What Am I Required To Do In Order To File Bankruptcy?

26 Mar What Am I Required To Do In Order To File Bankruptcy?

Before a consumer chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed, there are certain minimum steps which every debtor must complete. In order to file an “emergency” or partial bankruptcy, you must:

  • Complete a credit counseling session with an agency from the Justice Department’s approved list.
  • Provide your lawyer with a list of all your debts, including addresses.
  • Pay your lawyer the court filing fee, and either reach an agreement about lawyer fees or pay your lawyer in full, depending on the type of case you file.

Within fifteen days you must file all the remaining documents, and give your lawyer the remaining information required for a complete bankruptcy filing.

The preferred method of filing bankruptcy (a complete filing) requires more information. To do a complete filing you must:

  • Complete a credit counseling session with an agency from the Justice Department’s approved list.
  • Provide your lawyer with a list of all your debts, including addresses, balances owed, type of debt, and when it was incurred.
  • Provide your lawyer with a copy of your most recently filed federal income tax return.
  • Fill out a worksheet or questionaire provided to you by your lawyer containing information about your household income and expenses, value of your property and personal possessions, and other biographical and financial information.
  • Provide your lawyer with all paycheck stubs you received in the past six months.
  • Pay your lawyer the court filing fee, and either reach an agreement about lawyer fees or pay your lawyer in full, depending on the type of case you file.

Your lawyer may want some more information from you depending on your situation, but these are the minimum steps any debtor must complete to file a bankruptcy 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.
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