Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney Assisting Debtors Throughout the State
When you are in the difficult position of dealing with debts that you simply cannot pay, it may be a good time to consider the benefits of filing for bankruptcy. If you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can receive a discharge. Your assets will be liquidated to help pay off the amount you owe your creditors, but you will have a fresh start as soon as the bankruptcy is complete. If you decide to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, you will have several years to make payments to your creditors based on a repayment plan, after which you will have a fresh start. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also be an important tool for debtors who are facing foreclosure. In short, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to avoid foreclosure and keep your home.
Steps for Filing for Bankruptcy
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Arizona, what steps will you need to take?
1. Required credit counseling: Under the federal Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), all individual debtors must seek credit counseling prior to filing a bankruptcy petition. You must obtain proof that you have sought credit counseling within the six-month period before filing for bankruptcy. There are some exceptions, but most debtors will need to take this step first.
2. Complete the Chapter 7 “means test” required for liquidation, also required by BAPCPA: In Arizona, debtors who are seeking bankruptcy protection and are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must undergo the “means test” to determine their eligibility for liquidation bankruptcy. Depending upon a debtor’s income and assets, she or he may be ineligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In such a case, the debtor may be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and should always discuss the situation with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney.
3. Itemize everything: You will next need to itemize all your assets, debts, and sources of income. You must have access to your most recent tax returns as well as titles to real estate, motor vehicles, and loan information. It can be complicated to itemize all these items and ensure you are ready to move forward with your bankruptcy petition. To be sure, bankruptcy law is complicated, and you do not want to have any errors. You should discuss your case with a bankruptcy attorney in Arizona to ensure you meet all requirements and that you have all required information for your bankruptcy petition.
4. Determine exemptions: When you file for bankruptcy, certain types of property are “exempt.” Under Arizona law, there is a generous homestead exemption (an exemption for interest in your home property). There are numerous other exemptions, such as for personal property, certain benefits (such as retirement benefits, pensions, spousal maintenance, and child support), and other forms of income.
5. File your petition: Depending upon whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your petition will look different. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing also must be accompanied by a repayment plan. There are specific filing costs for each form of bankruptcy, and an Arizona bankruptcy lawyer can help you to ensure that you meet all requirements under state and federal law.
Contact an Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer
It is important to understand the steps for filing for bankruptcy in Arizona. If you have questions, you should speak with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney about your case.