Guidance for debtors from our experienced bankruptcy attorneys

Anyone considering whether to file for bankruptcy should learn as much as possible about the process before making a decision to file.  New consumer and business bankruptcy rules enacted in 2005 make it harder, in some respects, to qualify for bankruptcy protection.  But these new rules also offer legal protections for consumers who file for bankruptcy and for creditors as well.

Your decision whether to file for bankruptcy protection should involve consultation with  experienced bankruptcy lawyers who can provide information and advice about bankruptcy and its alternatives.

Here are the steps to follow when deciding whether to file for bankruptcy:

  • Organize your paperwork to itemize all debts, fixed monthly expenses, and variable expenses.
  • Consult with an attorney about the kinds of bankruptcy filing.
  • Make sure you understand your rights as a debtor.
  • Discuss whether to file bankruptcy as an individual or as a business.
  • Determine whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is best for you.
  • Determine what property you can keep after filing for bankruptcy.
  • Discuss how bankruptcy will affect your job and future credit rating.
  • Consider bankruptcy as a tool for recovering financial health, not as a one-step solution for solving all financial problems.

If you are facing any of these financial conditions, you may be a candidate for bankruptcy protection:

  • You can only make minimum monthly payments on credit cards, or are unable to pay at all.
  • You have been contacted by collection agencies.
  • You cannot pay your monthly rent or mortgage.
  • You have lost your job or business.
  • You have large medical bills.
  • You are going through a divorce.

Filing for bankruptcy in Indiana does not automatically erase all of your debts.  Some kinds of debt must be paid, even under bankruptcy protection. These include:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Local, state, and federal taxes
  • Fines owed to federal or state governments
  • Student loans
  • Bills for luxury items purchased within 90 days of filing
  • Cash advances borrowed within 90 days of filing
  • Debts resulting from fraud

Alternatives to filing for bankruptcy protection include debt consolidation and credit counseling.  You may be required to go through financial counseling before filing.