Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 30, 2020
Major life events, such as job loss, divorce, or illness, can wreak havoc on your personal finances. Once you are just a bit behind on your payments, late charges and interest rates multiply the problem, and suddenly you are receiving harassing calls from your creditors and bill collectors, leaving you so overwhelmed and confused that you do not know how to turn things around. Suddenly it seems that your world has been turned upside down. Thankfully, Hawaii bankruptcy laws allow people to regain control of their financial situation. By filing bankruptcy in Waimea, you can eliminate most debts.
You can file Waimea bankruptcy under two chapters: Chapter 7 and 13. The most common form of bankruptcy in Hawaii is Chapter 7. Often known as the liquidation or straight bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea is used by people who do not have a lot of assets. Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hawaii allows you in most cases to eliminate most common types of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, and bank loans. Another common type of Hawaii bankruptcy is Chapter 13. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep your vehicle if you are behind on your auto loan or keep your home if you’re behind on your mortgage. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more of a bill consolidation approach. A repayment plan is created and filed with the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court and typically lasts three to five years. The first important step when filing bankruptcy in Waimea is to determine which type of Hawaii bankruptcy suits you best.
You may have heard a lot of awful things about Hawaii bankruptcy. However, did you know that most of it is untrue or misleading? Much of it is rumor and misconception, some of it is an urban myth, and many of the stories about Waimea bankruptcy are perpetuated by creditors who just want you to be scared of bankruptcy. Some married couples in Hawaii think that filing bankruptcy in Waimea means that their spouse will have to file too. In a lot of cases, where both husband and wife have significant debt, it makes more sense for them to file jointly – but it’s never a requirement under the bankruptcy law. Many people think that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea is a complicated and tedious process. This is another myth as most Chapter 7 cases are quite straightforward, and you can get free legal help.
Waimea Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
One of the primary concerns that most folks in Hawaii have are the costs and court fees associated with filing Hawaii bankruptcy. There are many factors that are evaluated in order to determine the lawyer fees associated with filing your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Waimea, such as the amount and debt and the number of creditors. The average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Waimea ranges from $1,199 to $1,500. If you are low on cash, you can file Waimea bankruptcy on your own as it is not mandatory to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. Many people in Hawaii file bankruptcy ‘pro se.’
How to File Bankruptcy in Waimea, Hawaii for Free
Many people have a hard time affording the high fees charged by bankruptcy attorneys for representing them in Bankruptcy Court. This is why they want to know how to file bankruptcy in Waimea for free. If you are deep in debt, you can file Waimea bankruptcy on your own. If you plan to file file ‘pro se’ (without a lawyer), this City Guide will be very helpful.
Collect Your Waimea Bankruptcy Documents
There’s a bit of legwork involved that you will want to complete well before you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea. You will have to collect all the documents that you need for filing bankruptcy in Waimea. To accurately calculate your income, you’ll have to collect your pay stubs from the last six months. Moreover, you will have to provide a complete listing of your creditors to the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court when filing bankruptcy. You can obtain a free credit report that will help you with this, but you must also review any collection notices you’re getting in the mail. Also, collect your recent bank statements as your Trustee will need them.
Take Credit Counseling
During the 180 days before filing bankruptcy in Waimea, you have to complete a credit counseling course. It is the first of the two courses you will have to take. The office of the U.S. Trustee must approve this course, and it may cost between $25 and $50. You can attend the Hawaii bankruptcy credit counseling course in person in Honolulu, or it can be done over the internet and the phone. The course is available in multiple languages. If you can’t afford this credit counseling course, in some cases, you might qualify for discounts or a fee waiver.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
A good reason to complete your credit counseling course early is that you will have an idea of your financial situation before you start to fill in your bankruptcy forms. Some of the national bankruptcy forms are pretty self-explanatory, and you can easily complete them yourself, while others might be a little more technical. It’s important to be diligent and careful in completing your bankruptcy forms, as you’re signing everything under penalty of perjury. If you are working with a Waimea bankruptcy attorney, they’ll ask you all the relevant questions that they need answered for completing your bankruptcy forms based on Hawaii bankruptcy laws and procedures.
