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If you receive harassing phone calls and letters from your creditors and you feel unable to catch up on your bills, consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy will provide you with the opportunity to be free from mounting debt, and obtain a fresh start. A bankruptcy attorney in Indianapolis 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 must be completed within 180 days of the date that 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. The credit counseling session is an opportunity for you to explore other options instead of filing for bankruptcy. For example, during the session you may learn about debt consolidation or how to create a monthly budget that allows you to repay your debts and live within your means. However, bankruptcy still may be the best option for you after the session. Generally, the credit counseling session lasts around one hour and you will receive a certificate upon completion. Your bankruptcy attorney in Indianapolis will file the certificate of completion with the court when you file your bankruptcy petition.
Next, you and your bankruptcy attorney in Indianapolis will decide whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Indianapolis you must earn less than the current median income for the state of Indiana, or you must satisfy the means test. The means test evaluates your monthly disposable income. Your bankruptcy attorney in Indianapolis will explain to you that your disposable income is the income you have remaining each month after you pay your necessary expenses. Generally, the greater the amount of disposable income you have each month, 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 to file 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 spousal support or retirement benefits. The most important characteristic of the income is that it is regular. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you submit a repayment plan to the bankruptcy court for approval. The plan can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years, and you must make payments each month to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee. At the completion of the plan, the bankruptcy court will grant your bankruptcy discharge.
Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated decision with lasting consequences. Therefore, if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney in Indianapolis or visit the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Indiana’s website http://www.insb.uscourts.gov/indianapolis.html. 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.