January 5, 2021

For many people in debt, it can feel like they have nowhere left to turn. After amounting various debts, like late mortgage payments or mounting credit card debt, it can seem impossible to get out of that hole.

One option is to declare bankruptcy. Despite many people filing for bankruptcy, the term and process still has a scary connotation behind it.

Bankruptcy is designed to give debtors a second chance to rebuild their finances with as little stress as possible.

Still, the process of declaring bankruptcy still has some secrecy behind it, and is not without consequences.

In this post, we’ll look at exactly what happens and what you need for when you declare bankruptcy.

Understanding Bankruptcy in Virginia

Before you file for bankruptcy in Virginia, it’s important to understand exactly what it is and how it affects you.

Bankruptcy is a legal process that works to help you pay off your debts. This can be through reduced monthly payments, restructuring your finances or, in rare cases, eliminating your debt.

You can either file on your own, or hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you navigate through the proceedings. With an attorney on your side, they can help you determine what type of bankruptcy you should file under.

Going Through the Filing Process

Before you can officially declare bankruptcy, there are a few steps you need to take. The first one is prior to contacting a lawyer, the others are with the assistance of a lawyer.

1.   Gather Your Complete Financial Records

Before working with anyone, it’s important to have a full understanding of your financial situation. You have to compile your total debts, assets, expenses and income.

You’ll not only have a grasp on your own finances, but this will help your advisors and the court to understand your situation.

2.   Meet with a Bankruptcy Counselor

In the U.S, anyone filing for bankruptcy is required to attend bankruptcy counseling at least 180 days before filing. At Cravens & Noll, after you meet with our bankruptcy attorney, we will refer you to the credit counseling company that you can complete the court required course.

This shows that you have done everything to try and avoid bankruptcy. The counselor must be approved by the U.S. Courts, and these classes can usually be done online or over the phone.

Once you’ve received your certification,  We will obtain the certificate to file along with your other bankruptcy paperwork.

3.   File Your Bankruptcy Petition

It’s time to actually file for bankruptcy. At this point, it’s highly recommended that you hire an attorney.

While not required, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help your case by explaining various laws, the judicial process and legal representation in the court. We work along side our clients to ensure every step of the process is handled professionally and correctly.

4.   Meeting of Creditors / Trustee Hearing

Once your bankruptcy petition is accepted by the court, you’ll be assigned a court trustee. The trustee then sets up a meeting between yourself, your bankruptcy lawyer and the creditors.

It is rare that creditors show up at this meeting, rather it is primarily for the trustee to ask you questions and have you swear under oath that all of the information in your bankruptcy paperwork is correct and true.

It’s important that when you do decide to file, you follow the proper steps. If you fail to do so, it could affect the outcome of your case.

Meet With Our Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys

Now that you understand how to file for bankruptcy, it’s time to get your affairs in order. Before starting this process, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. With a lawyer in your corner, they’ll be able to answer any of your questions, help you get on the right track and represent you in court. The bankruptcy attorneys at Cravens & Noll have years of experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.

Contact us today to set up an initial meeting, and begin your journey towards freedom from debt.

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