Friday, August 31, 2012

The 5 Stages of Grief When Facing Bankruptcy

In the U.S. approximately 1.5 million total bankruptcy filings were reported in 2011. If you were NOT one of those 1.5 million then congratulations! If you were then you are not alone. With people still struggling financially from a down economy and a 7.8% unemployment rate as of Sept. 2012 it's becoming more evident that we still have a ways to go before we see any signs of relief.

Facing bankruptcy can be a stressful experience for any family or business to go through. The emotions and anxiety can be overwhelming. These are all normal feelings and can be defined. The grief that people encounter can de described in stages. While some may grieve differently, it's safe to say that they will experience some of the stages defined below.

They are:


Denial is usually the first stage of grieving. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage life seems to make no sense, they are in shock or tell themselves this just can't be happening, especially to me.


Anger is a way to shift the problem by blaming someone something or the system. It is a necessary stage of the healing process. It's vitally important to control your anger. You will get through this. Remember you have options and there is help out there.


Help me God! This is a desperate shout out for the Lords help. Bargaining with the higher power for help and prayer are usually high at these times of hardships. Telling yourself "what if" or if I just did... "I will never do that again" statements.


Depression usually follows bargaining with a deeper level of grieving and empty feelings. It is a way of dealing with loss. It's important to talk to your spouse and loved ones for support.


Acceptance is a stage that is the reality that we have a problem. We accept it for what it is, learn to live with it. We may still feel bad about the situation, but we move on and take the next step. What to do about it? How do we fix it?

Well rest assure there is hope out there. Finding a qualified and experienced bankruptcy attorney can relieve a lot of your anxiety and can offer hope. There is legislation in place to help people just like you. You are definitely not alone here. Finding a bankruptcy lawyer who is designated by Congress as a debt relief agency offering bankruptcy relief, and protection will give you a clear picture and an accurate assessment of your situation.

A bankruptcy attorney can provide advice on the benefits of filing for relief under the Bankruptcy Code where most, if not all, of the debt may be discharged in as little as four months.

However, being able to petition for bankruptcy is not automatic. The Bankruptcy Code requires that a person, or a couple, filing for bankruptcy meet certain conditions. It is advisable to have an attorney prescreen your qualifications, and see if you may be eligible to file for bankruptcy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Steps on How to File Your Own Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

- Is Bankruptcy right for you?

The first step in this process is to make an informed decision on whether Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the best option for you. Many attorneys will offer free consultations to evaluate your situation and make an assessment of all of the options available to you.

There is also plenty of good information on the web that might help you make an informed decision.

-Get your Credit Reports

If you have made an informed decision to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case the first step is to get all three of your credit reports from the 3 major credit reporting agencies. You get these credit reports by Googling "annual credit report" and following the link.

Now that you have all 3 reports be sure to print them out because you will be using the information on them to prepare your bankruptcy petition.

-Look for Judgements against you

The next step is to go to your local court system website and search your name to see if there are any unpaid judgements against you. This is important because you will be listing these judgements on your bankruptcy paperwork and in effect wiping them out. Be sure to check all the different courts in your county as well as any other places you have lived in the past 20 years for judgements. Print out any judgements against you including the amounts, the case number, the plaintiffs name and address, and the plaintiff's attorney's name and address.

-Filling Out The Bankruptcy Petition and Paperwork

Now that you have gathered all of you past debts and information, you are ready to start filling out all the necessary forms. You have a couple of different options when it comes to the forms.

The first option is to use the forms on your local US Bankruptcy Court website. The better option is to use an online bankruptcy software program. Don't worry the software is very cheap to use ($39). It is also very easy to use. The forms are all current and comply with the bankruptcy laws. is a good one to use.

Now you will just be typing in all of the personal information and financial information that you gathered. The software will guide you through the process and populate all of the information in the proper bankruptcy forms. Once you complete that process, you will print out all of the completed forms. Make sure your printer has plenty of ink because the total package will be about 60 pages.

-A Word about Income Taxes

If you have back income taxes that you owe consider this rule. The general rule is that you can list your taxes on your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if the taxes owed are from a previous tax year and you have filed your tax return more than 2 years and a day prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case. That's just the general rule. Back taxes and bankruptcy raises many issues and you should consult the "nolo" website or an attorney if you are unsure how to proceed.

-The Local Rules

Make sure to go to your local US Bankruptcy Court website and look at the "local rules" section. It will tell you if any local forms are required with your filings, and will have templates. It will also tell any special requirements they might have as to the papers themselves(ex. the Arizona district requires all of your form be double hole punched).