I am 24 years old and currently unemployed and am bring harassed daily by collectors. Of late I have realized that my credit history has made me unemployable to some making it virtually impossible for me to even pay off my debts. I need to know How to get the bankruptcy process started, what forms I need, where to get them and what requirements I must meet. And finally, what will it cost me to declare bankruptcy?
If you are unemployed you should save your money for food and such and not on a bankruptcy lawyer. If you have someone who can assiist you with the case, a typical fee is 2k.
Of course if you find a lawyer that like us will take your creditor calls off your hands with only a deposit, you may want to go for it. Your attorney would need the balance paid before the case is filed but in the meantime, he or she would be responding to your creditor calls.
The filing fee to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $299.00. However, it is generally not advisable to file bankruptcy on your own. I would seek the advise of a bankruptcy attorney to file for bankruptcy. With something so important as eliminating your debt so that you can obtain fresh start, it is highly recommended to hire an attorney.
If you are attempting to file for bankruptcy on your own, you will need to take a debt counseling course (usually taken online), prepare the petition (approximately 50 pages of documents) and provide your paystubs to the bankruptcy court. Approximately 30 days after filing, you will have what's called a Creditor's Meeting. At this hearing, a bankruptcy trustee will ask you several questions under oath. You will have to answer it truthfully. After filing, you will also need to take a "Personal Financial Management Course". These courses are generally 90 minutes long and must be filed with the bankruptcy court.
Again, it is advisable to hire legal counsel to prepare the petition - I do not suggest performing this task on your own.
If you have no garnishable income, then why bother filing at this time. If your issue is debt collectors calling you, tell them to stop contacting you. Send them letters telling them to stop contacting you and that you cannot afford to pay anyway. If they continue to contact you, seek the advice of a consumer law attorney familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
To qualify to file Chapter 7 requires you to obtain pre-bankruptcy credit counselling, complete the complex bankruptcy forms, including a petition and means test, and pay a filing fee of $299.
You must turn in your income records for the 6 month period before your bankruptcy was filed. These records must show that you are not realistically able to pay even 25% of your debt over a 3 - 5 year period of time.
Assuming that you meet all of these qualifications, you must also complete a second class called financial management.
You may have options other than bankruptcy. This is why consulting an experienced Bankruptcy attorney can be a smart move. It is not smart to cut corners with hiring an attorney for bankruptcy.