Bankruptcy Guide | Colorado Bankruptcy | 5280Law

Bankruptcy Guide

Step 1 - Contact us to set up a consultation
Use our contact form or dial the digits: either way, the first step is to reach out. We are happy to arrange a time to discuss your issue in depth, either over the phone or in person.
Step 2 - Figure out your best course of action.
During our consultation, we can provide information but you are the person who decides what the best course of action is for you. For the purposes of this bankruptcy guide, let's assume that you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you're ready to get it done. At our consultation, we will ask you to start gathering your information and fees together.
Step 3 - Gather your information.
At our consultation, if you decide to go forward, we'll give you a list of the items you'll need to put together. These items vary depending on your individual circumstances, but generally include your tax returns for this year and last year, proof of your income for the past six months, law suits you've been involved in, et cetera. We also require that you fill in an electronic questionnaire and have some tips and tricks for gathering debt info if you don't already have all of your bills together. Once you've submitted your information, we have a signed contract for representation in place, and a retainer fee, we will prepare your case. Gathering your information is no small task. We promise this is by far the hardest part of the entire process. Once we have your information, the rest should be a piece of cake from your perspective.
Step 4 - We prepare your case and meet with you to review your documents.
We will review everything you submit to our office and carefully review each and every case for accuracy. To be extra sure, we will sit down together with you and review the documents before they are filed with the bankruptcy court. We go over each and every detail with a fine-toothed comb to make sure we have it right. We can always make changes at this stage, so don't hesitate to use this time to ask questions or bring up issues or information you may have forgotten about previously. This meeting is usually our final one before we go to court, and so the balance of attorney fees and the court filing fees are due at this meeting. We do not accept personal checks unless they have time to clear before filing, so cash or money order is usually best.
Step 5 - We file your bankruptcy petition with the court, email you about your hearing.
Once we've determined that we've got an accurate bankruptcy petition, we're good to go with filing your case. As soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed, the “automatic stay” (protection from your creditors) takes effect, meaning that you can no longer have your wages or bank account garnished, foreclosure proceedings are stopped, and all collection efforts and calls to you from creditors and collections companies must stop. If you have a garnishment, we usually fax or email a notice to your workplace or bank to stop the garnishment in its tracks. When filing your case, a bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to act as a referee in your case. What this means is that if you have any property which is not protected by the exemption laws (we advise you of this before we file your case), the trustee will see that it gets liquidated appropriately and the proceeds handed out to creditors impartially. Typically, all of your property will be protected by the exemption laws. Protection of property is one reason why it's extremely important that you let us know about all of your property, not just what you feel like telling us about. We have an exhaustive questionnaire which should jog your memory in case you forget about something, and we deal with this when you're in Step 3. Once your case is filed and your bankruptcy trustee is assigned, we let you know when the hearing is scheduled and where you need to be. This will vary from 30-45 days after your petition is filed and the meeting location will be in the venue closest to your county of residence: Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, or Grand Junction.
Step 6 - We attend your hearing a/k/a Meeting of Creditors together.
The trustee has a rules by which he or she is required to operate. One of those rules is that he or she must ask you certain questions about your property, income, and debts. The questions are the same for every debtor depending on which questions are applicable. We promise that you will know all of the answers to all of the questions - after all, this is information you already provided and know backwards and forwards. Prior to your hearing, we will collect a couple of additional documents from you and prepare information for the bankruptcy trustee. When the hearing date arrives, we will meet you 10 minutes prior to your scheduled docket. You should have with you your social security card and drivers' license. We will make sure everything else is prepared for your hearing. In a typical scenario, we will sit in the hearing room watching others be called before us. Many people find it helpful to view a few hearings before yours to get a feel for what you'll be asked. Sometimes the trustees run behind, so please bring something to entertain yourself. Mostly the hearings last no more than 5 or 10 minutes apiece. Despite these hearings being called Meetings of Creditors, it's very rare that any creditors actually show up. We attribute creditor attendance at these meetings to the "X" Factor - Ex Spouses, Ex Business Partners, or anyone with an ax to grind. After the Meeting of Creditors: If you haven't done so already before the hearing, you need to complete a post-filing credit counseling course within 45 days of your meeting of creditors. The post-filing credit counseling class is very similar to the pre-filing credit counseling class in that the class is usually online and affordable. A post-filing class should take about 2 hours and costs as little as ten dollars. We have a few recommendations that we'll share with you regarding cheap and easy ways to complete this. We need to get a copy of the certificate of completion of this course and file it with the court so you can get your discharge. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in closure of your case without discharge.
Step 7 - Final Discharge.
Congratulations! About 60 to 90 days after your hearing, your discharge of debts should enter into the court's system. This means that you are no longer legally responsible for the debts that have been discharged! If your bankruptcy trustee liquidates any non-exempt assets (eg. firearms, tax refunds, cash) the funds would be disbursed among creditors according to the rules laid down by the Bankruptcy Code. At this point, you get your fresh start! You can move on with your life debt-free!