How To File For Bankruptcy

There are a number of steps that are required to file for bankruptcy. This page will provide an overview of the information that is needed to file for bankruptcy.

To file for bankruptcy, you are required to complete a bankruptcy petition, bankruptcy schedules, statement of financial affairs, and means test. You must provide a detailed and complete list of all of your assets and debts. You are also required to provide detailed financial information regarding your current financial status, and past financial status and financial affairs for the previous several years. In most cases, all documents are completed and filed with the court when you file for bankruptcy. In "emergency cases," you may only file a portion of the required documents and file the remainder of the documents within 14 days that you originally file for bankruptcy.

You are required to have all pay stubs, pay advices, or other evidence of income for the six months preceding the month in which your case is filed. You are also required to provide copies of your most recent federal income tax return, state income tax return, and pay advices for the 60 days preceding the date on which your bankruptcy is filed. You may also be required to provide pay advices from the date that the bankruptcy is filed with the Bankruptcy Court through the date of the § 341 Meeting of Creditors. In total, you will need your past 7 months of pay advices, and pay stubs that you receive from the date that the bankruptcy is filed until your Meeting of Creditors. Your payroll department can usually provide you with copies of old pay advices if you have not retained pay advices.

If you have been sued prior to filing for bankruptcy, you need to provide the bankruptcy attorney with copies of all lawsuits and judgments that have occurred. This may include foreclosure lawsuits.

In the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Bankruptcy Court requires that you provide a number of documents to your attorney which may also need to be provided to the Chapter 7 Trustee or Bankruptcy Administrator upon request. These documents include:

  • Most recent two years of federal income tax returns and state tax returns
  • Bank Statements for all bank accounts and investment accounts for the 90 days preceding the bankruptcy filing
  • Copies of all documents and records evidencing all transfers of property in the 4 years prior to the petition filing date (excluding trade-ins on vehicles)
  • Copies of all deeds, promissory notes, deeds of trust or mortgages, (judgments, other liens, and county tax records) for each parcel of real estate owned by the Debtor(s); all records evidencing the interest(s) of any co-owners or holders of other interests in such real estate; and the most recent mortgage statements showing the balances owing on all deeds of trust or mortgages against the real estate
  • Copies of the most recent statements of any stock, investment, or other financial, brokerage or similar accounts; debtor-held stock or bond certificates; declaration pages for each whole life insurance policy owned and evidence of current beneficiaries
  • Copies of: titles (if no lien) to all vehicles and boats owned; all loan and lien documents; the last loan balance statement prior to filing
  • Copies of current balance sheet and income statement for any business entity in which you own a greater than 20% ownership interest
  • Copies of all documents evidencing any equitable distribution, property division, alimony, separation, or divorce agreements, settlements or orders; all documents evidencing unusual assets such as personal injury claims, rights to any bequest or inheritance, and business property tax listings for any business property

The bankruptcy attorney can obtain some of these documents for you. You will need to provide copies of some of remaining documents if applicable to your bankruptcy case. Mr. Levy will provide you with a list of which documents he can obtain, and which documents you will need to provide. This may seem like a long and complex list, but in many cases, certain documents may not exist or apply to your bankruptcy case.

You do not need to have these documents at your initial bankruptcy consultation with Mr. Levy. At the first appointment, it is helpful to have several of your most recent paystubs, and a list of all of your debts. Mr. Levy can obtain your credit report after he is retained. The credit report may not have all of your debts, so it is important to compare the credit report to your list of bills.

Before the bankruptcy case can be filed, you must complete a credit counseling program. After the bankruptcy case is filed, but before you can receive a discharge, you must complete a financial management course.

After the bankruptcy is filed with the Bankruptcy Court, you are required to attend a § 341 Meeting of Creditors. The bankruptcy attorney represents you are the Meeting of Creditors in which you are asked a series of questions by the bankruptcy trustee.

In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases, you may also be required to attend a hearing for a reaffirmation agreement. This may occur when you have a car loan or a mortgage loan in which you want to keep making payments and retain the property.

There may be other motions that are filed on your behalf, or by opposing creditors in your bankruptcy case. You may be required to appear personally in Bankruptcy Court for some motions, and other motions can be handled be handled by your bankruptcy attorney without you having to appear personally in Bankruptcy Court. You should always ask your bankruptcy attorney if you need to be present in court for motion hearings.

In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases, you are required to attend a Debtor Education Class ("Budget Seminar") on the same day of your § 341 Meeting of Creditors. This class qualifies as your financial management course.

Filing for bankruptcy in Raleigh is a complex legal proceeding and you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to represent you through this process. Josh Levy is an experienced Raleigh bankruptcy attorney with the knowledge and experience to represent you in the proceedings that occur in Bankruptcy Court. Mr. Levy has practiced bankruptcy law since 2000, and has previously worked for a Chapter 7 Trustee. Mr. Levy began practicing bankruptcy law in Raleigh when he opened Levy Law Offices in December 2003.

To schedule an initial consultation, please call Levy Law Offices at (919) 846-0125, or complete the contact form on the right-hand column of the website. Levy Law Offices provides a free initial consultation in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases for individuals.

In Chapter 13 cases, Levy Law Offices tries to keep the up front attorney fee as low as possible and considers the circumstances of the case in determining how much must be paid up front, and how much of the attorney fee is paid through the plan as a part of your monthly Chapter 13 plan payments.