Get Your Filing Fee
Filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea costs $338 per case. This is applicable if you’re single and filing by yourself or married and filing a Chapter 7 with your spouse. If you qualify for a filing fee waiver, you have to complete this application before heading to the Court to file your Waimea bankruptcy. If you don’t meet the requirements for a fee waiver but are not able to pay the full amount all at once at the time of your Hawaii bankruptcy filing, you may apply to pay this filing fee in installments. You can’t use a debit card, credit card, or personal check to make this fee payment when filing bankruptcy in Waimea.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once you have collected your Court filing fee and completed your bankruptcy forms, the next step is to print out these forms in order to officially file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea. It’s always a good idea to photocopy or print out an extra set of forms for yourself to have with you at the hearing and keep for your own records. Although you have to submit these documents to the Bankruptcy Court when filing bankruptcy in Waimea, they are printed on standard-sized paper. However, you should never print on both sides of the paper since the Bankruptcy Court will not accept that. If you don’t have a printer, you should go to a local print shop, like Waimea Instant Printing.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
You have put in a lot of hard work in collecting your Hawaii bankruptcy documents, filling out your Waimea bankruptcy forms, and completing your mandatory credit counseling class. All this hard work will pay off in the form of an automatic stay that will go into effect and protect you from your creditors as soon as you’re done filing bankruptcy in Waimea. As you would not want the bankruptcy documents filed in your case to get outdated, you should go to the courthouse ideally the same day that you print your bankruptcy forms. You can visit the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court at Bishop Street in Honolulu to file your paperwork.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
A Hawaii bankruptcy Trustee is an individual appointed by the US Trustee, who in turn is an officer of the US Department of Justice, to represent your bankruptcy estate in a Waimea bankruptcy proceeding. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, it is your Trustee’s duty to review all your bankruptcy forms and then investigate and verify your financial information. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee is also required to determine if there is nonexempt property that can be sold to repay a portion of your debt. Everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea has a duty to cooperate with their bankruptcy Trustee. You will hear from your Trustee a couple of weeks after filing bankruptcy in Waimea with information on what to send to their office.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
You will need to take a second debt counseling course, also known as debtor education. You have to take this course after filing bankruptcy in Waimea. The course will help you understand and evaluate your current budget and how to effectively manage any debt in the future. And — as with your credit counseling course — the agency you choose must come from a federally approved list. This course usually lasts 90 minutes. It might take a bit longer for some people to complete this Hawaii bankruptcy requirement. However, you don’t necessarily have to travel to a physical setting as you can receive debtor education on the internet or via telephone.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The "341 meeting" is usually the only Court hearing most folks filing bankruptcy in Waimea ever have to attend. Note that the numbers "341" reference the Bankruptcy Code section that talks about this hearing. This meeting will not take place in a courtroom, but will likely be held in a meeting room. Also, the 341 hearing is not in front of a judge, but your Hawaii bankruptcy Trustee. Your creditors or their attorneys may ask you questions regarding the validity and nature of your debts at this meeting. You have to answer these questions honestly to the best of your knowledge or belief.
Dealing with Your Car
Concern regarding what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea means for your car is normal. After all, it is an important asset, and you likely need it to travel to and from work, among other things. The great news is that filing Hawaii bankruptcy puts you in the driver's seat, so you can decide what to do with your car. If you have a car loan that you can’t afford, filing bankruptcy in Waimea allows you to surrender your vehicle without having to pay the rest of the auto loan. If you love your car and your monthly repayment is manageable, you may choose to keep everything the same by entering into a reaffirmation agreement.
Hawaii Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Waimea
Hawaii Means Test
There are multiple ways that the Hawaii bankruptcy system determines if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea. The primary one is called the Hawaii bankruptcy Means Test. Generally, if your average income is lower than the median income for a Hawaii household of your size, you will be allowed to file Waimea bankruptcy under Chapter 7. If you’ve failed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Means Test, it’s important to know that you can still file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Hawaii. The Hawaii bankruptcy Means Test is not just based on your income. You may still qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your expenses are considerably high. For example, if your mortgage payment is quite steep, you may still be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hawaii.
Median Income Levels for Hawaii
Hawaii Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
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Poverty Levels for Hawaii
Hawaii Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Hawaii Bankruptcy Forms
The Hawaii bankruptcy forms are the forms that everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea has to submit to the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court as part of their case. Note that the majority of these forms are the online bankruptcy forms available for people filing bankruptcy anywhere in the US.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Waimea, you are allowed to keep certain assets by claiming an exemption even though you discharge all your unsecured debts, like medical bills and bank loans. You may also keep your secured assets, such as your car and home if you’re current with payments and their equity, if any, fits within the Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions. You can choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions, which is another benefit of filing bankruptcy in Waimea. By understanding Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions, you can equip yourself with information to make sure that when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hawaii, you can make the most out of it.