What can I expect when starting bankruptcy?

While bankruptcy is usually the last resort, it can be a great help to those overwhelmed by their debt and by harassing phone calls from creditors.

If you decide to file for bankruptcy, you must take a credit counseling course before filing. This course should be taken with an approved credit counselor and includes an evaluation of your finances, a discussion about whether bankruptcy alternatives might be right for you, and a plan for your budget. You are allowed to take this course either in person or online.

The bankruptcy process begins when you file bankruptcy forms at the federal courthouse. You will need to file a Petition for Bankruptcy.

Your lawyer, after advising you of which bankruptcy option is right for you, will help you fill out the Petition for Bankruptcy and other forms. These forms will include a comprehensive list of your finances, including your sources of income, debts, living expenses, and property.

Bankruptcy forms must be complete and accurate. Having inaccurate forms—or falsifying forms—can lead to serious consequences for the debtor. Any debt that is not listed, for example, could potentially not be discharged. If a debtor does something dishonest in relation to the bankruptcy, like hiding property, a judge could deny the discharge of all of their debts.

Approximately 30 days after filing your bankruptcy forms, you will have to attend a meeting with your creditors and your bankruptcy trustee, called a 341 meeting. This meeting is mandatory, and you must bring your records. Your lawyer should attend this meeting with you.

During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee as well as your creditors will be allowed to question you about your finances. This meeting is held to ensure that your petition is correct and complete. Before the meeting, your lawyer should walk you through the process—going over your debt listed to ensure that it is correct as well as sample questions that you may be asked.

A knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy lawyer will make the entire bankruptcy process less difficult, from start to finish. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact the Louisville bankruptcy attorneys at Spalding & Spalding. We can help you get back on track.

About Wallace Spalding

Wallace Spalding has concentrated in Bankruptcy Law for over 25 years–helping people relieve the burden of debt and getting the results they deserve. He has been recognized as one of Louisville’s Top Lawyers in Louisville magazine in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Wallace Spalding's Google+ Profile

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