Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
Unmanageable debt and bills are a regular source of stress for thousands of Americans in Maine. Are you being hounded by your debt collectors? If you are not able to pay your bills, you aren’t alone. If you do not see a clear path to your financial solvency, because of medical bills, divorce, the economic downturn, or if you have simply fallen on hard times, don’t worry as there is a simple solution. By filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center, you can get back on your feet. Filing for bankruptcy protection is one of the best ways to eliminate your loans and credit card debt.
The first step when filing bankruptcy is to determine which type of bankruptcy suits you best. A vast majority of people in Maine seek the protection of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center. It is a fast liquidation bankruptcy and provides you with a fresh start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most comprehensive and affordable debt relief available under the US Bankruptcy Code. Filing Chapter 7 completely dischargesnearly all types of unsecured debt. However, to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you will have to pass the Means Test. Your other option is to pursue a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not for everyone. However, if you want to keep your property and have a regular income, it can be the answer for you. After careful analysis of any assetsthat might be sold by your Trustee and of the debts you can discharge, Chapter 7 filing is very beneficial for most people. This is because in many cases, you can protect all your assets.
There is plenty of misinformation and rumors out there about Cumberland Center bankruptcy, and while it keeps many financially strapped individuals from seeking bankruptcy relief, much of it is simply not true. A common misconception that folks have when filing bankruptcy is that if they file bankruptcy in Cumberland Center, their credit score will be ruined. This is not true. Most folks see a gradual increase in their credit scores after filing bankruptcy. Some people think that if they file bankruptcy, they will lose their job. In fact, employers aren’t allowed to fire you for filing bankruptcy. Also, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an attorney for filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center as you can get free legal help or file bankruptcy on your own!
Cumberland Center Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
The cost of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center depends on a variety of factors, including the complexity of your case. Many bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee to assist clients and offer a free consultation. The typical cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Cumberland Center ranges from $1,200 to $1,500. However, during challenging financial times, you may not be able to arrange over $1,200 to hire a Cumberland Center bankruptcy lawyer. But there is no need to worry as you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center on your own, especially if you are good at following instructions.
How to File Bankruptcy in Cumberland Center, Maine for Free
Many cash-strapped people in Maine may not be able to afford to file for bankruptcy. Can I go it alone? It is a common question that many people ask when filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center. When you file bankruptcy, you are instantly under the protection of the bankruptcy laws, and a legal mechanism known as the automatic stay. Want to know how to file bankruptcy in Cumberland Center for free? This City Guide will give you an overview of the Cumberland Center bankruptcy process so that you can get debt relief without incurring high attorney fees.
Collect Your Cumberland Center Bankruptcy Documents
Everyone considering filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center should start by collecting their Maine bankruptcy documents as it will be helpful in every step of the way going forward. Note that filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center involves a lot of paperwork. You should get a copy of your credit report from all three reporting agencies. Keep in mind that you have to paint a truthful and complete picture of your financial situation for the Maine Bankruptcy Court in your forms. The other financial documents that will come in handy when filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center are your pay stubs, recent statements for your auto loan and mortgage (if any), and two latest federal income tax returns.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you can file for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maine, a credit counseling certificate is required by bankruptcy law. This rule helps both you and the Court in determining whether a Maine bankruptcy is actually necessary. You have to take this course from an approved counseling agency in the six months before filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center. Most people in Maine take the counseling course online, from the comfort of their home. The costs for this credit class vary, so you should shop around a bit, particularly if you are planning to take the course online. DebtorCC is an approved creditor counselor in Maine.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
One of the important benefits of taking your bankruptcy credit counseling course before completing your Maine bankruptcy forms you have to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center is that it can help you familiarize yourself with the bankruptcy terminology and what’s considered relevant information. Completing your Cumberland Center bankruptcy forms will be a bit easier when you’re more familiar with the particulars of your financial situation. Besides your Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy, you will need to complete all Schedules, a Statement of Intentions and a Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as other required documents. If you are planning on completing the Cumberland Center bankruptcy forms by yourself, you should review this instruction manual before getting started.
