Preparation is key if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Iowa, which covers all of Pottawattamie County. Bankruptcy is a serious matter with considerable consequences for your future, so working with a Council Bluffs, IA bankruptcy lawyer is essential. You may also find it useful to review a few steps to take as you approach the process.
1. Understand Your Options
It is essential to meticulously review your financial situation as you prepare for bankruptcy. The US Bankruptcy Code offers multiple options for resolving your debt, but your eligibility depends upon your specific circumstances. You may consider Chapter 7 if your debt is so overwhelming that you cannot stay current on bills and still have money left over for essential living expenses. The end result of Chapter 7 is a discharge of all your debt, but there are strict rules to qualify.
You might find Chapter 13 a better fit if your disposable income allows you to pay some of your debt, and you’re not eligible for Chapter 7. Through this process, you work out a repayment plan with your creditors over a 3-5 year time period.
2. Gather Documents
You’ll need to provide supporting documentation when filing your petition for bankruptcy under both Chapter 7 and 13 proceedings. This paperwork will establish your eligibility under the rules regarding these two forms of bankruptcy, so gather such information as:
- Your credit report;
- Tax information;
- Pay stubs;
- Information regarding other forms of income;
- Loan documents;
- A list of any other creditors you owe, along with the amount of the debt;
- Titles to real estate, motorized vehicles, and other assets;
- Bank account information; and,
- Other documentation related to the bankruptcy process.
3. Arrange Credit Counseling
Among the bankruptcy is the requirement to obtain credit counseling. The organization you work with must appear on the list of Approved Credit Counseling Agencies, and you must participate in one session before you file for bankruptcy. The purpose of the meeting is to determine if there are ways to handle your debt without going through Chapter 7 or 13.
4. Know What NOT To Do
While you must be proactive, it is also important to refrain from certain acts before you file for bankruptcy. Most importantly, don’t delay initiating the process for too long. Filing at the right time ensures you can move forward after a Chapter 7 discharge, and you can get started on your Chapter 13 repayment plan as soon as possible.
- Don’t misrepresent or provide inaccurate information on your paperwork;
- Avoid depleting retirement assets, as these funds can be protected in some cases;
- Don’t incur additional debt that will increase what you owe; and,
- Never move assets around in an attempt to hide them from creditors.
Contact an Experienced Council Bluffs, IA Bankruptcy Attorney
A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can help you with these and other steps necessary to prepare for either Chapter 7 or 13 proceedings. For more information on what to expect, please contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP. You can reach our Council Bluffs, IA office to set up a consultation by calling 712-309-3738 or visiting our firm online.