Determining if filing bankruptcy is right for you sounds like an overwhelming task. Below we guide you through initial steps and questions to help you begin the process and to learn which bankruptcy, if any, is your best choice. (reminder: these are the basic steps to help you find the right bankruptcy for you.) Once you have determined your best option, you can complete our free case evaluation below or visit our state bankruptcy law pages for detailed information.
Step 1: Basic Eligibility Requirements to File Bankruptcy
Basic eligibility restrictions require you to live, have a residence, place of business OR property in the United States.
Taking Credit Counseling:
You must be willing to take this course before filing bankruptcy.
(If you meet or see no problem in fulfilling these requirements then you are ready to determine which path to filing is right for you. Continue below to "what bankruptcy is right for me?" For more on residency laws and credit counseling visit our bankruptcy law page. )
Step 2: What bankruptcy is right for me?
- Do you want to keep most or all of your property? Do you have enough regular income to pay your debts if they were restructured, put into one monthly payment, and paid out over 3 to 5 years? If so, then Chapter 13 is most likely right for you. You will most likely need to file this type of bankruptcy if you have an income with which you can afford to pay back debts.
If you have unsecured debts, that with your low income you find impossible to pay, then Chapter 7 is probably your best option. In most cases, you can still pay on secured items that you want to keep, like a vehicle or home. But you are basically asking the bankruptcy court to take the other debt, sell it for you, and pay the proceeds to the creditors. This bankruptcy usually fits lower incomes. Visit our glossary page on the means test, which helps determine if you can file chapter 7 even with a higher income.
After understanding the differences above and the bankruptcy that is right for you, consider getting the help of an experienced professional who can guide you on how to file bankruptcy.
Step 3: Get Help Filing Bankruptcy
-You can be sure that you filed a solid bankruptcy case with the help of an attorney and with the help of your court appointed bankruptcy trustee.
First of all, keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy is a legal process. For this reason, and for your own financial well being, each decision that you make about bankruptcy should be well informed choices. That is to say, is this process something you want to take up on your own, or do you want a professional to help you? It is possible to file for bankruptcy on your own; however, it takes a lot of patience and diligence on your part.
A lawyer can guide you through the complicated procedure of filing for bankruptcy. After you provide the lawyer with all your personal information he or she can put together and file your voluntary petition. Once the documents are filed at the bankruptcy court, you will be assigned a trustee who will see to it that all the information that is needed is collected from you and that all the information provided is accurate. The next step, that your attorney can help you with, would be to notify your creditors that you will be filing for bankruptcy so that they will have to stop all actions they might be taking up against you to get your payments.
If you are ready to move forward after determining that filing bankruptcy with an experienced attorney is your best option, complete the Free Case Evaluation form. There is absolutely no obligation and you'll get free advice on the best way to improve your financial situation. Don't wait -- complete the form today!
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