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Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a complicated process. It’s in your best interests to have a bankruptcy attorney handle your case for you; otherwise, you may have your case dismissed due to omitted documents or other mistakes. Your bankruptcy attorney will also help you learn what to expect from each stage of the process.

Before Filing: Documents

Your bankruptcy lawyer will need certain documents from you that prove your financial information. These documents include tax returns, W-2s, profit and loss statements if you are self-employed, property valuation, vehicle registration, and bank statements, among others. The sooner you can provide these documents to your bankruptcy lawyer, the sooner he or she can file the bankruptcy petition and get the process started.

Before Filing: Credit Counseling

Before you can file for bankruptcy, you are required to complete a credit counseling course. The course must be administered by an approved credit counseling agency. The course may result in a debt management plan. If so, this plan must be filed with the court.

After Filing: Financial Management

After your lawyer files the bankruptcy petition, you are required to complete a financial management course, which may be administered by the same agency that taught your credit counseling course. Failure to complete this course will result in the rejection of your debt discharge.

After Filing: Meeting of Creditors

You are required to attend the meeting of creditors, which is conducted by your bankruptcy trustee. While you will be under oath, this meeting is less formal than what you might expect from a typical court hearing. You must bring photo identification and proof of your Social Security number to the meeting, and you may be asked to bring other supporting documentation.

If you have any questions about your bankruptcy filing, you can contact a lawyer at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. Our team has a longstanding history of helping individuals throughout the Chicago area work toward greater financial stability through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.