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How To File For Bankruptcy In Maryland

File For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Maryland Now

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland – How To File Chapter 7 in MD

Our bankruptcy law firm has extensive experience in resolving Chapter 7 bankruptcy matters. As your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, we will work tirelessly to assist you in eliminating your unsecured debts via the use of the legal process of bankruptcy. When you need the services of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer who is committed to assisting you in your efforts to rebuild your financial life, you may turn to our bankruptcy attorneys for sympathetic and caring support.

Call The Grafton Firm now at to arrange a free legal consultation. We are eager to assist you with the bankruptcy services you can rely on.

Chapter 1: Family Farmers

Chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code defines a type of bankruptcy solely for use by family farmers and fishermen in Maryland. To file for this type of bankruptcy, the farmers and fishermen must have regular annual income. Debtors can propose a repayment plan that lasts for three to five years over which they repay their debts to the creditor. While doing so, their business can continue as usual.

What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Maryland

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maryland is a form of bankruptcy for earning individuals to repay their debts over a period of time. It is also referred to as a wage earners plan. The debtors repay their debts in installments for three to five years. A debtor that earns below the median in Maryland will generally have a payment plan of three years, while a debtor that earns above the median will usually have a payment plan of five years. This is in accordance with 11 U.S.C. § 1322.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy begins with the debtor filing a petition to the bankruptcy court. The debtor would also file:

  • A list of the debtors assets and liabilities
  • A list of the debtors unexpired leases and executory contracts
  • A schedule of the debtors income and expenditure
  • The debtors statement of financial affairs
  • Any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts
  • A certificate showing that the debtor attended credit counseling within 180 days from filing for bankruptcy and any payment plan developed during the credit counseling
  • A statement of the debtors monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income
  • Evidence of any payment received from an employer within 60 days of filing for bankruptcy
  • A list of property owned by the debtor
  • A list of the debtors monthly expenses
  • A list of creditors and how much each is owed
  • The source and amount of the debtors income

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Finding Pro Bono Attorneys

Its common in the legal profession for attorneys to provide a certain amount of free services to low-income individuals. And many bankruptcy attorneys cut fees drastically for clients who qualify for a bankruptcy fee waiver.

To find a local pro bono attorney, consult with different lawyers in your area or contact your county or state bar. Or visit the American Bankruptcy Institutes Bankruptcy Resources webpage.

By FindLaw Staff | Reviewed by Bridget Molitor, J.D. | Last updated June 30, 2021

Yes, you can legally file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. But should you?

Every year, thousands of Americans find themselves too broke to pay off their debts, yet unable to afford bankruptcy. It probably comes as no surprise that attorneys fees make up the lions share of bankruptcy expenses. So you might be wondering, Do I really need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?

It largely depends on how complex your case is. If you own little property and dont make a lot of money, it might be possible to file bankruptcy pro se . But while filing for bankruptcy on your own can save you money, its a serious undertaking. Youll have to pull together all of your financial documentation, file a lot of paperwork on time, and communicate with your bankruptcy trustee. Youll also need to take the time to understand the state and federal laws that apply.

File Your Forms With The Maryland Bankruptcy Court

How to File Bankruptcy in Maryland

The District of Maryland bankruptcy court has clerksâ offices in two locations: Baltimore and Greenbelt. The county you live in determines which location you should use to file your case.

If you live close enough to one of these cities, you can file your bankruptcy forms in person at the correct clerkâs office. Youâll need to bring either your filing fee, an application to pay the fee in installments, or an application to waive the fee.

Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. After-hours drop boxes are available from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in Greenbelt and from 4:00 p.m. until midnight in Baltimore. If you need to file your case right away, such as to stop a garnishment, filing in-person during business hours is the quickest way to file.

You can also file your bankruptcy forms by mailing them to the correct clerkâs office. Youâll need to include either your filing fee or your request for installment payments or a fee waiver. You should also include a stamped, self-addressed envelope so the clerk can mail your stamped copies back to you. Make sure your return envelope is big enough and has enough postage to hold all the forms â a standard envelope and stamp wonât work.

Also Check: When Does Bankruptcy Stop Affecting Credit

Mail Documents To Your Trustee

Shortly after you file your bankruptcy forms, the court system will assign a Chapter 7 trustee to your case. Some of the trusteeâs main duties are to review your forms and verify that all the information listed is complete and accurate. Your trusteeâs name and contact information will be on the notice the court sends you about your 341 meeting . The court usually sends this a few days after your case is filed.

