Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated August 18, 2020
Legendary Pittsburgh Steeler running back, Rocky Bleier grew up thirty miles from Green Bay, in Appleton, Wisconsin. In 1996, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection as a result of a divorce settlement and income taxes he could not afford to pay. Eleven years later on October 13, 2007, a street in his hometown, Oneida Court, was named “Rocky Bleier Run.” According to Mr. Bleier, “I feel bad, as anyone does who has had to go through (bankruptcy) but I’m 50 years old and I deserve a life.” If you are unable to pay your bills, being harassed by your creditors, and considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay, know that you deserve a life too. And Upsolve can show you how to get the debt relief you are entitled to, and the peace of mind you deserve. Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief is available to individuals who can no longer afford to pay their bills. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates your debt, frees you from high-interest loans and stops creditors from harassing you. For most individuals, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs less than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and wipes out their debt in a little more than ninety days. Unlike a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where your debts are reduced and consolidated into one monthly payment, Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates your debts without requiring you to make any payments. Known as a liquidation, only unprotected high value assets you own (if any) are sold to pay creditors. However, over 96% of Chapter 7 bankruptcies are “no-asset” bankruptcies meaning the individual has no non-exempt assets that can be sold. More importantly, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay on your own, for free, without an attorney. Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) legal aid nonprofit that started in 2016 with a mission to help low-income Americans in financial distress get a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy at no cost. In 2018, Upsolve provided more fresh starts than any legal aid nonprofit in the United States. And, if you qualify, we can help you too!
Green Bay Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
Upsolve believes that hiring an attorney is an excellent investment if you can afford it. We also believe that some very complicated bankruptcy cases may require the assistance of an attorney to successfully obtain a discharge. But the average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Green Bay is between $1,250 and $1,665. Most individuals in need of bankruptcy relief simply do not have that kind of money to pay an attorney. And if they are being sued or their wages are being garnished, they don’t even have the time to save it up. They need Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief now. Upsolve is willing to show you how you can get the relief you need now, by filing your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay. And, if you qualify, Upsolve can lend you a helping hand along the way!
How to File Bankruptcy in Green Bay, Wisconsin for Free
If you have survived winter in Green Bay, Upsolve believes you already have the endurance it takes to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay for free. With a little information from our content, some links to additional resources and,if you qualify, our online portal you can have your Wisconsin bankruptcy filed in as little as ten days.
Collect Your Green Bay Bankruptcy documentD
Spending an afternoon collecting your Wisconsin bankruptcy documents before you start filling out your bankruptcy forms will not only help you finish the forms quicker; it will make the entire process of answering each question accurately smoother. The documents you will need to complete the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay include pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, a W-2, 401k and pension statements, insurance records, motor vehicle records and the deed to your home. You should also get your bills together. For example, credit card statements, medical bills, collection notices, charge-offs, payday loans, utility bills, telephone bills, and cable bills. Other types of documents you may need include rental or lease agreements, gym memberships, and monthly subscriptions. Later, you will need your driver’s license, state identification card or passport, and your social security card
Take Credit Counseling
The expected outcome of every Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not only to provide individuals and families with long term debt relief, but to also educate and prepare them for long term financial security. One of the ways this is accomplished is through pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling is required for anyone who files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay. Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling is designed to go over your current income and expenses and help you prepare a statement of your net worth. It is also intended to inform you of alternatives to bankruptcy and the consequences of filing bankruptcy in Green Bay. When you complete your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, you will be given a certificate of completion that must be submitted to the Court when you file your Wisconsin bankruptcy case. You can take the counseling in-person, over the telephone, or online. The course usually lasts thirty minutes to one hour and costs between $15 and $35. The Office of the United States Trustee maintains alist of approved credit counseling agencies that offer the course to folks filing bankruptcy in Green Bay, although many of them may not be located in Wisconsin.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers Coach, Vince Lombardi, is quoted as saying, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” If crippling debt, and the inability to pay your bills, have knocked you down, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay can get you back on your feet. And getting your bankruptcy forms completed and submitted to the Court is how you will start to get back on your feet. The day you sit down and begin completing your bankruptcy forms will be a decisive moment in your life. And your first step to a fresh start. One thing that may help as you complete your bankruptcy forms, is avoiding a common mistake made by individuals who file their own Wisconsin bankruptcy. This mistake is not signing your forms in all the places where your signature is required. Go over your forms carefully and check each page individually to see if there is a place that requires your signature. If you file your Wisconsin bankruptcy in person, most bankruptcy clerks will double-check to see if you have signed in all the required locations. However, if you mail your bankruptcy forms to the Court, it will be sent back to you if you have failed to sign it in all the required locations. This is an extremely important detail to pay attention to since your Wisconsin bankruptcy case must be filed at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee.
