Between the stress of economic strain and the imposing legal process, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, as an experienced tax debt lawyer – including those that practice at The Law Offices of Ronald I. Chorches – can confirm, this process doesn’t need to be unnecessarily stressful. If you work with an experienced attorney and take the process step by step, you can even minimize the stress you’re already grappling with as a result of your overwhelming debt.
1. Consult With a Bankruptcy Attorney
Each state has different laws and requirements for filing bankruptcy, so it’s best to work with a local attorney. Legal professionals can determine what type of bankruptcy you qualify for, review what creditors you owe money to, and stay on top of filing deadlines. An attorney can also make sure that you complete all pre-filing requirements that – if left unattended – could sink your case before it is even underway.
2. Gather Documents
After meeting with an attorney, the next step is to gather the necessary paperwork to complete your petition. Preparing this petition is the time-consuming part of the process, which your attorney will handle on your behalf. Some of the items you’ll need to collect include:
- Proof of income, pensions, investments or unemployment wages for all members of the household
- Tax returns from the last year
- Documentation of monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, food, transportation and child care
- A listing of creditors and the current amount owed, monthly minimum payments and interest rates
- Verification of all assets, including home, car, savings, stocks and collectibles
Once all the documents are submitted to the attorney, they will prepare the petition for filing and collect the fees required by the courts.
3. Meet All Requirements
Once the petition is submitted, a trustee is assigned to the case, and a Meeting of Creditors is scheduled. This meeting is the formal appointment with the courts that you must attend along with your attorney. During this meeting, the court will review the petition, ask any necessary questions which are answered under oath, determine if your repayment plan is workable, allow your creditors to challenge your plan (if applicable), and confirm which debts can be discharged.
Depending on the complexity of your case, other steps may be required. However, your attorney will walk you through them, one by one. At the end of your successful repayment period, your remaining eligible debts will be discharged and you’ll be able to move forward into a more stable financial future.