When you have a business that goes into Chapter 7 — or “total bankruptcy” — it’s a long, involved process with a very happy ending: a total absolution of all of your business debt. Of course, there are significant downsides in terms of your long-term credit rating and your ability to get a new business loan, so generally business owners only take this route if there are no other options. But when there are, in fact, no other options, everyone who needs it is grateful to have the option of Chapter 7.It’s sheer folly, however, to attempt to navigate the legal waters of total bankruptcy without a solid chapter 7 law firm at your side. That’s because there’s a strict ‘order of operations’ within total bankruptcy — an order of operations that any bankruptcy law firm is going to make you follow to a T.First, you must participate in creditor counseling. This means having a certified professional talk to you about how to avoid debts in the future — no one wants you to have to go through bankruptcy a second time in your life.Then, you’ll have to draft a petition of bankruptcy. This requires your attorney to help you gather the relevant information and present a petition to the court. It’s critical that you go through this process carefully, because the petition is going to be used by the court to determine which assets you’re allowed to keep. You’ll turn this into the court, and about a week later, you’ll receive a case number.After that, you will typically wait about a month for the date of your first court hearing. During this time, a stay is placed on your accounts telling creditors that you’re in bankruptcy and they should make no attempts to collect from you.At your court dates, your bankruptcy attorney(s) will represent you; you hardly need to speak except to answer a few questions — and your lawyer will prepare you for those as well. Almost everything will be handled by your legal team.After your time in court, you should need to wait no more than two months to receive your Notice of Discharge — and then you can breathe a huge sigh of relief, because it means your debts have been absolved.
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