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The Basics of Filing Personal Bankruptcy

Filing for Bankruptcy can be a complicated and confusing time for any individual. Life can get hectic, stress levels can increase, and questions can arise. At Foster Law Offices, LLC, we strive to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible. Regardless of what a clients’ circumstances are, we are here to answer any questions you may have and clarify the process, keeping our clients’ informed from the initial consultation to receipt of the discharge papers. If you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy, here are some common “need-to-knows” before you file for bankruptcy.

There are Two Primary Bankruptcy Options for Personal Bankruptcy

When individuals file for bankruptcy, they usually fall into one of two categories: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7, a client’s property is liquidated and the earnings are divided and paid to any creditors involved in the case. In a Chapter 13, the client is set up on a payment plan that requires them to pay back their creditors over time.
Oftentimes, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case lasts a few months (normally around 3-6 months). In contrast, a Chapter 13 case normally lasts longer than a Chapter 7 (normally a few years). Many factors can go into determining which category each particular client may be placed in, but after scheduling a free initial consultation with one of our expert attorneys, most clients have a good understanding of their circumstances and which particular process would suit them best.

There are Two Courses that Every Debtor Must Complete

Whether a client is in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, there are two courses that must be completed for a discharge to be received. Each course is incredibly important for the debtor in not only completing your bankruptcy, but also in providing crucial information. It is imperative that most courses be completed at the specified time.
The first course every debtor must take is a Credit Counseling Course. This course is taken at the beginning of a debtor’s bankruptcy. It provides financial management information as well as strategies to use in avoiding bankruptcy.

The second course, completed at the end of a debtor’s bankruptcy, is called the Debtor’s Education Course. This course is designed to teach the debtor about how to make smart financial choices in order to avoid filing for bankruptcy in the future. This course must be completed for the debtor to receive a discharge from their bankruptcy.
Due to the significant importance of completing each course, Foster Law Offices, LLC ensures that every client knows how to take each course and when to take them. Our clients receive plenty of notice from our office about each course, whether by mail, phone, or email. We strive to assist all of our clients in completing the courses to receive their discharge at the end of the case.

Getting a Discharge is the Goal

A discharge (elimination of debt) is the desired result in any bankruptcy case. The discharge releases the debtor from responsibility of certain types of debts. It frees the debtor from any legal obligation to pay any of the discharged debts in the case.
Obtaining a discharge at the end of your bankruptcy is the final and most important step in obtaining true debt relief. In order for the discharge to occur, all instructions from your attorney must be followed and completed in a timely fashion. Once you receive a discharge, you are officially released from the specified debts and now legally have the fresh start you were seeking.

Communication and Complete Honesty is Important to the Process

One of the key concepts in making the bankruptcy process go as smoothly as possible is being completely honest and revealing all important information to the assigned attorney. Our employees at Foster Law Offices work incredibly hard to ensure that our clients’ Bankruptcy cases go as smoothly as possible, but without the correct and proper knowledge, our staff may have issues in providing the proper assistance. Therefore, our clients must be ready and able to communicate often and provide us with complete and honest information.
Effective communication is essential. Often times were are like detectives, trying to piece together your unique financial situation to provide the Court with an accurate picture of your financial situation including debt, income, employment and assets. Our clients must be able to provide our office with all property information, debts, creditors, and other various pieces of information for the process to be as efficient as possible. It is also noted that lying about any information in an active Bankruptcy is a serious federal crime. It’s important to provide thorough information related to your case in a timely manner.

There are many important factors involved in every bankruptcy case. It’s important to know what Chapter your case falls under, what courses you are required to complete, what your aiming to achieve from the process, and what is required of you to reach your goal. Foster Law Offices has an expert team ready to assist you in the journey to a fresh start. If you feel you’re ready to take the first step in becoming debt free, contact our office today at 814-724-1165 or visit us online at to schedule a free consultation.