Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated July 28, 2020
If you are overwhelmed with debt, you are not alone. Whether you’re going through a messy divorce, have lost your job, are struggling with medical expenses, have too much credit card debt, or have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, there are many debt relief options available to you. And filing bankruptcy in Bangor is one of them. Maine bankruptcy law is designed to give people a fresh start. Bangor also has a high poverty rate of 22.6%, which is why many people consider filing bankruptcy in Maine.
You can file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maine. Most people who file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor eliminate almost all of their debt. If you do not have significant assets (property), a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor is often the best route to take in order to eliminate your debt. Filing bankruptcy in Bangor under Chapter 7 has many benefits. You can stop creditor harassment, wipe out medical debt, stop foreclosures, and more. For some people in Maine, Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the right choice. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will repay some or all of your debt by making payments (monthly) to a Maine bankruptcy Trustee, typically over the course of 3 to 5 years. Note that the payments you make to your Trustee are distributed to the creditors. The first step when filing Bangor bankruptcy is to determine which type of bankruptcy suits you best.
Sometimes, it’s hard to determine if Maine bankruptcy is the right solution for your financial situation, and you also have to consider whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Bangor will benefit you, especially in the long run. To add to this confusion, there’re several myths and misconceptions regarding Bangor bankruptcy that may make things even more complicated. A common misconception that folks filing bankruptcy in Bangor have is that if they file Maine bankruptcy, everyone will know they have filed for bankruptcy. However, unless you’re a prominent person, it is likely that the only people who will know about your bankruptcy filing are your Trustee and creditors. Some people believe that if they file Maine bankruptcy, it will hurt their credit for ten years. Simply because bankruptcy can remain on the credit report for up to ten years, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have an adverse effect on your credit rating for these 10 years. Also, contrary to what many people believe, you don’t need an attorney to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor as you can get free legal help.
Bangor Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
The first question that many people in Maine have when considering filing bankruptcy in Bangor is “how much does it cost to hire a Maine bankruptcy lawyer?” This is understandable, as money is tight. The typical cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Bangor ranges from $1,200 to $1,500. If you decide to work with a Bangor bankruptcy lawyer, their fees will usually account for the biggest chunk of your total bankruptcy costs. However, if you can’t arrange the fee, you don’t have to worry as you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor on your own, especially if you are good at following instructions. Many people file ‘pro se’ and get the debt relief they deserve.
How to File Bankruptcy in Bangor, Maine for Free
As arranging money to hire a Maine bankruptcy lawyer can be difficult for most people filing bankruptcy in Bangor, they want to know how to file bankruptcy in Bangor for free. If you are one of them, you have come to the right place. This City Guide will give you an overview of the Bangor bankruptcy process so that you can get out of debt soon without incurring high attorney fees.
Collect Your Bangor Bankruptcy Documents
The first important step in preparing to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor is to collect all your Maine bankruptcy documents. You will need these documents when completing your Bangor bankruptcy forms. This includes obtaining a copy of your credit report, one from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies in the US. You should also gather all bills or collection notices that you have received in the past 90 days. Remember, only because a debt isn’t (yet) listed on the credit report doesn’t mean you do not have to pay it. When filing bankruptcy in Bangor, you will also need your pay stubs, recent statements for your auto loan and mortgage (if any), and two latest federal income tax returns.
Take Credit Counseling
All individuals are required to participate and complete a credit counseling course before they can file for Maine bankruptcy. This credit counseling course in Bangor can be administered by any organization that has the license to provide the course. It is helpful to know that you may take this one-time credit course over the phone or even online, and you may complete it pretty much any time, day or night. However, if you are married and filing bankruptcy in Bangor, you and your spouse both have to take this course. Once done, you’ll receive a completion certificate that you will have to file with the Court along with the rest of your Bangor bankruptcy forms.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
This is perhaps the most technical aspect of getting ready to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor. There are several different Maine bankruptcy forms, which include your Voluntary Petition, your Statement of Financial Affairs, and your Schedules to name just a few. Note that the complete list of documents that you will need for filing bankruptcy in Bangor is listed on the first page of this checklist. If you hired a bankruptcy lawyer to assist you in filing bankruptcy in Bangor, they will do all the heavy lifting and prepare all your bankruptcy forms based on the documents and information you provide to their office.
