Posts Tagged ‘filing for bankruptcy in Michigan’

A Brief Guide To Filing For Bankruptcy In Michigan

Considering the very fact that the process of filing for bankruptcy in Michigan can be a little complicated, you may like to consider hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney to handle your case on your behalf. There are lots of legal formalities that you need to fulfill. First of all, it is very important for you to figure out whether you are eligible to file your bankruptcy petition in this state. As per the Michigan bankruptcy laws, you must have been living in this state for at least the last 180 days. The next thing that you have to determine is whether you qualify to file your petition under chapter 7 or chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. Following is a brief step-by-step guide on how to go about it.

Determine Which US Bankruptcy Court You Should File Your Petition In

You will have to choose a bankruptcy court on the basis of the area you are living in Michigan. For example, if you are living around Lansing and Kalamazoo, you will have to find a court in the Western District. On the other hand, if you are living around Flint and Detroit, you will have to look out for a bankruptcy court in the Eastern District.

Credit Counseling

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, it is mandatory for you to go through a credit counseling session with a government approved credit counselor. The counselor will review your financial and debt situation and then provide you a certificate, recommending whether you should go for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you get this certificate, you must discuss the scenario with your lawyer first in order to determine whether going with the recommendations of the counselor can be a suitable option for you. In general, it is important for you to keep in mind that chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to continue with your business while following a court ordered modified repayment plan to pay off your existing debts. On the other hand, chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you discharge majority of the debts, but the process also involves liquidation of majority of your assets and properties. Therefore, you have to be very careful with your decision. In most cases, there are always better alternatives out there; it is just that debtors are often so much stressed that they tend to overlook those alternatives. An experienced Michigan bankruptcy attorney can suggest you the different alternatives to bankruptcy that you can try.

List Of Debts And Assets

If you are determined about filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, you will have to do some basic preparation before you go ahead file your petition with the court. You can start by creating a list of all your debts that you owe to different creditors and the list of all those assets and properties that you own or have some equity in. There can be an array of debts that may not be mentioned on your credit file, such as utility bills; make sure you include all those bills as well. Though Michigan bankruptcy laws do not consider your retirement accounts to be used to settle your debts, you are still required to disclose the details of all those retirement accounts while you are filing your petition. Therefore, make a detailed list of those retirement accounts also.

Other Basic Financial Documents

While you are filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, there are several additional financial documents also that you need to attach with your petition, such as banking account statements, proof of recent income, and the copies of your recent tax returns.

Fill Out The Necessary Bankruptcy Forms

Depending upon the district court you are filing your petition in, you may be required to fill out and submit an array of bankruptcy forms. You can get the details by contacting the court clerk. You can download the necessary forms from the official website of the district court in Michigan. Complete instructions are available out there, which you can access right from the comfort and convenience of your home. However, if you find those instructions difficult to understand because of the complex legal language used in it, you always have an option to let an expert Michigan bankruptcy attorney assist you with the process.

Filing Fee

While you are filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, you will also have to pay a certain amount of money as filing fee. At present, the filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy is $274 while it is $299 for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Meeting Of Creditors

If you have followed the instructions thoroughly, the court will accept your petition and follow with the proceedings. As soon as your petition is accepted, an automatic stay will be imposed, which means your creditors must stop all sorts of debt collection activities as long as your bankruptcy case is pending with the court. As part of the process, the court will set a specific date for the meeting of creditors. Even if you have an attorney to represent you in the court, your presence is legally mandatory for the court hearing for this meeting.

There are several things that you need to keep in mind while you are filing for bankruptcy in Michigan. For example, you should never provide false or incomplete information on the bankruptcy forms and you must fulfill all legal formalities thoroughly. Failure to ensure such things often result in straight rejection of your petition, which is legally termed as bankruptcy dismissal.

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