There are two kinds of Bankruptcy that consumers (non business) Debtors are normally interested in. That is a Chapter 7 (known as a straight Bankruptcy) and a Chapter 13.
Both in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 the petitions are filed electronically over the internet using Bankruptcy Filing Software. The decision which Chapter to file is made on the basis of assets, your cash flow and what financial outcome you are trying to achieve. Elder has been practicing BR law since 1976 and is well known to the local Bench and Bar. In fact, when complex litigation ensues out of Bankruptcy, many local lawyers refer those matters to Elder, both for debtors and creditors.
In a Chapter 7 when the case is filed the servers at BR Court issues you a case number upon filing. Elder will give you a case number and a copy of the petition when the case is filed. Typically the creditors will be notified of the filing by BR Court within a few days of filing. However, once you have the case number, if a creditor contacts you and you give them the case number, they know that all activity on the matter is stayed (called the automatic stay). If you give the creditor the case number and they continue collection activity they can be held in contempt of Court by the BR Judge. You must obtain credit counseling before filing (Elder will show you how) and pay the agreed upon fee in full prior to filing. In a typical BR case there will be one hearing with a judge not present. This is called a Section 341 hearing or meeting of creditors. The Court appoints a Trustee to marshal your non-exempt assets and distribute them to your creditors. Due to the generous nature of the Federal Exemption Laws most cases are no asset cases and the one hearing is all you will have to go to. To obtain a discharge (which is a Federal Court Order absolving you of your debts), you must take a financial management course before you obtain the discharge.
Elder has a sliding fee scale depending on the complexity of the se. Elder will discount to the disabled, senior citizens, and member of the armed forces, 25% from his normal fee. The fee will be decided upon at the first interview. An experienced BR lawyer will immediately recognize a problem Chapter 7. Certain debts are not discharged in a Chapter 7 for public policy reasons for example: child support and alimony, some fraud matters and student loans among others. Elder will usually know if there is an issue. These are called non dischargeability cases and must ve filed in most cases by the creditor within a time period set by the Court. If Elder sees a issue like this he will typically contract for an hourly rate to defend these.
As said above, many local lawyers refer non dischargeability cases to him to litigate as he has done many over the years and is well known to the Bench and Bar.
The second kind of Bankruptcy is a Chapter 13. The decision to file a Chapter 13 is predicated on many things. Usually it is because the debtor either has too much assets, which they don’t want to lose or make too much money and are statutorily required to file a Chapter 13. One of the most prevalent reasons to file a Chapter 13 is to stop a foreclosure. If your house is a foreclosure and you can present to the Court and Chapter 13 Trustee a plan to pay back your arrearage while maintaining your current mortgage payment and being sure your taxes are paid and the house is insured you can “cure” the arrearage and save your home. YOU MUST FILE YOUR CHAPTER 13 BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER OF CIRCUIT COURT DROPS THE HAMMER AT THE AUCTION AT THE COURTHOUSE DOOR. YOU LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO CUREAT THAT POINT.
Don’t delay. If you are in a foreclosure call IMMEDIATELY for a free consultation, Elder may be able to save your home. In a Chapter 13, you will make a monthly payment to the Court. Elder’s fee will be set by the Court and paid by the Chapter 13 Trustee monthly.