How to File Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

bankruptcy lawyer in New Bedford MA

Filing Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

If you are struggling to pay your debts and the ability to pay has become overwhelming, it may be time to consider consumer bankruptcy in Massachusetts. When debtors are considering consumer bankruptcy, it is important that they understand the process for filing. The following information details the basic steps that are necessary in a personal bankruptcy proceeding in Massachusetts.

Determine Whether You Will File for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Before you can file for bankruptcy, you will need to determine whether you will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is a liquidation bankruptcy, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is a reorganization bankruptcy. Typically, consumer debtors are not eligible for both types of bankruptcy. Instead, debtors who can pass the “means test” will be eligible for Chapter 7 while consumers who earn a steady income will be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Gather Documentation and Materials You Will Need to File for Bankruptcy

You will need to gather a wide variety of financial documents to provide details about your income, your assets, and any exempt property.

Attend Pre-Filing Credit Counseling

Anyone who files for consumer bankruptcy will need to attend and complete a credit counseling course prior to filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are a variety of options for credit counseling, and many of them are online. You can complete this step with relative ease.

Work With a Lawyer to Fill Out Your Bankruptcy Documents and Schedules

Filling out your bankruptcy documents, including your schedules and details about exempt property, is something you should do with assistance from a bankruptcy lawyer. Even a minor mistake can set your case back significantly and may prevent you from receiving a discharge.

File Your Bankruptcy Petition and Pay the Filing Fee

Once you fill out the necessary materials and have accompanying materials to support the information you provided, you will file your bankruptcy petition and pay the filing fee.

Attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors

Next, you will attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors, in which existing creditors can ask you questions about your debts and your bankruptcy filing more generally.

Complete a Second Credit Counseling Course

Before you can be eligible to receive a discharge, you will need to complete a second credit counseling course. Similar to the pre-bankruptcy credit-counseling course, you can complete this online.

Receive a Bankruptcy Discharge or Move Forward With Your Reorganization Plan

Depending upon whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the next step can be significantly different. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor can be eligible at this point to have eligible debts discharged. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor will typically begin making payments according to the terms of the debt reorganization plan, which usually lasts for anywhere from three to five years. Once the terms of a Chapter 13 plan have been completed, the debtor can then be eligible to have remaining debts discharged.

Contact a Massachusetts Bankruptcy Attorney

Do you have questions or concerns about filing for bankruptcy? A bankruptcy attorney in Massachusetts can assist you. Contact the Law Office of Rachel M. Matos today to learn more about how our firm can help with your bankruptcy filing.