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Lawyers Explain How the Process of Filing for Bankruptcy Works in Cook County

If you are struggling with overwhelming debt and having difficulty making ends meet while dealing with creditors and collection agencies, the law provides you with a way to receive a fresh start. By filing for bankruptcy, you can discharge your debts while possibly avoiding foreclosure of your home.

At Anderson and Associates, P.C., our experienced attorneys can answer your questions and help you meet your legal requirements as you complete the bankruptcy process. With our help, you can receive the peace of mind that comes with the elimination of your outstanding debts.

Qualifications for Bankruptcy

The first step of filing for bankruptcy is to complete a means test, which will examine your income and expenses to determine which type of bankruptcy you qualify for. If your income is below the median income for your household size in Illinois, or if your income after paying expenses is below a certain threshold, you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Otherwise, you will need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Filing a Petition for Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy process begins when you file a petition for bankruptcy in your local bankruptcy court. Along with this petition, you must file:

  • A list of outstanding debts, including information about creditors and the amounts owed
  • A description of income, including the amount earned and the frequency of income payments
  • A detailed list of expenses such as food, shelter, utilities, transportation costs, medical costs, etc.
  • A list of all property you own
  • A statement of your financial affairs
  • Any contracts or leases you are currently bound by
  • Copies of your tax returns for the last two years
  • A certificate of completion of a credit counseling course from an approved agency

You will also file a list of the property you own that is exempt from seizure during bankruptcy. In Illinois, exemptions include:

  • Clothing, school books, and family pictures
  • A vehicle valued up to $2,400
  • Professional tools or books valued up to $1,500
  • Other property valued up to $4,000
  • Real estate property worth up to $15,000 (or $30,000 for a married couple)
  • Disability or unemployment benefits
  • Assets held in retirement plans or pensions

After filing for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will go into effect prohibiting creditors from contacting you and attempting to collect debts. A trustee will be assigned to administer your case and oversee the liquidation of any of your assets. About one month after the petition is filed, a meeting of creditors will be scheduled in which any objections to the bankruptcy will be addressed and resolved.

After the meeting of creditors, the trustee will take control of all assets that are not exempt. Following the meeting, creditors have 60 days to object to the discharge of debts. If there are no challenges, the bankruptcy will typically be completed within 60 to 90 days after the meeting of creditors, and your debts will be discharged.

Contact an Orland Park Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy is a complicated process, and it is important to follow the correct procedures and file the proper paperwork. The skilled attorneys of Anderson and Associates, P.C. can provide you with the legal help you need throughout the bankruptcy process, ensuring that you meet your requirements and helping you achieve the results you need. Contact our Cook County bankruptcy attorneys today at 708-226-9904 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you achieve financial security. We serve clients in Tinley Park, Mokena, Palos Heights, Homer Glen, Oak Forest, and throughout Cook County and Will County.

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