For over 20 years Patricia Mayer has been practicing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia. She personally handles cases so she can offer consumer debtors the highest quality legal services and the personal guidance necessary to make the process smooth.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
Prior to the Filing
After meeting with you and gathering information regarding monthly income, expenses, assets and debts, Patricia will order, where necessary, lien searches on all real estate owned, obtain credit reports and draft a Chapter 7 Petition and Schedules—the legal papers used to file a bankruptcy case. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, clients must also complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and obtain a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling certificate.
Filing the Chapter 7 Case
All Bucks County and Philadelphia bankruptcy cases are filed electronically, so clients immediately obtain bankruptcy court protection the minute the case is filed. The clients will then be required to complete a mandatory Debtor Education Course with a certified credit counseling firm. After the case is filed, Patricia may file special motions to avoid judgment liens on bank accounts or real estate, if necessary.
Meeting of Creditors
Approximately one month after the case is filed, the debtor is required to attend a Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors is conducted by a court appointed Chapter 7 trustee. Patricia is familiar with all of the Trustees and personally prepares all her clients prior to the meeting. The trustee’s questions are not complicated, and, as long as the debtor answers truthfully, the process will go smoothly and usually only lasts 10-15 minutes.
Discharge of Debts
Approximately two and a half months after the Meeting of Creditors, the debtor will receive a bankruptcy discharge. This prohibits creditors from later attempting to collect any discharged debt. Any creditor who violates this court order may be held in contempt of court and may be liable to the debtor in damages. If a creditor attempts to collect a discharged debt, the debtor should give the creditor a copy of the discharge order and inform them in writing that the debt has been discharged under Chapter 7. If the creditor persists, the debtor should contact the firm. Don’t ignore the matter, because even though a judgment entered against the debtor on a discharged debt can later be voided, avoiding the judgment may require the services of an attorney, which could be costly to the debtor. Debts that are discharged are not taxable for income tax purposes— another benefit of filing a bankruptcy.