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The Bankruptcy Process

Merrillville Bankruptcy Attorneys Show You Your Best Options

Trusted Indiana lawyers guide clients through the debt relief process

If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, it is worth your while to speak to a Merrillville attorney who can answer your questions completely and accurately. An experienced lawyer can explain the full process and advise you about how to proceed. At the Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires, P.C. in Merrillville, we advise and assist clients in Lake and Porter counties as well as other Indiana locations, including South Bend and Lafayette. If filing bankruptcy is not the right course of action for you, we can counsel you about other debt relief and foreclosure defense options.

Experienced attorneys advise on bankruptcy eligibility issues

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code has several chapters with different requirements, depending on whether you are filing as an individual or a business. Individuals (or couples filing jointly) have a choice between Chapter 7 debt discharge and Chapter 13 repayment. To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass the means test. In other words, if your total income is less than the median state income for a household your size, you are eligible to file. People whose income is greater than the median can still qualify if their disposable income is below the threshold amount for a similarly sized household. Consumers who do not pass the means test can still file under Chapter 13, provided they have a reliable source of income.

Basics of the bankruptcy process

When you retain our services, a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer helps you each step of the way throughout the bankruptcy process. Our office assists in preparing the necessary paperwork, obtaining credit reports, attending any hearings and handling the entire process.

In general, most bankruptcy cases consist of:

  • A free initial consultation — Here you meet with a bankruptcy professional to discuss your options and receive a checklist of documents to gather. We take a personal interest in your case and provide advice specific to your circumstances.
  • Online credit counseling courses — Indiana requires all consumer bankruptcy petitioners to participate in credit counseling.
  • Assembling your documentation — You will be required to provide financial documents such as income statements, tax returns, credit card statements, bank statements, loan documents and other records detailing regular expenses. For Chapter 13 filing, you should create a detailed monthly budget. This allows your attorney to craft a payment plan to submit with your petition.
  • Filing the petition — We draft your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition and file documents in the appropriate court.
  • Automatic stay — As soon as you file, the bankruptcy court issues a court order, prohibiting creditors from contacting you in an attempt to collect on your debts. This means that there should be no more harassing phone calls or threats of legal action against you.
  • Creditors’ meeting — This is standard meeting called by the bankruptcy trustee to give creditors the opportunity to object to your bankruptcy filing or Chapter 13 payment plan. There might not be any objections and creditors frequently don’t attend at all, but your attorney will be at your side for advice and support.
  • Discharge of debt — Under Chapter 7, debts are usually discharged within three to four months of filing. Under Chapter 13, you maintain your payment plan usually for 36-60 months, after which the bankruptcy court discharges your remaining eligible debt as long as you have honored the terms of your repayment plan.

When you come to our firm for bankruptcy assistance, you get personalized service through every step of the process. We are accessible to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions at every juncture. If you are not ready for bankruptcy, we can suggest other debt relief options that may be effective for your situation.

Learn more by contacting our Northwest Indiana credit counseling attorneys

The Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires, P.C. assists Indiana residents filing for individual or business bankruptcy. Call today at 219-293-8988 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your debt problem. We offer flexible payment plans and can begin working on your bankruptcy case for as little as $100 down. Day, evening and Saturday appointments are available.

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

Victoria Bain Attorney Photo
Victoria Bain

About Victoria Bain joined Weiss, Schmidgall & Hires as an associate attorney in 2023. She is a graduate of The University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. Victoria received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Valparaiso University. During her time in college, she taught classes to incarcerated men at the Westville Correctional Facility,…

Christopher R. Schmidgall Attorney Photo
Christopher R. Schmidgall

For more than ten years, Christopher Schmidgall has protected the lives of people who find themselves caught in the tangled machinery of criminal prosecution. With the skill and determination he’s demonstrated throughout his life, Chris offers them the help they need to get their lives back in order. Not long after graduating from Valparaiso...

Amanda C. Hires Attorney Photo
Amanda C. Hires

Following a remarkably accomplished academic career, Amanda Hires applied her record of success to servicing good people facing difficult situations. She served as a volunteer at the New Orleans Public Defender’s Office and worked intensively with prosecutors and defense attorneys while under the guidance of Judge Sheila Moss at the Lake County Superior Court...

Jessica McPheeters Attorney Photo
Jessica McPheeters

Jessica McPheeters is an associate attorney with her primary focus being in Estate Planning, Probate, Business Formation and Planning, and other general practice matters. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Ball State University in 2014. Jessica then received her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law...

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