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Riemenschneider-McCrary Law Firm

Jackie L. Riemenschneider-McCrary, Bankruptcy Attorney, 190 S. Seguin Ave., New Braunfels, TX 78130

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The Process of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

with Attorney Jackie

Explained Step by Step in Full Detail


Step 1: Free Consultation with Attorney

Bring information regarding the following:

A. Income: If employed, please bring a pay stub. Attorney will need to know your gross monthly income for the past 6 months, as well as deductions. If you have a business or are self-employed Attorney will also need to know your monthly business expenses for the past 6 months.

B. Assets: Know the full balance owed, the fair market value*, your monthly payment and interest rate for your house, any vehicles, any furniture and any other asset that is collateral of a secured** debt.  Also,  please know if you wish to keep or surrender each of these assets.

C. Debt: Have general idea of how much you owe on credit cards, medical debt, lawsuits, judgments, lines of credit, payday loans, deficiencies, back taxes, child support, student loans or any other debt you have.

*Fair Market Value:  Is what you could sell the asset for considering the current market and the current condition of the asset.  It is not replacement value or what you paid for it.

**Secured:  A debt is secured if the creditor can take the item if you do not continue to pay for that item.  For example, if you are paying on a car, and you fail to pay for the car, the creditor can take the car.  On the other hand, if you used your credit card to buy bread at the grocery store and fail to pay on the credit card bill, the creditor can not take back the loaf of bread.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a debt is secured or not.  When in doubt, please refer to the original agreement that established the line of credit.


Step 1A: Determine if There is a Possible Means Test Issue in Your Case

     If yes, with the necessary information provided, the consultation will end and Attorney will run a Means Test and get back to the client with the results.

If the client does NOT pass the Means Test (or the "presumption of abuse arises") and there are no special circumstances, Attorney will discuss other options with client.


     If NO Means Test issue is foreseen, or if Attorney runs the Means Test and finds there is "no presumption of abuse," the Attorney will quote the client an all inclusive fee as to what it would cost to complete the client’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy based on the information provided by the client. (If it is later determined that the client gave false information or engaged in fraud, which requires additional hearings and procedures which are not part of the basic Chapter 7 Bankruptcy process, additional fees may be required.)


Step 2: Retain Attorney and Begin Bankruptcy Process

A. Attorney requires $200 of the quoted fee to be paid at the signing of the Attorney-Client Contract. The Contract also requires that the Client pays a minimum of $200 a month towards the bankruptcy.

B. When the Client retains Attorney, Attorney will spend at least an hour explaining to the Client how to accurately complete a 35-page Bankruptcy Information Packet. (The packet was created by Attorney during her third year of law school while working for experienced bankruptcy attorney in an attempt to take the legalese and confusion out of the process by putting the packet in everyday language. This packet is the work product of the attorney and is not to be copied or dispersed without permission.)

C. Attorney will also provide client with a Bankruptcy Check List, which lists all the necessary documents required to be presented to the Bankruptcy Trustee.

D. Once the Attorney has been retained, Client may begin redirecting all collection agency calls to her office. For most clients, it takes about two weeks of answering and redirecting calls for the creditor calls to stop. If necessary, Attorney will explain how to handle resistant collection agency callers.


Step 3: The Pre-filing Process

A. The Client redirects creditor calls to Attorney.

B. Client stops paying all debt that will be discharged in the bankruptcy.

C. Client makes monthly payments towards the Bankruptcy. Full amount must be paid before the bankruptcy can be filed.

D. The Client FULLY completes the Bankruptcy Information Packet. When the packet is complete, Client calls for an appointment with Attorney to review the packet. (Please Note: Attorney will need at least two weeks to transfer the information from the bankruptcy packet into the legal bankruptcy forms.)

E. After the client turns in the Bankruptcy Information Packet, Attorney registers the Client for the required PRE-Filing Counseling Course. Attorney will register the Client for this course online. Client can then complete the course from his or her home computer at anytime 24/7.

Attorney recommends that the Client complete this Counseling in the month before filing the Bankruptcy.

F. Client provides attorney with ALL necessary items from the Bankruptcy Check List.


Step 4: Day of Filing (Plan on at least an hour and a half when making this appointment)

A. Attorney will have Client review prepared information before printing the final documents.

B. Attorney will explain and answer any questions before Client signs the prepared bankruptcy documents. The bankruptcy will consist of over 55 pages and require the client to sign in 12 separate places.

C. Client must provide attorney with a print out of the bank balance in each account dated the day of filing.

D. When all the final bankruptcy papers have been reviewed and signed, the credit counseling completed, the necessary documents have been provided to attorney, and the bankruptcy has been paid for in full, the bankruptcy is filed electronically from the Attorney’s computer in the office. The electronic filing takes about 5-10 minutes.

When the case is filed, Client will receive:

1. A case number

2. A hearing date and time

3. The name of the Trustee and Judge assigned to the case


Step 5: After Filing

A. Client informs Attorney of any changes or additions that need to be made to the bankruptcy.

B. Attorney will collect any Bankruptcy Notices that did not make it their destination. All Creditors should be mailed a notice from the Bankruptcy Court Clerk within 7-10 days after the filing.

C. Attorney will receive and prepare any reaffirmation agreements sent by creditors.

D. Attorney provides client with instructions for the day of the hearing and a map to the court and parking lots.  Parking requires cash and cost from $5 to $10.

E. Client completes the AFTER-Filing Credit Counseling Course and notifies Attorney of the course completion. Attorney must file the Certificate with 45 days from the hearing date, but recommends that the client complete the course before the hearing.


Step 6: The Hearing

A. Attorney meets with Client 30 minutes before the scheduled time of the hearing to review and discuss the hearing process.

B. Client provides Attorney with his/her drivers license and social security card, so that she may hand it to the Trustee.

C. Client is sworn in and answers all questions proposed by the Trustee (and possibly the U.S. Trustee) truthfully and accurately to the best of his/her knowledge.  Attorney will aid client if he or she has difficulty interpretting what the Trustee is asking.

D.  If the Trustee requires more information, the case may be reset for an additional hearing.


Step 7: After the Hearing

A. Client signs any reaffirmation agreements that need to be filed in the case.

B. After the Case is filed, Attorney receives instant notice of any filing by email and forwards these emails to clients to keep them informed of what is happening in their case.

C. Attorney notifies client if any objections occur in the bankruptcy. The timeline on objections are as follows:

1. 10 days/(new rules 14 days) for US Trustee to claim case raises the presumption of abuse. (They object to the means test)

2. 30 days for the Trustee to object to exemptions.

3. 60 days for creditors to object to the discharge.

D. Client waits for the Notice of Discharge, and the case to be closed.


End of the Bankruptcy Process