When considering bankruptcy, one of the first things you need to know is that there are multiple types, or chapters, of bankruptcy.
Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney
Deciding whether or not to pursue a bankruptcy is a very important choice—and not one you want to make on your own. Talking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make sure you understand all your options.
Gather Your Financial Data
Collect all documents that confirm your income, debts, assets, and monthly household expenses. You will need this information regardless of whether you're interested in filing chapter 7 or chapter 13.
Obtain Credit Counseling
The bankruptcy code states that this must happen within 180 days before filing your bankruptcy case. Generally, you can complete your credit counseling right before you complete your bankruptcy forms. Afterward, you will receive a certificate of completion that must be filed with the bankruptcy petition.
File Bankruptcy Forms
You or your bankruptcy attorney must submit your bankruptcy forms, including the bankruptcy petition and required schedules, to the local bankruptcy court, and pay a filing fee.
Attend the Meeting of Creditors
Your creditors will be notified that you have filed for bankruptcy and invited to attend a meeting of creditors (341 meeting). You must provide information about your finances under oath and answer any questions the bankruptcy trustee or creditors may have.
Confirmation of Admissibility
Your timeline will differ depending on which type of bankruptcy you file, but before you can be discharged, you must take a financial counseling program.
If everything goes well, you are discharged after fulfilling the terms of your bankruptcy and are free to rebuild financially.