Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated August 17, 2020
If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Claymont you have come to the right place to guide you through the process. Upsolve helps qualifying individuals file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont for free. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the two main types of bankruptcy that consumers can file to get out of debt. When you file a Delaware bankruptcy an automatic stay is initiated which stops creditors from harassing you and allows you to wipe out your debt. The most common bankruptcy in the United States for individuals to get out of debt is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy also known as a liquidation allows individuals to keep most property however, unprotected assets are sold to pay off creditors. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, individuals pay a portion of their debt over a three to five year period without being harassed or sued by their creditors. Moreover, interest stops accruing and it gives individuals facing hard financial times a way to catch up on their mortgage or car payments. Many people are under a misguided impression that to file bankruptcy they need the assistance of an attorney to help them, but that's not true. You can file for bankruptcy on your own. If your budget is tight and you are looking for a way out this guide can help you with the bankruptcy process without spending extra money on a lawyer.
Claymont Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
A Claymont bankruptcy lawyer cost is between $955 and $1,450. If hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is in your budget then you should keep in mind a few things before you pay the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer. First, make sure you are comfortable with the attorney before you hire them as you will have to go deep into your financial situation with them. Second, make sure to find someone who primarily practices in the field. Bankruptcy exemptions can be tricky and you want to make sure you hire someone who knows what they are doing. Third, just because someone charges more than others, has a fancy office and does commercials on TV does not always make them the best. A lot of these firms can be mills that just file numerous cases each month. Find a lawyer who truly cares about you and your needs. Find someone who can explain the process to you so that you feel comfortable moving forward. If you can’t afford to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, no need to worry, can file without one. And, if you qualify we can help you. Once you have determined that you do qualify, you can follow the steps below to help you file bankruptcy in Claymont and get you back to enjoying your life!
How to File Bankruptcy in Claymont, Delaware for Free
If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Claymont on your own, you might be surprised to learn that there will be a lot of documents you will need to gather. It is important to follow each step carefully and stay focused. Don’t get overwhelmed with the process. Keep in mind that if you stay calm and follow the steps below, you will be debt-free in no time!
Each step below will help you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont and explain what you need to do so that you can put all of your worries behind you.
Collect Your Claymont Bankruptcy Documents
To prepare your own Claymont bankruptcy forms, you are going to need to gather all of your financial documents. If you don’t have all of your financial documents don’t worry, you can easily take the time to gather them. Some of the documents you will need are valuations on any property, two years of tax returns, pay stubs, etc. If you can’t locate a document you need to prepare the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont, you can call any financial institutions, government entities, and employers to get the documents. Obtaining copies of official records like vehicle titles, deeds to your property, appraisals, and the like can take several days to a week, so order them now so that you’ll have them when you start filling out your Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms.
Take Credit Counseling
You will be required to complete a credit counseling course to complete Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont. This course will determine if bankruptcy is the right decision for you and give you other options that may be fit for your financial situation. Everyone who files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must complete an approved credit counseling course. This course must be completed before you file your Delaware bankruptcy documents. Once completed you will get a certificate of completion which must be filed with your Claymont bankruptcy documents. Feel free to take the course online, over the telephone or in person. The course usually lasts an hour. Make sure to have a debit or credit card with you when you take the course because it can cost up to $50. Make sure to choose a course from one of the approved credit counseling agencies through your local United States Trustee.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
This is probably the longest step and the step that most people dread when they file a Delaware bankruptcy. Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. At first glance, the forms can seem intimidating because there is so much information the Court wants you to supply. However, if you take this step slowly and answer each question honestly you will be on your way to being debt-free in no time. You will be asked to fill out information such as your name, address, where you work, and how much you earn at your job. These are the most basic questions that probably require no thought. The next part of the forms will ask you questions about your property, the value of the property, how much you bought things for, your creditors, etc. Although, the questions may seem complicated and confusing, if you take the time to do your research, I promise you can answer these questions. These questions all pertain to the history of your financial situation and, simply put, only you have those answers to provide the Court with. So, even if you hire a lawyer or work with Upsolve when filing bankruptcy in Claymont, you will need to provide the information required on the forms.
