What Do you Need to Start the Bankruptcy Process?

In order to start bankruptcy there are certain things that you will have to do. Many people might think that they want to go through the bankruptcy process but have no idea what they need to do. Filing for bankruptcy is not as easy as filling out a simple form. It is a complex legal process that usually requires help. If you do not file everything properly, the judge could very easily dismiss your case completely. If your bankruptcy gets dismissed, you are back in the same situation that you were in before you filed. However, this time, you do not have the potential help of the courts to fall back on. Here are a few things that you will need to start the bankruptcy process correctly. 

Financial Information

In order to file for bankruptcy, you will have to gather all of your financial information in one place. You should figure out exactly how much debt you have, what assets you have, and any liabilities that you may have. Having all of this information is vital to the process and it can help you make an informed decision about what you should do. Without all of your important financial information, you can not start the process of filing for bankruptcy. 

Credit Counseling

In order to file bankruptcy, you will also have to undergo credit counseling from a certified credit counselor. You have to go through credit counseling within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy. This law was put into place to make sure that you understand all of the options that you have before you instead of filing for bankruptcy. Many people do not realize that they have any other options besides filing for bankruptcy. Sometimes bankruptcy is not the best choice that you have. If you can take another route besides filing for bankruptcy it will usually be better on your credit history. In order to officially file for bankruptcy, you will have to have proof that you went to credit counseling.

Legal Help

While it is not required by law to have legal help when filing for bankruptcy, it is strongly advised. Having a lawyer by your side during a bankruptcy proceeding can help you in a number of ways. If everything is not done in the correct order or format, there is a good chance that your bankruptcy case could be dismissed. Hiring an experienced lawyer can help you prevent any of those mistakes from happening. 

Even if you can not afford an attorney, you could potentially get free legal help from a number of different sources. Attorneys routinely provide "pro bono" or free legal help to those that need it. This is especially true if you are near a law school. You can get legal help from someone that is working towards becoming a lawyer and help them meet their requirements as well. No one says that you have to get legal help when facing bankruptcy. However, most people that are not trained in law will make a mistake somewhere along the way. 

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