HAYDEN & FITZGERALD
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
 
505 York Street, Newport, Kentucky 41071
(859) 491-1000
Fax # (859) 491-0078
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About Bankruptcy

  The Goal of Bankruptcy

The goal of a bankruptcy is to discharge your debts and thereby giving you a fresh start. This means when your bankruptcy is over you will no longer owe the debts you incurred before you filed bankruptcy.


To assist you in reaching this goal the Law Offices of Hayden & FitzGerald offers an affordable fee for all chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Our fee is $650.00 for individual chapter 7 bankruptcies and $845.00 for joint chapter 7 bankruptcies and excludes the $335.00 Court costs. Our flat fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases lets you focus on establishing stability in your life without having to deal with paying an attorney a costly fee at a time when you cannot afford it.

When handled by an experienced attorney bankruptcies are generally straight forward. Our office will make it as easy as possible for you to get through your bankruptcy without complications. Call our office at (859) 491-1000 to schedule your free consultation today.

For your convenience we have included video tutorials on this page to help you better understand what a bankrutcy is and how it operates. We also have included a written synopsis below of how our office will guide you through the bankruptcy process.


Bankruptcy Tutorials

1. Introduction

2. Types of Bankruptcy

3. Limits of Bankruptcy

4. Filing For Bankruptcy

5. Creditors Meeting (341 Meeting)

6. Bankruptcy Crime

7. Court Hearings

8. The Discharge

9. Legal Assistance


The Process

We begin by meeting with during a free consultation. At that consultation, we will answer your questions and review your circumstances. Once we have reviewed your current situation we will then present to you the different options available. The client, with our counsel, makes the decision on whether bankruptcy is right for them (sometimes options other than bankruptcy are more appropriate for your situation) and what chapter of bankruptcy we will attempt to proceed under. 

If the client decides to retain us we then have the clients complete a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about assets, liabilities, income and expenses. 

The questionnaire can be worked on at your home and can be returned to our office when it is completed. If you need help with the form you can call us so that we can guide you in completing it. 

In addition to the questionnaire, the Bankruptcy Court also requires you to provide us with several documents such as paystubs, tax returns, property tax assessments, and credit reports. 

You will also have to complete a 60-90 minute credit counseling briefing before filing. Clients can complete the credit counseling over the phone, in person or by internet. We will give you information about your class at your free consultation.

Once all the information, including the questionnaire, the required documents and the credit counseling class has been completed and returned, our office will review the information to make a final determination of the chapter of bankruptcy you will need to file. (Sometimes, after reviewing your information we may find that you do not qualify for a specific chapter of bankruptcy.) Once we have reviewed your information and you meet all of the qualifications a bankruptcy petition and "schedules" will be prepared using the information you've given us.

We then meet with you to go over and review the documents. By doing this we make sure all assets and liabilities are listed and the clients fully understand the purpose and consequences of their bankruptcy. After clients review the documents they can be signed. The documents are then electronically filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Once the bankruptcy has been filed you will be required to complete a second counseling class. Again, clients can complete the credit counseling over the phone, in person or by internet.

About one month following the filing of your bankruptcy, debtors meet with a bankruptcy trustee at a hearing sometimes called a "341 hearing" or a "Meeting of Creditors". The trustee has been appointed to oversee administration of your bankruptcy. Creditors are allowed to attend these meetings however they seldom do.

At the meeting, the trustee will ask questions to determine whether all assets and liabilities have been listed in your bankruptcy forms. Generally the hearing last less than 10 to 15 minutes. After the trustee asks all of his questions and gives any creditors present an opportunity to be heard, the hearing is adjourned.


In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors wait approximately 60 days before an Order of Discharge is entered by the Court. In a Chapter 12 or 13 bankruptcy, creditors and the trustee are also given an opportunity to object to the debtors' proposed Plan. If any objections are made, those must be resolved before the Plan can be confirmed by the Court.

From the time of filing to the Order of Discharge a Chapter 7 bankruptcy generally takes about 3-4 months. Obtaining a Chapter 12 or 13 confirmation of the Plan often takes about the same amount of time but may take longer if there are objections to the Plan.

