Can I File for Bankruptcy because of COVID-19?

Memphis Bankruptcy, Social Security Disability & Long Term Disability Attorney

The current COVID-19 pandemic can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially dealing with the financial impact of it all. It may also be especially challenging for business owners or individuals that need to file bankruptcy. If you are struggling with filing bankruptcy during this time, it might be easier and more convenient than you think. 

The courts have made changes and exceptions to the rules of bankruptcy filings to make it easier for you to file. These new updates also make it easier for you to get a bankruptcy attorney that can help you throughout the bankruptcy process despite shelter-in-place rules that may have made it more difficult. 

You don’t have to worry about filing bankruptcy alone. John Dunlap is an experienced bankruptcy attorney that specializes in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Call today for a free 30 minute strategy session to discuss your case.

Bankruptcy Options During COVID-19

Bankruptcy can be confusing if you are wondering which type of bankruptcy applies best to you and your situation. Fortunately, there are different types of bankruptcy depending on your circumstances. These types include:

  • Chapter 7: Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to potentially clear unsecured debts. Chapter 7 usually lasts between 4-6 months and if you have a low income now, you may qualify, even if your income was higher before the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Chapter 11: Chapter 11 provides a way to pay down your business debts while staying in business. If your business has seen a decrease in revenue because of COVID-19, this may provide you with an option to restructure debt while staying open.
  • Chapter 13: Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy plan that lasts anywhere between 3-5 years and allows you to pay back your debts over time through a repayment plan. 

If you are trying to decide which option is right for you, consulting with an attorney about the different options can help. John Dunlap is an attorney that is well versed in Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies. If you are looking for help with filing for bankruptcy because of the Coronavirus pandemic, call today for a free strategy session. 

How a Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help During a Pandemic

Filing for bankruptcy may be difficult if you’re trying to do it alone, but acting alone during a pandemic may present new challenges. Because of the recent changes in bankruptcy laws and filings, there are new rules and conditions that can make the filing process more confusing than before. Filing for bankruptcy often consists of a lot of paperwork, financial forms, and documents.

Our bankruptcy firm already has systems in place that allow us to help our clients file easily with electronic systems by scanning documents. At our bankruptcy law firm, we’re working remotely with our clients to help them through paperwork to file for bankruptcy while staying safe at home and guiding our clients through the changes to bankruptcy because of coronavirus.

What about Coronavirus and Bankruptcy Courses and Meeting of Creditors?

If you are required to take a bankruptcy course, you may be able to do your credit counseling online. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you choose, we can help you figure out the credit counseling you need to complete your bankruptcy filing. We help our clients take necessary steps to file for bankruptcy and provide advice throughout the process.

After you file for bankruptcy, you will have at least one meeting with the creditors with your assigned bankruptcy trustee. This usually happens under oath and the creditors are expected to meet in a courthouse. However, because of COVID-19, some exceptions have been made. 

We help clients by walking them through the meeting of creditors and representing them during meetings. Because of the virus, creditors have been instructed to stop conducting meetings about bankruptcy cases which has left some bankruptcy cases in limbo. However, we’re working with our clients to prepare them for meetings over the phone and continuing to work through bankruptcy filings according to the new rules and pushing creditors to meet if possible through other means.

Are Bankruptcy Courts Closed? How Can I Submit Bankruptcy Filings Right Now?

Many courts across the country have temporarily closed or postponed their court dates due to the virus outbreak. In Memphis, our court systems have been closed but we’re working with our clients to help them navigate this unique situation that caused the pandemic.

Additionally, many courts have waived strict “wet signature” rules that apply to normal situations. Due to coronavirus, many courts have temporarily waived the rule to allow you and your attorney to file bankruptcy online. We help our clients understand how paperwork must be completed to be accepted by Bankruptcy Court. 

Can Debts Be Discharged During the Pandemic?

If you’re familiar with the bankruptcy process, you may be aware that the final step in your bankruptcy case is the discharge. Depending on which bankruptcy you file, your discharge happens when some non-exempt assets or debts are discharged and your bankruptcy is finalized. 

If you have filed Chapter 7 and have completed all the other processes, your next step is waiting for the confirmation of your discharge. If you filed Chapter 11 or 13, you may have to wait to hear from your attorney about the telephone meetings and approval of your repayment plan. 

We’re helping our clients discharge their debts as much as possible throughout the pandemic and as a result of financial instability caused by the coronavirus. If you’re unsure where to get started with bankruptcy, call us for a free 30 minute strategy session.