When you file bankruptcy there are a significant number of forms you must file with the court. The forms take quite awhile to complete, and you may not have the necessary information available in order to complete these forms right away.
If you are facing an emergency such as wage garnishment, home foreclosure, repossession, or any other imminent collection activity, you can submit a few of the forms to the court to get the case started. This is called an emergency bankruptcy filing. The reason to file an emergency bankruptcy is to have the automatic stay kick in. The automatic stay prohibits most creditors from collecting upon you. For example, if you are behind on your mortgage and you have a sale date approaching, you can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the sale of your home and pay the past due amount on your mortgage through your Chapter 13 plan. (In Chapter 7 bankruptcy you may only get temporary relief from collection activities if you are behind on your mortgage). Another common example is someone who is facing a garnishment.
With few exceptions you must complete a court approved credit counseling class prior to filing bankruptcy. This class is usually done online or over the phone, but is also offered in person. After you have completed the class and taken a short test, you will receive a certificate that will be filed with the court.
In the state of Arizona in order to get your case started, you must file the voluntary petition and pay the filing fee. The filing fee for Chapter 7 is $306 and for Chapter 13 is $281. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may submit an application to the court to pay the fee in installments or waive the fee altogether. A judge will rule upon your application.
Within 7 days of filing the voluntary petition you must file the creditor matrix and exhibit D. The creditor matrix is the list of all your creditors and their addresses. Exhibit D is the form that shows completion of the credit counseling requirement. Within 14 days of filing the voluntary petition you must file the remaining schedules and statements. If you cannot file the remaining forms within 14 days you can request more time with the court. If you miss one of the deadlines to file the paperwork your case will be dismissed.
If you are facing an emergency bankrupty situation, I strongly suggest you seek the advice of an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer. Filing an emergency bankruptcy without the help of counsle can lead to dismissal or other complications in your case. Please contact a bankruptcy attorney with Ariano & Reppucci to discuss an emergency bankruptcy filing further.