The Bankruptcy Code and District of Maryland Local Rules require you to send certain documents to your trustee at least seven days before your 341 meeting. These documents help the trustee verify your identity and other information. They include:

  • Copies of your two most recent tax returns.

  • Bank statements for any checking or savings accounts. You must send the statement that includes the date you filed your bankruptcy. For example, if your case was filed on March 24th, send your bank statement for March 1-31.

  • A copy of your Social Security card or a statement from the Social Security office showing the number.

  • A copy of your driverâs license or other government-issued photo ID. This ID must be valid and not expired.

  • All paycheck stubs you received in the 60 days before you filed your case. A printout from your employer will work if it shows your gross pay, all deductions, and your net pay for each pay period during the 60 days.

Take Second Mandatory Debt Education Course

You must take a second mandatory debt education course in Maryland before filing for discharge. Once you receive the certificate of completion, your attorney or you would add that into your filing to show proof of completion.

See the list of approved debtor education courses in Maryland. Once filed, you now just have to wait for discharge.

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What Is The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies have many differences. For filing purposes, the most significant difference involves the kind of debts you have and the assets that you want to keep. If you have mostly unsecured debts , Chapter 7 may be the right choice. If you are behind on secured debts and you want to retain that property, Chapter 13 may be a better option. That is why we offer a no obligation consultation to determine which is the appropriate chapter for you to choose.

Confirmation Of Bankruptcy Filing Qualification

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After the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will have enough information to decide whether you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The trustee will look for nonexempt assets and will decide whether its worth it to liquidate nonexempt assets. The trustee may do this by understanding the retail value of the asset and whether it will sell.

The secured debts such as a vehicle will need to be dealt with around this point in the process. You can often reaffirm the debt as an asset, which is very common for vehicles.

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Is There An Income Limit For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

To automatically qualify for Chapter 7, your disposable income must be below the median level for your state. That number varies from state-to-state. If your disposable income exceeds the median in your state, you still may be able to qualify through a means test that includes looking at your income and reasonable expenses to see if you can get that number under the median income for your state.

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Do I Have To List All Of My Debts If I File Bankruptcy

Yes, you must include all of your debt when filing personal bankruptcy, which includes credit cards, medical bills, student loans, taxes, fines and tickets and any personal loans or debts to family members. Even debts that are contingent, such as personal guaranties that have not yet come due, must also be listed. You cannot be selective in choosing which debts to list because the bankruptcy laws require each and every debt to be listed. In addition, you cannot choose to leave off of any credit accounts in a bankruptcy filing for the purpose of maintaining an active credit card post-bankruptcy. Credit cards will most likely be deactivated after the filing date, even if not reported on the bankruptcy schedules. If you inadvertently leave creditors off of your filing, you can file an amendment to your petition to add the creditors.

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The Process Of Filing For Bankruptcy In Maryland

We all know that looking at the forest helps us see the trees, so now is a good time to think about the major stages youll take throughout your bankruptcy process.

  • Meet with a Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer at the Grafton Firm to discuss your bankruptcy eligibility and what debts are dischargeable.
  • The Grafton Firm will draft a Bankruptcy Petition for you to review
  • When ready, we will file the Petition on your behalf
  • An automatic stay is placed, preventing creditors from contacting you for payments except in extremely restricted situations.
  • One of the bankruptcy trustees appointed by the Bankruptcy Court will question you about your property, responsibilities, and finances.
  • The Grafton Firm will represent you at the Trustee meeting. The Bankruptcy Trustee will seize any exemption-free property you own and use it to pay off your obligations any leftover debts will be dismissed.
  • Approximately 60 days after meeting with the Bankruptcy Trustee, your bankruptcy petition is completed and all eligible debts will have been paid or discharged.

How Filing For Bankruptcy In Maryland Relives Financial Stress

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland: Our Most Common Questions

When most people think about bankruptcy, they think about the financial stress it can cause. However, what many people dont know is that bankruptcy can also improve your mental state by relieving the financial stress youre under. Does filing for bankruptcy have a negative stigma to it in the public eye? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding yes it does. The crazy thing is that the reality is the complete and polar opposite. In fact, the financial stress that unpaid taxes, credit card debt and even mortage arrears can create, creates a far worse mental state than receiving a discharge of your debt, with a small mark against it on your credit report.

bankruptcy can be a difficult decision to make, but it can also provide relief from the stress of debt. When you file for bankruptcy, you are giving yourself a fresh start and a new chance to rebuild your financial life. Bankruptcy can improve your mental state by freeing you from the worry and stress of debt and allowing you to focus on more important things in life.