Get Your Filing Fee
Only people who earn less than 150 % of the federal poverty guidelines can apply for a filing fee waiver, and even then, it’s up to the Maine Bankruptcy Court to decide whether the filing fee should be waived. The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor is $335. Filing Chapter 13 in Maine will cost you $310. If you cannot arrange the full filing fee before filing bankruptcy in Bangor, you have another option. You can ask the Court to allow you to pay the fee in installments. You have to pay this fee in full by cash or money order.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
If you have a Maine bankruptcy lawyer assisting you with your bankruptcy case, then they will review all the information with you and file everything with the Bankruptcy Court through the Court's electronic filing system. If a lawyer is not representing you, you can’t use the electronic filing system. This means you will have to file a paper version of all your Bangor bankruptcy forms with the Court. As all the bankruptcy forms tend to look quite similar, it is helpful to mark each one of the bankruptcy forms as "done" after printing them, so you do not lose track. You can go to a local print shop, like Print Bangor, if you don’t have access to a printer at home or work.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
While you can file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor by mailing everything to the Maine Bankruptcy Court, it can be a little stressful as you’ll be relying on the mail system in order to get everything there by a certain date. It is better to visit the courthouse in person to hand everything in, especially considering the fact that here is a Bankruptcy Court in Bangor. If you’re not familiar with the part of town that the courthouse is located in, you should see what parking options are available before heading out. Once inside the courthouse, you can easily find the clerk's office where the staff will accept your Bangor bankruptcy forms for filing with the Bankruptcy Court.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
When filing bankruptcy in Bangor, one of the key players that you will interact with is your bankruptcy Trustee. A Maine bankruptcy Trustee is often a lawyer assigned to oversee your Bangor bankruptcy case. The role of the Trustee in a bankruptcy case differs depending on whether your bankruptcy case is a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor, the Trustee administers the bankruptcy estate and also distributes any non-exempt assets to your creditors. The Trustee is usually paid a certain percentage of any funds they can find for creditors. You’ll meet your Maine bankruptcy Trustee at the 341 meeting of creditors.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second course required as part of your Maine bankruptcy is the debtor education course. The main purpose of this debtor education course is to provide you with the skills and knowledge to take better control of your future after filing bankruptcy in Bangor. There are many approved debtor education providers in Maine. You have to take the course after your Bangor bankruptcy has been filed but before you get your discharge. The financial strategies you will learn will help ensure your success after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor is over.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
After filing your Maine bankruptcy case, you will have to appear at a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting. It’s an odd name as in a majority of cases, creditors won’t be present at this meeting. At this 341 meeting, your Bangor bankruptcy Trustee will check your proof of your social security number and picture ID. The meeting of creditors is usually an informal hearing often scheduled approximately thirty days after the filing of your bankruptcy case. Keep in mind that you don’t appear in front of a Judge. The vast majority of 341 hearings in Maine go very smoothly and last only a few minutes.
Dealing with Your Car
It is likely that you need your car to get around Bangor, whether that is to and from work, the grocery store or school. Filing bankruptcy in Bangor provides you with the opportunity to deal with the car in a way that best suits you. If you like your vehicle and the auto loan makes sense both with respect to your ability to make the repayments and the outstanding balance, you may keep everything the way it is by entering into a reaffirmation agreement. On the other hand, if you think that your car loan is more than you can reasonably handle, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor provides you with the opportunity to surrender (return) your car.
Maine Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Bangor
Maine Means Test
Note that Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor is not available to everyone. Maine bankruptcy is for folks who do not have money left over after paying their necessary monthly bills. So, to determine whether you can file a Chapter 7, you have to pass a test called the Maine bankruptcy Means Test. The test requires you to show to the Bangor Bankruptcy Court that your income is lower than the state median income given your household size. If the test results show that you have the means to pay back some or all of your unsecured debt— such as credit card balances, and medical bills — you won’t be able to file for Chapter 7 and have to file under Chapter 13.
Median Income Levels for Maine
Maine Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Maine
Maine 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)|
Maine Bankruptcy Forms
A majority of the Maine bankruptcy forms are national bankruptcy forms used in all bankruptcy cases across the US. Your voluntary petition is the first of several forms that you have to file with the Bangor Bankruptcy Court. The voluntary petition will initiate your bankruptcy case. The Bankruptcy Court organized the Maine bankruptcy forms by the type of information that you will disclose on each form. It is also vital to keep in mind that the Maine Bankruptcy Court requires you to bring a full copy of your bankruptcy forms to your 341 meeting. Finally, the Bankruptcy Court has put together a useful guide for people planning to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Bangor without a lawyer.
If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Bangor, but fear that you’ll end up losing everything in the process, you don’t have to fear any longer. Maine bankruptcy exemptions allow you to protect certain items of property when you decide to discharge your debt under Chapter 7.Maine bankruptcy exemptions protect you from starting from scratch, allowing you to fully realize the benefit of Maine bankruptcy.