Bankruptcy can have an incredibly positive impact on your finances. For many, the fresh start that a bankruptcy discharge provides is the most significant moment in their financial life. It is a new beginning, from which you can rebuild your personal economy from the ground up. However, some people underestimate the intricacies of the bankruptcy process and end up making unnecessary mistakes.
You may think, “Bankruptcy doesn’t seem so difficult. Surely nothing can go wrong with my filing…” But you couldn’t be more wrong. Bankruptcy is very complex for those unfamiliar with it. Committing errors during the process may lead to the court dismissing your filing. Plus, you may not be able to eliminate your debts effectively, and you might even face jail time.
Here are five reasons why your bankruptcy filing could go wrong. Be sure to avoid these mistakes so you can get the debt relief you need to take back control of your life.
You didn’t work with an attorney
In theory, you are free to file for bankruptcy without the help of an attorney. However, it is strongly recommended that you work with a local bankruptcy attorney if you want to maximize your chances of success.
The success rate of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is over 95% if you work with an attorney. On the other hand, those filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must prepare for an uphill battle. In this case, the success rate for pro se filers is lower than 1%.
If you are concerned about attorney fees, rest assured that not working with a legal professional during your filing could be more costly in the long run. Contact a Los Angeles Bankruptcy attorney and get it right on your first try.
You failed the means test
To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must qualify through a means test. In this test, the court will compare your disposable income to the state median for households similar to yours. If your income is below the state median, you will automatically qualify. But, if it is above, your area’s living expenses will be deducted before determining if you are eligible for this type of bankruptcy.
If you fail the means test, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be dismissed, and you may have to opt for a Chapter 13 filing instead.
You forgot to list some of your assets
When filing for bankruptcy, you will have to list all your assets, such as your house, car, and other belongings. However, if you forget to disclose any of your assets or deliberately hide them, your filing may be delayed or dismissed altogether.
This is a common mistake that you can avoid by working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorney will carefully review every aspect of your financial life and ensure that your bankruptcy paperwork complies with the bankruptcy court’s requirements.
You committed bankruptcy fraud
Of course, if the bankruptcy court determines that you tried to abuse the bankruptcy system, your filing will be immediately dismissed. Moreover, you may face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Some common types of bankruptcy fraud include the following:
- Hiding valuable assets or lying about the actual value of your assets.
- Lying about your finances on your bankruptcy paperwork.
- Transferring money before filing to hide it during the process.
- Assuming unjustifiable debts before filing for bankruptcy.
You filed for the wrong bankruptcy chapter
Filing the wrong bankruptcy chapter can be a huge mistake. If this happens to you, you could have your case dismissed and lose some of your most precious assets. It is a mistake you simply cannot afford to commit.
A bankruptcy attorney will be able to evaluate your financial situation in depth and advise you on which chapter of bankruptcy you should pursue.
Although bankruptcy may be complicated, you can avoid most of these common mistakes by working with a bankruptcy attorney. Don’t let an unnecessary misstep jeopardize the fresh financial start you’re looking for.
Furthermore, most Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys, such as KT Bankruptcy lawyer, offer completely free consultations. You are welcome to contact them if you have further questions about the process or want professional help every step of the way.