Bankruptcy Basics

Everyone has heard of debtor's prison. In this modern age we have done away with the notion of a debtor's prison. So if you're having serious financial difficulties, then you should consider filing bankruptcy in Virginia. Let's start with a brief description of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

There are several points about bankruptcy that you might want to consider:

  1. Generally speaking, you can file a Chapter 7 every eight years.
  2. It's sometimes possible depending upon lots of complexities, that you can recover money withheld from your paychecks or bank accounts by reason of garnishments.
  3. Once you start the process, you give creditors who call our name and phone number and then the phone calls cease. That, of course, is a big relief!
  4. The 2005 law also requires you to take a credit counseling course both before you file and after you file. This course is something that can be taken online or over the phone.
  5. Many debtors wonder how they can re-establish their credit once they file bankruptcy. First of all, if you're thinking about bankruptcy and you have a lot of financial stress, then you probably have a poor credit rating anyway. Once you file bankruptcy, many debtors find that they can re-establish their credit by showing that they can pay back small amounts, and can keep a job with a steady income and of course the creditors know that there are limitations as referenced above on filing an additional bankruptcy. Thus, in some ways, the creditors look on such debtors as being a better credit risk. We don't want to minimize the problems that you might have in re-establishing your credit but it certainly is very possible to do so.

The bankruptcy procedure at Coates & Davenport, P.C., in Richmond, is usually as follows:

  • An office conference with the bankruptcy attorney to gather some preliminary information.
  • You are given "homework" to gather information and documents needed.
  • You are then sent a bankruptcy interview form via e-mail so that you can conveniently fill it out online in the privacy of your home.
  • You review the bankruptcy paperwork for accuracy.
  • Then you come in to sign and the bankruptcy attorney files the paperwork with the bankruptcy court.
  • Then in approximately four to six weeks, you have what's known as a 1st Creditors Meeting down at the new federal building on Broad Street. There is usually only one such meeting and generally no creditors show up and so it's really not given the correct name.
  • At the meeting, the trustee in bankruptcy asks you various questions about your paperwork. However, the bankruptcy trustees are most respectful and this is not at all a scary experience. You might be worried beforehand, but once you go through it, you'll find that it's really not that bad at all.
  • Then in about three months from the date you file a Chapter 7, you'll usually get a "discharge paper" which says that most debts are "discharged." (The discharge in a Chapter 13 comes after the plan payments have been made.)

We have only scratched the surface here in describing the bankruptcy process or in giving you some information about bankruptcy. And these comments are not meant to be legal advice but merely a rough summary of what to expect.

Wish to know more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13? Call the Richmond bankruptcy attorneys at Coates & Davenport, P.C., at 804-729-5537, or write to us using this online form.


Our team of bankruptcy law attorneys is a skilled group of experienced professionals:
John C. Moore
Tammy L. Sossei


We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.