Our office has handled many bankruptcies and has the ability to take the stress out of this process. Call us today at (859) 491-1000 to schedule your free consultation

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LEGAL DISCLOSURE Please keep in mind that all information on the petition and later disclosures must be true, accurate, and complete; that all assets and liabilities must be disclosed with replacement value of such assets; income and expenses must be disclosed as required, and all information may be audited, and failure to accurately and completely disclose may result not only in dismissal but criminal sanctions.   

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER.

We begin by having clients complete a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about assets, liabilities, income and expenses. The questionnaire can be worked on at your home. You can return it to our office when you have it completed. If you need help understanding the questions you can call us so that we can guide you in completing the form. In addition to the questionnaire, the Bankruptcy Court also requires you to provide us with several documents such as paystubs, tax returns, property tax assessments, and credit reports. You will also have to complete a 60-90 minute credit counseling briefing before filing. Clients can complete the credit counseling over the phone, in person or by internet.Once all the information, including the questionnaire, the required documents and the credit counselling class has been completed, has been returned, a bankruptcy petition and "schedules" will be prepared using the information you've given us. We then meet with you to go over and review the documents. By doing this we make sure all assets and liabilities are listed and the clients understand the purpose and consequences of their bankruptcy. After clients review the documnets they can be signed. The documents are then electronically filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. If the bankruptcy is filed under Chapter 12 or 13, a "Plan" is also filed that shows how the debtors intend to repay their debts and how much will be repaid. In most cases not all the unsecured debt is repaid in a Chapter 12 or 13, just the amount that debtors can afford to repay.   We begin by having clients complete a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about assets, liabilities, income and expenses. The questionnaire can be worked on at your home. You can return it to our office when you have it completed. If you need help understanding the questions you can call us so that we can guide you in completing the form. In addition to the questionnaire, the Bankruptcy Court also requires you to provide us with several documents such as paystubs, tax returns, property tax assessments, and credit reports. You will also have to complete a 60-90 minute credit counseling briefing before filing. Clients can complete the credit counseling over the phone, in person or by internet.Once all the information, including the questionnaire, the required documents and the credit counselling class has been completed, has been returned, a bankruptcy petition and "schedules" will be prepared using the information you've given us. We then meet with you to go over and review the documents. By doing this we make sure all assets and liabilities are listed and the clients understand the purpose and consequences of their bankruptcy. After clients review the documnets they can be signed. The documents are then electronically filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. If the bankruptcy is filed under Chapter 12 or 13, a "Plan" is also filed that shows how the debtors intend to repay their debts and how much will be repaid. In most cases not all the unsecured debt is repaid in a Chapter 12 or 13, just the amount that debtors can afford to repay.   

If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPCIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST.  Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone.

The following information helps you understand what must be done in a routine bankruptcy case to help you evaluate how much service you need.  Although bankruptcy can be complex, many cases are routine.

Before filing a bankruptcy case, either you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for different forms of debt relief available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is most likely to be beneficial for you.  Be sure you understand the relief you can obtain and its limitations.  To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as in some cases a Statement of Intention need to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court.  You will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court.  Once your case starts, you will have to attend the required first meeting of creditors where you may be questioned by a court official called a ‘trustee’ and by creditors.

If you choose to file a chapter 7 case, you may be asked by a creditor to reaffirm a debt.  You may want help deciding whether to do so.  A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming your debts.

 

If you choose to file a chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over 3 to 5 years, you may also want help with preparing your chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which will be before a bankruptcy judge.

 

If you select another type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you will want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief.

 

Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation.  You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court, but only attorneys, not bankruptcy petition preparers, can give you legal advice.


