Filing: The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
Filing is part 5 of an 8 part series on Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will provide general information regarding bankruptcy under Chapter 7.
The practical details of filing are set out below. Upon filing, the case will be assigned a case number, bankruptcy judge, and panel trustee.
The first form generated following a bankruptcy filing is the official “Notice of Bankruptcy” issued by the Clerk of Court. The debtor, trustee, and all creditors will receive this notice. It lists several important pieces of information:
- The name of the debtor(s), the date and location of filing, the case number, and the name of the assigned judge.
- The name and address of debtor’s attorney and trustee.
- The date and time for the meeting of creditors
- The deadline for filing complaints related to the discharge
- A notice of automatic stay prohibiting certain activities against the debtor and the debtor’s property.
The bankruptcy filing triggers an automatic injunction on nearly all types of creditor activity, including letters, phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, executions, etc. The stay invalidates most postpetition creditor activity even if the creditor is unaware of the filing. Notwithstanding the stay’s automatic effect, if you know of a pending action such as a foreclosure, it is always the best practice to let the foreclosing trustee and/or creditor know immediately upon filing. The scope of the automatic stay, and its many exceptions, is set out in Code § 362.
I tell my debtor clients that if they receive phone calls from creditors after filing, they should pass along my name and phone number and otherwise feel free to (politely) hang up.
Once a creditor knows of the bankruptcy filing, the creditor may legally do nothing more without first obtaining an order of the court. The general grounds for relief from stay are discussed below, although any real detail on the subject is outside the scope of this outline. It is unusual for anyone beyond secured creditors who are not being paid and wish to foreclose or repossess to seek relief from stay.
Contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Wenokur Riordan PLLC today at (206) 724-0846 to discuss your situation.
This article is intended to provide you with enough detail to give you a good basic understanding of the process, without snowing you under with too much information. Obviously, there are exceptions and nuances to just about everything described in this outline. The Bankruptcy Code, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and reported case law are the primary sources of information. All section references here are to the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. All Rule references are to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.