Today is Friday, May 24th
I am in the office, so email questions and we can get you rolling.
Chapter 7 Overview
We prepare your entire petition together during one office appointment in Des Moines, no packet. Jeff files weekly, hearing 30 days later and discharge 9 weeks after. Start with Step 1 below.
Step 1 - Income Eligibility for Chapter 7 Full Discharge - Start Here
Verify you are Under Median Income Check your Gross family income (includes child support, overtime etc.) against the chart below. Include children you support. DO NOT include SOCIAL SECURITY. If you are below the median income you should have no difficulty getting a full discharge through Chapter 7 Iowa bankruptcy. If you are above median income, email and we can take a look at your numbers.
You can do your required credit counseling class online for about $25 before coming to my office. You can email me a copy of the certificate(s), one for single filer, two for joint married. You can get your certificate(s) online at BK Class. It is good for Six Months so get this out of the way.
Below is what you will need when we meet. Jeff will go through your case in detail at which point you can decide whether to go forward, if you do not, you pay nothing. Because we will prepare for your appointment via email, Jeff sets all appointments online.Set Appointment Online.
Credit Counseling Certificate (you can get this online at BK Class)
All bills you intend to discharge (credit cards, medical etc.) with full address including zip code
Creditor information with full address on debts you will keep like home or car loans
Copies of lawsuits/judgments/garnishment orders you may have
If you have a wage garnishment, the name, title and full address of your payroll preparer
Last TWO MONTHS (60 days) pay stubs from work (including your spouse even if they are not filing)
If you do not receive wage income, bring whatever records you have of other income for the last six months
Most recent Federal and State tax returns including W2's for the last two years
Photo ID and Social Security Card or proof of social security number
Step 4 - Hearing - 30 Days after Filing
Jeff will attend your bankruptcy hearing with you. There is no Judge or courtroom, just a trustee who will ask if you listed all your bills, all your assets, how much you had in your bank accounts on the day of filing and so forth. Jeff will assist you if creditors appear or the trustee is concerned about any issues on your bankruptcy.
Step 5 - Discharge - About 9 weeks after Hearing
About 9 weeks after your hearing you will receive your discharge order in the mail meaning you are no longer responsible for the debt. If you continue to receive bills from any of your discharged creditors you can just send them to us and we will take care of them.
Bankruptcy is a scary word for most people. The idea of years of bad credit causes second thoughts. However, when considering the proís and conís to filing, remember that lawsuits, judgments, garnishments, liens, repossession or foreclosure will have the same or worse affect. Filing bankruptcy ends this downward spiral and even stops those telephone calls so you can start sleeping again!
Once you file bankruptcy, creditors are required to stop contacting you, and lawsuits and garnishments have to stop. It takes about two years post-filing to rebuild your credit and get a good interest rate on a home purchase. If you have filed a prior bankruptcy, the waiting period from the filing date of your prior bankruptcy is 8 years. Jeff can often answer email after business hours.
"To anyone reading this..STOP.. and review Jeff's videos.. and then e-mail Jeff!! I'm excited for you because you will be elated you did!! Jeff is always there ..not to judge you...but to help you become debt free!! To quote Jeff," No Worries!" Forever and always, Thank you Jeff!!!"
-January, 2012 Clients
In March of 2008, Jeff filed our bankruptcy. He was respectful and helpful and quick and yet he took his time with us. We didn't feel rushed or pressured. Everything went exactly as he told us to expect. There were no surprises, just results. As bankruptcy goes, I have to assume that this was as pleasant as the experience could have been.
Yesterday, I was in contact with a former debtor who claims that they had no record of the debt discharge. I contacted Jeff this morning by email at 9:10 requesting proof of the discharge. At 9:17 I had a copy of the discharge in my inbox. I'm not kidding! 2 years after the deal was done it took him SEVEN MINUTES to solve my problem!
I really don't know that I've had better client service from any professional in any field anywhere. If you're unfortunate enough to need this kind of service, Jeff is absolutely the man to contact! We're very happy we chose him when we needed him.
