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Dragonchilde

Filing Bankruptcy... confused and desperate

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Okay, my debts have reached the point where I just can't pay, and I'm starting to get threatened with all kinds of dodgy legal or quasi-legal action.

As much as I hate to, it's time for me to file bankruptcy.

I don't know really how to go about it, other than just calling a lawyer.

I have next to no assets (one vehicle, husband' primary, I'm cosigner) valued at around 10k. That's all. Otherwise, we literally have nothing.

What do I need when I go talk to the lawyer? I'm a terrible record keeper, and 90% of my debts are old ones accrued in college, when I was a fluff-headed moron and didn't keep anything. My debt is less than $15k (I'm thinking lower than 10k, but I'm honestly not sure), but it might as well be millions for all I'm able to pay it. I can barely keep my lights on... how can I pay old credit card debt?

Also, is there a minimum amount of debt you have to have to declare? We aren't that badly off (someone with about twice our income could pay this off in a year), but it is still all but impossible for us to clear.

I'm in need of help here, and I'm completely, totally lost, and now I hear of these new laws that are going to make things harder, so I need to move on it, NOW.

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How old is old? When did you last pay the orginal creditor and what state are you in? The SOL may have run.

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A lawyer can give you direction. If you're not a good record keeper, work on that, because you will need to list all of your outstanding debts for the bk. It's pretty detailed so you may want to start doing that now.

________

Burningchick

Edited by kevin3344

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Here's a link to state by state exemptions. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

http://www.thebankruptcysite.com/

Most bk lawyers give a free initial consultation. I'd be leary of filing for less than $10K. That's just my opinion. There is no minimum dollar amount in the bk code.

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What you should have when you see a lawyer:

Pull your credit reports - all 3 of them. That should get 99% of your creditors and debts and make a list. The lawyer won't want to go thru your reports. It will go faster if YOU make the lists that the lawyer can use.

Make copies of your last 3 years of tax returns

Make copies of your most recent bank statements for all accounts with your name on them.

Pull all your bills for rent, utilities, phones, insurances etc. and make a list of them.

Go thru your checkbook and any receipts you may have and make a list of all of your normal living expenses - everything you NORMALLY spend money on it a year's time. Add them all up (in categories) and divide by 12 to get your average expense.

Do NOT go into a lawyer's office with a box full of bills. Take the time to make lists. You need to add up a year's worth of the amounts and average them out to get your monthly expense number.

List ALL your assets - your vehicle with trade-in value; all your personal property - all your 'stuff', put a garage sale value on everything.

Here's an expense calculator to use, it gives you a good start on what you should be listing: http://www.ca-bankruptcy-attorneys.com/calculators/expense_calculator.html

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What you should have when you see a lawyer:

Great advice!!!

Be prepared. Your lawyer will probably give you a 12+ page form to fill out with all this information. If you have questions about any part of the form or how to calculate the various dollar amounts, ask the attorney. Check all your assumptions.

Also, don't assume the lawyer is thinking about your case 24x7. You are one of dozens of open cases. Your lawyer thinks about your case while the file is open on their desk. Got questions? Phone the lawyer. Don't assume anything. You are paying for the legal advice, but sometimes you have to work to extract it from them.

They've been doing BKs for some time, so they've likely forgetten what it is like to not know what the hell is going on. They typically won't walk you through the whole thing step-by-step unless you ask, prod, and push (nicely, though).

Personally, BK is such a drastic thing that I don't think its worth doing for $10K of debt. Make sure you really know what is going on with your debt before filing. Make sure you understand who you owe, how much you owe, and how old the debts are. Read everything you can on this site to get educated. Coming up with some settlement may be less painful.

Just my .02.

bw

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For under 15K it probably is not worth filing. It will cost you $900 to $1100 to file.

Are you working?

As far as getting threatened just get an answering machine and screen your calls. Save whatever bill related mail that comes in permanently and throw it in a box. Change your phone number.

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I agree with Alexander. If you're only in debt $10-$15k, it's not worth it. You've got the upfront attorney's fees, higher insurance rates for the next ten years, higher interest rates for the next ten years, possibility of not getting a new job/promotion, not getting a mortgage, etc. Ten years is a long time to deal with the kind of blemish a BK causes; I know, I'm in my 3rd year after filing. I would highly urge you to try to find a way to repay these. Negotiate with the lenders for a settlement amount, repayment plan, find a way to squeeze out a few dollars from your budget, anything. It's more hassle for 10 years than the relief you're going to feel from it now.

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If your not working just put all the incoming bills in a box, change your phone number, get an answering machine for $20 at the dollar store and don't answer the phone.

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