Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Documents You Need for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing


Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection is the closest thing you can get to a “get out of debt free” card.  The court discharges your eligible debts within weeks of your initial filing, and most applicants can get through chapter 7 bankruptcy without having to liquidate any of their assets.  The rationale behind chapter 7 bankruptcy protection is that you should get to keep the necessities that keep you out of poverty and to discharge the eligible debts you cannot afford to pay; filing for bankruptcy cannot discharge your court-ordered debts, such as child support or criminal fines.  Your obligation in a chapter 7 case is to present to the court accurate information about your financial situation, in order to prove that you truly cannot afford to pay the debts for which you are seeking discharge, and to prove that you cannot afford to lose the assets that you are claiming as exemptions.  If your plan is to turn over a new leaf in 2024 by filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, then now is the time to contact a Philadelphia debt relief lawyer.

How to Prove to the Bankruptcy Court That You Deserve to Discharge Your Debts and Keep Your Assets

The paperwork you present to the bankruptcy court must be thorough and accurate.  If it is not, then you might not receive as much debt relief as you are eligible to receive, or the court might even reject your bankruptcy case.  Before you submit your documents, you should review them thoroughly with a bankruptcy lawyer or consumer law attorney, to ensure that you are not missing anything.  These are some of the documents that you should bring to your first meeting with your lawyer:

  • Income tax returns, as well as pay stubs and W4 and 1099 forms issued since your most recent income tax filing, since these will serve as proof of your income
  • Utility bills, grocery receipts, and bank statements and checks showing payments you have made for rent, since these are proof of your expenses
  • Court orders referring to non-dischargeable debts, such as child support, criminal fines, or money judgments arising from civil lawsuits, if applicable
  • Titles to valuable assets you own, such as your house or car, if applicable

Any omissions or inconsistencies in your documents will cause further scrutiny by the court, just as contradictory or implausible statements on your tax returns increase your chances of being subject to an audit.  Even though chapter 7 bankruptcy filings give the court the right to liquidate your non-exempt assets, most people who file for chapter 7 bankruptcy can get through the process without losing any assets.  If you own assets that are non-exempt, you may consider selling them and putting the proceeds toward debt repayment before or instead of a chapter 7 filing.  If your income is high enough and you don’t want to risk losing your non-exempt assets, you may choose to file under chapter 13 instead.

Contact Louis S. Schwartz About Filing for Bankruptcy Protection

A Philadelphia consumer law attorney can help you prepare for a successful bankruptcy filing.  Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn