Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
Although the unemployment rate in Frederick, Maryland, has decreased in the last couple of months, the poverty rate in the city is more than 11%. Many people in Frederick have turned to bankruptcy as a means to overcome their financial issues. Whether you are looking to stop a foreclosure on your house, a repossession of your vehicle, or a wage garnishment, filing bankruptcy in Frederick can offer you a fresh start while allowing you to rebuild your credit so that you can get back on a stable financial footing. Bankruptcy is a legal procedure where a person asks the Court for protection from their creditors because they can’t pay their debts.
A person filing bankruptcy in Frederick generally has to decide whether to file for protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, depending on their specific circumstances. Chapter 7 is the liquidation chapter, also called “straight bankruptcy.” Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick means you will keep most of your assets as they are protected, with a few exceptions. A Chapter 7 case usually remains open for 6 months (from the initial filing to the date your case is closed), with the discharge being entered about 90 days after the filing of the petition.
Chapter 13 is another kind of bankruptcy - the reorganization chapter. A Chapter 13 is mainly filed by people who are facing foreclosure, who have expensive property they want to keep even after filing bankruptcy, and by people who don’t pass the Means Test. Most people consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick if they have little to no disposable income. While there are several myths and misconceptions when it comes to filing bankruptcy in Frederick, the truth may actually surprise you.
A common misconception in Frederick bankruptcy cases is that people believe that they will end up losing everything in case they file bankruptcy. However, a majority of bankruptcy filers don’t lose any of their property. This is because of specific protections that exist under federal and state law. Another myth that people have is that their spouse will need to file for bankruptcy as well. But the truth is that you can file bankruptcy in Frederick without your spouse filing with you. Some people in Maryland believe that they need money to pay a bankruptcy lawyer just to find out about bankruptcy protection. In fact, you can get free legal help or file on your own!
Frederick Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Are you wondering what the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Frederick is? The cost of bankruptcy attorneys in Frederick is between $899 and $3,500, depending how complicated the case is. A lawyer can help you fill out all the paperwork and gather all the necessary documents. Bankruptcy attorneys focus their practice on helping people navigate bankruptcy proceedings. They will also answer your questions about filing bankruptcy in Frederick to put you at ease. You can also benefit from a free consultation that many lawyers offer. However, if your case is not complex and you can’t afford the fee, you can file Frederick Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick on your own and save a lot of money.
How to File Bankruptcy in Frederick, Maryland for Free
Many consider filing bankruptcy in Frederick, but they don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Wondering how to file bankruptcy in Frederick for free? This City Guide will give you an overview of the process so that you can get out of debt as soon as possible. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to financial stability and get the peace of mind you deserve.
Collect Your Frederick Bankruptcy Documents
Although you might be tempted just to get to work on the various bankruptcy forms when filing bankruptcy in Frederick, you should take the time to collect certain documents first. It will save you a lot of hassles later on. These documents will support the story you’ll have to tell in your bankruptcy forms. Filing bankruptcy in Frederick comes with strict requirements to be truthful and complete in your forms and meeting them helps ensure things go smoothly. Frederick bankruptcy documents include your paycheck stubs, bank statements, student loan records, your tax returns, home and car valuations, and credit card bills. You will also need your credit report. You can get a copy of your credit report from Transunion, Experian, or Equifax to learn how much debt you owe. If you have hired an attorney, make sure you bring copies of your Frederick bankruptcy documents to the initial consultation to help speed things up.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you file for Frederick bankruptcy, you will have to take a credit counseling course that has been approved for bankruptcy filers in Maryland. Once you complete this counseling course, you will get a certificate of completion that you have to submit the Court along with your Frederick bankruptcy petition. This course costs between $10 and $50. You can complete it in about ninety minutes, either over the phone or online. There is a provider offering the course in person, but you’ll have to travel to Silver Springs to take the course through them. You will have to provide the credit counseling agency with your expenses and income.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Every bankruptcy starts with a comprehensive packet of paperwork known as the bankruptcy schedules and statements. To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick, you’ll have to complete several forms. Before the Maryland Bankruptcy Court discharges your debts, you will use these forms to disclose the details of your financial situation, such as your expenses, income, property, property transactions, and debt. It’s crucial to be diligent in completing your bankruptcy forms, as you’re signing everything under penalty of perjury. Get the official Court forms to make sure your bankruptcy proceedings go smoothly. One of the important documents that you’re required to prepare when filing bankruptcy in Frederick is a creditors' mailing matrix. The Court will use the list to turn it into address labels. Some of the mistakes that people make when filing bankruptcy in Frederick is not filling out the forms correctly or leaving out property they own thinking it’s not important, not realizing everything’s important.
