It used to be that filing for bankruptcy took a lot of time.
Your lawyer needed to make a bunch of copies of your bankruptcy documents, hop on the train or jump in the car, and be sure the court was open.
If the bankruptcy court was closed, maybe there was an emergency mail drop. Some places had them, others didn’t.
Thankfully, things move a lot faster now.
Bankruptcy Filings Are Done Online
All bankruptcy papers must be filed electronically over the Internet.
The system is called CM/ECF (short for case management-electronic case filing) and is administered through the federal court system.
Using CM/ECF is pretty simple; in fact, most of the bankruptcy lawyers use software that handles the filing with the press of a single button on the computer.
Getting To Filing Is Another Story Entirely
In order to file your bankruptcy case, six things need to happen. They are:
- you’ve got to provide all documents your lawyers asks for;
- you’ve got to pay your legal fees;
- you must complete your pre-filing credit counseling certification;
- your bankruptcy lawyer has to draft the court documents using the information and documentation you provide;
- you need to sign the bankruptcy court papers; and
- the case must be filed electronically.
Of the list, the final step is clearly the easiest one – press a button and you’re in the system.
It’s the first five that will probably take you some time to complete.
Preparation And Organization Are Critical
Most of my clients have a tough time getting their documents together.
Bills have been ignored or filed away in some dark corner, paystubs are routinely thrown out, and tax returns mysteriously disappear.
Set aside the time to get your ducks in a row, ideally before we sit down to talk.
If you just can’t face the prospect of unearthing all that information right now, be prepared to spend a full weekend or more once you’ve made the decision to move ahead with a bankruptcy filing.
Because the faster you do your part, the quicker we can do ours.