When it comes to filing bankruptcy, where in the world should you start? How to file bankruptcy can be a daunting task. Should you find a bankruptcy attorney, go to a neighbor or friend who used to practice law, by a how-to book, or just do it alone? Or should you hang in there a little bit longer and try to get your bills under control? Some of those questions you’ll have to answer for yourself with time, research and perhaps prayer for wisdom, but we’ll help you with the main question, how to file bankruptcy.
First, because bankruptcy is a process that involves a complex web of paperwork and court procedures, we recommend that you find an experienced and very patient bankruptcy attorney to help you. You’ll need to provide him with a complete list of all your debts, including those that may not appear on a credit report. Don’t try to file for bankruptcy all by yourself in order to possibly save some money or time. What a bankruptcy attorney charges you will be more than made up for in the tremendous savings in time, money and peace of mind that you’ll get from his professional services, easily answered questions, and guidance every step of the way. The process is long, and you’ll need his services for a while. He’s been there before, maybe hundreds of times, helping people just like you, while you might have never even thought about bankruptcy until just a few weeks ago.
Next, you’ll have to decide if you’ll file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is normally filed by individuals with fewer assets and lots of unsecured debt, but it stays on a credit report for 10 years. On the other hand, if you own a home and are making payments on it, chapter 13 may be the option for you, since it allows you to avoid foreclosure and stop your mortgage company from taking an action against your home, and it stays on the credit file for only 7 years. And chapter 13 bankruptcy also allows you to restructure your debt.
After your bankruptcy petition is filed with the bankruptcy court, a trustee will be assigned to you. He’ll collect important information from you, making sure it’s accurate. He’ll also notify your creditors that you’ll be filing for bankruptcy, requiring them to stop calling and writing to you demanding back what you owe them.