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What to Expect When You File for Bankruptcy


Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, there are two bankruptcy options for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both the local rules of each bankruptcy court and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure dictate the process under which individual bankruptcy petitions are filed. Whether you are filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there are some basic steps you will need to go through.

Meeting with an Attorney

One of the first decisions you will need to make is what Chapter you should file under. While a Chapter 7 allows you to discharge (forgive) your bad debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy establishes a repayment plan through which you slowly re-pay your obligations over time. Your income, types of debt, and assets will all determine what Chapter is best for you and what Chapter you are eligible for. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.

Undergoing Credit Counseling

When you file your bankruptcy, you will need to undergo special courses with an agency approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. The first course (a pre-bankruptcy CREDIT COUNSELING course) must be taken before you file bankruptcy. Your case is subject to immediate dismissal if you fail to file a certificate that certifies completion of the class before your bankruptcy filing. A second course (a FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT course) is required after you file bankruptcy. If you do not take this second course, the Bankruptcy Court won’t give you a bankruptcy discharge.

Filing the Necessary Documents

When you file bankruptcy, you will need to prepare and file complicated forms and schedules that provide the Court detailed information regarding your monthly budget, financial history, current assets, and debts.

In addition, when you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will need to present a detailed repayment plan that addresses how your different creditors will be paid. Even though there is no official federal form for this plan, many of the various bankruptcy courts have a specific version they always require. Your lawyer will know what forms are required and how to prepare them.

To speak with an experienced Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney, contact Sapinski Law Office S.C. at (877) 939-1739. For a meeting in the Appleton area, call (920) 358-0333. There are a variety of ways to relieve debt obligations, and we provide counseling on both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. We can help end harassing phone calls from creditors, wage garnishments, the threat of car repossession and home foreclosure.

Want to learn more? Visit our Bankruptcy FAQ page.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.