Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

For clients in Milwaukee and Waukesha, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help to erase credit card debt, medical bills, judgments, garnishment, and protect personal property including your home and car, provided the values thereof do not exceed your allowed bankruptcy exemptions. You may think that new bankruptcy legislation prohibits the filing of a Chapter 7, but this is only one of the numerous bankruptcy myths. It is quite simply not true.

The Chapter 7 Filing Process

Step 1: Credit Counseling Course

Before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must participate in and complete an approved credit counseling course, which may take place via phone, internet, or in person. The fee associated with these counseling services run from $16-50, depending on the course you choose. All courses carry the same weight for filing, so you may use the cheapest if you so desire. We will help you find the best course for you.

Step 2: File

To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must first file a petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs with your bankruptcy court. The schedules must list all of your creditors, your property, and your monthly income and expenses. The court filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $335.

Filing a claim immediately creates an automatic stay. In other words, your creditors are no longer permitted to contact you, whether by phone, letter, or any other form of communication.

Step 3: Attend 341 Meeting

After filing and completing the counseling course, the next step is to attend a 341 Meeting with a trustee who will be appointed to you by the bankruptcy court. Attorney Burr will attend that meeting with you so you know what you can expect.

Step 4: Financial Management Course

The next step in the process is a court-approved financial management course. This will be administered in a similar manner to the credit counseling course with a fee ranging from $11-22.

Step 5: Discharge

After this, you will receive a discharge to wipe out your debts. Exceptions to the discharge include taxes you may owe to the IRS or state, student loans, alimony, maintenance or support payments, OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)-related debts, and fraud-related debts.

You may file for a Chapter 7 and receive a discharge only once per 8 years.

If, during the last 6 months, your income exceeds the median income for your family size, and you fail to pass the means test that is part of the bankruptcy schedules, you will need to file for a Chapter 13 reorganization instead. Please refer to our Chapter 13 services page to learn more about how a Chapter 13 works.

For help or to schedule a consultation, contact Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney Michael Burr. He will personally help you determine the best option for your unique situation.