How to File Bankruptcy: The Bankruptcy Petition

How to File Bankruptcy: The Bankruptcy Petition

By |May 21st, 2013|

how to file bankruptcyWe’re continuing down the road, helping you file for bankruptcy.

You can do it yourself.

You can hire a petition preparer.

Or you can hire a lawyer.

No matter which option you choose, it’s your responsibility for making sure your bankruptcy case is handled properly. After all, this is your future and your life we’re talking about.

And it all begins with the Petition.

The Bankruptcy Petition – Deceptively Simple

When you look at the bankruptcy petition, you see a three-page form filled with check boxes and blanks.

On the first page, you’ll need to complete the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your spouse’s name
  3. The last 4 digits of your Social Security number (don’t have a Social Security number?)
  4. Your residential address
  5. Your mailing address
  6. The county in which you live

This is all pretty easy, and chances are that you can breeze through it quickly and without too much trouble.

From there, the questions get more complex. For example.

  1. Which type of bankruptcy are you filing? You can choose Chapter 7, 9, 11, 12 or 13
  2. Which type of debtor are you? Pick one – individual, corporation, partnership or other
  3. What is the nature of your business?
  4. Are your debts primarily consumer debts, or are they non-consumer in nature?
  5. Will funds be available to creditors?

Drawing down to the second page, you’ve got to answer some more questions:

  1. Have you filed for bankruptcy within the past 8 years?
  2. Are there any pending bankruptcy cases involving a spouse or partner?
  3. Do you own or possess anything that could be a threat to public safety?
  4. Is venue proper?
  5. Does your landlord have a judgment of eviction against you?

Your Answers Have Consequences

We’ve outlined a number of questions, all of which are pretty easy.

The problem is that each one of these questions comes with baggage.

Prior bankruptcy cases within the past 8 years affect your current case.

Judgments by landlords create obligations you need to fulfill.

Your bankruptcy petition is merely the gateway to the rest of the proceeding.  It’s one thing to answer the questions and check the boxes.  Knowing what to do with those answers is another thing entirely.

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About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.