Preparing the Petition

The most important part in the bankruptcy petition process is preparing the Petition. This is where you tell the Court how much you owe, how much you have, how much you earn, etc Needless to say, you should be very complete and honest when you prepare these documents. Making false statements on these forms, even if by honest mistake, can result in your case being dismissed and even in criminal prosecution. You will also be preparing and submitting a budget of your income and expenses. Start with your rent or mortgage papers and add all your monthly expenses. Then determine your monthly income. If you are unemployed and are receiving unemployment, get your proof together as soon as possible. What is your monthly shortfall? You do not put all your debt payments because some will be discharged. But you do put those debts that cannot be discharged, like student loans, taxes, fines. You may be shocked to see what your monthly shortfall is.

Look around your house, what do you have? These are your possessions, your property. We need to notify the court of these items. Failure to do so will slow down your case. Trustees will become angry if you fail to list your property, even if it simply consists of your cell phone and pair of jeans. Put it on the lists. The technical name for lists is “schedules”. Your lawyer will know where to list the property. You just need to properly notify your lawyer of what belongs on the list.

Be thorough. Make sure your lawyer has all the necessary information as soon as possible.