“Every consumer bankruptcy requires the filing of a significant number of complex forms and documents,” cautioned the City Bar Justice Center of New York City. I’ve been stressing that same point for all of the twenty six years I’ve been offering Indiana bankruptcy help.
Now, I don’t want Bankruptcy in Indiana readers to get me wrong. There’s a whole lot more needed to file an Indiana personal bankruptcy than filling out a bunch of forms, paying a fee, and submitting the paperwork to the court. And, there’s even a whole lot more to filing the forms than filling in the blanks and signing. Yes, you can find the forms you need online. No, the law does not require you to be represented by a lawyer for bankruptcy.
But there’s an awful lot to the process, which is what the City Bar Justice Center was trying to emphasize. There’s the timing of the different steps of information gathering, sifting, appraising, etc. There’s the legal terminology to deal with. What we’ve found in all five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices is that people filing bankruptcy are already under quite a bit of stress. It's hardly the time for them to get educated in a complex area of the law, especially when mistakes can have such serious results!
Just the other day, one of my Columbus bankruptcy lawyer colleague told me about a man who wanted to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law. The man was very firm about not getting his wife’s name involved in the process. Because the wife had never co-signed any loans for her husband, he wanted her name completely left off the paperwork.
What that man didn’t realize was that, while an Indiana personal bankruptcy can always be filed by one spouse only, as part of qualifying for the bankruptcy, the court requires that the spouse’s income be reported on the bankruptcy paperwork. (The wife’s name could be left off, but not her income!)
Even when there’s an unmarried person filing, the paperwork is not necessarily a simple affair. As a longtime debt consolidation lawyer, what I’ve learned is that while debtors don’t necessarily set out to hide any information, often they don’t realize what needs to be disclosed, or they have trouble gathering the information. Maybe they aren’t sure what kinds of income need to be reported on the forms, or they don’t know how to correct some misinformation on a credit report. There might have been an investment or a piece of property the debtor owns jointly with a parent or other relative from years ago, and somewhere there’s some paperwork out there relating to that property.
One important role I have as a bankruptcy lawyer is to make sure all those I’s are dotted and all the t’s crossed. It really IS all in the paperwork!
Categorised in: Bankruptcy Indiana
This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg