Consumer Bankruptcy Process in Delaware – Chapter 7 & 13

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 filing is the most common form of bankruptcy. It involves the appointment of a trustee who collects the non-exempt property of the debtor (if any), sells it and distributes the proceeds to the creditors. There usually are no assets to distribute.

In Delaware you can keep up to $25,000 in assets, and up to $125,000 of equity in your home. For information on exempt property, visit the Exempt Property Page. This form of bankruptcy works well for unsecured debt like credit cards and medical bills. Some debts are non-dischargeable for example, (alimony, child support and most taxes, etc.).

Chapter 7 Basics:

– From filing case to completion takes approximately 3 months.

– As soon as we file you are protected from creditors (stops creditor phone calls, wage attachments etc.).

– You will receive debt relief with no repayment plan.

– In most cases you keep all of your assets (house, car, personal property).

– 99% of individuals who file are issued a discharge.

– Most people hire an attorney due to the complexity of the law.

Chapter 7 Timeline:

1. Free consultation and we decide that Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is best for you.

2. You retain me as your lawyer.

3. I run a credit report and go over everything that I need to file and prepare all necessary paperwork for your individual circumstances.

4. You take the Mandatory Credit Counseling Course (about 30 minutes online or by telephone). Costs for this course range from approximately $15 to $60.

5. We have a final review and make any changes necessary before you sign documents and get a case number. You now have the umbrella of bankruptcy protection in place and are legally protected from harassment by creditors.

6. The court sets a date for the 341 Meeting where we present paperwork to the trustee. Relax, this is much easier than most people think and takes less than 10 minutes on average. This meeting is held in the Federal J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 King Street, 2nd Floor Suite 2112, Wilmington, DE 19801. There is no Judge as it is not held in a courtroom.

7. You are usually issued a discharge in 60 days from the date of your 341 meeting.

8. You must complete an “FMC” – Financial Management Course within 45 days of the 341 meeting.

9. The court checks that all documents are true and the Judge signs the discharge approximately 60 days after the 341 meeting.

10. Congratulations! Your debts are legally discharged. It rarely happens, but if any creditors contact you after your discharge, contact me immediately. I handle this problem for free for my clients.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 allows you to repay your creditors based on what you can afford. Your creditors must accept the repayment plan according to the terms set forth by the bankruptcy court. You are protected from creditors under the umbrella of bankruptcy during the 3 to 5 year affordable payment plan designed to eliminate your debts. Chapter 13 is much more complex than Chapter 7 and it is best to know all of your options to get the best result. This is not the same as a debt consolidation loan and offers genuine debt relief with proper counsel.

Chapter 13 Basics:

– From filing case to completion takes approximately 3 to 5 years.

– As soon as we file you are protected from creditors (stops creditor phone calls, etc.).

– You will receive debt relief with an affordable payment plan based on your current income that can greatly reduce your debt.

– Stops wage attachments, home foreclosures, and vehicle repossessions.

– Most people hire an attorney due to the complexity of the law.

Chapter 13 Timeline:

1. Free consultation and we decide that Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is best for you.

2. You retain me as your lawyer.

3. I run a credit report and go over everything that I need to file and prepare all necessary paperwork for your individual circumstances.

4. You take the Mandatory Credit Counseling Course (about 30 minutes online or by telephone). Costs for this course range from approximately $15 to $60.

5. We have a final review and make any changes necessary to your Chapter 13 plan before you sign documents and get a case number. You now have the umbrella of bankruptcy protection in place and are legally protected from harassment by creditors.

6. The court sets a date for the 341 Meeting where the trustee asks you a few questions after reviewing your financial paperwork and Chapter 13 plan. Relax, this is much easier than most people think and takes less than 10 minutes on average. All of the heavy lifting is done before the 341 Meeting. This meeting is held in the Federal J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 King Street, 2nd Floor Suite 2112, Wilmington, DE 19801. There is no Judge as it is not held in a courtroom.

7. You make payments for 3 to 5 years under the protection of the bankruptcy laws until your debts are eliminated. Some debts may be eliminated before you begin the affordable payment plan.

8. You must complete an “FMC” – Financial Management Course anytime before your payments are finished but it is best to get the course over with within a reasonable amount of time so you don’t forget to do so.

9. Congratulations! You have reduced your debts greatly and should be in much better shape after completing your Chapter 13 plan. It rarely happens, but if any creditors contact you after filing, contact me immediately. I handle this problem for free for my clients.