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Filing for any type of bankruptcy is a complicated process. It’s highly advisable that you consult a bankruptcy attorney, rather than try to file bankruptcy by yourself. You can prepare for your consultation with the bankruptcy lawyer by gathering financial documents and writing a list of any questions you may have about the process.

What information does the Bankruptcy Court require?

In addition to preparing and filing the bankruptcy petition on your behalf, your lawyer will attach a number of supporting documents. The bankruptcy court will expect to see copies of your tax returns for at least the past two years and documentation for all sources of income. If you own real estate, you must provide documentation of valuation of the property, proof of homeowner’s insurance, deeds of trust, and mortgage statements that show your current loan balance. You may also need to provide documentation for your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and vehicle ownership.

Can I use my credit cards?

Be very careful about using credit cards before and after filing bankruptcy. If you charge anything to your credit cards or take out cash advances before you file, the bankruptcy court will almost always view this as intent to defraud. This can compromise your bankruptcy petition. Talk to your attorney about whether you can use credit after you file. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will need to get approval from the court before taking on any new debts.

Will I have to appear in court?

This depends on whether you file Chapter 7 or 13. Most debtors who file Chapter 7 do not need to appear before the bankruptcy court judge unless an objection is raised. If you file Chapter 13, you can expect to appear before the judge at the confirmation hearing. In either case, your appearance is expected at the meeting of creditors, which does not typically take place in a courtroom.

As a valued client of Cutler & Associates, Ltd., our bankruptcy lawyers will ensure that you have all the information you need to make the right decisions for your situation. Our bankruptcy law firm maintains offices in Chicago, Skokie, Aurora, Schaumburg, and Oak Brook for your convenience.