When you are going through the bankruptcy process, it’s easy to get confused by terminology and all the steps that you are required to go through. This glossary is meant to help you understand some of the common terms you will hear and what they mean.


Chapter 7: The bankruptcy code is divided into “chapters” for easy classification. Chapter 7 involves wiping out most debts to give you a fresh start. You would get rid of many assets, such as cars and houses, which would be sold to pay off your creditors.

Chapter 13: This Chapter involves creating a repayment plan for your debts over a three- to five-year period. With this chapter, you can usually keep assets such as cars and houses.

Conversion: You can change your case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 and vice versa.

Discharge: A discharge of debts is the goal of filing bankruptcy. When your case is discharged, you are protected from creditors trying to collect those debts from you. Once a debt has been discharged, creditors are also barred from contacting and harassing you.

Dismissal: Dismissal is the end of the bankruptcy. This can happen if the court decides you don’t have a case, or if a repayment plan isn’t followed.

File: When we file your case, Castle Law Office submits your petition to the court.

Petition: The document filed with the court that opens the bankruptcy case.

Post-Petition: Any claim that a creditor makes against you after the date your case is filed.

Trustee: The trustee is a person appointed by the court to take over aspects of your case. The trustee administers your case, which includes the sale of assets and repayments to creditors, gathering the monthly payments for a Chapter 13, and negotiating with you and your creditors.

  • Automatic Stay: An automatic stay happens the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed. This immediately stops all lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments and collection activity against you.

  • Bankruptcy Code: The unofficial name for the federal bankruptcy law.

  • Pre-Petition: Any claim that a creditor can make against you before the date your case is filed.


If you are considering filing a bankruptcy in Kansas or Missouri, call us today. Castle Law Office has been handling bankruptcies for Kansas City clients from more than 14 years. If you need the fresh start bankruptcy can provide, call us today at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney. Or click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.