5 Tips to Empower Your Fresh Start

Tip 1 – Open Your Mail

You initiate your bankruptcy case by filing the Voluntary Petition Form 101. In the Voluntary Petition you must list your mailing address. Important Court notices will be sent to you at the address you listed in the Voluntary Petition. The Bankruptcy Code and local bankruptcy rules require that you take certain action within specified periods of time. It if critically important that you check your mail for bankruptcy related notices so that you can take action within the time specified in the notice. It is important that you inform the Court about any changes to your mailing address. You can change the mailing address by filing a Notice of Change of Address form with the Court. In order to receive court notices and orders by email instead of U.S. Mail, you may request participation in the Debtor Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing (DeBN) program. You can get your DeBN application on the bankruptcy court’s website at http://www.mdb.uscourts.gov/content/debtor-electronic-bankruptcy-noticing-debn

Tip 2 – File All Required Documents

File all documents and keep your case from being dismissed. Your bankruptcy filing will consist of the Voluntary Petition, Schedules, Statements and a Plan for Chapter 13 filers. If you filed your bankruptcy case without filing the Schedules, Statements and/or Plan, you will be given 14 days to file the missing documents. If you do not file the missing document(s), your bankruptcy case will be dismissed. Stay in your case by filing all required documents.

Tip 3 – Make Your Plan Payment

If you filed a Chapter 13 case, you must make your first Plan payment within 30 days after the date of filing. Plan payments may be made by wage deduction, check, cashier’s check, money order or electronically. If your Trustee is Nancy Spencer Grigsby, you can make your electronic payment at http://www.ch13md.com/epayfaq.html or if your Trustee is Robert S. Thomas you can make your electronic payment at www.TFSBillpay.com. Failure to make your plan payments will result in the dismissal of your case. Electronic payments may be made. Check with your Trustee at the filing filers mustFile all documents and keep your case from being dismissed. Your bankruptcy filing will consist of the Voluntary Petition, Schedules, Statements and a Plan for Chapter 13 filers. If you filed your bankruptcy case without filing the Schedules, Statements and/or Plan, you will be given 14 days to file the missing documents. If you do not file the missing document(s), your bankruptcy case will be dismissed. Stay in your case by filing all required documents.

Tip 4 – Begin to Use the Resources Available to You

The US Bankruptcy Court’s website at www.mdb.uscourts.gov is a great place to start for valuable bankruptcy related information, including Official Bankruptcy Forms, Resources for Debtors, Filing Requirements and Instructions for Landlords and Tenants. In addition to bankruptcy resources, there are an abundance of financial resource available to you to help you begin and enhance your fresh start. Your case information is available at the National Data Center. Please visit www.NDC.org and click the link for new debtor access. You may be able to save money on your property taxes by applying for the Homeowner’s Tax Credit and Homestead Tax Credit. Guidelines and application for the tax credit programs can be found at dat.state.md.us. Free tax preparation services through the Maryland Cash Campaign.

Tip 5 – Begin Your Financial Fitness Workout Immediately

When getting into good physical shape procrastination is the enemy. You must start working out in order to see results. It will take a lot of hard work and diligence pays off. The same applies to getting into financial shape. Create a budget.

This content is intended to provide general information regarding consumer bankruptcy and is not intended to be relied upon for your specific circumstances.  You can only get the legal advice for your particular needs by meeting with an attorney and discussing your legal rights and responsibilities.

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