STATEMENT OF INFORMATION REQUIRED BY 11 U.S.C. §341
 INTRODUCTIONPursuant to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, the Office of the United States Trustee, United States Department of Justice, has prepared this information sheet to help you understand some of the possible consequences of filing a bankruptcy petition under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.  This information is intended to make you aware of... (1) the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy, including the effects on credit history;(2) the effect of receiving a discharge of debts (3)the effect of reaffirming a debt; and (4) your ability to file a petition under a different chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. There are many other provisions of the Bankruptcy Code that may affect your situation.  This information sheet contains only general principles of law and is not a substitute for legal advice.  If you have questions or need further information as to how the bankruptcy laws apply to your specific case, you should consult with your lawyer. WHAT IS A DISCHARGE?The filing of a chapter 7 petition is designed to result in a discharge of most of the debts you listed on your bankruptcy schedules.  A discharge is a court order that says you do not have to repay your debts, but there are a number of exceptions.  Debts which may not be discharged in your chapter 7 case include, for example, most taxes, child support, alimony, and student loans; court-ordered fines and restitution; debts obtained through fraud or deception; and personal injury debts caused by driving while intoxicated or taking drugs.  Your discharge may be denied entirely if you, for example, destroy or conceal property; destroy, conceal or falsify records; or make a false oath.  Creditors cannot ask you to pay any debts which have been discharged.  You can only receive a chapter 7 discharge once every eight (8) years. WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF A DISCHARGE?The fact that you filed bankruptcy can appear on your credit report for as long as 10 years.  Thus, filing a bankruptcy petition may affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.  Also, you may not be excused from repaying any debts that were not listed on your bankruptcy schedules or that you incurred after you filed for bankruptcy. WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF REAFFIRMING A DEBT?After you file your petition, a creditor may ask you to reaffirm a certain debt or you may seek to do so on your own.  Reaffirming a debt means that you sign and file with the court a legally enforceable document, which states that you promise to repay all or a portion of the debt that may otherwise have been discharged in your bankruptcy case.  Reaffirmation agreements must generally be filed with the court within 60 days after the first meeting of the creditors. Reaffirmation agreements are strictly voluntary — they are not required by the Bankruptcy Code or other state or federal law.  You can voluntarily repay any debt instead of signing a reaffirmation agreement, but there may be valid reasons for wanting to reaffirm a particular debt. Reaffirmation agreements must not impose an undue burden on you or your dependents and must be in your best interest.  If you decide to sign a reaffirmation agreement, you may cancel it at any time before the court issues your discharge order or within sixty (60) days after the reaffirmation agreement was filed with the court, whichever is later.  If you reaffirm a debt and fail to make the payments required in the reaffirmation agreement, the creditor can take action against you to recover any property that was given as security for the loan and you may remain personally liable for any remaining debt. OTHER BANKRUPTCY OPTIONSYou have a choice in deciding what chapter of the Bankruptcy Code will best suit your needs.  Even if you have already filed for relief under chapter 7, you may be eligible to convert your case to a different chapter.Chapter 7 is the liquidation chapter of the Bankruptcy Code.  Under chapter 7, a trustee is appointed to collect and sell, if economically feasible, all property you own that is not exempt from these actions. Chapter 11 is the reorganization chapter most commonly used by businesses, but it is also available to individuals.  Creditors vote on whether to accept or reject a plan, which also must be approved by the court.  While the debtor normally remains in control of the assets, the court can order the appointment of a trustee to take possession and control of the business. Chapter 12 offers bankruptcy relief to those who qualify as family farmers.  Family farmers must propose a plan to repay their creditors over a three-to-five year period and it must be approved by the court.  Plan payments are made through a chapter 12 trustee, who also monitors the debtor’s farming operations during the pendency of the plan. Finally, chapter 13 generally permits individuals to keep their property by repaying creditors out of their future income.  Each chapter 13 debtor writes a plan which must be approved by the bankruptcy court.  The debtor must pay the chapter 13 trustee the amounts set forth in their plan.  Debtors receive a discharge after they complete their chapter 13 repayment plan.  Chapter 13 is only available to individuals with regular income whose debts do not exceed $1,000,000 ($250,000 in unsecured debts and $750,000 in secured debts). 

AGAIN, PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR LAWYER IF YOU NEED FURTHER INFORMATION OR EXPLANATION, INCLUDING HOW THE BANKRUPTCY LAWS RELATE TO YOUR SPECIFIC CASE. 

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