Can you still file for bankruptcy during COVID-19 restrictions? The short answer is: yes.
On March 19, 2020, the Governor of Maryland issued an executive order closing bars and many other businesses across the state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the state lifted many restrictions on June 6, 2020, some conditions remained in place. This pandemic and the accompanying public health restrictions have cost many people their jobs, health, and livelihood. Job opportunities in many industries—such as tourism, food service, and entertainment—have dried up because people can no longer gather safely. People who do have jobs are spending less because their economic outlook is uncertain.
In hard times, many people can’t pay their bills. Maryland offers resources to help its citizens cope with COVID-19, but these might not be enough. The bankruptcy code provides an opportunity for debtors to get a fresh start. Although the courts have stopped in-person proceedings for bankruptcy during COVID-19, you can still file and have a remote hearing regarding your case.
Bankruptcy is not a sign of failure. It is a legal way to rebuild after an emergency. If you are deeply in debt, consider taking advantage of this opportunity to protect yourself and your family, but be sure to understand the process and its implications. The bankruptcy court of Maryland warns that bankruptcy can have serious effects on your life and urges anyone filing for bankruptcy to consult with a lawyer before making a decision.
Filing for Bankruptcy During COVID-19
The bankruptcy process begins with filing a petition for bankruptcy with the county clerk of court. Many court procedures are now available remotely. Submitting forms and documents electronically, as much as is possible, will help to keep you and your family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once you file for bankruptcy, a trustee appointed by the U.S. government will examine your assets. In a bankruptcy hearing, you will meet with the trustee and your creditors to determine which debts you must pay and what will happen to your assets. Due to COVID-19, bankruptcy hearings now sometimes occur as Zoom meetings.
Understanding Bankruptcy During COVID-19
Different forms of bankruptcy have distinct requirements and procedures. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a solution for people who cannot pay their debts, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows people to reorganize their assets to pay off mortgage debt over time. Some assets and financial accounts are preservable through bankruptcy proceedings, while others are not. In order to understand how bankruptcy will affect your finances, you need to understand relevant legal distinctions between different types of assets that might be central in the bankruptcy proceeding.
Furthermore, the District Court of Maryland has its own rules. A knowledgeable local attorney with experience in bankruptcy law will understand those rules and how they will apply to your personal financial situation. For these reasons, it is wise to retain a bankruptcy attorney.
Consult an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
Going through the bankruptcy process alone is challenging and may be detrimental to your financial health. Have a trusted advocate in your corner. The attorneys at the Phillips Law Offices, LLC, in Greenbelt, MD, have years of experience with Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.
If you ask us to represent you, our legal team at the Phillips Law Offices will explain your rights. We will guide you through the process and give you a voice in bankruptcy court. Don’t give up hope. Don’t let creditors be the only ones who have a say in your financial future. Call our team at the Phillips Law Offices today at 781-595-3800 to schedule a free consultation.