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7 Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy After Divorce

Filing for bankruptcy after divorce is not uncommon. Divorce can turn your finances upside down. You may have gone from having two incomes to rely on to only having one along with trying to manage a handful of expenses. Or perhaps, financial problems in the marriage lead to divorce. Whatever the case, you may have concluded that filing for bankruptcy is your best option at this point. 

When it comes to bankruptcy and divorce you want to make sure you aren’t missing any part of the process. Here are 7 steps to follow:

1. Get Your Documents in Order

You want to have all the documents you’ll need to see if you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include:

  • Documents about your income for the past 6 months (pay stubs, other proofs of income)
  • Last two years of tax returns
  • Recent financial statements
  • Documents regarding assets
  • Divorce decree
  • Documents regarding support obligations
  • Property settlement, attorney fees, bills from your divorce attorney

You’ll also want a complete list of all your current debts and a copy of your credit report.

2. Take Credit Counseling

When filing for bankruptcy, you must take two credit counseling courses. The first one has to be done before you file your case. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll get a certificate that you’ll need to file with your bankruptcy paperwork.

3. Complete all Bankruptcy Forms

This is usually a lengthy step because there may be more than two dozen documents to complete. These forms include your bankruptcy petition, all of the schedules, and the statement of financial affairs.

Personal information as well as income, child support, or alimony payments, will all need to be disclosed as well as any unpaid obligations. You’ll also need to list any legal proceedings that took place in the last year.

4. File Your Case and Pay the Fee

Unless you qualify for a waiver, the filing fee for Chapter 7 as of this writing is $338. That does not include any attorney fees. If you are earning less than 150% of the federal poverty line considering your combined household income, you may qualify for a waiver. If you don’t, you can ask to pay the filing fee in installments.

Besides the filing fee, you also want to have all the paperwork you need to file the case. You should have a complete set for your records as well as one for the bankruptcy court. Once you have the fee and all of your paperwork, you are ready to file. While you can choose to file by mail, it’s usually recommended to go in person to make sure you have everything you need and there are no unnecessary delays.

5. Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Once your documents are filed with the court, a trustee will be assigned to oversee your case. Your trustee will need to receive specific documents before your scheduled Meeting of Creditors (341 Hearing). Your trustee will tell you what you want to review. If you do not hear from your trustee two weeks after filing your case, you should contact the court.

6. Take Your Second Credit Course

Before your hearing, it is usually a good idea to complete your second credit counseling course. The course needs to be taken with an approved provider. You will receive a second certificate once your second course is completed. This will need to be filed with the court clerk within 60 days of your scheduled 341 Hearing

7. Attend Your 341 Hearing

When filing for bankruptcy, you will need to attend a 341 Hearing before your Chapter 7 trustee. The trustee will ask you questions about the information you provided on your paperwork. They want to confirm that the information you provided is accurate. When dealing with bankruptcy and divorce, It is possible for your ex-spouse to appear at this hearing as well as any creditors.

Other Things to Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy After Divorce

While you’ll want to follow those seven steps when filing for bankruptcy, you’ll also want to keep some other things in mind. If you own a car and still need to make payments, you’ll need to indicate that you will continue with payments. But, if the car was awarded to your ex-spouse in the divorce, you don’t need to reaffirm the debt. 

Also, there are bankruptcy exemptions that allow you to protect your real and personal property up to a certain amount. Exemptions can allow filers to keep most if not all of their property.

Filing for Bankruptcy After Divorce? Let Us Help

If you are planning on filing for bankruptcy after divorce, let our Florida bankruptcy lawyers help. We have the experience necessary to guide you and answer your questions when it comes to bankruptcy and divorce. Call us today at (954) 922-2283 to learn more about how our firm can help you.

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