Personal Bankruptcy Rules

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While you don’t need an attorney to file bankruptcy, if you decide to represent yourself you must become familiar with a number of personal bankruptcy rules, notes the book “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.”

Credit Counseling Requirements

Since 2005 federal bankruptcy reform initiatives passed, all consumers filing bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling session, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers cannot initiate their bankruptcy cases until they complete this requirement with a federally approved company.

Debt Considerations

Some types of debt cannot be reduced under Chapter 13 or eliminated in Chapter 7, warns the book “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.” Child support, alimony, court fines, any debts incurred right before filing bankruptcy, most tax bills and most student loans are ineligible for any type of bankruptcy protection.

Required Hearings

All people filing bankruptcy, whether they wish to pay their eligible bills partially or receive permanent liquidation of existing debt, must attend at least two hearings, notes the book “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The 341 meeting is required just in case a creditor disputes the bankruptcy case; a discharge hearing allows debtors to learn whether a federal bankruptcy judge accepted the case as filed.