Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Imagine No Debt
618.235.9800

Step 1: Your FREE Consultation
It all starts with a phone call to schedule your FREE & CONFIDENTIAL debt consultation at one of our four convenient locations. You will meet with bankruptcy attorney J.D. Graham personally. There is absolutely no charge or obligation at your free consultation.  Attorney J.D. Graham will explain how bankruptcy works and what you can expect out of a bankruptcy filing. You will get a detailed step-by-step break down of how the process works and your total cost to file.  If you decide to hire J.D. Graham, you can refer your creditors to him and not talk to them.

Step 2: Gather Documents & Complete Credit Counseling
Once you have hired J.D. Graham, you will need to gather all your bills, documents and other information necessary to get your case filed. Once you know filing bankruptcy is right for you, this part of the process is fun. Why? Because this is the last time you will have to deal with your bills. Once you have the information gathered, we offer an appointment in our office with one of our staff to review the documents, make sure you have the right paperwork and that we have answered all of your questions. We will also get you set up with Credit Counseling at that time. Credit Counseling takes about an hour of your time and can be done online or over the phone, even after business hours.

Step 3: Your Signing Appointment
A couple of weeks after we receive all your documents and papers, you will come in for a signing appointment to our office. At this appointment we will review and explain your paperwork, after which you will sign all the documents.

Step 4: Filing Your Case at Court
We file the signed documents with the Court. When your case is filed, the Court issues an order called the "automatic stay" which stops all collection, foreclosure, garnishment and repossession activity. Creditors and debt collectors cannot even talk to you, and they certainly cannot harass you.

If they violate the automatic stay, they can be sued for contempt of Court. The creditors will leave you alone after the case is filed. If they do not, the Court will fine them.

Step 5: Meeting of Creditors (341 Hearing)
About 30 days after we file your case, you will attend the Meeting of Creditors (also called a 341 Hearing). This meeting is the creditor's opportunity to show up and ask you questions. However, most creditors do NOT show up. Why? Because bankruptcy protection is powerful and creditors know there is NOT much they can do. In most cases this meeting would be more appropriately called "Meeting Your Trustee". You can think of your Trustee as a sort of "bookkeeper/gatekeeper" for the Court. The Trustee's job is to review the schedules filed in your case to ensure your information is truthful, accurate and complete. In most cases, the meeting is usually over in less than 15 minutes.

Step 6: Financial Management Course
In the month after our 341 meeting you need to complete the second financial management course. This takes about 2 hours and is usually arranged by our office. Most people find it gives them useful information and is interesting.

Step 7: Repayment plan

You will need to follow and complete the financial repayment as directed by your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan. Since the repayment takes place over 3-to-5 years, your circumstances may change and a modification to Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan may be needed.

Step 8: Discharge
After successful repayment of your debt, the Court issues your discharge. The discharge is the court order which states you do not owe your bills. Furthermore, it forbids creditors from trying to collect. However, there are some debts that Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate. These debts include child support, student loans and most taxes.

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Office Locations

O'Fallon

1 Eagle Center, Suite #3A
O'Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 235-9800
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Granite City

1600 Pontoon Road, Suite B
Granite City, IL 62040
(618) 235-9800
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Salem

2721 S. Broadway (Rt. 37 South)
Salem, IL 62881
(618) 548-0083
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Mt. Vernon

4106 Broadway
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
(618) 548-0083
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Effingham

400 N. Keller Drive, Suite F
Effingham, IL 62401
(217) 342-0333
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