When money is tight and bills are piling up, you may feel like you have no way out. Know that bankruptcy laws exist to protect you and your creditors. While it should be a last resort, filing for bankruptcy can give you the debt relief you need to get a fresh start.
The majority of bankruptcy cases are Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. In today’s blog post, we’ll be talking about filing bankruptcy in Maine, specifically filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Continue reading to learn more and if you’d like to schedule a free consultation with one of our Bangor-based bankruptcy attorneys, contact McCue Law Office today.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to wipe out your debts and get a fresh start. Essentially, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets are collected and sold. While this sounds scary, there are some assets that are exempt, and these can include equity in your home, life insurance, family support income, tools of your trade, personal property, and wages earned after filing bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy lawyers are more than happy to talk with you about your situation and the difference between exempt and non-exempt assets.
You may be able to keep certain secure debts by reaffirming your debts. For example, if you decide that you want to keep your car, you will need to reaffirm the debt, which means you cannot bankrupt that debt for eight years. You will still owe that debt and must continue to pay it off as you agreed to before bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Steps
While we outline the general steps to filing for bankruptcy here, bankruptcy laws are complicated and it’s important to get help from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. It’s difficult to go through bankruptcy on your own, and our bankruptcy attorneys can help you understand your options and complete the steps in this process correctly and on time, making it much less likely that your case will be dismissed.
You will need to get credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy. There are several approved credit counselors in Maine and we can help point you in the right direction. We’ll advise you on which agency to use and answer any questions you may have.
Required Court Forms
There are several court forms that you must read and complete in order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maine. Here are a few:
- Form B-201 – Notice to individual consumer debtor
- Form B-1 – Voluntary petition
- Form B-7 – Statement of financial affairs
- B-6 forms – Three forms detailing your basic financial information
- Form B-8 – Statement of social security numbers
- Form B-22A – Statement of current monthly income and means test calculation
- Creditor Matrix Information
It’s important to fill out and file these forms correctly and within 180 days of completing your credit counseling. A bankruptcy lawyer from McCue Law Office can help you complete the forms and ensure that you have everything you need.
File Required Forms
After you complete the court forms, it’s time to file them. Be sure to make copies of the forms for your own files. Along with the court forms, you’ll also need a certificate that you completed credit counseling and any plan that you may have made during that counseling to repay your debt.
File the required forms with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy court. If you do not have all of the required information, your case may be dismissed. This is another reason that having a bankruptcy lawyer on your side can help you file successfully for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Send Tax Return and Wage Information to the Trustee
After your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the clerk will assign a trustee to your case. A bankruptcy trustee reviews your financial documents and recommends whether the courts should continue with your bankruptcy case or dismiss it. You must send the trustee a copy of your most recent federal tax return and evidence of all payments from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing.
Meeting of Creditors
The trustee assigned to your case will hold a meeting with you and creditors to determine whether you have unprotected assets that can be liquidated to pay creditors.
Financial Management Course
You must also complete a financial management instructional course within 45 days after the meeting of creditors. Without completing this course and filing the course completion form, you cannot get a discharge of debt.
McCue Law Office Bankruptcy Attorneys
McCue Law Office in Bangor is committed to helping our Maine clients through every step in the bankruptcy process in order to help you find relief from overwhelming debt. If you need a fresh start, contact one of our bankruptcy attorneys today. We have more than 35 years of experience serving clients in the state of Maine. Along with bankruptcy, our law firm also specializes in personal injury, social security disability, workers’ compensation, and real estate. Contact us today for a free consultation.