What Does It Take To Start A Bankruptcy Filing?

The First Step

The first step in starting a bankruptcy case is to schedule a free initial consultation with a competent and experienced bankruptcy attorney. At you consultation, the attorney will ask you a series of questions and ask you to fill out a bankruptcy in-take questionnaire. This first meeting is really an information gathering session. The attorney will find out exactly what type of assets you have, what type of liabilities you have, and make a determination as to which chapter of the bankruptcy code would be best for you. Many people qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy which is known as liquidation or the fresh start. Others will qualify for chapter 13 which is known as reorganization or debt consolidation through the bankruptcy trustee.

The First Consultation

You often do not need any money to get started. Many attorneys will offer a free initial consultation and then put you on a payment plan to move your case along from start to finish. You should be prepared to talk about all of your financial circumstances at your meeting. The attorney is going to want to know whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy before. You can only receive a discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case once every eight years. If you have already received a discharge within the preceding eight years, then the attorney is likely going to recommend a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. You should be prepared to show all of the information concerning your debt including credit card statements, medical bills, personal loans, and any other document evidencing a debt. You should also be prepared to show proof of your income. This may include paycheck stubs, rent receipts, unemployment benefits and proof of Social Security income. Additionally, you should be ready to show your most recent federal tax return if you are filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy or the most recent four years of federal tax returns if you are filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The Advice

The attorney will take a look at all the information that you provide, and give you a roadmap to follow. In my office, I will tell you which chapter of the bankruptcy code will be best for your particular situation. I will be able to quote a flat fee based on the information that I see. I will then come up with a payment plan that you most certainly can afford. I will that advise you as to what to do and what not to do from the time of our meeting going forward. If you like what you hear, you will have the ability to retain the law firm and enter into an installment payment plan. You should not wait to see an attorney until you are already being garnished or have your bank accounts frozen. You should try to see an attorney immediately upon knowing that you no longer can handle your particular debts.

As you can see, it doesn’t take too much to get started. What it really takes is the initiative and the desire to finally get out of debt. Provided you move relatively swiftly, your attorney should be able to stall off any potential creditor harassment. For more information about filing chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy, make that phone call to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your local area.

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