Get Your Filing Fee
It now costs $335 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick and $310 to file a Chapter 13, whether it’s for one person or for a married couple. You will have to pay a filing fee when filing your paperwork with the Bankruptcy Court unless you are eligible for a fee waiver. The Maryland Bankruptcy Court accepts payment in many forms, such as cash, cashier's checks, and money orders. If the Court waives your fee, you don’t have to pay it when filing bankruptcy in Frederick. Also, if you can’t arrange the money at once, the Court may allow you to pay your filing fee in installments. You will need to complete an application to pay your filing fee in installments and submit it to the Court.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
If you have hired a lawyer, they will file the case electronically for you. On the other hand, if you are filing bankruptcy in Frederick without a lawyer (“pro se”), you’ll have to submit everything to the Court on paper. You can either mail the documents to the clerk's office or drop them off in person. Printing your forms is an important step when you are filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick. It’s essential to ensure that all the information you have provided is complete, accurate, and up to date. You can print your copy double-sided; however, the forms you file with the Court to start your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick cannot be double-sided. Printing everything at the same time means you will know you have the same information in your version as the version that you provided to the Court.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
You will file your bankruptcy with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland. The Maryland Bankruptcy Court has 3 locations, but only 2 of them accept cases for filing. Frederick county residents will file their Maryland bankruptcy at the Greenbelt location. When you are going to the Court, keep in mind that you will need to pass through security on your way in and this can take some time, so plan accordingly. The clerk will take all your bankruptcy forms, and after processing them, they will give you the name of your bankruptcy Trustee and the case number assigned to your Frederick bankruptcy case.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
In every individual bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, a bankruptcy Trustee with several obligations and powers is assigned to handle it. When you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick, the Court will assign a bankruptcy Trustee to your case as well. The bankruptcy Trustee comes from a pool of unbiased and neutral bankruptcy Trustees. You will have to send your bankruptcy Trustee documents that will support the information you have provided in your paperwork, like pay stubs and tax returns. The bankruptcy Trustee will handle your case from the start of the case until it’s closed sometime after your discharge is entered. In certain cases, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee also has the authority to get back certain property that you transferred to somebody before filing bankruptcy in Frederick.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
You will have to complete an instructional course in financial management as a precondition to receiving your discharge when filing bankruptcy in Frederick. Note that this course is in addition to the initial credit counseling requirement. The goal of this debtor education course is to inform and educate you on making sound financial decisions so that you will not have to seek bankruptcy relief in the future. You have to take the debtor education course from any provider that is approved by the U.S. Trustee for Maryland bankruptcy cases. You can easily find a comprehensive list of the approved debtor education providers on the U.S. Trustee’s website. You have to complete this course and file a certificate of completion with the Court once done, or your discharge won’t be entered.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
After your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Frederick is filed, a hearing, known as a “Section 341 Meeting of Creditors” is held. This hearing offers your Trustee and creditors an opportunity to ask you questions you under oath and confirm the information that is contained in your Frederick bankruptcy schedules and statements. Don’t let the fact that creditors can show up for your 341 meeting frighten you; in reality that rarely ever happens. Note that 341 meetings for most Maryland bankruptcy cases are held in Greenbelt, Baltimore, Hagerstown, or Salisbury. Make sure you are well prepared for this meeting by reviewing your bankruptcy forms and supporting documents beforehand and remember to bring your picture ID and original social security card to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Dealing with Your Car
Other than your home, a piece of property you may be most concerned about protecting when filing bankruptcy in Frederick is probably your car or truck. In most cases, you won’t lose your car during your Maryland bankruptcy case, provided your equity is fully protected by the available exemptions. Maryland has a wild card exemption that allows you to protect as much as $6,000 in cash or other property as well as up to $5,000 in personal property. You can apply this exemption to your car. If you have a car with outstanding debt, you can keep the car by reaffirming the car loan and continuing to make payments on it.
Maryland Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Frederick
Maryland Means Test
One of the most important steps in determining which type of bankruptcy to file is the Maryland bankruptcy Means Test. This is a comprehensive snapshot of your current financial situation which the Bankruptcy Court requires for deciding your eligibility to file for Chapter 7 relief. If your income is more than the Maryland median household income for a household of the same size, then you will have to complete thefull Maryland bankruptcy Means Test calculation. The Means Test includes a comprehensive calculation of your gross income over the 6 months before the month in which you file your bankruptcy case. Find out about theChapter 7 income limits to make sure you are filing bankruptcy in Frederick under the proper Chapter.
Median Income Levels for Maryland
Maryland Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Maryland
Maryland 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)|
Maryland Bankruptcy Forms
The Maryland bankruptcy forms that you have to file to meet all filing requirements are comprised entirely of the official national forms that are used in all states. You will have to complete these national forms when filing bankruptcy in Frederick. Maryland doesn’t have any specific local forms that need to be filed alongside the national ones, but the Court has specific instructions for you to follow when creating your creditor mailing matrix. All of the forms are available for free online.
The Maryland bankruptcy exemptions determine the property you can protect from creditors under Maryland law when filing bankruptcy in Frederick. The Maryland bankruptcy exemptions allow married couples that file jointly to each claim a complete set of exemptions unless otherwise indicated.