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If you are fed up with harassing phone calls and letters from your creditors, consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy allows you to have the opportunity to be free from mounting debt, and obtain a fresh start. A bankruptcy attorney in Chicago can help you determine if filing for bankruptcy is right for you. In addition, an attorney will be able to explain the bankruptcy process to you, and help you achieve a bankruptcy discharge at the completion of your bankruptcy case.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, you must complete a pre-filing credit counseling session. The credit counseling session is an opportunity to explore other options outside of filing for bankruptcy, like creating a reasonable monthly budget or debt consolidation. Generally, the credit counseling session lasts around one hour and you will receive a certificate upon completion. Your bankruptcy attorney in Chicago will file the certificate of completion along with your bankruptcy petition. The pre-filing credit counseling session must be completed within 180 days of the date you file your bankruptcy petition. If you take the course 181 days before you file for bankruptcy, you will need to repeat the course, or you risk having your bankruptcy case dismissed.
Next, you and your bankruptcy attorney in Chicago will decide whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago you must earn less than the current median income for the state of Illinois, or you must satisfy the means test. The means test evaluates your monthly disposable income. Your disposable income is the income you have remaining each month after you pay your necessary expenses. Generally, the more disposable income you have, the less likely you are to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, if you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may still be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have regular and reliable income for at least 6 months prior to filing for bankruptcy. The income can come from any source including Social Security disability benefits or a pension. The most important characteristic of the income is that it is regular. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires you to submit a repayment plan to the bankruptcy court for approval. The plan can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, and you must make payments each month toward the plan to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee. At the completion of the plan, you will receive a bankruptcy discharge.
Filing for bankruptcy is an important decision. Therefore, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney in Chicago as soon as possible, or visit the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois' website, http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/. In addition to assisting you with your bankruptcy petition, an attorney can answer all of your questions that you may have about the bankruptcy procedure. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney, visit http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx for additional information regarding how to file for bankruptcy on your own.