Keep it Simple. If you are under median income, as most of the people who need to file are, chances are you will have no problem getting a discharge as long your case is properly prepared. Be sure to consider all your income including overtime, child support any rental income etc. Take your gross household income (before taxes and deductions) for the past six months and double it, then compare it to the Iowa median income chart on this page.
It's all about documents now. Be sure to bring 60 days worth of pay stubs (if you receive pay stubs), your Federal and State tax forms (1040ís) and the other listed documents. Even solid cases are sometimes dismissed for lack of documents.
The more time you spend researching the more comfortable you will be. Time spent surfing around this site helps. The unknown stresses us the most.
The most common problem is recent credit card use. Courts do not like it when people load up on purchases/cash advances/balance transfers and then file bankruptcy. It makes the Judge cranky. Don't make the Judge cranky.
The second most common problem is defective pre-bankruptcy planning. Transferring property to someone else, titling a car in your sons name, taking money out of the bank and hiding it; these things are bad.
The best way to make sure you include all your bills is to have them neatly organized before coming in. We will enter each one in turn followed by collection agencies, if any. If you also have a master list you have prepared you can compare your list to the petition while in the office. It totally bums me out when people are stuck with bills that could easily have been listed and discharged if they had been better organized.
When we meet we will list all your property so we can claim it as exempt. You will be estimating values. For example, we will list the values of your furniture and appliances. We use market values meaning what you could sell it for. That means listing it on Craigslist or selling it at a garage sale. No need to stress over whether you could get $1,500 or $2,500 for your furniture and appliances. Just make the best estimates you can as we go.
Once you know you need to file, putting it off will only make things worse. The average client tells me they should have filed a year earlier, before they suffered through bank or wage garnishment, the stress of many sleepless nights and harassing creditor calls. When clients leave my office after we have prepared the petition for filing they are a different person, relaxed and looking forward to a smooth discharge.
You can't really bring too much paperwork to our meeting. If you are not sure if you need something, like a hard copy of your pre-filing certificate(s) bring it.
Don't feel like you have to set your appointment 30 days ahead, too much changes. Just wait until you have everything together and then email with the day you prefer, usually 7-10 days ahead is fine. Due to cancellations short notice is sometimes possible too.
Leave Early. In your bankruptcy as in other important events your life, leaving early, allowing time for traffic & construction and building in time to relax, use the restroom, and get a refreshment just before the meeting will reduce your stress.
Take full advantage of this opportunity. You can not file bankruptcy again for 8 years. Take a hard look at income and expenses. Many people keep homes or cars they cannot really afford and end up back in a financial hole again.
Email questions to Jeff before coming in. Especially if you are over median income or have something unusual about your case like owning a rental property or expecting an inheritance. Itís best to resolve questions early.
Whether due to job loss, illness, divorce or wages that simply do not keep up with increased cost of living, many individuals and families in Iowa find themselves in financial distress.
Constant phone calls, lawsuits, judgments, liens, wage and bank account garnishment, calls at work that can threaten your job security, foreclosure and eviction are all problems Iowa individuals and families find themselves in when overwhelmed with unmanageable debt.
Our Courts and Judges, the United States Trustee’s Office, the Panel Trustees, the Clerk of Court and your Attorney are all interested in assisting honest debtors in getting relief from burdensome debt, getting back on track financially, and planning a brighter financial future.
As a debtor taking advantage of this opportunity, you have an obligation to be completely truthful and cooperative with your attorney and in all other matters related to your case. You must fully and accurately disclose all of your assets, income and all claims you have against others and comply with all document or other requests of the Trustees. The success of my firm and my ability to continue to represent honest, well intended clients depends of my accepting only clients who will take a completely honest approach.
- Jeff Mathias
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
The stated fixed fees or range of fees will be available only to clients whose matters are encompassed within the described services. If the client's matters are not encompassed within the described services, or if an hourly fee rate is stated, the client is entitled, without obligation, to a specific written estimate of the fees likely to be charged.
