Bankruptcy Basics

If you're having serious financial difficulties, you may consider filing bankruptcy in Virginia. Let's start with a brief description of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 — the filings most useful when individuals wish to retain their most valuable assets and eliminate their debt.

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 to recover money garnished from your paychecks or withheld from your bank accounts.
  3. Once you start the bankruptcy process, creditors can no longer harass you. (That, of course, is a big relief!)
  4. Law 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 have a lot of financial stress, then you may have a poor credit rating already. 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. 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.

When working with attorneys at Coates & Davenport, P.C., the bankruptcy procedure is usually as follows:

  • You will have an office conference with a bankruptcy lawyer to gather preliminary information.
  • You will be given "homework" to gather information and documents needed.
  • You will then be sent a bankruptcy interview form via email. This can be filled out online, in the privacy of your home.
  • You will review the bankruptcy paperwork for accuracy.
  • Then you come in to sign the paperwork, and the bankruptcy attorney files it with the bankruptcy court.
  • After approximately four to six weeks, you have what's known as a First Creditors' Meeting down at the new federal building on Broad Street. There is usually only one such meeting. Generally speaking, no creditors show up (so the meeting's name is misleading.)
  • At the meeting, the trustee in bankruptcy asks you various questions about your paperwork. However, the bankruptcy trustees are respectful — this is not a scary experience.
  • Roughly 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. 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.

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