumer (non-business) purchases or services, e.g., medical or dental services, TV's, clothes, personal or household items, vehicles, vacations, etc.
If debts are not primarily consumer, then they are primarily non-consumer (business).
Principal residence is the primary home of the debtor or joint debtor. Only one residence may be designated as principal, so a debtor and spouse living apart must select one household as the principal residence.
Real estate or real property refers to property in the form of land, buildings and fixtures, e.g., a house, condo, duplex, stock cooperative, unimproved land, mobile home park space (if owned), etc.
Secured claims are those where the debtor pledged collateral which the creditor may seize if the claim is not paid. Typical secured claims are mortgages, auto loans or loans for home furnishings or electrical equipment like televisions.
A claim may be both secured and unsecured. This occurs when the value of the collateral is not sufficient to pay off the entire debt.
Bankruptcy law requires completing tax returns to ensure tax liabilities are known. Chapter 7 immediate relief bankruptcies require debtors to file tax returns for the current year as well as the previous year. Chapter 13 payment plan bankruptcies require debtors to file tax returns for the current year as well as the previous four years.
Tax returns must be filed with IRS or appropriate state governments. Copies or transcripts of tax returns must be given to the Bankruptcy US Trustee for your case.
Transcripts of tax returns, if required by the US Trustee, are available from the IRS 800-829-1040 or by completing IRS Form 4506-T.
The bankruptcy trustee is an officer of the bankruptcy court who administers the assets on behalf of the court. The trustee also receives payments under Chapter 13 Payment Plans and distributes the funds to the creditors.
Unsecured claims are those where the creditor is not able to seize any property of the debtor when the debt is not paid.
See "Secured Claims"