Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

What Documents Should You Collect Before Filing Bankruptcy?

by Richard Ramirez

Much of the job of a bankruptcy lawyer revolves around presenting paperwork to the court on behalf of a client. This means you'll likely have to produce copies of a lot of documents before you file anything. Here are 5 sets of documents you'll want to have lined up, if possible before you visit a bankruptcy attorney.

Tax Returns

You should try to find at least the last two years of tax returns that you've filled. It's not necessary to dig out a ton of tax documents unless you're trying to show that your income is highly variable. In those situations, it might be better to produce about 5 years' worth of returns.

Pay Stubs

Your bankruptcy attorney will also want to show what your present financial situation is, especially if you've experienced a recent drop in income. The last two months of pay stubs should do the job. If you're currently receiving unemployment benefits, you can present statements from those.

Lawsuit Information

A bankruptcy court may decide to halt or cancel a pending civil lawsuit against you, especially if it involves property that creditors might have the first claim on. Notably, the court will not stop any family or criminal court proceedings, even if they involve your assets or money.

If you're pursuing a claim, the bankruptcy judge won't be interested in it. Settlements and judgments aren't subject to seizure in bankruptcy so you may proceed with any claim you're pursuing without informing the bankruptcy court.

Paperwork from Recent Bankruptcies

Anyone seeking a bankruptcy hearing within the limits placed on new filings after debts have been discharged should include information from those cases. The waiting period after filing a Chapter 7 case to file a new Chapter 7 petition is 8 years, but a Chapter 7 filer can pursue Chapter 13 within four years. Someone thinking about going from Chapter 13 or 11 to Chapter 7 is allowed to ask the court for relief at any time.

Also, there are some scenarios where it's possible to go from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 right after your unsecured debts have been discharged. It usually comes with fewer protections, but it might allow you to restructure your outstanding secured debts, such as a mortgage or a vehicle loan.

Financial Statements

These include figures from checking, savings, retirement, and investment accounts. If possible, try to produce at least the last 6 months of statements. 


About Me

Make A Great Impression In The Courtroom

Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.