Filing Bankruptcy requires you to file a Petition with the US Bankruptcy Court in your city/county. This can be done electronically. The moment the petition is filed, you will receive a bankruptcy case number and will be afforded the protections of bankruptcy. However, BEFORE YOU CAN FILE YOU MUST COMPLETE A CREDIT COUNSELING COURSE. There are hundreds of providers but you must make sure you are using a provider approved by the Bankruptcy Courts.
The strongest protection bankruptcy provides is the Automatic Stay, which prevents your creditors from continuing collection activities (garnishments, calls, lawsuits, etc.).
When filing bankruptcy you must file various documents and forms to avoid dismissal. A petition typically includes the following information:
- The first part of the petition includes your name, address, social security number and marital status.
- The second part includes a list of all of your assets (homes, vehicles, furniture, 401ks, etc.).
- The third part includes a budget.
- The fourth part includes your creditors and is broken down into three parts: Secured Creditors, Priority Creditors and Unsecured Creditors.
- The fifth part includes the Statement of Financial Affairs which is a list of questions you must answer concerning your financial situation. There are 28 questions on this form.
- The sixth part is the Means Test, which is where you enter your income for the prior six months, along with your actual expenses.
- – If filing a Chapter 13, you must also file a Chapter 13 Plan which lays out what your payments are going to be and what amount each creditor is going to receive, if any.
In addition to the Petition, you must file Form 21 (which is your social security number) and copies of your income records.
In all, a typical petition is anywhere from 60 to 100 pages depending on your situation and how much information you need to disclose. This seems overwhelming but a law firm can help make the process easy for you.
At Herrin Law, we have simple intake forms that guide you through answering the questions. In addition we create custom document checklists and help you gather the documents. Once that is done we create the Petition and all other required documents to file. We then do a final review with you and have you sign off on the documents. After that we file the case.
If you want to discuss your financial situation in more detail you can call 469-607-8552 or fill out our online contact form and set up your free financial strategy session (30 minutes). Also, if you decide to hire my law firm and mention this blog, you will receive a 10% discount on your fees.