Filing Bankruptcy Online: Your Legal Options and Advice
Filing bankruptcy online or in court can be a stressful endeavor, and any advantage can make a huge difference. If you’re ready to file for bankruptcy but unsure where to start, contact an experienced lawyer like those at The Pope Firm. They offer legal advice on how to file bankruptcy, process the administrative side, and navigate the system online.
How to File a Bankruptcy Petition Online
Technological advancements make it simple to file bankruptcy online from the comfort of your home. You may not need to step foot inside a law firm for most of the process, but any effort to file for bankruptcy requires a few in-person steps. Any work that needs outside assistance does well with the aid of experienced bankruptcy attorneys, like The Pope Firm.
The online filing version is not necessarily easier, and the legal process might seem complicated without the right experience or law firm representative. Attorneys like those at The Pope Firm can help.
The short version of the debt relief process is as follows:
- Confirm your eligibility
- Take a bankruptcy means test
- Complete a credit counseling course
- Complete the required bankruptcy forms and bankruptcy filings
- File a bankruptcy petition
- Attend a 341 meeting
- Complete a financial management course
Most of the above requirements are possible online, but some areas of the United States do not allow you to represent yourself electronically. Many locations still require you to mail or bring your bankruptcy petition and associated documents to a local bankruptcy court. Any bankruptcy filing fee must be paid in-person or through the mail via check (if allowed online, you can use a debit card, but not a credit card).
Hiring a Competent Bankruptcy Attorney like The Pope Firm
Hiring a bankruptcy attorney is a great idea for the court filing process, but some third parties can offer assistance in other areas, like a bankruptcy petition preparer. However, a petition preparer is not a legal professional who is qualified to advise or represent you. They will not be able to guide you through the process, online or in person.
These services will be able to type your petition for you in the correct format, but you will need to submit your bankruptcy case petitions to the federal courts and attend court hearings yourself. This somewhat defeats the purpose of filing for bankruptcy on the internet, but there are many steps that do benefit from online preparation.
In contrast, a certified law firm can prepare any required documents and forms for you and walk you through the entire process. Their professionals are capable of offering legal advice about filing bankruptcy online, and they honor the attorney-client relationship. Your legal professional may even submit your case to the bankruptcy law courts without you ever needing to leave your home.
Filing with the bankruptcy courts often comes with filing fees that you’ll need to handle, and our attorney team will help you navigate this part of the process.
Bankruptcy Court Types: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
Online bankruptcy for individuals comes in two types: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The main difference involves how your individual or business’ debt is forgiven by the legal authorities.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy ensures that all of your existing unsecured debts are pardoned. It might be at the expense of some of your property or other forms of ownership that are useful in helping repay those liabilities. Chapter 13 bankruptcy usually allows you to keep your property via a petition or exemption, but you will be expected to repay most or all of the debts you owe via an official debt repayment plan.
In both cases, the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy judge, and court employees will decide how long you have to pay back your eligible debts.
Contact The Pope Firm’s Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
Don’t hesitate to contact the competent legal team at The Pope Firm if you’re facing repossession or wage garnishment, and you think the professionals can help you with your online bankruptcy case or a bankruptcy discharge. Our professionals offer all clients a free evaluation where you can meet our representatives and ask any questions you need to know about your case. We won’t initiate an attorney-client relationship until you’re ready, so you won’t have to pay attorney fees to our law firm until you accept us as your official representation.
The Pope Firm’s goal is to help all our clients navigate bankruptcy with as little fanfare as possible, whether it is from our offices in Kingsport, Knoxville, or Johnson City, TN. Call us today to start the process.
The Different Types Of Bankruptcy
Depending on your situation, there are different types, officially known as “chapters” of bankruptcy, that you can file for. These different chapters of bankruptcy provide different results for different cases, and it’s important to have some knowledge on these chapters before filing for bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a commonly filed for chapter of bankruptcy and is intended for use by low to moderate income individuals with more debt than they’ll ever be able to repay. If properly executed, this chapter of bankruptcy can eliminate most or all of a person’s unsecured debt. If you’re eligible, Chapter 7 could be a great debt relief solution for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Another great debt relief solution is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, that works great for people that aren’t eligible for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This chapter allows the debtor, or person that has borrowed money, to restructure their payment plans to be more manageable. At the end of this payment plan, most unsecured debts are discharged, or eliminated. This is sure to provide some much-needed breathing room for those people that feel in over their head, and are in need of some debt relief.
If you need assistance with personal or business bankruptcy and filing in Tennessee, reach out to The Pope Firm and Charles Pope, Attorney At Law.
Bankruptcy and the Pope Firm was very helpful
I recently went through bankruptcy and the Pope Firm was very helpful in a very embarrassing situation. They went through the process of how bankruptcy works and made what could have been a very difficult time much easier to handle. I would recommend this law firm to anybody who is going through a bankruptcy. Everyone there is very knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions.
Pope Firm was very helpful
My experience at this firm so far has been excellent. Everyone there is very friendly, informative and willing to help in any way they can. I was impressed with how fast they got everything moving
Charles pope and his staff are wonderful
Charles pope and his staff are wonderful and always ready to do anything they can to help. He explained what to expect in court and what needed to be done before hand. He assistants are very helpful and knowledgeable. He always kept me informed on the status of the case. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone who needs an attorney.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Bankruptcy occurs when an individual, business, or other entity declares the inability to repay its debts. If you file for bankruptcy, that means that debt collectors must pause attempting to collect debts from you. Bankruptcy often allows you to erase most, if not all, of your debts.
