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How To File For Chapter 7 Or 13 Bankruptcy
Filing bankruptcy is the last draw if you can't find any other solution to your financial and debt problems. This serious step keeps you protected from your creditors but you have to go through a lot of trouble for the proceedings. Federal bankruptcy law oversees the procedure, however, recent changes to the law have made filing bankruptcy more difficult.
The first thing bankruptcy law requires is that you contact a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer can be found through local and state bar associations (for referrals) or you can ask around for an attorney you can trust to do a good job. The next step is to collect all your financial papers and bring them to your bankruptcy lawyer's office. Don't forget to bring outstanding bills, bank statements, and paycheck stubs from the last six months, mortgage and car loan information, as well as tax returns.
All the paperwork that your bankruptcy lawyer will put together when filing bankruptcy is called a petition. The petition, according to bankruptcy law, must list every debt you currently owe. In the case that you purposefully leave out creditors, the court has the right to dismiss your case entirely, and you won't be given a chance to file for bankruptcy at all. This is a federal crime under bankruptcy law as well - never lie when filing bankruptcy.
Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about all the debts you have, both secured and unsecured, and ask whether or not some of your debts will still be around after bankruptcy has been filed. If they are all discharged you won't have to pay any of them after bankruptcy proceedings. Taxes, student loans, and child support are all payments it's extremely difficult to have discharged.
Be honest with your bankruptcy attorney about all the income you have been able to earn over the past 6 months, even if from a source other than your regular job and paycheck. This is another form of information that the law requires you include when filing for bankruptcy, so disclose all finances fully.
Find out if you should file a chapter 7 - this will depend on the type of debt you have, and the amount. A chapter 7 is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. If you don't fit under this category, you'll probably have to file a chapter 13 instead. A chapter 13 bankruptcy is referred to as an adjustment of debts petition. This option applies if you make a decent living and have fallen behind on secured debts, such as house payments, as this type of bankruptcy gives you a chance to catch up on the payments you owe.
Once all the paperwork has been compiled and everything has been checked over with a fine toothed comb, it's time to sign the petition in the appropriate places as a way of stating that the information you have provided is true. Nowadays you can file a petition online, which is very convenient, with your local district. Without an attorney the process can be daunting, and you have to do it in person or through U.S. Mail.
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