Written by Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz.
Updated August 17, 2020
If you thought that filing bankruptcy in Hampstead would be the end, rather than the beginning, we urge you to think again. Bankruptcy has caught a bad rep from consumers but that’s because consumers are not aware of all the benefits bankruptcy can provide. First and foremost, we’ll debunk the first myth about bankruptcy - bankruptcy does not destroy your credit. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the fact that you filed bankruptcy will be notated on your credit report. But, that’s it! It’s only a part of your credit history. It does not prohibit you from building your credit once you have received your discharge. In fact, that is exactly what bankruptcy does. By getting rid of all your debts, you are able to rebuild your credit from scratch. Think of how you started building your credit with a secured or traditional credit card; it is exactly like that. Another myth is that you will have to sell your home, car, and other belongings; not true! Through the bankruptcy exemptions and careful planning, you can protect most, if not all of your property. Most people also think that it costs thousands of dollars to file bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can help you achieve goals that weren’t a possibility before, like enrolling in one of the beautiful New Hampshire colleges, or something as simple as enjoying the annual Harvest Festival without worrying every time your phone rings. Upsolve can show you how to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy absolutely free on your own; and if you absolutely need an attorney to help you, Upsolve can help you find an attorney too!
If you think you’re ready to take the steps necessary to become debt-free, you will need to determine what type of bankruptcy is appropriate for you. If you have mostly consumer debts, like medical debts and credit card debts, and don’t make a lot of money, you will most likely be a candidate for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hampstead. If you make a bit more money and can afford to pay some of your debts back over time, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a better fit for you. Regardless of what type of bankruptcy you’re filing, if you live in Hampstead, you will file your bankruptcy at the Warren B. Rudman U.S. Courthouse located at 55 Pleasant Street in Concord. Read on to find out the steps you need to take to obtain your discharge and start a new life, debt-free!
Hampstead Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Some Hampstead bankruptcy cases are more complicated than others and need the expertise of an attorney. A Hampstead bankruptcy lawyers costs between $1,200 and $1,500. Although this may seem like a lot of money, especially if you’re in debt, consider the upsides. First, most bankruptcy lawyers will charge a flat-fee for all of their services. Most attorneys handling other legal matters will charge hourly for their services, which means that every phone call and email will cost you something. Second, bankruptcy attorneys will not charge you for your initial consultation. This is great because you can interview different attorneys and decide which one you think will do the best work and ultimately, help you obtain your discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hampstead. Third, bankruptcy attorneys are well-versed in both state and federal bankruptcy law. They are familiar with the process and the forms and will take that burden off your plate.
How to File Bankruptcy in Hampstead , New Hampshire for Free
Filing bankruptcy in Hampstead is typically an approximately four to six-month process. Not as fast as an Andy Suess driven race car, but fast in terms of bankruptcy. In addition to filing your bankruptcy forms with the Court, you will also need to take educational courses to inform you of the options to deal with your debt and maintaining healthy financial habits. Below, you will read about the steps you need to take to obtain your discharge.
Collect Your Hampstead Bankruptcy Documents
In order to prepare for your Hampstead bankruptcy, you will need to gather some important financial documents. You will need your pay stubs, tax returns, and - most likely - bank statements for the last two years. These documents will help you fill out the bankruptcy forms and will later be submitted to the Trustee before your 341 meeting. If you don’t have your pay stubs, you will need to get a copy from your employer or their payroll servicer. If you do not have your tax returns, you can obtain a copy of the transcripts from the IRS.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you can file your Hampstead bankruptcy with the Court, you will need to take the credit counseling course. This course will detail the different options for dealing with your debt, including bankruptcy. The U.S. Trustee maintains a list of approved courses that you may take. You may only take an approved course to fulfill this requirement and it has to be done in the 6 months before filing bankruptcy in Hampstead. Typically, you can take the course online, over the phone, or in person, but there is no live option in New Hampshire. Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that you will file with your bankruptcy forms.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Once you have taken the credit counseling course, you will need to get started filling out your bankruptcy forms. For your convenience, the Bankruptcy Court maintains a list of the Hampstead bankruptcy forms that can be downloaded to your computer and filled out at your leisure. The forms will require you to give the Court a detailed picture of your financial past and present. You will provide information about your income, expenses, and the property you own. You will also provide information about any income you expect to receive, such as inheritance or lottery winnings. The most helpful tip anyone can give you is that honesty and accuracy are the most important when filling out the forms. Being over-inclusive will save you from having to be questioned at your 341 meeting or worse, a dismissal of your case without getting a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hampstead.
