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How to File For Bankruptcy

How to File For Bankruptcy

Many people might have a basic idea of how bankruptcy works in the United States. You file a case and, if the case is successful, the court discharges your qualified debts, freeing you of the obligation to pay those debts. However, do you know how to begin the process and file for bankruptcy? Most people do not, especially if they have little experience with the legal system. It is important to seek help from a California bankruptcy attorney if you are considering a bankruptcy case.

Deciding What Type of Bankruptcy is Right for You

There are different types of bankruptcy cases, each with their different potential benefits and drawbacks. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy might provide significant relief for one household, it might not be right – or even possible – for others. It is important to have a bankruptcy lawyer to evaluate your situation and advise you about the right type of case for you. Your lawyer will examine several factors, including:

  • Your income and assets
  • The type of debts you have
  • Whether you have filed for bankruptcy in the past

It is important to take the time to determine the right type of case to prevent delays and ensure you receive maximum benefits from your bankruptcy case.

Preparing to File for Bankruptcy

Once you decide that Chapter 7 is the right type of bankruptcy for you, the next step is to gather information and documents. Your attorney will be able to tell you all the information they need to begin preparing your petition. This can include:

  • Income statements
  • Tax returns
  • Statements for all of your debts
  • Property inventory

Your attorney will use this information to make sure you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (specifically that you pass the means test), as well as the best way to apply California’s bankruptcy exemptions to best protect your property and assets. 

The bankruptcy petition itself is a complex document that has many schedules, and you also need to provide supporting documentation for the information you provide. Preparing a petition can be a time-consuming and challenging process, though experienced bankruptcy lawyers know how to complete this step of the process efficiently and accurately. Accuracy is important, as any omissions or inaccuracies on your petition can cause delays or even raise suspicions of fraud. 

Filing Your Bankruptcy Petition

Once your attorney completes your paperwork, you must complete the required credit counseling course. Then, your attorney will file your petition, schedule, and supporting documents with the proper bankruptcy court. California has four districts of federal bankruptcy courts, each with multiple divisions. You will need to pay the filing fee or have the fee waived if you qualify. This filing officially begins your bankruptcy case. 

Learn How a California Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help

The bankruptcy attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, have handled successful bankruptcy filings for many clients, and we see your case all the way to its resolution and discharge. Contact us today if you have questions about bankruptcy or would like to get the process started.

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