Get Your Filing Fee
There is a $335 filing fee that must be paid when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont. You can request to divide the fee into four separate payments if you can’t afford to make the payments. You must complete a request to pay the filing fee in installments. The last payment being made must be no later than 120 days after you file your petition. If your income is less than 150% of the poverty level and you are unable to pay the fee in installments, then you can request a fee waiver. Your fee waiver request will be decided by a judge based on the forms you submitted. If your fee waiver is denied, then you must pay the fee immediately so that your Delaware bankruptcy case does not get dismissed.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Before you file your Claymont bankruptcy you will need to print copies of all your bankruptcy forms. You will need to make sure you print two copies: one for yourself and one to file with the Court. Make sure you sign the original petition, schedules, and statements for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont. If you don’t have a printer you can go to your local library, FedEx or Staples to print. Make sure you bring money with you to pay for any printing costs. Although you may be looking to save money, the Court does not allow two-sided documents so make sure you only print on one side.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Once you have printed all of your Claymont bankruptcy forms, you will need to head to Court to file your forms. Make sure you bring identification, spare change for parking and your counseling certificate with you. When you get to the Court you will need to find the Clerk’s office. The Clerk will review all of your documents to ensure you properly completed everything and signed the documents in all of the correct places. Once your documents are filed you will get a case number that you will need to keep in a safe place.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Once you file your Delaware bankruptcy, your Court-appointed Trustee will want copies of all the documents you used to complete your forms. A Trustee is an individual appointed by the Court to review your Claymont bankruptcy forms. The Trustee is a representative to your creditors and makes sure you have no assets that can be used to pay them. Your Trustee will ask you for a copy of your most recent federal income tax return, and documents like six months of paystubs, bank statements or all documents about any property. You must send these documents to your Trustee 7days before your meeting of creditors. Each Trustee has different documents that they want and different modes of how they want them. Some Trustees like hard copies, while others want them to be sent electronically. The best way to make sure you provide them with everything they need is to contact their office directly and ask if you don’t hear from them within a couple of weeks of filing bankruptcy in Claymont.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
You will have to take a course from one of an approved credit counseling agencies as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont. Often referred to as the Post-Petition Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course. This course covers topics like creating a budget, how to manage credit, and how to deal with your future finances. The course costs $15- 50 dollars and takes about two hours to complete. The course is offered online, over the telephone, or in-person. You will not receive a discharge in your Delaware Bankruptcy until you have completed this course. Don’t forget to immediately file your certificate of completion with the Court as soon as you are done. If you forget your case will close without a discharge and your creditors will still be able to come after you.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
You will need to attend a 341 meeting of creditors. The 341 meeting of creditors takes place between three to six weeks after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont is filed. You will receive the details about the meeting, including the date, time and place of the meeting on Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, which will be mailed to your home a few days after filing bankruptcy in Claymont. At the 341 meeting, the Trustee will swear you in and ask you questions about the documents you submitted to the Court. You should bring any financial documents used to prepare your Claymont bankruptcy forms. The meeting is a casual meeting which lasts about 10 minutes. Don’t be scared! Review your forms beforehand and you should be good to go!
Dealing with Your Car
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont, you have different options. If you own the vehicle outright, you may be able to keep your property if it falls under an exemption you are claiming to protect it. If you are still making payments on a loan, you will have to tell the Court whether you wish to reaffirm, redeem or surrender the car. If you are still paying for your car and want to keep it, you can enter into a reaffirmation agreement with your lender. This agreement means that you will continue paying the loan even after your Delaware bankruptcy is discharged. This may even allow you to help rebuild your credit if the lender continues to report your payments to the credit reporting agencies. You also have the option to redeem the car. If you redeem the car you pay its market value to the lender and discharge the rest. However, the lender must agree to the value. Finally, if you just want to get out of a car loan you can’t afford, then surrendering the car may be in your best interests. This simply means giving it back to the lender without any obligation to pay it back.
Delaware Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Claymont
Delaware Means Test
The Delaware bankruptcy Means Test was added to make sure people who could afford to pay their bills couldn't file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Claymont. Many people were abusing the bankruptcy system by filing petitions when they could afford to pay their debts back. To qualify under the Delaware bankruptcy Means Test you will need to see if monthly household income is below Delaware’s monthly household income. If it is above then you will need to go to a second part of the test which calculates your income, expenses and disposable income.
Median Income Levels for Delaware
Delaware Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Delaware
Delaware Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Delaware Bankruptcy Forms
Remember to complete all of the Delaware bankruptcy forms before filing your Claymont bankruptcy. Take your time to be accurate, honest and complete. Don’t leave anything blank and if you don’t know an answer don’t guess. To complete the forms, you will need a list of all your creditors, the amount owed; where you work, how much you earn and how often you are paid; a list of all your property; and a list of your monthly expenses. You will need to tell the Court how much money you had in the bank within the last two years. If you had a large sum of money recently, you may even need to provide receipts showing what you spent money on. If you had used a debt consolidation company or settlement company don’t forget to list them as creditors on your petition when filing bankruptcy in Claymont.
The Delaware bankruptcy exemptions determine which property you can keep when you file a Claymont bankruptcy. Exemptions allow you to keep the property the Court deems necessary for basic living. To determine which property you are allowed to keep you will have to go through the exemptions and determine how much equity your property has. If your property has no equity or falls under the exemption, then you can keep it. If, however, your property is above the allowable exemption then you won’t be able to keep it.