Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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My Bankruptcy Story: From Attorney Consultations to Discharge

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  • My Bankruptcy Story: From Attorney Consultations to Discharge

    Hello everyone, I've been a long time lurker of this forum, but I've decided to post for the first time! I filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy at the end of January and just received my discharge two days ago. Just wanted to share my overall experience with everyone to hopefully ease their minds a bit. People on this forum aren't kidding when they say that most of the things we stress about during this process are things we really don't need to stress about.

    My debt was mainly consumer and I had a very clear no-asset case. I stopped paying on my credit cards in July, consulted with a few attorneys in October, and all said that my case would likely be open and shut with no hiccups. I ended up going with an attorney that had his own private law firm instead of one of the more well known attorneys in the area that have their paralegals do most of the work. I found this attorney to be extremely comforting through this stressful time -- he promptly responded to all of my emails about any concerns I had along the way.

    The most stressful part of this journey was when the collections calls started. GC Services, the agency that Amex sells accounts to, was by far the most harsh. My account was sold to them in late December. They called me every day, and eventually when I stopped picking up, they began to call my family members 2-3 times per week. Once they started to call my work phone, I called to tell them that they were not permitted to call that number and cited the fair debt collection practices act. Once I did that, they stopped calling the work phone, but ignored the section of the FDCPA that states that they cannot contact third parties more than once.

    Once I finally saved up enough money for attorney fees and whatnot to file in January, the collections calls stopped immediately. That automatic stay is a wonderful thing. Once my case was filed, I was finally able to sleep at night knowing that this was the beginning of the end of the most stressful time of my life. I received a letter in the mail less than a week later to inform me of my 341 date, and the waiting game began.

    My 341 meeting was roughly a month after I filed. It took place in a conference room in a courthouse -- there was a round table where the trustee, attorney, and debtor sat, and several other chairs in the room (almost set up in a way to be like an "audience" for the people waiting for their turn). I got to watch a few cases before mine, and they definitely eased my mind a lot. All of the other people with no-asset cases were asked the general questions that have been posted in this forum hundreds of times -- no real surprises. There was one case where the debtor tried to start a business that failed, and the US trustee showed up to ask questions about where his investment money for that went. I knew his case was way more complicated than mine, so seeing the US trustee did not make me feel any more nervous at all. Finally it was my turn, and again I was asked all of the questions that I've seen on this forum over and over again, but there were two questions that I did not expect: (1) Do you have an ebay account, and if so, please write down the username and password. I told the trustee that I did have an account, but I did not use it for selling I only used it to purchase cheap clothes a handful of times. He didn't push the issue any further. (2) I indicated on my tax return and schedules that I received grant money to conduct scientific research at school. The trustee asked me about the nature of my research, and asked if it would lead to any journal publications or books that I could make a profit from in the future. I told him that I did not have plans to publish at this time. He didn't give me instructions on what to do if I decided to publish information from that research and make a profit in the future, so I'm assuming it would be a non issue. In all, my 341 meeting lasted maybe 5 minutes tops.

    Once my 341 meeting was over, it was just ~60 non-eventful days. I checked pacer from time to time, and every time, it said "awaiting discharge", so eventually I just pushed it to the back of my mind and didn't start checking again until the 60 days were up. Finally, a little more than 60 days after the 341 meeting, I received my discharge!! No accusations of bankruptcy fraud. No assets taken by surprise. No adversary proceedings. My case went as smoothly as my attorney and the many people on this forum said it would.

    Now the next part of my journey has begun -- rebuilding. I've received a couple dozen letters in the mail from car dealerships and credit card companies. Every single letter has been ripped up. I'm going to wait a few months, get a secured credit card, and slowly start rebuilding. I will continue to drive my junker car as long as I can, and it's comforting to know that I could get an auto loan if I desperately needed one (albeit with an insanely high interest rate) and that my life is not ruined.

    One thing I think is important to point out (that I never knew) is that you cannot take out federal student loans while you are in an active bankruptcy. I plan on going back to school in the fall, and after completing my financial aid application, I received an alert saying that I needed to show the school's financial aid office a copy of my discharge letter in order to receive loans. Everything has been taken care of and I have received the approval to take out student loans, but I am super thankful for the fact that I decided to file when I did as opposed to having an active bankruptcy around the time I would be starting school.

    I know this was a super rambly post, but I hope my experience helps anyone feel better about what they are about to go through. Please feel free to ask me to elaborate on anything you may have questions about. Thank you to everyone in this forum for being super informative and calming my nerves a lot during this process. It feels so good to finally be FREE!

    Filed January 25th
    341 February 28th
    Discharge May 4th

  • #2
    Thanks for being here & sharing your story. Every single one helps someone out there.

    I am especially thankful for the part about federal student loans. I am supposed to be starting nursing school in August, and not sure what is going to be an "ok" way to pay for it. This gave me much to think about this morning.

    Congrats on your discharge & new life!


    • #3
      Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations on your discharge and I hope that you stick around and perhaps help others with your story.
      Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
      Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
      Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

      I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


      • #4
        Yay, you!!!! I, too, am in the rebuilding phase and it's been such a comfort to have this forum available. Great advice and support!


        • #5
          How much did you get to discharge? and congrats!


          • #6
            Hi everyone -- just thought I'd give a quick update on my bankruptcy! Nearly three months after discharge, I decided to begin the rebuilding process and apply for a credit card. I had a pre-approval offer from Capital One for their "Platinum" (there's nothing platinum about it ) unsecured card. I was approved with a $300 credit limit, stupidly high (24.99%) APR, and no annual fee. I was completely surprised that the first line of credit I was able to get post-bankruptcy was an unsecured credit card. This is going to be my card exclusively for Spotify and Netflix that gets paid in full every month. Capital One was the only company that kept sending offers in the mail three months post-BK so hopefully this means the end of my junk mail woes.


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