Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated December 10, 2019
If you are struggling to pay bills, then filing bankruptcy in Meridian may be something to consider. Meridian, the sixth-largest city in Mississippi. Meridian is surrounded by rich vegetation, several national forest reserves and state parks. If you are struggling to make ends meet each month then filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian can be a way to start enjoying the outdoors again.
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian can help you become debt-free within a few months. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to start over fresh. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian will eliminate your debts so that you no longer have to pay anything back to your creditors. If you fall into a category where you make too much money or have too many assets, then you will need to look into filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 both have protections to stop creditors from contacting you. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay goes into place preventing creditors from going after you. This means that any wage garnishments or levies must stop. This Meridian bankruptcy guide will help guide you through the bankruptcy process. By using the tools Upsolve has you can file your Mississippi bankruptcy without hiring an attorney.
Meridian Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
If you don’t have the money to hire a Meridian bankruptcy lawyer, then you have come to the right place. Although, hiring a lawyer to help you file your Meridian bankruptcy can be advantageous, they can be costly. If you decide to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer to explore your options, make sure to hire someone you feel comfortable with. Be prepared to explain your financial situation in detail. A good Meridian bankruptcy lawyer will be able to assess your situation and determine the best option for your financial situation. Do your research to find someone who practices in this area of law. You can go on Google or Yelp to read up on their reviews and make sure they are qualified to handle your case. A Meridian bankruptcy lawyer costs anywhere from $999-$1,200 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The cost for a bankruptcy lawyer will vary depending on the complexity of your case. If you hire a lawyer ask as many questions as possible to ensure they are capable of handling your case.
How to File Bankruptcy in Meridian, Mississippi for Free
This guide will be your best friend for the next few weeks as you prepare for your Mississippi bankruptcy. Read the directions carefully, and make sure to gather all the documents you need as you learn how to file bankruptcy in Meridian.
Collect Your Meridian Bankruptcy Documents
Start by gathering your Meridian bankruptcy documents. Gathering the documents now will help you to be more organized when you go to fill out your forms to help you refer back to. You will need to gather copies of your tax returns and credit report. If you need your taxes, you can go online to the IRS website and get a copy. You should order a credit report so that you know exactly who your creditors are. You will also need to gather your paystubs, valuations of your property, payoff statements, bank statements, information about stocks, bonds, or any other financial assets you have. Once you have your documents and complete the forms you will be able to file your case with the court. Once your case is filed, creditors will no longer be able to contact you because the automatic stay is initiated.
Take Credit Counseling
You will have to take a one hour-course before moving forward with your Meridian bankruptcy. This course is for your benefit, to help you decide if bankruptcy is the right decision. You will speak to a credit counselor, who will advise you whether you understand the bankruptcy process and talk you through how it works. You can take the course in the convenience of your home either online or over the phone. The course will need to be completed and the certificate of completion filed with your bankruptcy documents. The course will analyze your income and finances. Make a list of your monthly expenses before you begin the course, so you have an idea of what they are. The course will give you tips on budgeting to help you in the future. Once the course has been completed you will need to file a certificate of completion with the court so that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian is processed.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Upsolve can help you find which bankruptcy forms you need to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed. There are 24 forms that will need to be completed to ensure your case goes smoothly. These forms will ask about all of your finances so make sure to keep all your paperwork organized. This can be a long process but if you take your time and take some breaks in between, you will get it all done in no time! Read through all the directions thoroughly to ensure you understand what is being asked of you. As long as you follow directions carefully you should be able to complete all of the forms on your own. You can always contact a Meridian bankruptcy lawyer or local legal aid organization to help you if you think the forms are too complicated and you’re not eligible for assistance from Upsolve.
