Getting your bankruptcy petition right is essential to presenting your bankruptcy case to the courts. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a petition is “a formal written request made to an official person or organized body [i.e. the court].” When it comes to petitions for bankruptcy, they are documents that you need to file with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. These documents essentially say “help me; I need to file for bankruptcy.”
It is important to get a qualified bankruptcy attorney to aid in the filing of your petition, because once it has been filed, you will be protected from harassment by creditors. Bankruptcy petitions are typically 30-50 pages long and contain many sections, which your bankruptcy lawyer should help you with. The most important parts of your petition, which need careful consideration and attention, are listed below.
This section will contain a lot of information including:
- Full registered address
- Social Security Number
- Type of bankruptcy
- If you are filing as an individual or a if it is a joint case
- Previous filings in the past 8 years
This contains information in 10 distinct sections from “A” to “J.”
A) Real estate owned
B) Personal possessions
D) Secured Creditors
E) Priority Creditors
F) Unsecured Creditors
Statement of Financial Affairs
In this section of the petition, you will need to answer 18 questions if you are filing as an individual without a business, and 25 if you own a business.
Median Income and Means Test
Before filling out this section of the petition, you should consult with your bankruptcy lawyer for help. The whole idea of the Median Income test is to gauge your household’s income compared to your expenditure and debt for the 6 months before you file for bankruptcy.
If you happen to be over the median income, the second part of the test comes into play. You will need to take the means test to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcies and what the payment plan will be for your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Plan
If you have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this section will outline a payment plan that you will follow each month, the length of the repayment plan, as well as the amount that will be paid to the unsecured creditors.