Hafemeyer Law

Homework from your Bankruptcy Attorney?

Oftentimes, when clients make their way into a law office to discuss the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, they have been dealing with debt for an extended period of time. Many times for five, ten or even twenty years. Leaving the office with a folder of “homework” can be overwhelming.

In order to successfully discharge debt in bankruptcy, it is important that the individual filing disclose all of their assets and details of their finances to the courts. Full disclosure requires documentation. Debtors are requested to furnish 6 months of paystubs, 3-6 months of household bills, and statements from retirement accounts, among many other items. This information is vital in assisting your attorney in preparing the schedules that must be provided to the court.

Although the task may seem to be overwhelming, if broken down into small bits it can be easily managed. Although many individuals do not keep a copy of pay stubs, especially now that direct deposit is commonly used by most employers, it is possible to request a copy of 6 months of pay stub check amounts from an employer. Some larger employers have electronic systems that archive past paystubs over the course of a year. Employees that have this option will likely be able to log in and print past paystubs. The courts require that individuals report the withholdings from their paychecks as well as pay check amounts in the filing schedules. For this reason, it is not sufficient to just write down the deposits from the last six months.

Obtaining past statements from monthly household bills can often be done electronically as well. Many creditors have the option to allow customers to access their accounts online. If you are no longer able to access your accounts due to non-payment, most of the balance and account information can be found on a credit bureau report. Bankruptcy attorneys often require their clients to bring in a copy of their full credit report. The credit report is helpful in determining when the account was open, the current balance and history. These details are also required to be reported to the court.

Although the amount of paperwork that is requested may same daunting, be assured that the information is required to be disclosed to the courts. Failure to fully disclose all required financial information can result in a bankruptcy case being dismissed.

Comments are closed.