No, it is not difficult or hard at all. The process can seem a little daunting at first, but that is mainly due to people’s (understandable) anxiety about filing in the first place. So long as you hire an experienced, knowledgeable firm to handle your case, you should be just fine.
The basic idea behind filing for bankruptcy in Missouri or Illinois is disclosure. If you take the time to properly disclose all pertinent information to the court and Trustee, you have already won half the battle. This means that you must make the court aware of any real estate that you own (house, land, or time share), of any personal property (clothes, furniture, or appliances), all sources of income (wages from a job, Social Security Income, unemployment benefits, or bonuses), and a full list of all your creditors (whether they are secured, unsecured, or priority). Disclosing all of your property (real or personal) does not mean that you will lose these items. More often than not, you will be able to keep your assets. But your initial primary duty is to simply let the court know what it is that you own.
When it comes to revealing your sources of income, it can be handled most of the time by giving your attorney all of your paystubs from the previous six (6) months. Once this data is entered, your attorney can figure out how much your household income is for the year. This will determine whether you are above or below the ‘median income level’ for your particular household size. So for instance, the average or median income for a household of four is: $67,255. If your household income is under this amount, you are considered to be a ‘below median income’ house. If your household income is over this amount, you are considered to be an ‘above median income’ house. This distinction is crucial, because it can make the difference between filing a St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There is only one courthouse appearance that you will be required to attend when you file for bankruptcy. It is called the ‘341 Meeting of Creditors.’ It is a hearing, conducted by the Bankruptcy Trustee, at which your creditors may attend to ask you any questions about the debts that you owe. However, it is very rare that a creditor makes an appearance at these hearings. Mainly, it is a chance for the Trustee to ask you a series of questions (he/she will ask you to state your name and address, your employer’s name and address; he/she will ask you if you have listed all of your debts, if you have listed all of your assets, and if you have left anything out or made any errors). The meeting usually takes about five (5) minutes to conduct, and then you are out the door.
The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been assisting people get through the bankruptcy process (from start to finish) for years. Our initial consultation is free of charge, so call today to set an appointment!!