If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, the first step is to schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law. Come prepared so that the meeting is as productive and as informative as possible. Your preparation will also help the attorney can give you the best advice possible. This means that you will want to be able to provide a great deal of information to the attorney, and will require that you come with copies of various documents.
Prepare to Discuss the Big Picture
First, you want to give your attorney a broad overview of your situation and why you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Before arriving at the office, think through the following questions and prepare notes if necessary:
- Have you recently lost your job or other income? Have you recently experienced some kind of major life-changing event that has created a financial hardship?
- Have any of your creditors brought legal action against you, such as a lawsuit or a garnishment? Are they threatening to proceed with legal action? Are there any judgments against you?
- Have you received a foreclosure notice? Are you in the eviction process?
- Is your car being repossessed?
- Are you going through a divorce?
Drilling Down Into the Details
From there, you will want to give a more detailed picture of your current situation. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your marital status and number of children or other dependents
- Your income and your total household income
- The total amount owed to various creditors
- The total value of the assets you own (house, cars, boats, etc.)
This should also include a discussion of what you want to achieve by filing for bankruptcy.
Assemble Your Documents
The next step is the most burdensome, but if you gave serious thought to the steps noted above, you’ve already got a head start. You should arrive at the consultation with copies of the following documents:
- Tax returns for the last two years.
- Seven months of bank statements and pay stubs.
- Copies of your mortgage and any other loan documents for cars or other property.
- Any and all paperwork related to foreclosure, eviction, lawsuits, garnishments, or other legal actions.
- Copies of any investment statements, including your 401(k) or other retirement accounts.
- A copy of your driver’s license and Social Security card.
- A list of all your debts, including credit cards, medical bills, auto loans, mortgages, etc. If possible, identify the creditor and how much you owe. Provide current account statements for each.
If you can’t find all of these documents, that’s okay—just make an honest effort, and indicate which documents you are unable to find. The attorney may suggest other ways to obtain the same information.
Contact a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney
We can help you sort through the options to get your life back on track. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.