Are You Ready To Declare Bankruptcy? What To Do First

The decision to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy is a big one but it's good to know that financial relief is now in your future. Your first move is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer and have them evaluate your financial situation. The lawyer will be alert for some of the below issues that might affect your filing so read on to find out more about getting ready to file your federal chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.

Bankruptcy Education

Some filers are caught off-guard by the need to complete a class before they even file for bankruptcy. Two bankruptcy education classes are necessary. One is completed before the filing and one is performed after the filing. The first class evaluates your financial situation and involves the completion of a budget showing your current bills and income. This class may be known as the credit counseling class.

Watch Your Use of Credit

In many cases, a consumer's misuse of credit contributes heavily to the need to declare bankruptcy. If you intend to file bankruptcy, however, in the next few months, you might want to put the brakes on your credit card use now. You can still use your cards if you can show that you used them for needs and not wants. For example, you might have needed to put a car repair bill on your credit card and that is okay. Using the card for expensive designer clothing, however, might cause you problems. If in doubt about a purchase, run it by your bankruptcy lawyer.

Track Your Income

You might not have enough money to pay your bills but you might also make too much to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This ironic fact revolves around income restrictions created to stop wealthy consumers from filing bankruptcy. When you file, your income has to be at or less than the median income in your state of residency. If not, your income must be lowered using certain deductions. If that doesn't work you have two choices:

  1. Wait till your income is lower and file then.
  2. File chapter 13 bankruptcy which has no income limits.

Gather Needed Documents

You can get your filing off to a good start by locating the following before you see your lawyer for the first time:

  • Most recent tax return.
  • List of everyone you owe money to, the balance, the account numbers, and the full address.
  • List of assets like your home, vehicle, and other costly items.

Speak to a bankruptcy attorney to learn more.