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Collect Your Texas Bankruptcy Documents

Your first step should be to collect the documents youâll need during the bankruptcy process. Some documents, like your paycheck stubs, medical bills, collection letters you have received from creditors, and a recent copy of your credit report will be useful when filling out your bankruptcy forms.

Other documents, like the tax returns you filed in the 2 years before filing bankruptcy will need to be submitted to the bankruptcy trustee before your meeting of creditors. If youâre closing a bank account before filing your bankruptcy, make sure you get a complete copy of your bank statements for the 6 months before the account is closed. Your bankruptcy trustee may want to review your statements, and once an account is closed, it can be time consuming and even expensive to get them from the bank.

Try to be as organized as possible when collecting the documents for your Texas bankruptcy. It may take you a while to collect everything but when youâre ready to take the next step, youâll feel more prepared.

Understand Alternatives To File Bankruptcy

There are many bankruptcy alternatives to consider. We will cover the two most common alternatives, but you can find more in our bankruptcy alternatives article. As a reference, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the least expensive and the shortest.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is also known as debt negotiation, debt relief, or a debt consolidation program . In debt settlement, a company or you will negotiate with your creditors for a lower amount. You can save money and avoid filing bankruptcy. You may also be exposed to lawsuits, so its important to understand which creditors are likely to sue. A debt settlement programs often last 2 – 5 years.

Debt Management

Debt management is also known as credit counseling. In debt management, a company will negotiate with your creditors for a lower percentage interest rate. You can save money on interest and avoid filing bankruptcy. Debt management can be more expensive than debt settlement and Chapter 13. Debt management programs often last 5 years.

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About Our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Practice

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, called the liquidation chapter, can be a very useful tool to allow you to have a financial restart and fresh start. The process typically lasts 4-6 months and can eliminate credit card debt, personal loan debt and other kinds of debt. In Chapter 7, the Means Test must typically be met.

Here are a few scenarios of how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be used to help you:

  • If you are behind on credit card bills
  • If you are living off credit cards
  • If your wages are being garnished or about to be garnished
  • If your bank account is frozen due to a judgment or a set off
  • If you have a judgment lien against any property that you own
  • If you are behind on your homeowners association or condo association dues
  • If you are behind on your car payment and would like to walk away from the car.
  • In the majority of Chapter 7 cases you can keep your car and you home, which are generally secured by a loan such as a car loan or mortgage.

    A Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee may attempt to seize any unencumbered and non-exempt assets you may have, but Steiner Law Group can advise you on how to exempt those assets and other strategies to prevent liquidation of assets.

    Don’t take chances with your second chance. Speak to one of our experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys today.

    Can A Bankruptcy Be Expunged In Maryland

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    Bankruptcy cases are public records, and the information is not subject to the state expungement process. Bankruptcy filings form part of the credit report of an involved party. These filings may remain active for up to 10 years, but federal records can receive expungement if there has been a case of impersonation, bankruptcy filing under duress, or a case that has been dismissed. Also, there is privacy protection for filing parties for the following information:

    • The last four digits of the social security number
    • The year of an individual’s birth
    • Then last four digits of the financial account number
    • The initials if there is an involved minor

    The court can issue an order to place a filing under seal for a good cause. By doing so, the court limits or prohibits public access to the document.

    Read Also: What Do You Lose When You File For Bankruptcy

    Collect Your Baltimore Bankruptcy Documents

    The forms for bankruptcy may seem daunting, but you probably have most of the information you need to complete them in other documents. The documents you will need to prepare for your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Baltimore include tax returns, documentation of your income, expenses, debts, assets, and identification. You can use pay stubs, social security statements, disability payments, and the like to show income. Your expenses are in your rental contracts, car leases, utility bills and similar documents, and having your bank account statements will help you fill in the rest. Collecting credit card bills and getting a copy of your credit report will help you list all your debts. Your assets include cars and real property, like your home, so you want to have documents showing what your assets are and their value. You will also need documents showing your identity and social security number.

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