Get Your Filing Fee
The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center is $338. Filing Chapter 13 in Maine will cost you $313. If you can pay this filing fee in full on the day you go to the courthouse to file your Chapter 7 case, you should bring the fee with you either in the form of a money order, or cash. If you cannot raise the full filing fee before filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center, you can still file your case anyway by asking the Court to allow you to pay the fee in installments. You can’t use a personal check to pay your filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
While this part of the Maine bankruptcy process may seem quite self-explanatory, it’s worth some comments, nonetheless. If you are filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center without an attorney ("pro se"), you will have to bring all of your Cumberland Center bankruptcy forms to the courthouse yourself. The first thing you should print out is page one of this checklist as it will help you determine if you missed anything when completing the bankruptcy forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maine. You will have to print everything on white 8.5" x 11" paper, one page per sheet. If you don’t have access to a printer at home, you can go to a local print shop.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
As some of the information on your bankruptcy forms is time-sensitive, you should go to the Court to file all the documents in the same week you printed them. While you can technically start your Cumberland Center bankruptcy case by mailing all your documents and the filing fee to the Maine Bankruptcy Court, it is better to visit the courthouse in person in order to file your initial paperwork. As filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center is a federal proceeding, when entering the courthouse, remember that you are entering a federal building. So, you will need to pass through a security check on the way in.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
When your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center is filed, a bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed by the Maine Bankruptcy Court to administer your case. There’s only one bankruptcy Trustee appointed to each case from a list of potential Trustees. Your bankruptcy Trustee will review all the information contained in your Cumberland Center bankruptcy paperwork, which includes the list of claimed exemptions. Everyone filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center has a duty to cooperate with their bankruptcy Trustee to get their discharge. Your main interaction with the Chapter 7 Trustee will be at your creditors' meeting after your Chapter 7 case is filed.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Completing a post-bankruptcy counseling or debtor education class is required when filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center. This is part of the federal government’s initiative to teach folks how to manage their debt to make sure they don’t wind up in the same financial situation in the future. This is an excellent step in the right direction since before the 2005 Bankruptcy amendments, individuals just filed Maine bankruptcy and were basically left on their own, prone to repeat poor financial habits. This is a two-hour pre-discharge debtor education program that covers a number of financial and budgeting topics. There are many approved debtor education providers in Maine.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Within a short time after your petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, the Court will send a notice to you and all parties, including your creditors, of the place and time for the meeting of creditors. At this meeting, your Maine bankruptcy Trustee will check your proof of your social security number and picture ID. Your Trustee will also swear you in and ask if you will tell the truth. Attendance at the 341 hearing is mandatory if you are filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center. And if you and your spouse filed Cumberland Center bankruptcy jointly, both of you must attend this meeting.
Dealing with Your Car
If you have a car, you’ll have to deal with it as part of your Maine bankruptcy. After all, everything that you own is an asset in your bankruptcy case. If you know that your auto loan is more than you can reasonably handle, filing Chapter 7 in Cumberland Center provides you with the opportunity to surrender (return) your car without worrying about the loan balance, as it is discharged. On the other hand, if your car is paid for, you may keep it as long as it is worth less than the bankruptcy exemption you’re using to protect it. So, you have plenty of options.
Maine Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Cumberland Center
Maine Means Test
Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center is available to people with little to no income and who can’t afford to make payments on their debts. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to first pass the Maine bankruptcy Means Test. The Maine bankruptcy Means Test was designed to prevent folks from abusing the Cumberland Center bankruptcy process by requiring them to establish that they don’t have sufficient income to repay their debts. If your income is above Maine’s median income, then the US Bankruptcy Code requires you to complete a secondary means test analysis. In that analysis, your living expenses will be deducted from your net income to determine your disposable income.
Median Income Levels for Maine
Maine Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Maine
Maine Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Maine Bankruptcy Forms
The Bankruptcy Court organized the Maine bankruptcy forms by the type of information that you will disclose on each form. The Maine bankruptcy forms are the specific forms that people filing bankruptcy in Cumberland Center submit to the Bankruptcy Court during the course of their case. If you work on your Cumberland Center bankruptcy petition a little every day, you will likely be done in about two weeks. Think of your voluntary petition as the “About Me” section as it asks for details, like your name, address, and social security number. When you file your Maine bankruptcy case, you’ll have to file this certification about your creditors' addresses with all your national bankruptcy forms.
People usually understand what Maine bankruptcy is, but often don’t understand how Maine bankruptcy exemptions work in order to protect their belongings. Exemptions in Maine allow you to protect a minimum level of assets from your creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Cumberland Center.