Case Summary and Outline
1.0 All Cases
1.1 Consultation with Attorney
The first step in a bankruptcy filing with our office is a consultation with the attorney. During this consultation the attorney will review all of the information presented above and discuss the impact of the various types of bankruptcy on your situation.
1.2 Questionnaire Completion
At the end of the initial consultation the attorney will provide you with a questionnaire, a number of disclosure documents, a checklist, and other papers to complete. This questionnaire contains all of the information which is necessary to prepare the bankruptcy pleadings that must be filed in your case. Once you have completed the questionnaire to the best of your ability, made copies of all the documents that it references, and obtained the Credit Counseling Certification, you will make a second appointment to review the material with the attorney.
1.3 Document Review
At your second meeting with the attorney he will review the questionnaire and the documents you have gathered. If the documents are complete the attorney will retain them and collect the initial retainer. If they are incomplete, he will note in red the deficiencies and then return the documents to you. Once they have been completed they should then be returned to the attorney (or one of his staff members) with the initial retainer.
1.4 Pleading Preparation
Once the completed documents and the appropriate fees have been paid, one of the paralegal’s in the office will begin the preparation of your actual bankruptcy paperwork (Alie Chlarson for Chapter 7's and Laura Jones for Chapter 13's). Once the papers are completed, which usually takes four to five days (longer in a complex or business case), you will receive a phone call to return for a third appointment to review and sign the papers.
1.5 Pleading Review and Signature
During the third meeting with the attorney he will review the pleadings page by page with you. Once the documents have been reviewed they must be signed by both you and the attorney. You may not sign these pleadings for your spouse. They must sign their own original signatures to the pleadings and must sign them in front of the attorney.
1.6 Credit Counseling Certification
Under the new law you must have attended (in person, by phone, or online) a “briefing” from an “approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency” that outlines “the opportunities for available credit counseling” and performed “a budget analysis” within the 180 days prior to filing Upon completion you will receive a certificate and a copy of the budget. These documents must be provided to the attorney and are filed with the Court at the time of your bankruptcy filing.
Once the papers are signed, they are completed, and then filed with the court. Cases are usually filed at 1 pm on Saturdays. This is to reduce costs to our clients and optimize the scheduling of the attorneys time. If your case needs to be filed quickly to stop a foreclosure, judgement, garnishment, or any other action by a creditor, please note that information for the attorney in writing on your questionnaire.
1.8 Court Notice
The court processes your filing over a period of ten to fourteen days and mails a notice to each of the creditors, to you, and to the Attorney. This notice will indicate that you have filed bankruptcy and sets forth the date of your bankruptcy hearing, which is approximately thirty to forty-five days after your case is filed. You must attend the hearing. The attorney will be there with you.
1.9 Hearing Preparation
Shortly after you receive your notice from the court, you should also receive a notice from the attorney with some basic instructions and a request that you contact his office, so the attorney can meet with you and prepare you for your hearing. At this meeting he will explain how to get there, and explain exactly what will happen. Much of what goes on at your hearing depends upon the trustee appointed in your case.
2.0 Chapter 7
2.1 Financial Management Class
New Section 727(a)(11) requires debtors to attend “an instructional course concerning personal financial management” after the filing of their case. If a certification of completion of this course is not filed with the court you cannot receive a discharge. This course should be completed prior to the hearing.
2.2 The Hearing
Your Hearing will follow a standard format that will be explained in Chapter 10 of Booklet 2. The court schedules hearings in one hour blocks of time. You will be scheduled at the same time as 9 to 20 other individuals. Your hearing will be held in the Provo Library.
2.3 Interim Administration
Interim administration might be defined as what occurs between the first meeting of creditors and the obtaining of a discharge. This is usually the time when proofs of claims are filed by creditors, property may be abandoned or turned over to the trustee for liquidation, amendments made, petitions or adversary proceedings filed, and reaffirmations, redemptions, or surrenders completed. About two months will pass between your first meeting and the issuing of your discharge.
2.4 Certification Under 727(a)(12)
New section 727(a)(12) provides that 10 days before the discharge is issued a hearing must be held to determine that each debtor has not been convicted of (nor is there pending an action for) a securities law violation or intentional injury to an individual in the last 5 years.
In a Chapter 7, approximately three months after your hearing the court will issue you a discharge. This notice will come in the mail and in most cases means that your case has been completed.
3.0 Chapter 13
3.1 Financial Management Class
New Section 1328(g) requires debtors to attend “an instructional course concerning personal financial management” after the filing of their case. If a certification of completion of this course is not filed with the court you cannot receive a discharge. This course should be completed prior to the hearing.
3.2 The Hearing
Your Hearing will follow a standard format that will be explained in Chapter 10 of Booklet 2. The court schedules hearing on one hour blocks of time. You will be scheduled at the same time as 9 to 20 other individuals. Your hearing will be held in the Boston Building in Salt Lake.
Approximately 45 days after your First Meeting of Creditors, a second hearing will be held. At this hearing, the Judge will determine if you qualify for relief under Chapter 13 and if your plan meets all the legal requirements. If so, the Court will enter an Order called a Confirmation Order. After that you continue to make your regular monthly payments for the next three (3) to five (5) years. At the present time it appears that you must attend this hearing in Salt Lake. It is hoped that the court will quickly develop consent procedures (as existed under the old law) so debtors do not have to take time away from work to attend this hearing.
3.4 Claims Review
Under the new law, the claims bar date (the deadline for creditors to file requests for payment) now takes place after the confirmation hearing. This means that your repayment proposal (plan) must be submitted before the actual debts that must be repaid are fixed. This can obviously result in problems. If anyone files a claim that appears to be incorrect, the attorney will file an objection. In some cases valid claims will be filed that are greater in amount than the client disclosed in his or her questionnaire making the plan not longer be feasible (meaning it will not pay out the required percentages to all creditors). This will usually result in the case being dismissed at the trustee’s request.
3.5 Interim Administration
Interim administration might be defined as what occurs between the confirmation and the obtaining of your discharge. This is the time when objections to claims and payments to the trustee are made. Three to five years may pass between confirmation and the issuing of your discharge.
In a Chapter 13, once you have made the final payment on your plan, the Chapter 13 Trustee’s office will do an audit of your case. Once that audit is completed, a notice will be sent to the Court and a Discharge will be issued. This notice will come in the mail and a copy will also be sent to each of your creditors.