Despite what you might think, the process doesn’t have to be overly difficult. Some common misconceptions are:
This makes you a failure. While deciding to file for bankruptcy is a serious step, it’s based on your finances, not on your lack of morality or ethics. In fact, bankruptcy is a path forward to a fresh financial start and, ideally, making sound financial decisions.
You’ll lose everything and can never buy a home. Actually, as soon as you file, you’ll be on the way toward rebuilding your credit and laying the groundwork for the future. And you won’t lose everything – bankruptcy is intended to help you start fresh, not punish you for your past mistakes.
I can do it myself. Some things might be easier to handle on your own, but bankruptcy isn’t one of them. Work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure the process moves along smoothly and you aren’t at risk from unscrupulous creditors.
#1: Find Your Lawyer
Depending on your situation, you might choose to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the two most common bankruptcy provisions. Your attorney will review your assets, debts, income and other factors to advise you of your options and what makes the most sense for you and your family.
#2: Get Credit Counseling
You’ll need to work with a credit counselor to talk to you about budgeting and the bankruptcy process. Once you’ve done that, and received a certificate for doing so, you’ll be ready to move forward with your attorney.
#3: The Filing Process
When your attorney files on your behalf, you no longer have to put up with calls from creditors about your debts. A bankruptcy filing creates an automatic stay, meaning you cannot be contacted by creditors or collection agencies. Your attorney will handle any and all contact on your behalf.
#4: Get Credit Counseling Again
To demonstrate your commitment to the bankruptcy process, you’ll complete another credit counseling session to make sure you’ll stay on track with your commitments under the version of bankruptcy that you filed.
#5: Meet With The Trustee
You’ll need to officially declare that you understand the terms of your bankruptcy filing and that the responses on your bankruptcy petition have been truthful. It may only take a few minutes, but it is a required step in the process.
#6: Get Your Debts Discharged
This is the part that people are eager to get to. Assuming you have met all the conditions, your debts can be discharged within a matter of months. This means that you won’t be pursued to pay them any longer by your (former) creditors.
Get in touch with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn more and get started today.