The following are common terms/phrases you will hear during a bankruptcy case.
DATE OF FILING: This is the date your bankruptcy petition is filed.
PRE-PETITION DEBTS: Debts incurred before the date of filing are “pre-petition debts and included in your bankruptcy case. Note this is not the date the bill is received, it is the date the service is rendered that results in the bill. If you went to the dentist last week and filed bankruptcy today, the dentist bill is a pre-petition debt even though you have not received the bill as of the date of filing.
POST-PETITION DEBTS: Debts incurred after the date of filing are “post-petition” debts. Post petition debts are not included in your bankruptcy case.
AUTOMATIC STAY: This is the holy grail of bankruptcy law. The automatic stay is in effect from the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed until the entry of the Discharge Order. This means all actions to collect any pre-petition debt must be stopped. This includes phone calls, letters, e-mails, texts. In addition, all legal actions must stop. This includes foreclosures, repossessions, utility shut-off, law suits, payment orders. Violation of the automatic stay is serious business in the bankruptcy court. Please contact me if you believe a creditor may be violating the automatic stay.
BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE: Every bankruptcy case is assigned a bankruptcy trustee. The trustee’s job is to investigate your case to determine if there are any unprotected assets which he/she can sell for the benefit of the creditors. You will meet with the bankruptcy trustee between 30-45 days after your date of filing for an interview regarding your finances.
TRUSTEE MEETING/341 MEETING: Between 30-45 days from the date of filing, you will meet with your bankruptcy trustee at the bankruptcy court. At the meeting, the trustee will swear you in then review your bankruptcy petition and ask you a few questions about your assets. Generally, these interviews last under five minutes. I will be with you at the meeting.
DISCHARGE ORDER: This is the order that legally releases you from payment of your debts and prohibits creditors from contacting you in any way regarding the collection of a pre-petition debt even after your case has closed. If a creditor contacts you to collect a pre-petition debt after the Discharge Order has entered, they are violating a court order. Judges do not like it when the Discharge Order is violated. Please contact me if you believe a creditor may be violating the Discharge Order.