How Does My Lawyer Decide When I File My Bankruptcy?

by Craig Andresen, Minneapolis, MN, Bankruptcy Attorney

July 22, 2008

Because of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act, special timing considerations are now present in nearly every bankruptcy case. Even if your lawyer has not specifically told you about this, you may have noticed that there is an urgency to gathering the documents and other information which is necessary to complete the filing of your bankruptcy case.

This is mainly because of the new six-month income averaging contained in the “means test,” also known as Form B-22. This form requires that all income you have received in the six month period ending on the last day of the month before you file bankruptcy be added up, then averaged for use on the means test.

Why is this such a big deal? The reason is that each time a new month begins, the six month period which is required to be used on the means test shifts forward by one month. This means that lawyers are concerned about getting a bankruptcy case filed before the last day of the month ends.

If the client delays in getting the required information to the lawyer, and if as a result the current month ends and a new month begins, the six month income period for use in that client’s bankruptcy case shifts forward by one month. Now the lawyer has to recalculate all the different income, income withholding and income deduction information contained in the client’s six months worth of paycheck stubs, because of the mandated change in the applicable six month period.

Recalculating this information takes alot of time, which explains why your lawyer wants to avoid the necessity of doing it. Hence the lawyer’s eagerness to get all the required information from you, so your case be filed before the new month begins.

This explains much of your lawyer’s attitude toward when your bankruptcy case gets filed. If you want to make your lawyer’s life easier, consider getting all the required information to him or her when it is asked for, even if it is a substantial amount of work to do that, to avoid needlessly multplying the work necessary to file the case.

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Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.

Last modified: July 22, 2008