Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer.
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Filing for bankruptcy requires a number of steps, the first of which is determining whether bankruptcy is necessary, and if so, which chapter under the bankruptcy code you will be filing under.
The first step would be to consider filing suit against the person who took and sold the vehicle, if you know who they are and you believe that they have assets that you could take were you to win a lawsuit. If this is not possible, or the person involved does not have anything that you could take in a lawsuit (making it not worth the expense), then bankruptcy may be an option.
The person does nto have anything worth t and to be honest i dont even know where she is anymore. what would be the first step?
The first step for filing for bankruptcy would be to determine which type of bankruptcy is appropriate and available to you. There are a number of different types of bankruptcy that can be filed, but the two most common types are chapter 7, which is a complete discharge of all debts (with a few exceptions such as student loans and tax debts), and a chapter 13, which is a court sanctioned repayment plan of debts.
In order to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, wiping out all (or most) debts, including a car loan, the debtor (you) must make less than the median income for the state in which they are a resident, or their qualified expenses must exceed their monthly income (called the means test).
So, right off the bat, if you make less than the median income for the state in which you reside, you generally qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy. If not, then you may have to look at a chapter 13 bankruptcy (again, that is a repayment plan, generally with a reduced payment).
Once you have determined which chapter of the bankruptcy code you are going to use (most people prefer chapter 7, so long as they do not have a lot of assets that could be seized, such as a car or house), you will need to gather all of your financial documentation, including at least the previous 6 months bank statements, 6 months paystubs or proof of income, your most recently filed federal and state income tax returns, things of that nature. These will all be necessary for completing the bankruptcy petition and schedules, and will serve as proof of income and assets.
Once financial documents have been gathered, you must take a certified credit counseling course. This course must be taken before filing, and no more than 180 days before filing. Once the credit counseling course is taken, it is time to fill out and file the bankruptcy petition and schedules.
All of the forms necessary can be found through the United States Court system at:
At a bare minimum, the forms that need to be filled out and filed are the voluntary petition, schedules A-J, summary of schedules, Declaration of Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs, Statement of Social Security Number, and a list of your creditors (called the creditors matrix).
The court has a few tutorials available at:
So, those are the first few steps in filing for bankruptcy; (1) Determining the proper bankruptcy code, (2) finding and preparing any financial supporting documents you have, including paystubs, bank statements and tax returns, (3) taking a credit counseling course, and (4) filing the bankruptcy petition and schedule, as well as a copy of the certificate you receive after taking the credit counseling course.
There are a few steps after that as well, but those are the initial steps that get the process going.
All this information has been really helpful! Thank you very much.