Bankruptcy Process - What You Can Expect

If you tried to handle filing for bankruptcy on your own or just with the help of a financial adviser, the bankruptcy process can be long, confusing and complicated. You will come across confusing legal terms and concepts such as "automatic stay," "discharge," and "exemptions."

Only experienced bankruptcy attorneys know the ins-and-outs of the Bankruptcy Code and can help you every step of the way.  To learn how bankruptcy solves financial crises, call Matthews & Megna, an experienced, South Carolina law firm you can trust to make things right. We can assist you with:

From bankruptcy forms to bankruptcy court, we can handle it all for you

Declaring bankruptcy requires assessing your entire financial situation and deciding whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is right for you. These are the forms of bankruptcy that typically apply to individuals, but there are also Chapters 9, 11, 12 and 15 which are usually for companies, municipalities and organizations. After the forms are filled out and filed, you may have to meet with a bankruptcy judge, negotiate with creditors and create a plan to either eliminate debt or reorganize debts and make a payment plan.

But just choosing whether Chapter 7 or 13 is best for you can be difficult. It depends on many things, such as whether you lost a job or are currently a wage earner, and whether you are worried about losing assets such as your home, car and personal possessions. Once we establish the best option for you, we can get the collection agencies to stop calling and get you on your way to a fresh start in life!

Don't be intimidated-Bankruptcy may be your answer and we can help

If you owe back taxes, creditors are calling you because you can't pay the bills, your mortgage broker is harassing you, or you're behind on car loan payments, call Matthews & Megna today at (803) 799-1700 or contact us online for a free initial evaluation. We can help with every step of your bankruptcy case. Every discussion is confidential.

Filing For Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy means submitting forms to bankruptcy court. However, this is just the first step in a complex legal process. In order to declare bankruptcy, forms must be meticulously filled out with details on everything from your past income, current bank accounts, monthly expenses, debt load, every possession you own, and extensive information regarding harassment from credit card companies, threats from mortgage company, car loan bank problems, and much more. The forms then must be filed at the clerk's office of your district's bankruptcy court. And Matthews & Megna is here to help with every phase of bankruptcy process.

Once we've helped you decide whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we can help get all the proper forms filled out, completely and accurately to help you on your way to making a fresh start.  We will then formally file them with the bankruptcy court in your district, handle all potential questions about your bankruptcy case and help guide your application through the bankruptcy court system. All you have to do is bring your financial information to us and sign the forms. We handle everything else. And before you know it, you'll stop getting calls from collection agencies.

Our reliable attorneys understand how overwhelming it can seem to file for bankruptcy, no matter what led you to this point. We are compassionate and experienced, and will work hard to make the process as painless as possible for you.

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Bankruptcy Court

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina has a mission to help people make a fresh start. Although people can represent themselves, the court itself warns against trying to navigate the system without a representative. That's where we can help. Matthews & Megna can represent you in bankruptcy court on your behalf.

In bankruptcy court, a U.S. bankruptcy judge, who is a judicial officer of the United States district court, has the decision-making power over federal bankruptcy cases. The bankruptcy judge may decide any matter connected with a bankruptcy case, such as your eligibility to file or whether you, as the debtor, should receive a "discharge of debts." That means the judge decides whether to eliminate debt that's been looming over you, so you can start planning for the future. But the question of whether you end up having your debt wiped out depends on how well your bankruptcy documents are organized and presented to the court. An experienced attorney can ensure that everything is done accurately and according to strict bankruptcy court deadlines.

The Law Offices of Matthews & Megna can be your source for strong legal representation in court. We want to work with you, every step of the way - from helping you declare bankruptcy and talking to the judge to negotiating with creditors on your behalf. Your best interests come first here.

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Credit Counseling

Part of the bankruptcy process is having what is called credit counseling. If you declare bankruptcy, the credit counselor will-in completely confidential sessions-go over your financial situation with you. In most cases, you must undergo credit counseling before filing.

Before you sign up for credit counseling, talk to Matthews & Megna to ensure that you find a reputable certified consumer credit counselor. We thoroughly understand the bankruptcy process and how a credit counselor can help you, including:

  • Verify your personal information and income totals
  • Review your assets and liabilities (possessions, savings vs. what you owe)
  • Go over all your credit account statements and other debt accounts
  • Discuss whether income covers basic monthly expenses
  • Review all options based on your current financial circumstances
  • Develop a customized plan to help you avoid future money problems
  • Create a realistic budget and spending limits
  • Review basic money management skills so you won't need debt relief again

With a comprehensive analysis of your income, debts and daily living expenses, you'll be able to have a plan to avoid and reduce debt. You will learn how to use credit wisely and start saving money. Then after your bankruptcy is complete, you will take a debtor education course to learn about credit ratings, credit scores and how budgeting can improve them. The Law Offices of Matthews & Megna can help you take this important first step toward financial stability for life.

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Debtor Education

Rebuilding a good credit score is crucial for future financial stability. Your credit score is calculated by an analysis of your financial history, assets (savings and possessions) and liabilities (debts or what you owe others). Debt education helps teach consumers all about the credit scoring system and how they can improve their credit rating.

The government requires debtor education to take place before a case is filed. In debtor education classes, you will learn:

  • What a credit rating is and why everyone has one;
  • How credit scores and credit ratings impact your life;
  • What information ends up on a credit report and how long it stays there;
  • Why errors sometimes appear on your credit report and how to get rid of them;
  • About FICO® scores, credit grades and how they're connected;
  • How to establish and maintain good credit.

In this economy, most people can't take out a loan without a good credit score. That may mean you can't buy a house, a car, furniture or major appliances. Sometimes it means you can't rent an apartment either, since landlords look at every applicant's credit score. Give yourself a fresh financial start. Contact our law firm and learn more about Debtor Education and other important aspects of the bankruptcy process.

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