The good news is that the bankruptcy will stop the creditors as soon as the petition is filed. We always tell our clients that the time which will be necessary to get them filed is very dependent on how quickly the clients can get us the information that we need to prepare the bankruptcy petition. Prior to filing, the debtor must also take a mandatory 30-minute credit counseling session, which can be done by telephone or on-line. The petition is the first step in any bankruptcy case.
Typically upon being retained, it usually takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to gather the financial information and documents, prepare the petition and have it signed for filing. In emergent situations the process can be expedited.
We file the petition on Case Management Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) which is the Bankruptcy Courts electronic filing system. Once we submit the petition via CM/ECF the protections of the bankruptcy stay go into effect, making it illegal for any creditor to contact the debtor.
About one month after filing, there will be a brief meeting in the Bankruptcy Court called the meeting of creditors otherwise known as a 341A meeting. This is when the trustee will ask the debtor questions.
With most of our Ocean County bankruptcy clients, attending the meeting of creditors is the last time the debtor will have to appear in front in the Trustee. Furthermore, the only requirement left in the bankruptcy process for the debtor will be the completion of a second, thirty-minute Financial Management Course, which is also done over the phone or done online.
The trustee will in some cases requires more information and request some additional documents to review, such as bank statements, tax returns or deeds.
After the Meeting of Creditors comes to a close, the creditors have 60 days from the date of the meeting of creditors to file objections to discharge. This happens rarely and occurs in less than one percent of all cases filed. The 60 day limit is referred to as the "bar date" because creditors are barred from filing any objections after that time.
Once the bar date passes, and assuming the debtor has taken the second course, then the bankruptcy court will process the final paperwork and issue the order of discharge and close the case.
In most instances, this usually occurs about four to six months after the date the bankruptcy petition was filed. At that point, all dischargeable debt has been forever eliminated and the debtor is on his or her way to being debt free.
The New Jersey personal bankruptcy attorneys at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC can answer any questions you may have concerning bankruptcy. If you live in New Jersey, including Toms River, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Monmouth Junction call us for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.