What do I do after my Bankruptcy case is filed?

Many times clients are under the impression that once their bankruptcy case is filed, they are done with the process.  However, immediately after your bankruptcy case is filed, there are a few last steps you need to take to compete the bankruptcy process.  The first step the debtor needs to take is to complete a Course in Financial Management.  This course is referred to in many different ways including “2nd Certificate”, “FMC”, and “Financial Management Course”.  This course is similar to the first course the court requires debtors to take; however, it cannot be completed until after the bankruptcy case is filed.  It is extremely important to get this course completed as soon as possible post filing.  If this course certificate of completion is not filed with the court before you receive a discharge, your case can be dismissed and closed without a discharge.

The next step that debtors need to take after their case is filed is to attend the meeting of creditors.  The meeting of creditors is held at a courthouse (the location depends on where you live/where your case was filed), and is scheduled at a specific time.  You must attend this meeting and appear at the appropriate time, or your case can be dismissed.  At the meeting of creditors, you will meet with your trustee and essentially testify under oath that everything you listed on your bankruptcy petition was true to your best knowledge.  This meeting typically takes about five minutes once your case is called.  After the meeting of creditors is complete, your trustee will either file what is called a “report of no distribution” which states you have no assets to distribute to your creditors, or they will give instructions on what steps you and your attorney need to take next.  Sometimes, your trustee will require additional documents to ensure you do not have assets to distribute.  Once this is completed, typically the next step is to wait until you receive notice of your discharge.

Once you have received your discharge, you are able to start rebuilding your credit. While this sounds relatively easy, some people may wonder how they should start this process, which can depend on the type of bankruptcy that was filed.  If the debtor just filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he or she cannot incur new debt without first filing a motion with the court. If this motion is successful, and the debtor is able to purchase some sort of secured property, the positive payment history would be reported to credit bureaus, which will help to rebuild credit.

If a debtor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he or she has a few more options with regard to rebuilding credit.  Similar to a Chapter 13 debtor, a debtor who recently filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy can begin rebuilding his or her credit by purchasing some sort of secured property. A chapter 7 filing does not require a motion to incur new debt; the debtor is free to enter into a new contract without permission from the court.  Other options for smaller purchases to help rebuild credit could be to open a secured credit card, or a small store card somewhere that you can pay off each month in full.

It is very important to remember, though that anything you do that helps rebuild your credit can also damage your credit if payments are not made timely as originally agreed upon with the creditor. So, while it is important to focus on rebuilding your credit after filing for bankruptcy, it is even more important to make sure you do not do anything to damage it.

For more tips on the steps to take after your bankruptcy case is filed, contact your St. Louis Bankruptcy attorney today!

This entry was posted in Bankruptcy filing, Bankruptcy General, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Bookmark the permalink.

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