Written by Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz.
Updated August 17, 2020
Filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch, Alaska does not have to be as bad as you think it is. In fact, bankruptcy can be the new beginning you need to enable you to finally enjoy the joys of your hometown: clam-digging, poker runs, and the occasional visit to the area's volcanoes, like Mount Spurr. Bankruptcy is a fresh start, contrary to what you may have thought. By filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch, you will be able to discharge your unsecured debts, like credit card and medical debt and start building your credit from scratch. If you have mostly medical and credit card debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is likely the best option for you. If you have other debts or make a medium to high income, Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be a better fit. Nonetheless, bankruptcy has the same effect. It allows you to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Similar to how you started building your credit as a young adult, bankruptcy allow you to start from the beginning. You will start with secured credit cards, and eventually be able to build your credit and obtain other credit cards and loans. Some people report being able to get credit almost immediately after their discharge. So what is filing for bankruptcy like? Well, first off, it is not a long process in comparison to other legal matters. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, on average, takes about four to six months. You will file your bankruptcy forms in the court located in Anchorage. Filling out the bankruptcy forms is probably the lengthiest task in the bankruptcy process, but, once you have completed your forms and filed them with the Court, there are only a few things you need to do to see your case to completion. You will also have to take two educational courses geared towards educating you on getting out of debt, and you will have to make at minimum one Court appearance. If bankruptcy appears to be the right option for you, this guide will help you learn about the steps you need to take to file for bankruptcy on your own, at no cost!
Clam-Gulch Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Some Clam-Gulch bankruptcy cases can become a little bit complicated. When that happens, you will need an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process. A Clam-Gulch bankruptcy lawyer costs between $1,000 – $1,500 for a typical Chapter 7 case. This cost is a flat fee for all the work on your case, from start to finish, but generally doesn’t include the Court filing fee. First, your attorney will meet with you for what’s called an initial consultation. This first meeting is usually free of charge and is where your attorney will hear your financial story and determine whether filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch is in your best interest. This will also be your opportunity to ask the attorney questions about their fees and how they can help you obtain a discharge.
How to File Bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch , Alaska for Free
Filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch is a marathon, with sound credit being at the end of the race. In addition to filing your forms with the Court, the Court will, among other things, require you to take 2 education courses to make you more informed about your financial choices in the future. This guide will prepare you for life during and after your Alaska bankruptcy.
Collect Your Clam-Gulch Bankruptcy Documents
To complete the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch, you will need your pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements from the last two years. The financial information contained in these documents will help you fill out the income and expense portions of the forms, and will also be provided to the Trustee before your 341 meeting. If you do not have your pay stubs you can contact your human resources representative at your job to ask how you can access them. If you don’t have a human resources representative, consider asking your direct boss or your employer’s payroll servicer. If you did not hang on to your tax returns, no sweat! You can request transcripts of your tax returns by mail or online from the IRS.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you file your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy, you will need to take the credit counseling course. The credit counseling course is a pre-bankruptcy requirement approved by the U.S. Trustee’s office. You can take the course 1) online, 2) over the phone or 3) in person. In Alaska, you can take the course in person at Money Management International, Inc. , located at 417 Barrow Street in Anchorage. If you’re not headed to Anchorage anytime soon, we suggest taking advantage of the remote offers. The course will teach you about the different options you have to deal with your debt, including bankruptcy. Once you have finished the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that will be filed with the Alaska Bankruptcy Court with your bankruptcy forms.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Once you have completed the credit counseling course, it’s time to dive into the Clam-Gulch bankruptcy forms. First, you should get prepared. Gather the financial documents discussed earlier (your pay stubs, income tax returns, and bank statements). These financial documents will help you fill out portions of the forms, especially the parts that address income and expenses. The forms will not only ask you about your income and expenses, but also about the debts you owe, who you owe them to, and leases and/or contracts you are a party to. Be as thorough as you can, and consider getting a copy of your credit report to make sure you don’t miss any creditors. Take your time to draft and review these forms before filing them with the Court. The benefit of the forms being available in fillable pdf-format is that you can take your time to review and complete them.
