Schifanelli Law, LLP

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Annapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys

Anatomy of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

Contact Schifanelli Law, LLP at 410-263-0028 for an initial consultation with a Lawyer in Annapolis.
2450 Riva Road, Suite 201, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
Serving the Maryland and Washington D.C. Communities.

Our Annapolis Bankruptcy Lawyers Have been helping residents of anne Arundel county file bankruptcy relief for over ten years.  we know the bankruptcy laws, including those that govern Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions filed by Maryland residents with oppressive debt. below is how a simple chapter 7 case proceeds.    

Initial Consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Annapolis at Schifanelli Law, LLP

When you make an appointment to consult with us at Schifanelli Law, LLP. you will meet with one of our partner attorneys to discuss your financial situation and your options.  It is wise to bring with you recent billing statements from all of your creditors, as well as statements from utility companies, water and phone bills, and for other expenses that you pay monthly or quarterly.   Additionally, bring a copy of your tax filings for the past two tax years, and a recent personal credit report from at least one of the major credit reporting firms (from each of the three big ones is preferable).  After a short review we will be able to advise regarding which type of bankruptcy petition you should file.  Once we have all the necessary information, we will prepare the bankruptcy petition for electronic filing with the Federal Bankruptcy court in either Baltimore or Greenbelt. For Chapter 7 cases in Maryland the case will usually proceed as follows:  


Pre-Petition Credit Counseling

While we work on your petition, you will need to sign up and complete a pre-petition credit counseling course for bankruptcy.   See 11 U.S.C. § 109 (h)(1) (section 109 (h)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code (title 11, U.S. Code).  This amounts to a thirty minute or so telephone counseling session with an authorized provider. This needs to be done within 180 days of filing the petition or your petition will likely be dismissed without any discharge. 


Chapter 7 Filing

When you have completed the counseling session, the provider will email us a certification statement that we will include with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  Once filed, the Bankruptcy Court in Maryland will appoint an interim Trustee to handle the matter. Additionally, the court will set a date for the Meeting of Creditors. We will then complete the filing requirements by forwarding directly to the Trustee your tax returns and other required documents.


Meeting of Creditors

For bankruptcy cases in Maryland, the meetings are typically held in either Baltimore or Greenbelt. You will need to appear with some form of identification, usually your driver's license and your social security card.   At the Meeting of Creditors, you will appear with your counsel in front of the interim Trustee.  He or she will review your filing schedules and other documents. Your counsel will do most of the communicating with the Trustee unless there are some questions or concerns, for example regarding money that you may receive in the near future from current court cases, a will from which you may inherit, etc.  If all is otherwise in order, the Trustee will make his findings.  Although it is called a Meeting of Creditors, most often creditors do not appear at the meeting. Usually it's simply not worth their time and money to challenge a case that is sure to result in discharge of their unsecured credit or loans.


Post-Meeting Activities

If you didn't do it after the petition was filed, then now is the time to complete the second part of the counseling requirement. That is, the post-petition Financial Management Course.  This takes about two hours and is internet based, but it must be completed before a date certain (as ordered by the Bankruptcy Court) and before the court will issue the order of discharge.       


Order of Discharge

When all requirements have been met, and any creditors wishing to object or contest the petition have been given a proper period of time to do so, the court will issue an order discharging you of all your debts and obligations that were identified in the Chapter 7 petition. You will no longer owe money on identified loans, credit card accounts, etc. unless you reaffirmed them during the proceedings (see reaffirmation). 


This is how a straight chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Maryland usually proceeds. However, more complicated scenarios do arise, including appearances or motions filed and answered in front of a federal judge. So, Prior to filing for bankruptcy, it's best to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Annapolis for advice based on experience and knowledge of the law.

        

​Integrity, Dedication & Competence