It’s no secret that if you file for bankruptcy, it can be a stressful process.  Much of this stress can be reduced if you know the steps to get your bankruptcy discharged in court.

Also, a bankruptcy attorney will be able to determine if filing for bankruptcy is appropriate given your unique circumstances. If you feel like the only option to get out of debt and restart your financial life is to file for bankruptcy, here is what you need to consider before contacting a bankruptcy attorney.

Filing for Bankruptcy

Credit Counseling

In 2005, something called The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was passed.  It requires all debtors to undergo credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. The course has a minor fee, and doesn’t take much longer than 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

Completing this course shows the bankruptcy court you are committed to making the necessary changes to improving your financial situation.

Means Test

Also part of the The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 is something called the Mean’s Test.  During the mean’s test, all of the debtor’s current income and expenses are analyzed to determine what chapter of bankruptcy the individual qualifies for, either a chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy or chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy court will view your income on average over the 6 months leading up to your bankruptcy filing.  If this average is below the median, then you are eligible to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy.  However, if your income falls above this median, the rest of the mean’s test will determine if you can still file for a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your area for more information on the mean’s test.

Paperwork Needed To File For Bankruptcy

To begin the bankruptcy process, you are required to itemize all of your income and expenses, including any major transactions over the past couple of years, monthly living expenses, debts, and property.  Your last two years tax returns will also be required, in addition to any deeds or other titles of property you own. Once you are in contact with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, they will be able to tell you specifically what paperwork is required.

File For Bankruptcy In Court To Get Discharged

Once you have spoken to your bankruptcy attorney, completed credit counseling, the mean’s test, and gathered all the necessary paperwork, you and your bankruptcy attorney will need to file a 2 page petition and several other forms at your local bankruptcy court.  The Court filing fee for filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy at bankruptcy court costs $335.  Filing fee for a chapter 13 bankruptcy will cost $310.  Both of these fees are required and cannot generally be waived. Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to explain all fees in more detail.

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Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcies


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