Get Your Filing Fee
The current cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay is $335. The current cost of Green Bay Packers season tickets, in the South end zone, is $319! For little more than an average season ticket package, you can access the legal protection of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay. The filing fee must be paid at the same time as your Wisconsin bankruptcy is filed. Payment may be made by cash, cashier’s check, or money order payable to “Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court.” If you can’t pay the entire fee at once, you can request to pay the filing fee in installments. This request must be submitted at the same time as your petition. If you are going to make an initial payment with your installment request, you should bring that as well. In every instance, your last installment must be paid no later than 120 days after your case is filed. Neglecting to adhere to either of these requirements can result in your installment request being denied. If you truly can’t afford to pay your filing fee at all, you can request to have the filing fee waived. Your request for a fee waiver should be filed at the same time as your case.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
As you complete all your Green Bay bankruptcy forms, you should anticipate having to print them. The first thing you should consider is the number of pages you will need to print. A good estimate for this is 60 to 100 pages. The second consideration is formatting. Every page should be printed on one side to a page only. Do not duplex print any of your forms. The next consideration is the number of copies you will need to print. You should print at least two copies of all your forms. You will sign one copy and file it with the Court and keep the other copy for yourself. If you are unable to do any of these things at home, you can print your Green Bay bankruptcy forms through the Brown County Public Library. The Central Library is located on 515 Pine Street in downtown Green Bay, a ten-minute walk from the Meyer Theater. The library offers black and white printing for $0.25 per page. And if you use their Netloan service, you can even reserve a computer before arriving.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
All of the forms you have completed must be filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The office at the Court you will be submitting everything to is the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office. Since this building houses a post office, the District Court, and the Bankruptcy Court, instead of asking for the clerk’s office make sure you ask for the Bankruptcy Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s Office manages the Court’s docket and other administrative functions. The Clerk’s Office is not part of the judge’s chambers and the employees in that office are prohibited from giving legal advice. People filing bankruptcy in Green Bay, have to head to Milwaukee to submit all of their forms because the Green Bay courthouse doesn’t accept filings at its location on Jefferson Street. The Milwaukee courthouse is located on 517 East Wisconsin Avenue and is about a two-hour drive from Green Bay. You can mail everything needed for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay to the Court if you want to avoid the drive. Whether you deliver your bankruptcy forms in person or mail it, make sure you sign all your forms and include your filing fee and your certificate of credit counseling. If you are requesting to pay the filing fee in installments or requesting a fee waiver, then make sure you include those forms instead of the fee. The Milwaukee courthouse is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. however you should arrive at least one hour before closing to ensure the Clerk’s Office has enough time to file your petition and process your payment.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
You will be excited, and perhaps a bit anxious after you have filed your Wisconsin bankruptcy. You may also be a bit relieved and inclined to simply relax while you wait to hear from the Court. There is certainly nothing wrong with this. Filing your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay is a very big first step on your road to financial freedom. However, shortly after you have filed your Wisconsin bankruptcy you will receive aNotice of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case from the Court. This notice will inform you of the date, time, and place of your upcomingcreditors’ meeting. It will also provide you with the name, address, and telephone number of yourTrustee. Your Trustee is an individual appointed by the Court to handle your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay on behalf of the Court and your creditors. You are required to send the Trustee copies of your pay stubs for the last 60 days and your most recent tax return. However, the Trustee does have a right to request additional documents from you, if they need them to complete their review of your case and prepare for your creditor’s meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second of the two bankruptcy-related credit counseling courses you are required to take is known as the Debtor Education or Financial Management course. This course focuses on managing your credit and finances and avoiding bankruptcy in the future. There is a separate list of Wisconsin bankruptcy approved debtor education providers you can select from to take the course, and the cost ranges between $25 and $50. You can take the course over the internet, but if you do you will be required to pass a test when the instruction is completed. You can also take the course over the telephone or in-person. You should take the course no later than 60 days after the date of your creditor’s meeting, but you don’t have to wait that long. You can take the course right after filing bankruptcy in Green Bay. Just remember to submit your certificate of completion to the Court when done.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Federal bankruptcy law obligates you to cooperate with your court-appointed Trustee. The first way you do this is by mailing them your bankruptcy documents, as we explained previously. The second way you are required to cooperate with them is by attending something known as a 341 meeting of creditors. The 341 meeting of creditors, or creditors’ meeting, is an informal meeting between you and your Trustee. One or more of your creditors may appear at this meeting as well, but that’s unlikely. At the meeting, the Trustee will ask you some questions regarding your Wisconsin bankruptcy and your financial affairs in general. You should answer all of their questions truthfully and completely and, if necessary, disclose if you need to add, subtract or change anything you stated in your bankruptcy forms. You will be notified of the date, time and place of the meeting by the Court within a few days of filing bankruptcy in Green Bay, and the meeting usually lasts less than fifteen minutes.
