Filing for bankruptcy is obviously not something you should take lightly. But it's also a method that you can use to reset your financial life and start moving in a positive direction again. If you believe that bankruptcy is the right solution for you, you'll want to do your due diligence and make sure you are prepared for the road ahead before you proceed. Here are just some of the things that you should look into before you officially file for bankruptcy.
Get Your Paperwork Organized
Bankruptcy is obviously a paperwork intensive process. The court is going to want to see your financial life laid out in detail. Print out the last year's worth of bank statements, find your pay stubs or direct deposit information and of course, make copies of all of your bills that are in collections. Don't forget to include property assets like your house or your car or anything else tangible that you own outright. The more complete picture you can paint for the court, the better the chances of getting your bankruptcy filing approved.
Look Into a Counseling Service
Credit counseling is often something that is necessary for people going through bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy judge may order you to undergo such counseling if you haven't done so already, but you can get ahead of the game by looking for and using such a service prior to actually showing up at bankruptcy court. A credit counselor will assess your situation and walk you through how to make better decisions including things like sticking to a budget.
Open a Fresh Bank Account If You Are Able
If you are having problems with your current banking institution because of your financial situation, it might be a good idea to open a new checking account somewhere else before you file. In some cases, your current bank will close your account once it is notified that you have filed for bankruptcy. When an account is closed for a negative reason, it gets reported into a system that other banks check when deciding whether or not to open a new account for someone. Open a new account and put a bit of cash in it that you will not touch before you file for bankruptcy, just in case you end up losing your old account. Don't forget to report the balance of this new checking account to the court.
For best results when going through a bankruptcy, hire a bankruptcy lawyer to walk you through the process.