Arrived at the court at the appointed time. Was seen by the court clerk immediately who glanced at my ex160 form (court fee exemption) for about 10 seconds and waived the £150 court fee. I'm not on benefits, have no child tax credit or anything like that. So I'd advise anybody who doubts if they can get exemption to just get the form, fill it in and take it with you. The form is available for download on the Court Services site http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk
Then the clerk went through the petition with me, which required quite a few alterations, which I had to initialled against. He admitted that the form is very confusing.
The Statement of Affairs form he flipped through to make sure everything was okay. Then he asked me to sign and date where needed. I was given the choice to swear the affidavit on the bible or recite a different paragraph. I chose the latter because I'm an atheist. (Make sure you don't sign and date the forms beforehand. They have to be done in front of the court clerk.)
Then the clerk told me to wait. 10 minutes later he took me to see the district judge, who went through my forms and asked me if I had taken legal advice and if I was sure that was what I wanted to do. I replied yes. Then he made the bankruptcy order, noting down the exact time.
The whole process took about 35 minutes, and only about 10 minutes of which were actually with the judge. I would say that although the judge didn't say anything in particular to make me feel at ease, his kind manners and tone of voice told me that there was nothing to be shamed and worry about. I felt comfortable talking to him when he briefly asked me how I ran up the debts. He was a nice guy with a heart.
So that's it. I'm now bankrupt. I was told to ring the OR office asap. When I rang they took my name and phone number and said that someone would ring me back on Monday. I'm not sure whether that will be the actual telephone appointment or just a phone call to arrange the real appointment. I guess it's more probably the latter since I will need the forms to fill it etc won't I?
The only thing that made me slightly uncomfortable today was that fact that when I arrived at the court reception, I had to say that I'm here for my appointment and they asked me regarding what, and I had to say bankruptcy petition, when there were other people there within hearing distance paying their court fines or whatever. But that's the fault of the reception system, not the bankruptcy department.
Strangely enough. I'm not feeling overjoyed, yet. I guess partly it's because it's not completely over until the OR interview is over. I also still can't believe that I've done it as it all seems so simple. Surely that can't be it? Free from my debts and allowed to start afresh?
I also feel very sad and tearful. Has anyone else felt like this? Or is it just me?
I would like to thank everybody on this forum all for the advice and info so far.