There are two types of debts, unsecured and secured. Some examples of unsecured debts are credit card bills, medical bills, or taxes. Secured debts can include car loans or mortgages, which use the purchased item as collateral. In many cases, filing for bankruptcy can keep this collateral protected and prevent foreclosure of your home or repossession of other assets.
Bankruptcy is governed by federal legislation under the Bankruptcy Code, which falls under the greater United States Code. Both federal law and local law inform the bankruptcy procedure. Federal bankruptcy judges, appointed by the United States court of appeals, preside over court proceedings in these cases. In court, the judge and a court trustee, review your finances to determine whether or not to discharge the debts at hand.
Each state has one or more bankruptcy courts. Tennessee has six bankruptcy courts throughout the state.
Filing for bankruptcy can be a daunting process, and working with a firm with expertise in the field can provide you with necessary guidance.
There are several types of bankruptcy. Most individuals, married couples, and small businesses choose to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
What are the Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
The primary difference between these two types is that Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows an entity to fully discharge its debts in a short period. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves reorganizing debts and creating a plan to repay those debts over an allotted time. After that time, Chapter 13 eliminates most of the remaining debts.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically filed by those with very limited income and unsecured debts, the most common of which is medical bills. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is most often filed by higher income bracket individuals and those with more assets, such as a car or a home. The motivation for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often preventing assets from being repossessed or home foreclosure due to outstanding debts.
What Other Types of Bankruptcy Are There?
Two other types of bankruptcy are Chapter 11 and Chapter 12.
Chapter 11 primarily applies to larger companies and corporations, but sometimes it is the right choice for small businesses as well. Chapter 12 applies to those who are considered family farmers.
Various considerations get factored into who should file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy may be the right choice for you if you are overwhelmed by debt. Regardless of what type of bankruptcy you file, as soon as the process begins, you are granted an automatic stay. A stay is an injunction that prevents creditors from collecting any debts for an allotted time. An automatic stay halts the process of, for example, foreclosing on a home or repossessing a vehicle.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts. Filing Chapter 7 is appropriate for those who make less than the median household income in Tennessee and whose assets would not be at risk. In this situation, your non-exempt property is sold to pay off creditors.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to create a plan to repay your debts. If you have non-exempt property used as collateral in secured loans, you can restructure your finances to pay off any relevant debts over the next three to five years. Chapter 11 functions in a similar way, but is exclusively for businesses.
Filing for bankruptcy can provide a fresh start for those bogged down with debt, either by restructuring finances or discharging debts entirely.
How bankruptcy affects business depends upon the type of bankruptcy filed.
Businesses classified as corporations, partnerships, or LLCs can file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows for debt restructuring, while the business stays open. As in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, an automatic stay activates as soon as your bankruptcy period begins. In an automatic stay, creditors cannot try to collect money or other assets from you.
During this period, you work with your lawyer to restructure your debts and develop a plan to get your business back on track. This plan must be approved by some of your creditors and a bankruptcy court to go forward. You will be able to repay your debts over several years.
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges all of your business’s debts by liquidating your assets. The entire process can be completed quickly, often in several months. Chapter 7 allows for the discharge of most debts, excluding government taxes and fines.
Only individuals can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Thus, although businesses cannot file, you can file Chapter 13 as the sole proprietor of your business.
When you decide to begin the bankruptcy process, the first step is to find a lawyer who is an expert in filing bankruptcy in Tennessee. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can indeed be expensive, but it is worth the cost. This professional can guide you through what type of bankruptcy is best for your situation and what to expect throughout the process.
- Collect your documents: It is important to have everything from your paystubs to your credit report available before starting.
- Take the means test. This test will determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and help guide you in making a repayment plan for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Meet with a credit counselor. In the state of Tennessee, most individuals must meet with a credit counselor from an approved provider before filing for bankruptcy.
- Fill out bankruptcy forms. If working with a lawyer, you can expect they will use online programs to help you file your paperwork.
- Pay your filing fee. It costs $335 to file for bankruptcy in Tennessee. Waiver of the fee is possible in some cases, but it is uncommon. However, it is possible to pay the fee in several installments instead of the entire balance upfront.
Declaring bankruptcy wipes out many debts, but not all.
What Debts are Usually Covered by Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can clear most unsecured debts, including:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Overdue utility payments
Bankruptcy can also clear many secured debts, but it depends on whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For Chapter 7, you will have to give up any non-exempt items you put up for collateral. For Chapter 13, they will become part of your repayment plan.
What Debts Are Not Covered by Bankruptcy?
- Child support
- Alimony obligations
- Those related to personal injury or death in a drunk driving case
- Any debts not listed on your bankruptcy papers
No type of bankruptcy covers these debts. If you file for Chapter 7, they remain outstanding. Under Chapter 13, you pay these debts along with your other debts.
What Debts May Be Covered?
Bankruptcy rarely covers student loan debt. However, it may be in some cases with proof of undue hardship.
Tax debt is also rarely covered, but bankruptcy may cover certain old unpaid taxes.