Sometimes, regardless of the financial choices that a person makes in life, bankruptcy becomes inevitable. And then again, there are lots of people who travel down this road because they made poor financial decisions that eventually caught up with them. Regardless of the reasons or the pathways that lead people to file bankruptcy, there’s one question that always gets asked; “How do I file bankruptcy.” For those who have found themselves asking this question, here are a few tips for starting the process.
Deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer
The first step in filing bankruptcy is choosing whether or not to hire a lawyer. For anyone who wants to take the most advantage of bankruptcy, which should be everyone who has found themselves in this unfortunate situation, it’s highly advised to hire a competent bankruptcy lawyer.
Understanding how the filing is going to take place
There are two forms of bankruptcy, and a person’s individual circumstances will determine the best form of bankruptcy to file. It should also be noted that bankruptcy can be filed under two categories: as an individual or as a business.
The two forms of bankruptcy that exist are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. To qualify for Chapter 7, a person has to prove that it would cause a financial hardship to pay back a portion of the debt that is being discharged. This form of bankruptcy will be reflected on a person’s credit history for up to 10 years.
When filing Chapter 13, a repayment plan is created so that the debtor can repay a portion of his or her debt over a predetermined specified period of time. This form of bankruptcy will be reflected on a person’s credit history for up to seven years.
Meeting with a lawyer
It is during the first meeting that a debtor has with a professional bankruptcy lawyer that it will be decided what type of bankruptcy should be filed; this isn’t to assume, however, that all details will be worked out during the initial meeting. Most people meet anywhere from two to five times or more with their attorneys before actually appearing before a bankruptcy court to have their debts discharged.
Gathering all paperwork
Before the bankruptcy can be filed, the lawyer will ask for all important financial documentation to be brought forth, including proof of how much the debtor owes to his or her creditors. The lawyer will also access a person’s credit report, which will give a clearer view of the exact amount of debt that the person owes.
Going to court
Once all paperwork has been gathered, the petition for bankruptcy will be filed, and then after a specified amount of time, the debtor and his or her lawyer, or a representative of the lawyer, will appear before a local bankruptcy court.
The debtor will have to swear under oath to everything that is brought forth, admitting that he or she does in fact owe these debts and would like to have them discharged. Most times, the bankruptcy will be official within 30 to 180 days after the court appearance takes place.