The Bankruptcy Process
Step One – The Initial Consultation
The bankruptcy process begins with your free initial consultation. You will meet with Attorney Nella Mariani to discuss your financial situation. You will be asked a series of questions so she can evaluate your needs and determine your goals.
Attorney Mariani will then discuss your eligibility for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. By combining her extensive bankruptcy knowledge and an understanding of your goals, she will recommend which bankruptcy is best for you. She firmly believes that bankruptcy should make your life easier and will recommend alternative options if she feels bankruptcy is not right for you.
Information to bring to your initial consultation:
- 2-6 months of pay advices
- Most recent copies of bills
- Court documents regarding judgment, foreclosure, Sheriff’s sale, etc.
- Most recent tax returns
Step Two – Gathering the information you will need to file your case
- 6 months of pay advices and/or other sources of income
- 3 years of federal tax returns for Chapter 7, or 4 years of federal tax returns for Chapter 13
- All bills including mortgage statements, car notes, student loans, and taxes
- List of all monthly expenses
- List of all creditors which includes current mailing address
- Court documents which includes judgment and foreclosure actions
- Credit Counseling Course Certificate*
A credit counseling course must be taken prior to filing your bankruptcy case. Attorney Mariani will provide you with the information you need to take the course. The course can be taken over the phone or online and most agencies provide evening and weekend hours to accommodate your schedule.
Step Three – Filing Your Bankruptcy Case
Once you have completed your credit counseling course, you will meet with Attorney Mariani. She will review your bankruptcy documents with you and your case will be filed with the bankruptcy court. One of the many benefits of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay. The automatic stay occurs upon the filing of your case. The automatic stay immediately stops creditors from any form of debt collection efforts including: repossessions, foreclosure, sheriff’s sale, lawsuits, garnishments, utility shut-off, license suspension, and most of all annoying and harassing phone calls.
Step Four – Section 341 Meeting of Creditors
After the bankruptcy filing, a trustee will be appointed to your case and you will be assigned a date for your 341 Meeting of Creditors. You are required to attend this meeting which is also known as your trustee meeting. You must bring your social security card and driver’s license or state ID. At your meeting, you will meet with Attorney Mariani and your appointed bankruptcy trustee. The trustee will ask you a series of questions regarding your bankruptcy documents. This informal meeting generally lasts 10-15 minutes.
Step Five – Financial Management Course
In addition to your credit counseling course, you must take a financial management course. This course should be taken shortly after your case is filed. The financial management course is required for you to receive your bankruptcy discharge. Many agencies offer phone and online courses. In addition, Chapter 13 clients may take the free course offered by their trustee.
Step Six – Discharge of Debt
Your discharge order is the court-issued document which relieves you of your legal obligation to pay your debt. Chapter 7 clients should receive their discharge papers approximately 6 months from the date of filing. Chapter 13 clients will receive their discharge papers after successful completion of their Chapter 13 plan. Please keep in mind that not all debt is dischargeable. Examples of non-dischargeable debt include child support obligations, student loans, most taxes, and other debts owed to the government.
Step Seven – Life after Bankruptcy
For steps towards a positive financial future, please refer to Life after Bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Experience That Works for YOU
Attorney Nella E. Mariani has more than a decade of experience in bankruptcy, debt relief, and bankruptcy litigation. Her practice focuses exclusively in bankruptcy and debt relief matters. She works closely with each client and provides them with a high degree of knowledge, professionalism, and sensitivity.
If you need to speak to an experienced Illinois bankruptcy attorney, contact the Law Offices of Nella E. Mariani, P.C. to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION
Committed to making a positive difference in your financial future