Bankruptcy During a Global Pandemic
COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, has left a monumental impact on the fabric of all of society, and it does not look like it is close to being over. Many Americans are facing fear over not only contracting this very serious virus, but also the fact that they have been laid off or unable to return to work due to “shelter-in-place” requirements of state and local governments. If a person was struggling financially prior to this outbreak, their financial situation has likely only gotten worse. Perhaps you were already in the middle of a bankruptcy filing, or you were considering filing for bankruptcy. Either way, you may be curious how to handle the process of a bankruptcy during an unprecedented global pandemic in recent history.
Existing Bankruptcy Filings
If you have a bankruptcy filing at this time, the unfortunate news is that you may have to wait for a while before the courts are back up and running as usual. If you have already filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may experience significant delays or complete postponement of the remainder of your bankruptcy until life resumes as normal and this pandemic has settled. There may be some options within your bankruptcy court to drop off paperwork at the courthouse without actually being near any other people. Additionally, if you have any filing fees or paperwork that is due, make sure that you are able to mail that in if it is necessary. Your deadlines will likely be extended. If you ever receive any documentation from your bankruptcy trustee such as an Affidavit of Debtor you should sign it and send it back. In some cases, a 341 Meeting of the Creditors may be able to be done through video conferencing.
However, with shelter-in-place and stay at home measures being requested by government officials, it is not advisable that anyone travel anywhere until it is absolutely essential for their life that they do so. Ultimately, every bankruptcy court is different, and you should directly contact the bankruptcy trustee handling your case to determine what your next steps should be. Again, avoid leaving the house and contact the court or the bankruptcy trustee before you make an unnecessary trip to the courthouse.
Filing for Bankruptcy
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy during this time due to your inability to return to work due to the coronavirus, realize that you may not be able to receive the financial relief as quickly as you normally would under standard bankruptcy timetables. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is quicker than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they both still take a considerable amount of time. If you are feeling overwhelmed financially, it is always best to visit with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you determine the best options during this very unusual and difficult time. This is an uncertain time for any kind of law currently in this country, including bankruptcy law.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
We understand that you may be struggling financially due to the coronavirus outbreak. Contact the West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan today at 561-264-6850 for a free consultation, and to help you understand your options during this global pandemic.