Filing for bankruptcy is not as simple as hiring bankruptcy attorneys, signing some paperwork and appearing in court. There is a lot more to the bankruptcy process, and it does take longer than you might expect. To better understand how long the process can take and why, as well as how to prepare in advance to hiring your bankruptcy attorney, the following information is provided.
How Long the Bankruptcy Process Can Take
In most states, where you can still file a personal bankruptcy, the process could take up to a year or more. It begins when you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer and hire him or her as legal representation. From there, you have to collect a long list of documents and items to show the court that you have no hidden, liquidatable assets and your debts exceed the total value of everything you own outright.
You will have to continue bringing your lawyer your most current pay stubs or unemployment benefit reports to show that you are not hiding money that could be used to pay your debts. Until you have collected all of this information and presented to your lawyer, he or she cannot file the formal paperwork for you, nor set up a court date.
The longer it takes you to collect everything your lawyer needs, the later it will be when the court has an opening to hear your bankruptcy case. Some courts are already backed up with bankruptcy hearings, which means that you could already be miles behind before you get started. At best, you could be looking at three or four months before your debts are absolved. At worst, it could be almost two to five years. If things move along faster or you had all of your paperwork ready beforehand, you can expect a shorter wait for court.
How to Prepare for Bankruptcy Proceedings Ahead of Time
You could easily shave a few weeks to several months off of your wait time for a bankruptcy court hearing by collecting ALL of the necessary paperwork or documents together before you meet with your lawyer. This includes your recent income tax forms, your recent pay stubs or government benefit reports, copies of your checking/savings/investment accounts, listings of assets that you can convert to cash easily and quickly, copies of all of your credit card statements and loan statements and a complete, itemized list of all of your belongings with their "garage sale value" marked beside the items. When you meet with your lawyer for the first time and present him/her with all of the above, he or she has a very good head start on your case. If your lawyer needs anything else not listed here, he/she will ask you for it. Contact a company like Reppe Law Office for more information.