What to bring to the initial consultation
In order to make the most of your initial consultation, you need to bring any and all billing statements, collection letters, car payment booklets/statements, mortgage payment books/statements, and pleadings from lawsuits against you. This is extremely important if you are filing to stop a foreclosure or prevent a garnishment.
I do not need to see your power, water or cable bill unless they are old accounts that you would like included in the bankruptcy. It is good to bring six months of bank statements to determine what your household expenses are each month. You will need to know what your gross income (before taxes) was for the last two years (you can bring tax returns).
Please bring six months of pay stubs so that I can get the true net income after all the deductions. Once that is done, we can compare the net income to your expenses. This way we can be sure that you qualify for a Chapter 7, or if you have to do a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that you have enough income to make the plan payments.
Bring your spouse/significant other. Even if only one of you is filing, it is better that the couple appear so that I know you are both in agreement and all questions or concerns can be addressed efficiently. It really helps to have everyone present when we work out household expenses.
What You Will Need to Know
You will be asked a lot of questions. Things you will need to know deal with your finances, creditors, approximately the amount owed, and approximate dates items were sold or pawned.
With respect to vehicles, you will need to know the year, make (brand), model (Civic, Maxima, etc.) trim level (ES, GS, LS), options and mileage. If the car is paid off and worth more than $4,000, you will need to know if the title says John Doe AND Jane Doe or John Doe OR Jane Doe. The little word on the title can make a huge difference. You will need to know who the finance company is and the amount of the monthly payments. If you are behind on the vehicle payments, please come with an idea of how many payments you are behind.
You will need to know the name of your mortgage company and the amount of the monthly payments. Nine hundred and something will not cut it. Again, if you are behind on your house payments, I will need to know how much you need to bring your mortgage current.
If you have any other secured loans, I will need information on those too, specifically the name of the company, how much you owe, and what they are secured by. These creditors have rights that regular unsecured (credit cards) creditors do not.
You will need to know if you have any co-debtors. Your bankruptcy will NOT protect them, and could cause minor credit report problems for them.
You will need to know if you are on anyone else’s car titles, boat titles, house deeds, bank accounts or any other assets. It is crucial that you know this, because ANYTHING IN YOUR NAME IS YOURS regardless of who it “belongs” to. If you are on any item, please consult with me or another bankruptcy attorney before doing anything regarding your ownership as it could be problematic and expensive if handled incorrectly.
If you have sold, donated, pawned, or transferred anything in the last 12 months, I need to know who received the item, when they got the item, how much you got for the item, and what you did with the money you received for the item.
What Happens Next?
After I have all the information, bills, credit reports, and household list, I will need about a week to ten days to complete the petition. You will be brought in for another appointment to go over the petition so that we can make any corrections/additions, and sign the document. Once we have a signed petition, and all attorney fees and filing fees ($335 for Chapter 7 and $310 for Chapter 13), I will file the petition and obtain your case number from the Court. The court will send out Notice to you of the trustee meeting date.
Free bankruptcy consultation: Call 502.583.8300 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case at no charge.