If you’re like many people, you’re looking at your financial options and having a tough time striking the right balance.

You’re really not alone.

Statistics show that hundreds of thousands of people have been forced into bankruptcy by predatory lenders, ridiculous interest rates, and the tough economy we’re all living in. Many of these people turn to Maryland bankruptcy attorneys for help.

Bankruptcy isn’t anybody’s first choice, but for some people, it’s a lifeline.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to erase debt and get a fresh start, but it’s not a “no-strings-attached” method of getting back on your feet. A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for a while, but the bright side is that over time, it becomes less important to creditors. (An old bankruptcy — one that took place a few years ago, for example — is less important to creditors than one that happened a month ago.)

What Do You Need to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland?

If you plan to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland, you’ll need to have financial documents that back up your claims. Your lawyer will likely ask you to provide:

  • A detailed list of all your creditors that includes information on how much you owe and the nature of their claims

  • The source, amount, and frequency of your income

  • A complete list of all your property

  • A detailed list of all your monthly living expenses (including food, clothes, rent or mortgage, utilities, and everything else you spend)

If you’re married and you’re filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland, federal law requires you to gather the same information for your spouse, even if you’re not filing a joint petition or your spouse isn’t filing a separate petition.

What is the Meeting of Creditors?

Every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case (and every Chapter 13 case, too) has a meeting of creditors.

The meeting of creditors is an important part of the process; it’s also called a 341 hearing. For most people, the 341 hearing takes place about 40 days after you file your bankruptcy petition.

During the meeting of creditors, you meet with the trustee assigned to your case. The trustee’s job is to make sure that your creditors — the people to whom you owe money — get as much as possible before the court erases your debt.

The trustee will double-check all your paperwork and ensure that the income you reported on your paperwork is correct. He or she will also try to determine whether you have any claims that may help your creditors get more money.

Your creditors may or may not send representatives to the meeting.

The whole thing takes about 10 minutes.

What Happens if You’re Granted Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in MD?

If the bankruptcy court agrees to grant you Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s called a discharge.

A discharge releases you from personal liability for most debts. Your former creditors can’t take any more collection action against you, either.

There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, you’ll have the fresh start you deserve.

How Long Does it Take the Court to Grant Bankruptcy?

In most cases, the court will issue an order within 69 to 90 days from the first meeting of creditors.

Do You Need to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland?

For most people, it makes sense to work with an experienced, skilled bankruptcy lawyer serving Maryland and D.C.

We can help you get the best possible outcome in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Call us at 301-933-2595 for your free bankruptcy consultation. We’ll be able to give you case-specific legal advice as soon as you explain your circumstances, and the sooner we talk, the sooner we can begin work to get you the new start you deserve.