If you are sure that you want to file for bankruptcy, there are a few formal steps that you are going to need to go through before and after you file.
#1 Hire An Attorney
The first thing that you are going to want to do is hire an attorney. An attorney can do more than just help you file for bankruptcy. They can look over all of your information and your specific situation, and they can help you determine if bankruptcy is even the right step for you. For example, your bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you negotiate lower terms or rates on certain loans, which may be all you need to get out of the hole that you are in. Or they may be able to convince the bank to put you back on a specific recovery payment plan to get your mortgage payments caught up.
A bankruptcy attorney can review your finances and help you figure out if bankruptcy is the right step for you and other options that you can use instead.
If you do go forward with the bankruptcy, an attorney can help you navigate these tricky legal waters. Bankruptcy laws tend to be complex, and an attorney can help you navigate these laws and ensure that you follow all the rules and regulations that are in place to ensure that your bankruptcy filing is successful.
#2 Complete Credit Counseling
Second, in most states, you are required to go through credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy. You are going to need to provide proof that you went through credit counseling and did everything that you could do to get out of the financial situation that you are in. You generally have to go through the credit counseling through an agency that is government-certified.
In most courts, the counseling doesn't need to be completed within the month that you are filing. You can have completed the counseling in the six months or so prior to filing for bankruptcy. The idea is that you really took counseling seriously and spent time trying out and implementing the suggestions before you filed for bankruptcy, so if you are thinking about filing, it is a good idea to start credit counseling. Just make sure that the agency is government certified before you start to ensure that you can fill that bankruptcy filing requirement.
#3 Contact All Creditors
Finally, when you do file for bankruptcy, you are going to need to contact all of your creditors and let them know that you are filing for bankruptcy. Creditors are not allowed to contact you once you start the bankruptcy proceedings outside of court. However, in order for them to comply, they need to know that you are going through bankruptcy proceedings. You need to create a detailed list of all of your creditors, including their contact information, so they can be properly contacted after you file for bankruptcy.