Get Your Filing Fee
It costs $335 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch. This fee applies to those filing individually and those filing with their spouse. This is also a nationwide fee, so that everyone who is filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is required to pay this fee. The Court does understand that this fee may be out of reach for folks looking for relief by filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch. If you can’t pay the fee at the time of filing, you have two options. First, you can apply for a fee waiver. The fee waiver application requires you to provide similar information you did in the bankruptcy forms, such as information about your income and expenses. The fee waiver application will be submitted to the Court for its consideration and decided upon by a judge. You also have the option to request an installment plan. This process is the same, but you will be required to pay equal payments adding up to the full fee after filing your Alaska bankruptcy case.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
When you feel as though your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy forms are in final form, you can print them and file them with the Court. You will need to print two copies of the forms. One copy will be filed with the Court. The other should be retained for your records. It’s recommended that you print one copy, sign it, and then make a copy of it. The original should always be filed with the Court. Also remember that the forms should be printed one-sided only. If you don’t have a printer at home, consider printing at a friend or relative’s house. If that is not an option, consider using a library, if possible, or a Kinkos or Staples.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
At this stage, you are ready to go to Court and file your forms. Filing your forms and paying the filing fee makes your case official and gets it onto the Court’s docket. It will be assigned a court representative called a Trustee to oversee your case. You will file your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy at the Court located at 605 W. 4th Ave, Suite 138 in Anchorage. We realize that this is a three hour drive! So, the easiest way to file your bankruptcy forms is to mail them to the bankruptcy court at the address below:
US Bankruptcy Court
District of Alaska
605 W. 4th Ave, Suite 138
Anchorage, AK 99501
Consider mailing your forms so that you may track their mailing status. You can send them via the U.S. Postal Service, return receipt requested or via Fedex or UPS with tracking.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Upon filing your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy with the Court, you will be required to send your financial documents to the Trustee. The Trustee is entitled to receive your pay stubs, and tax returns. The purpose of sending these forms to the Trustee is to protect the bankruptcy system from fraud and find out whether you have any unprotected property the Trustee can sell on behalf of your creditors. The Trustee’s job is to review the financial documents you send and compare them with your bankruptcy forms, verifying their accuracy. You should submit these forms at least ten days before your 341 meeting to give the Trustee enough time to review everything.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second debtor education course you have to take is the financial management course. This U.S. Trustee approved course is given online or over the telephone. There is no live option for this course in Alaska. The financial management course lasts approximately one hour and is designed to give you the tools you need to maintain healthy financial habits after your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy. Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate of completion either in the mail or via email. You will file this certificate with the Court. Filing your certificate with the Court will ensure that the Court knows that you’ve complied with this requirement and are ready to have your discharge entered when the time comes.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your 341 meeting, also known as the meeting of creditors, is typically the only Court appearance you will have in your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy case. The purpose of the 341 meeting is to allow the Trustee, as well as your creditors, the opportunity to question you about your debts and the information you provided in your bankruptcy forms. Typically, creditors don’t show up to the 341 meeting, but, they have the right to do so. The 341 meeting takes place in the same courthouse you filed your bankruptcy forms at. Remember, that you will not be allowed to enter the building without identification and that electronic devices are prohibited. You should also bring your picture ID and original social security card as a means of identification at your meeting.
Dealing with Your Car
Dealing with your car during your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy may be the most important thing you do. Aside from our homes, our cars are our most prized and often necessary asset. If you own your car, you will need to consider the applicable state or federal exemptions to protect it. You will need to know the value of your car and which exemptions would provide it optimal protection. Exemptions are discussed at the end of this guide. You may also consider reaffirmation or redemption if you have a loan on your car. When you reaffirm your car loan, you continue making payments (even during your bankruptcy) with the condition that if you don’t make payments, the lender will repossess the car and can sue you for any balance left owing on the loan after the car is sold at auction. If you default, you’ll still be responsible for paying the loan even after your Alaska bankruptcy case is done. When you redeem your car, you buy it out for its current value and discharge the rest.
Alaska Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Clam-Gulch
Alaska Means Test
The Alaska bankruptcy Means Test measures your income versus your debt versus your expenses. This measurement determines whether or not you can pay back your debts over time, all things considered. The purpose of this test is to protect the Clam-Gulch bankruptcy system from fraud by preventing people who have enough money to pay at least some for their debts from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Median Income Levels for Alaska
Alaska Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Alaska
Alaska Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Alaska Bankruptcy Forms
Filling out the Alaska bankruptcy forms is easier now than ever. All the forms are available for free on the Court’s website in fillable pdf format. Take your time, be inclusive, and review your Clam-Gulch bankruptcy forms before you file them with the Court.
Alaska is one of the few states that subscribes to both federal and state exemptions. That means, you can pick either set of exemptions (but not both) to protect your property. Typically, federal bankruptcy exemptions are more generous when it comes to the protections they afford to your home and car. Planning on which Alaska bankruptcy exemptions apply to you will be an important factor when filing bankruptcy in Clam-Gulch.