"I was very nervous, Jeff made me feel comfortable and answered all my questions."
"Dear Jeff, Just wanted to let you know that we received our bankruptcy discharge. So again, you have our deepest gratitude for your help and guidance through this process. You have truly changed our lives and lifted a burden that we never thought would be possible. Thanks for your professional skill and knowledge, but always compassionate and non-judgmental help. Thanks again for everything and we send our best wishes for your future".
"Hi Jeff, I just wanted to thank you for all you did to help me get through this otherwise unpleasant process. I appreciate that you never made me feel inferior in any way; in fact, you treated me with dignity and respect ".
"Jeff was very thorough and informative. I felt completely prepared when it was time for my meeting of creditors. Many times when I had questions, the answers were right on his website. Thanks again, Jeff!"
"I really don't know that I've had better client service from any professional in any field anywhere. If you're unfortunate enough to need this kind of service, Jeff is absolutely the man to contact! We're very happy we chose him when we needed him"
"Jeff made the entire process of filing Chap 7 straightforward and easy to understand. Rather than feeling stigmatized, we felt comfortable and informed, which was a great thing at an extremely difficult time in our financial lives. We would strongly recommend Jeff to anyone facing the same crisis"
"Very fast communication during the process of my case. Very insightful and was extremely easy to work with. Since my case has been discharged he has followed up on questions I had without problems. I would recommend Jeff to anyone who is concerned about bankruptcy or who has decided to go through the process"
"Thanks for your professional skill and knowledge, but always compassionate and non-judgmental help. Thanks again for everything and we send our best wishes for your future."
"Hi Jeff, I just got my notice in the mail today that my bankruptcy is final! I received your thank you on Friday so I knew something was up. Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you. I was so horrified when I arranged my meeting with you but you put everything at ease. Humor helps, a LOT in my book. Take care and if I come across anyone who needs to file, I will send them your way!"
Sam Walton Sam Walton's first store was a Ben Franklin discount shop which he made one of the most successful in the chain. Walton's problem was a short lease, when it expired, the buildings owner canceled his lease and took over the store himself. Walton had to start from scratch. He later created the largest company in the world and became a billionaire.
Note- Jeff can often respond to email after hours and weekends so feel free to email questions anytime.
"Iowa consumers who want to file bankruptcy really need to talk with Jeff, a genuinely caring professional who makes it his business to treat every client like a human being rather than another number to be run through the system".
-Jay Fleischman, New York City
"Jeff is a conscientious and thorough attorney who is up to date on the issues affecting his clients."
-Penny Souhrada, Davenport
"Jeff is a colleague of mine through NACBA. He is very dedicated towards the legal profession and in particular his never ending desire to assist those who are struggling financially. In the area of bankruptcy you need someone who not only knows the current law but takes the time to stay current on the ever evolving area of the bankruptcy practice. Jeff is one of those attorneys."
-Rachel Lynn Foley, Kansas City
"Jeff keep abreast of the most recent trends and changes in bankruptcy law, but he also takes the time to get to know the local bankruptcy trustees so as to better handle the particular requirements of each trustee. Such extra effort is very helpful for promoting his clients' cases."
-Edward Sager, Kirkland, Washington
"My office is near Jeff's, and we often refer bankruptcy clients to one another. Jeff is passionate about his practice and always sharing ideas on how to better serve clients. If a new or novel issue comes up, we will hash it out together and figure out how to best serve the client. Two things that stand out about Jeff's practice include how efficient and economical he is. I have not met another bankruptcy attorney who can get cases on file faster or for a lower flat rate. Jeff is always showing me ways to improve my own practice, and I am thankful for that.
-Deanna Bachman, West Des Moines
"Jeff Mathias has been a trusted colleague for several years. He has created a streamlined and skilled practice focusing on Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Debtors who need a bankruptcy filed quickly to stop garnishments would be especially well served to contact Jeff. He treats debtors with the respect they deserve.
-Nancy Thompson, Des Moines