The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process starts with the initial call to our office. We can either set at appointment at our office or do an initial phone review. Sometimes we are able to meet you at a location closer to your residence or work. At the initial review, Contra Costa County bankruptcy specialist David Arietta will go over your situation and recommend the best options. If a Chapter 7 is the best course of action, then instructions will be provided for your next steps. A questionnaire needs to be filled out and a list of documents needed is provided. Documents required include last six months paystubs, recent bank statements, recent tax returns, and recent statements for each credit card, medical bill, or other types of consumer debts. A draft of the documents required for the bankruptcy filing is prepared and sent to the client for review. Client then meets with David Arietta to go over the documents ensure everything is accurate and complete. After a final review, the documents are signed and the bankruptcy case is ready to be filed. This process can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the situation and the needs of the client. All attorney’s fees and filing fees must be paid in full before the Chapter 7 can be filed. The more prepared a client is coming into the process the faster the case can be filed.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is started with the filing of a set documents which include the petition, schedules and statement of financial affairs. The bankruptcy process is a relatively quick process. While a Chapter 13 repayment plan can last 3-5 years, Chapter 7 debtors generally get a discharge in about three to four months from the date of filing. Debtors want that “fresh start” so they can start rebuilding their credit and get on with their lives. After the case is filed, a meeting of creditors is set about 30-40 days out. Once the meeting of creditors is held, a discharge is entered approximately 60 days thereafter. After the discharge is entered, the case is closed. Note that there is a Chapter 7 trustee involved in the process who is given sufficient time to review and administer the case. There could be non-exempt assets to sell or there could be recovery claims against creditors. The case could remain open for an extended period of time in some situations even though the debtor receives his or her discharge and moves on with their life.

For more questions about bankruptcy 7, visit our FAQ page.