THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS IN RHODE ISLAND AND MASSACHUSETTS
An overview on how to file bankruptcy in Rhode Island and how to file bankruptcy in Massachusetts
Free Initial Consultation with Providence bankruptcy attorney John Simonian
During this meeting, Mr. Simonian will review your current financial situation and help you decide whether filing bankruptcy is your best option. After reviewing your income, assets and expenses, he will recommend which type of bankruptcy would best fit your situation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most debts entirely. Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a payment plan with creditors so you catch up on your debt, including mortgage debt . Attorney Simonian will also discuss his fees and court costs associated with the bankruptcy process.
Complete the Bankruptcy Questionnaire
Your next step is to complete the bankruptcy questionnaire. Attorney Simonian will need this along with your bill statements and a recent credit report in order to prepare your bankruptcy petition. For a complete list of paperwork to bring to your appointment, please see the bankruptcy checklist.
You can complete what you can on your own or you can wait until your next meeting with Attorney Simonian to complete the questionnaire under his guidance.
Obtain a Credit Counseling Certificate You must complete a credit-counseling course before your bankruptcy petition can be filed. Attorney Simonian will let you know when it’s time to take the course and will provide you with a list of court-approved credit counseling agencies. You can take the course online, in person, or by telephone. Once you receive your course completion certificate, be sure Attorney Simonian receives a copy.
Your Bankruptcy Petition Is Filed
Once Attorney Simonian files your bankruptcy petition, he will send you a copy of it. Review it carefully to ensure all your creditors are listed. In the same mailing, he will send you the date for your bankruptcy trustee meeting (Meeting of Creditors) and details on what to expect during the meeting.
When your bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect prohibiting creditors from collecting on your debt. They must stop all phone calls, letters, lawsuits, foreclosures, wage garnishments and repossessions.
Complete the Personal Financial Management Course
Before your bankruptcy case is completed and your debt is discharged you need to complete a Personal Financial Management course. Attorney Simonian will provide you with a list of court-approved course providers. You can take the course online, in person, or by telephone. Provide Attorney Simonian with a copy of your course completion certificate prior to your meeting with the bankruptcy trustee at the Meeting of Creditors.
Attend the Meeting of Creditors
You will receive a notice in the mail from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court advising you of the date, time and location for your Meeting of Creditors. For Rhode Island residents, the meeting is held in a conference room in the Federal Center building, 380 Westminster St., Providence. For Massachusetts residents, the location is based on where you live, so Attorney Simonian will advise you of the location.
The Meeting of Creditors is attended by you, Attorney Simonian and the trustee assigned by the bankruptcy court. Although your creditors will be notified of this hearing, they rarely attend. The trustee will review your filing and ask questions to verify your financial situation. In most cases, your bankruptcy debt will be discharged or your payment plan approved without any further bankruptcy trustee meetings or appearances before a judge.
I recommend dressing nicely but casually for the meeting. Most hearings last about four minutes. Here is a video that shows what happens in the creditors meeting: