Coronavirus and Filing Bankruptcy
Even though our interactions have been restricted, you still need to be able to receive financial relief. If you have been financially struggling but want to protect the health of you and your family, we can still offer relief and protection through bankruptcy.
During the coronavirus pandemic, you do not have to meet with your attorney in person in order to file a bankruptcy case. The Courts are now temporarily allowing bankruptcy cases to be filed without in-person, “wet” pen signatures. Instead of coming into the office, we can file your case using phone calls or video chats.
On April 3, 2020, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas suspended the requirement that attorneys obtain an original signature before filing a bankruptcy case. The Court’s recent Administrative Order is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts have recognized the urgent need for continued social distancing and the financial strains COVID-19 is causing.
How to File Bankruptcy while Social Distancing
Although the wet signature requirement has temporarily been lifted, there are some requirements that still have to be met before you file. Temporarily, your case may be filed if the following conditions are met.
Did you get the Docs?
First, the full petition and documents must be sent directly to you by mail or email. We want to make sure they are submitted to you in a file that is legible and you can open on your own computer. Due to the lengthy nature of the bankruptcy petition, we would not recommend using a phone to review these documents. Being able to see and review your petition in detail is the best way to make sure you fully understand the process of filing.
Did Your Attorney Review the Docs with You by Phone or Video Chat?
Second, the attorney must communicate with you on the substance and purpose of the documents. This part is especially important because bankruptcy documents can be convoluted and confusing to anyone not familiar with the process. We can best accomplish this requirement by a telephone call or video chat with you. Of course, we will answer any questions you have, clarify questions that may come up about your petition, and make sure we have accurately and fully listed all of the information required to be in your petition. You should not be afraid to ask about any form or document you don’t understand. If there is any question or doubt, you should not provide authorization to your attorney to file the case.
Did you Authorize your Attorney to File the Case?
Last, your attorney must obtain your absolute authorization before filing your case. Express authorization would include affirmative authorization through a statement made on the call, such as “I authorize you to file the documents that we reviewed”. It could even be an email or a text message from you stating that we are “good to go” in filing the case. We will never file a case without your consent. Part of our duty as your attorney is to make sure any documents submitted to the court are the accurate representation of what you have communicated to us. This authorization will only be valid after your attorney has reviewed your documents with you by phone or video chat.
Maintaining health and debt with COVID-19
The order issued by the Arkansas bankruptcy judges on April 3, 2020 recognizes a need in our community to provide you with financial relief without compromising your health. We know that it is never easy to take the first step in obtaining your fresh start. However, we hope that this order takes away a large barrier that may be stopping you from contacting us. If you need debt relief, contact us today to schedule your phone or video conference.
wh Law, is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.