Filing for bankruptcy is a legal way of easing debt pressure. Once the case is successfully over, you'll have more freedom, peace, and be able to rebuild your financial life. In 2019, there were 752,160 personal bankruptcy cases filed in the USA. The number is expected to rise as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown hit many. When filing a bankruptcy case, first:
- Analyze the debt
- Know whether you qualify
- Understand your property exemptions
- Redeem secured debts
- Have a credit counseling course
Because filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process, you need the help of an experienced attorney. If you choose to do it alone, understand that court employees and judges are prohibited from offering legal advice. What should you expect from your bankruptcy attorney?
The first step is to find a competent bankruptcy attorney who has enough experience in the field. After looking into your case, they will advise you on filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. The lawyer will also explain the legal process, highlight any difficulties in your case and advise you about the documents you need to prepare.
Preparing the Paperwork
There are a few dozen forms to fill and submit, which let the courts know about your financial status, properties you own, and the extent of the debt. You'll also list your income sources and amount, expenses, and outline what you'd like to do with the secured debts. The courts expect you to disclose property transactions that occurred in the last ten years.
Additionally, you should register and complete a credit counseling course before filing for bankruptcy, but in some cases, you may be allowed to start the course after filing. With a capable lawyer, you get advice on when to start the training and the due process to follow.
File the Paperwork
Once the paperwork is ready, your attorney will go through it to make sure you understand and then file. If the courts require more documents or forms, the lawyer will inform you. When you miss any set deadline, the process takes longer than expected, and the court can dismiss the case or penalize you.
You should attend a 341 meeting of creditors and any other mandatory meetings depending on whether you filed a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There may be motions or objections hearing filed by you, the trustees, or creditors, which you must attend. Your attorney will represent you at any hearing, making the process more convenient and less stressful.