90 Washington St.

Long Branch NJ 07740

Chapter 7

How Chapter 7 Works

Initial Consultation

Chapter 7 begins with an initial consultation with me in my office.   When you call my office, we will gather some initial information and schedule a consultation. When we meet, I will go over your financial situation, the Chapter 7 process and answer your questions. There is no a charge for your initial in-office consultation with me.

Preparing And Filing The Petition

My office works with you to gather the information needed to prepare your bankruptcy petition for filing with the Court. We will go over bankruptcy worksheets and documents to be submitted to the Trustee.

When we receive all of the required information, we prepare the petition.   We work with you to make sure we have complete, up to date information. Help is available from my staff or me every step of the way. When the petition is finalized, it is filed with the Bankruptcy Court and the Court notifies your creditors that you have filed.

The moment the petition is filed with the Court, an Automatic Stay goes into effect. This means that all civil lawsuits and all collection efforts, even active lawsuits and judgments, are automatically stopped.   If a garnishment is in effect it will be halted.

Meeting With The Chapter 7 Trustee

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Trustee is appointed to administer your case. The Court schedules a meeting between you and the Trustee approximately 30 days after filing. Your meeting with the Trustee is not a Court hearing. No judge will be present. An attorney from my office will be with you at the meeting. Meetings with the Trustee usually take less than five minutes.

At the meeting, the Trustee will ask you a number of questions about the contents of your petition. We will give you a list of you with the kinds of questions the Trustees usually ask. The Chapter 7 Trustee’s job is to make sure your bankruptcy petition is accurate and complete and to make sure your property is within the limits you are allowed to keep.

The Bankruptcy Code includes a set of exemptions, which allow you to keep a great deal of property and still get out of your debt. Exemptions include some equity in your home, your household possessions and even some cash. My office will go over your petition to make sure that your possessions are exempt.

Discharge And Closing Your Case

 Approximately two months after you meet with the Chapter 7 Trustee, you should receive your discharge. A discharge means that you no longer owe your debts. There are some debts that you cannot discharge in a Chapter 7, including most student loans, some taxes, child support and alimony.   I will go over your debts with you to see if any of your debts may be nondischargeable. Otherwise your debts will be discharged. You will no longer be legally responsible to pay them.

Most Chapter 7 cases are closed shortly after you receive your discharge. The Court enters a final decree and closes your case.