Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - Prefiling Requirements

Prior to filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, there are various documents that must be provided to your attorney in order to be able to complete your bankruptcy petition. Above anything else, you must provide your most recent 4 years of tax returns, the previous 6 months of paystubs, and statements from your bill collectors. In addition to these, those filing bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling class both prior to and after filing your bankruptcy.

The paystubs and tax returns are used to provide proof of income, both for that current year and years past. Because income is now central to determining whether a person qualifies for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, getting these documents together is integral to success in your case. The 6 months of paystubs are used to complete the Means Test, which is the legal framework for determining your qualification for a Chapter 7.

The credit counseling class is a new requirement that has been implemented after the Bankruptcy Code was amended in 2005. Any person filing a bankruptcy case, whether it is a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, must complete an approved credit counseling course prior to filing the bankruptcy, and then an additional class after filing the bankruptcy.

Finally, you will want to provide your attorney with copies of statements from bill collectors. The point behind this is to ensure that all of your creditors are included on your bankruptcy petition. This will help avoid problems in the future if creditors claimed they were not included in the bankruptcy filing.

Of course, these are basic requirements that must be met before filing your case, and you will surely want to consult with your bankruptcy attorney to ensure all of the correct documentation for your case is provided.