Dealing with Your Car
Your car is probably one of the most important, and most valuable, pieces of personal property that you own. If you are still paying on your car and want to keep it, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay gives you several different ways of holding onto it even after your Chapter 7 is done. The first and most common way is by reaffirming the loan. To reaffirm your car loan you must enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the lender. This agreement obligates you to continue paying the loan in exchange for the lender agreeing not to repossess the car. The second way you can keep your car is to redeem it. You redeem your car by paying the lender the “fair market value” of the car while discharging the remaining balance as part of your Wisconsin bankruptcy. The third way of keeping your car only applies if the car is paid for. If your car is paid for and is worth less than $4,000, then you can keep the car by claiming it as exempt on Schedule C of your bankruptcy forms.
Wisconsin Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Green Bay
Wisconsin Means Test
In addition to all of the recommendations we have provided in this guide to help you successfully file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay, there is one more thing you can do to see if your bankruptcy is likely to be successful. That is to complete the Wisconsin bankruptcy Means Test. The Wisconsin bankruptcy Means Test is designed to let you know if there is something known as a “presumption of abuse” in your Green Bay bankruptcy case. A presumption of abuse arises when your household’s income appears to be enough to pay at least some of your debts.
Median Income Levels for Wisconsin
Wisconsin Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Wisconsin
Wisconsin 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)|
Wisconsin Bankruptcy Forms
Nobody likes filling out forms. Even when they are necessary to get you something you really need, like Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. But taking a little time to understand the purpose of some of your Wisconsin bankruptcy forms can sometimes make having to complete them easier. One of the forms you will have to complete for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin is Schedule J. Schedule J is where you will list the regular expenses that you have every month. The first thing to understand about “regular expenses” is that they must be regular or “usual” monthly expenses. If, for example, you pay $80 per month for your light bill that would be a regular expense. On the other hand, if you are paying $50 a month for the next six months to catch up a $300 past due balance owed on your light bill, that would not be a regular expense. Instead the $300 balance that you are trying to catch up would be an arrearage or a debt and should be included on Schedule F along with the name of the utility company that you owe it to. Another interesting piece of information you will be asked about on Schedule J, is whether or not you are expecting some type of increase or decrease in your expenses. For example, if you are only three months away from paying off your car, you would indicate on Schedule J that you expect your expenses to decrease in three months. This information may be important later if you are trying to reaffirm a debt on another car or similar piece of secured property.
Individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay can take advantage of some of the most generous Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions in the nation. Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions provide very generous protection for virtually every type of property you own. So, what are these exemptions? Exemptions are laws, usually enacted by each individual state, that govern how much of your real and personal property is protected from your creditors, no matter what. The more generous these exemptions are, the more of your property you are allowed to keep. The amount of the exemption varies depending on the type of property being covered. For example, Wisconsin allows you to exempt up to $12,000 in personal property that you own. This is a very generous exemption, considering the typical state exemption for personal property averages between $3,000 and $5,000. Moreover, Wisconsin allows individuals filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay to choose federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions if they prefer. But you can’t mix and match your exemptions. If you select any of the Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions, you must use them all. Fortunately, as generous as Wisconsin’s bankruptcy exemptions are, you will likely have no problem protecting your hard-earned belongings from being sold or seized as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Green Bay!