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Chicago Bankruptcy Question: What is a bankruptcy petition?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day:  What is a bankruptcy petition? 

A bankruptcy petition is a series of schedules and statements that are filed with the federal bankruptcy courts in order to commence a bankruptcy case.  Included in every consumer bankruptcy petition is a series of schedules disclosing your assets, liabilities, exemptions, income, expenses and household size and structure.  There is also a Statement of Financial affairs, disclosing your recent financial history, and a Statement of Current Monthly Income (also known as the "means test").  Along with these documents, there are several supporting documents, such as a statement of compliance with credit counseling requirements, a summary of schedules, a disclosure of attorney's compensation, a notice detailing the chapters of bankruptcy available, a creditor matix (and verification of the matrix) and a verification of your social security number.

In Chapter 7 cases, the petition will include a Statement of Intention, which discloses what you plan to do with your secured debts.  In Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 cases, the petition will include a plan of reorganization, which explains how you plan to repay your creditors.

Usually, the petition is filed with court with all of the schedules and statements completed.  In extreme cases, your bankruptcy attorney may file what is called a "bare bones" petition, which is basically just a series of signature pages.  The completed schedules then must be filed with the court within fifteen days, unless your attorney files a motion to request an extension of time that is granted by the court.

It is the petition that is reviewed by the court, your Trustee and your creditors to ensure that all required information is disclosed and that you are eligible for a discharge.  Failure to disclose assets or income, failure to schedule recent financial events and failure to schedule creditors are the three biggest areas where consumers run into problems in their bankruptcy filings, so you want to make sure that you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney preparing and reviewing these documents on your behalf.  Significant issues within your petition can lead to the dismissal of your bankruptcy case or the denial of a discharge, leaving you in a worse position than when you started.

The experienced bankruptcy lawyers and Ledford & Wu have drafted and filed thousands of bankruptcy petitions over the years.  We will get your documents right the first time so that your case completes as planned.  Call to schedule your free consultation and make sure that your bankruptcy petition is prepared properly.

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