Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy in Arizona is sometimes the right decision for your finances and your family, but how do you determine what exactly filing entails? While no case is identical, there are certain things required across the board for a bankruptcy filing and a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer at Want A Fresh Start can help you understand specifically what is needed for your individual financial situation. The following are a few points and actions that will clarify the bankruptcy process while helping you learn what to expect.

Preliminary and Follow-Up Courses

Following legislation enacted in 2005, new bankruptcy laws require each bankruptcy filer to take a preliminary credit counseling course. These courses are generally not long, and they provide the opportunity to meet with a debt counselor to determine the best course of action to rectify your debt. After bankruptcy proceedings have successfully concluded, those who filed will also be required to take a financial management course. The course educates them on basic financial concepts and aims to assist them to remain debt free long after their bankruptcy has concluded.

Means Tests

A bankruptcy means test is a way for the courts to determine your suitability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Phoenix, AZ. A means test involves taking an in-depth look at your finances. Factors that are analyzed are your average income over the past six months and the median income in Arizona, or the state in which you are filing. If your income meets or exceeds the state average, you will be prompted to file for Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7 bankruptcy. No matter your income level, you are likely able to file for Chapter 13 and our Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers will help make the filing process as easy as possible.

Necessary Paperwork

To get the bankruptcy process going, you must provide your attorney with pertinent paperwork so he or she can get an idea of your finances. Some of these requirements include:

  • An itemized account of your current income sources
  • Your living expenses
  • All debts owed
  • Your tax returns
  • A detailed account of your possessions

When assessing your possessions, it is important to remember that not only cars and real estate will be considered. A comprehensive account of your belongings and assets is necessary for the process to go smoothly.

Actually Filing

Once all paperwork is in order, it is time to actually file. Your Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine which property is best exempted from threat of liquidation if you plan to file for Chapter 7, or you can undertake this process on your own. Then, either you or your attorney will need to file a petition and multiple other forms, known collectively as “the schedules” at the bankruptcy court in your district. In Arizona, the cost of filing for bankruptcy is currently $306 for Chapter 7 and $281 for Chapter 13. These fees cannot be waived but may be paid in increments. Once the filing and fees are taken care of, your bankruptcy case will be legally underway.

Bankruptcy Trustee Appointment

When you file, the courts will take control legally of your debts and property, unless said property is determined to be exempt. A trustee will then be appointed to act as a delegator of assets to your creditors, ensuring each is paid. Trustees will become deeply familiar with your finances and paperwork and are granted the ability to challenge any portion of your case.

Meeting With Creditors

Around a month after you have initially filed your claim, you and those you owe will have a meeting. These are short proceedings, typically taking around five minutes total, during which your trustee will discuss the allocation of your assets to resolve the debts you owe. The trustee will also attempt to absolve you of some of your debts by making them dischargeable. If your creditors do not challenge your right to discharge the debts within 60 days, you will be absolved of those factions of your debts.

Make sure you have a skilled and caring Phoenix bankruptcy attorney at your side for these proceedings. Contact us today if you have questions about filing for bankruptcy in Arizona.