Filing Bankruptcy

An Overview of Filing Bankruptcy

Alabama Attorneys filing bankruptcy petitions in Houstan, Dale, Geneva, Barbour, Pike, and surrounding cities

In order to begin the bankruptcy process and obtain relief from creditors, the first step is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  Your attorney will need at a minimum, the past six (6) months of your paystubs (or a copy of your Social Security income statement if receiving Social Security), a copy of your most recently filed tax return, a copy of your driver license and Social Security card and copies of your debts (this can be a stack of the bills you are receiving and/or a copy of your credit report – use as others do not always give accurate information.

Once you’ve met with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and provided the required documents (listed above) he or she will work with you to receive a credit counseling certificate through an approved agency.  After this, you will sign the bankruptcy paperwork and your attorney will file it with the Court.  At the moment of the filing, the bankruptcy estate is created and the automatic stay on collection actions takes effect. After the filing, the “bankruptcy estate” is created, comprised of all legal or equitable property interests of the debtor. Also, the automatic stay prevents the IRS, the credit card companies, the banks, or any other creditors from attempting to collect any further debt from the debtor. The debtor may not transfer property that has been made part of the estate – thus, it is important the debtor take advantages of any applicable exceptions or exemptions to the bankruptcy estate. Additionally, certain pre-filing transfers of property, as well as the granting of security interests or liens, may be invalidated or delayed.

There are three different bankruptcy courts in Alabama; the Northern District, with locations in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Decatur; the Middle District, with locations in Dothan, Opelika, and Montgomery; and the Southern District, with locations in Mobile and Selma. The court websites contain information on court rules, locations, and filing procedures.

Bankruptcy is largely an administrative process, and the debtor will not often go to the courtroom and see the bankruptcy judge. The one time a debtor will have to attend a hearing in a federal courthouse is for the “341 meeting” with the bankruptcy court trustee, which is held about 40 days after filing a bankruptcy petition. Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, a trustee is appointed, but for different purposes.  A Chapter 7 trustee conducts the hearing and acts on behalf of unsecured creditors, by ensuring that the bankruptcy estate includes all debtor property that cannot be exempted or excepted.  A Chapter 13 trustee also conducts the hearing and serves and the referee of sorts between debtors and creditors, and they are also the one to whom you make your payments.

If you are an individual or a business that is considering filing for bankruptcy, you need an expert bankruptcy lawyer you can trust. Let the Dothan Bankruptcy Attorneys at Boles Holmes White answer all your Bankruptcy filing questions and guide you through the process.  Give us a call today at 334-366-6086, or email us for a consultation.


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