Get Your Filing Fee
The fee for filing bankruptcy in Hampstead is $335. The fee is the same for those filing Chapter 7 individually or those filing with their spouse. If you need financial assistance in paying the fee, you have two options. The first is to make an application to have the filing fee waived by the Court. The application will require you to give information about your income and expenses, just as you did in the bankruptcy forms. The application will be submitted with your bankruptcy forms and reviewed and decided by a judge. If a judge denies your fee waiver application, he might propose an installment plan so that you may pay the fee over time after filing bankruptcy in Hampstead. In the alternative, you can propose an installment plan at the outset of your case and propose to make payments over time. The application requires the same information as a fee waiver and is decided in the same way.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
When you feel like your Hampstead bankruptcy forms are complete and ready to file, it is time to print them and head down to the courthouse. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can print at a friend or family member's house; in that case, consider bringing some printer paper, as you’ll be printing 60 - 100 pages. If you don’t have a friend or family member to help you print, you can utilize the local library or a paid printing service like Kinkos or Staples. When printing, remember that you need to print single-sided, and print at least two copies of your forms (one for you and one for the Court).
Go to Court to File Your Forms
If you are filing bankruptcy in Hampstead, you will be filing your forms at the Warren B. Rudman U.S. Courthouse located at 55 Pleasant Street, Room 200 in Concord. The courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The courthouse is closed on weekends and federal holidays. You will need a valid government identification to enter the building. Also note that electronic devices, like cell phones are not allowed in the courthouse. If you must bring your cell phone with you, it will be stored safely at security for the duration of your visit. The courthouse may also have metal detectors that you will have to go through upon entrance. You should consider dressing business casual and avoid wearing any flashy jewelry or accessories.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After filing bankruptcy in Hampstead, you will need to mail the financial documents mentioned earlier to the Trustee. Those documents include your pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements - possibly going back as far as the last two years. The Trustee, being assigned by the Court, is required to verify the information contained in your bankruptcy forms and financial documents. One purpose of the Trustee’s review is to protect the bankruptcy system from fraud. Another role of the Trustee is to protect consumers from abuse from creditors. For example, if you paid a creditor after you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hampstead, the Trustee will try to get that money back so it can be distributed to all of your creditors. This is referred to as a post-filing payment. The Trustee after receipt of your documents will review them and prepare any questions, which he will ask you at your 341 meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second education course you will take is after you have filed your Hampstead bankruptcy but before you receive your discharge. This U.S. Trustee approved course will educate you on how to manage your finances after bankruptcy. It will help you begin practicing healthy financial habits so that you will not need bankruptcy relief in the future. You can take the course online or over the telephone. Once you complete the course, you will file your completion certificate with the Court. This certificate is required before the Court can give you your discharge.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Typically, the only Court appearance you will make in your case is the 341 meeting. The 341 meeting will take place at James C. Cleveland Building located at 53 Pleasant Street, Room 3124 in Concord. You should dress business casual, as you did to file your Hampstead bankruptcy forms, and avoid fancy jewelry or accessories. Typically, the meeting should last 10-15 minutes. You should bring your original social security card as well as your driver’s license, so that the Trustee can verify your identity. Once you are called to appear before the Trustee, the Trustee will ask you any questions he may have regarding your bankruptcy forms and financial documents. You, in turn, can add any information you may have missed in your forms at this meeting.
Dealing with Your Car
What most people want to know before they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hampstead is if they will lose their car. Depending on how much your car is worth, will depend on how you try to protect it during your New Hampshire bankruptcy. First, if you have an existing loan, you may consider reaffirmation, which is when you continue making payments to your lender with the condition that if you stop and the lender repossesses the car, you still have to pay off the loan. Second, you may consider redeeming your car, which means you buy-out the value of your car. Lastly, you can surrender your car as part of your Hampstead bankruptcy case. This option is best when you owe more than your car is worth.
New Hampshire Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Hampstead
New Hampshire Means Test
The New Hampshire Means Test is a method used by the bankruptcy system to prevent fraud and abuse. In order to file your Hampstead bankruptcy, you will need to pass the Means Test or qualify for an exemption.
Median Income Levels for New Hampshire
New Hampshire Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for New Hampshire
New Hampshire 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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New Hampshire Bankruptcy Forms
The New Hampshire bankruptcy forms can be the most daunting task of the whole Hampstead bankruptcy process. Here are some tips to stay ahead of the game:
Gather your financial documents early (pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements);
Consider the exemptions before you file;
Print your bills and gather any collection notices;
Find out whether you will need to complete any local forms, such as the verification of creditor mailing list.
New Hampshire Exemptions
The New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions will enable you to live with dignity before, during, and after your Hampstead bankruptcy. An important part of pre-bankruptcy planning, the exemptions will allow you to protect your property and keep it out of the bankruptcy process.