Get Your Filing Fee
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian is $335. For people who are not working this can seem like a huge amount of money. If you fall into this category then you may want to apply for a fee waiver. Fee waivers are not guaranteed. If your income falls below the 150% you will be eligible to apply for a fee waiver. The judge will look over your financial situation to determine if you don’t have to pay anything. If you do not qualify for a fee waiver you can seek to pay the filing fee in installments. If you aren’t allowed to do either of the above, you will need to pay the fee for your Mississippi bankruptcy in full at the time your case is filed.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
You can only submit hard copies of your forms to the bankruptcy court. You can print your Meridian bankruptcy forms at your local library. The website gives hours of operation and costs for printing. If you can’t get to the library, you can locate a FedEx, Staples or Kinkos that can assist you in printing your forms. Don’t print any of your forms double-sided. The court will never accept double-sided forms. You should print a copy for you and one for the court.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
You won’t be able to complete your bankruptcy filing online. You will need to head down to the bankruptcy court to hand in your forms. Make sure to have your filing fee and ID to complete your Meridian bankruptcy. When you get down there, you will have to pass through security. You will then need to find the Clerk’s office. The Clerk will help you file your forms and give you all the necessary information you will need to do after your Mississippi bankruptcy case is filed. You will get a case number that you should write down and keep handy in case any creditors still try to contact you.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
The court will appoint a trustee to oversee your case. The trustee is paid to review all of the forms you submitted. After you file your Meridian bankruptcy documents, you will get a letter detailing when and where you will need to go to court for your 341 meeting. At the 341 meeting, your trustee will ask you questions under oath. Prior to the hearing, the trustee will ask you for your paystubs, tax returns, vehicle titles, deeds to any property you own, and appraisals. These documents will need to be sent directly to their office. If the trustee does not get your documents before the hearing, your case may be delayed.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The next course you will be required to take is a debtor education course. This course is required to complete your Meridian bankruptcy. This second bankruptcy course teaches you how to manage your finances and credit after your bankruptcy is completed. This class will help you see the benefits of filing for bankruptcy. If you don’t complete the course, the court will not issue your discharge. This course will need to be taken from a provider on an approved list of providers. As soon as the course is completed you should file your certificate with the court so that you don’t forget.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
To get a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian you must attend a hearing in court. This hearing is called the 341 meeting of creditors. The court will give you a discharge as long as you answer your questions under oath honestly, you take the second counseling course, and your paperwork is filled out correctly. This meeting can seem intimidating because your creditors may show up. It is important to note that most of the time creditors never show up. You should review all of your documents before you go. The meeting will only last about 10-15 minutes. Bring your social security card and ID with you and relax, it will be okay!
Dealing with Your Car
You have different options when you file a Meridian bankruptcy on what you want to do with your car. If the payments are too high or it needs too much work, you can give the car up or surrender the vehicle. If the vehicle is encumbered by a loan then you have the choice to reaffirm or redeem the vehicle. Reaffirmation allows you to keep paying the loan. You will have to sign an agreement where you will be held responsible for all future payments. There are many pros and cons to each option. Make sure that you go over your future finances in detail before signing any agreement.
Mississippi Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Meridian
Mississippi Means Test
To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian the court uses a Means Test. The Means Test compares your income for the last six months to the state’s median income to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian. Each state uses its own median income numbers to determine if you can qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Passing the Mississippi bankruptcy Means Test is essentially the only gateway to getting a Chapter 7 discharge. Make sure to really go through your income and expenses in detail as to not throw off all of your calculations. If you don’t pass the Mississippi bankruptcy Means Test for Chapter 7, you may want to seek theassistance of an attorney to explore your other options.
Median Income Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Mississippi Bankruptcy Forms
To complete your Mississippi bankruptcy forms you will need to print them out and file them with the court. These forms can seem tedious and long. It is important to stay calm and not panic. Filling out these forms correctly and honestly is the only way to receive your discharge so make sure that you take your time. You can go to the court’s website to locate these forms. Make sure that you double-check that each form is completed all the way. Review your creditors’ information to ensure they get the notification about your bankruptcy filing. Once you are sure your forms are completed you should review them carefully before filing them.
Bankruptcy exemptions keep your property safe from your creditors. The Mississippi bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep property that the court deems necessary to live. This means that the trustee won’t be able to sell your property for the benefit of the creditors. Mississippi does not allow you to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions when completing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Meridian. If you are a low income individual you should be able to keep practically all of your property.