Here are a few things you should keep in mind while you prepare to file bankruptcy.
– Don’t throw away your pay advices. If you are employed, the Bankruptcy Code requires you to submit all the paycheck stubs you received in the seven months before filing. Some employers allow you to access this information online and others will provide a payroll report for you, showing the gross amount earned, itemized deductions, and net pay for each pay period. But saving your pay stubs is the easiest way to provide this information to your bankruptcy attorney.
– Don’t use credit cards, convenience checks, or credit card cash advances.
– Don’t pay more than $200/month on any past due bill. Talk to your lawyer before paying anything other than (1) regular rent/mortgage payments, (2) regular car payments, (3) usual ongoing bills you pay in full every month (utilities, cable TV, cell phones, etc.).
– Don’t pay any money to family members or friends. If you owe your parents money, you can pay them back after filing for bankruptcy.
– Don’t give anything away or title assets in someone else’s name. Hiding assets or transferring them is a sure-fire way to lose the assets. You may even face criminal charges for bankruptcy fraud. Disclose the assets and exempt them.
– Don’t pay off unsecured credit card debt with the proceeds from a home equity loan or second mortgage.
Avoiding these actions can make it much easier for you and your attorney if you decide to file a bankruptcy.