Eric Lester Leinbach, Esquire
But what happens when you file a Bankruptcy
A Bankruptcy starts with the filing of a Bankruptcy Petition and accompanying schedules with a Bankruptcy Court. A typical Petition and schedules are a 50 page document. As soon as you file a bankruptcy you are protected by the "Automatic Stay". The Automatic Stay requires your creditors: to stop further debt collection activities, to stop repossessions, to return your property if it has been taken and is being held, to stop legal actions against you such as lawsuits, sheriff sales, tax sales ,wage garnishments. You are then assigned a trustee who will administer you case. You will probably never see a Judge, unless there is a problem, something special, or unusual about your case. Next you are assigned a Hearing date, time, and location. This is the "first meeting of creditors" frequently referred to as a "Section 341 hearing". Your trustee will typically ask you 12-24 questions most of which are "yes or no" questions. These hearings usually last about 5-10 minutes. After your hearing, your trustee and your creditors usually have 30-90 days to file different kinds of objections to your Bankruptcy. Objections are only filed in a very small number of cases. When the period for objections expires your case is transmitted to a Bankruptcy Judge for issuance of a Discharge Order. The Discharge Order is the principal reason you would have filed the Bankruptcy. The Discharge Order prohibits any of your creditors from collecting the dischargeable Debts you previously owed before the Bankruptcy was filed. Not all debts are Dischargeable and you should speak to an Attorney about Nondischargeable debts you may owe after the Bankruptcy.
What makes up the Bankruptcy System
The Bankruptcy code has been codified as part of the United States Code. The United States code is the collection of laws passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate sitting in Congress and signed by the President which have become law, and are organized in a system of Titles. The Bankruptcy Code is Title 11 of the United States Code, and is abbreviated 11 U.S.C. Titles within the United States Code may have Chapters, Subchapters, Sections and Subsections. Title 11 has a number of Chapters and Subchapters. Chapters 1, 3 and 5 (there is no Chapter 2 or 4) deal with general provisions, case administration and the duties, rights, and relationships of Debtors (people that owe money), Creditors (people that are owed money) and the Estate. Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 of the Bankruptcy Code deal with different alternative types of Bankruptcy's which can be filed. (there is no Chapter 8 or 10). All the Chapters of the Bankruptcy code have Sections and all Chapters except Chapter 1 have Subchapters. It's all kind of complicated, and just to make it more complicated there are the Rules. The Supreme Court of the United States has adopted "National Bankruptcy Rules" abbreviated "FRBP". In addition each of the approximately 100 Bankruptcy Courts has "Local Rules" abbreviated "LBR" or Standing Orders. So a thorough knowledge of all of Chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, the National Rules, and Local Rules and practices are required to guide a individual Bankruptcy though the maze of the Court system to successful completion. However, we will try to simplify all of that here at this website for you.
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Disclaimer and Limitation of Use: The information on these pages is not intended as legal advice but rather general information. Reading or using the information on this website does not establish an Attorney-Client relationship. Such a relationship can only be created with the express written consent of an Attorney and the Client. The Bankruptcy Statute and Court Rules are complex. The answers to frequently asked questions at this site are only intended to provide general information concerning the bankruptcy statute, rules, and process. Individuals should always consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to obtain advice and assistance before making any decision or taking any action. I offer a free initial consultation by appointment only. I am licensed to practice and regularly represent clients in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.