You should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney before proceeding.
There may be ways to make it affordable.
If you need an Attorney and don't know how to find one, contact:
Hampden County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
Lawyer Referral Service of the Massachusetts Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service of the Boston Bar Association
Community Legal Aid
Have you obtained your Credit Counseling Certificate? If not, your bankruptcy case will be dismissed.
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Information
If you own real estate, have you considered recording a homestead declaration and consulting with an attorney regarding exemptions?
If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or 13, before proceeding, you should know that:
- Filing a bankruptcy case is a complicated legal proceeding with serious consequences affecting your rights. You should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney about the many issues that will impact your case.
- Here are just a few issues to discuss with an attorney before filing bankruptcy:
- Have you obtained a Certificate of Credit Counseling from an approved agency? If not, your case will be dismissed.
- A list of approved credit counseling agencies is available at the Clerk's Office and on the Bankruptcy Courts website.
- Do you own real estate? Have you recorded a declaration of homestead? Do you need one?
- Do you know which of your assets are exempt?
- Do you have disposable income? If not, you may not be able to fund a Chapter 13 Plan.
- Have you filed all of your tax returns? If not, your case may be dismissed.
- If you think you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be able to pay over time through your bankruptcy. Check out these referral services:
- Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (617) 742-0625, (800) 552-7046, email@example.com, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday – Thursday; 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Friday.
- Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service 617-654-0400, 866-627-7577
- Hampden County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service 413-732-4648, Monday through Friday 9:00 am.m through 4:00 pm.
- American Bar Association
- Hampden County Bar Association Foreclosure Task Force: 413-322-7404 or 1-800-639-1209
Here are some additional consumer resources:
- National Consumer Law Center
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- Legal Advocacy Resource Center
- Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Greater Boston Legal Services
- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
- Community Legal Aid
- Massachusetts Bar Association Student Loan Bankruptcy Assistance Project
- Northeast Legal Aid and Northeast Justice Center
- South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.
If you file a Chapter 7 or 13, your case may be dismissed without the following:
1. Payment of filing fees (link is external). You may ask the Bankruptcy Court for permission to pay the fee in installments by filing a signed application for Court approval. Fed.R.Bankr.P.1006(b).
2. Voluntary Petition (Official Form 101).
3. Certificate of Credit Counseling. (Or § 109(h)(3) certification or § 109(h)(4) request). Must be filed WITH the petition. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1007(b) & (c).
4. Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form 101). Must be filed WITH the petition. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1007(f).
5. Names and addresses of all creditors of the debtor (“Creditor Matrix”). Fed.R.Bankr.P.1007(a), Official Local Form 1.
6. Statement of current monthly income (Official Form 122 A or 122 C). Must be filed with the petition or within 14 days. Rule 1007, Fed.R.Bankr.P.
7. Schedules of assets and liabilities, executory contract and unexpired leases, and current income and expenses (Official Form 106 A/B – J, Sum and Dec.). Must be filed with the petition or within 14 days. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1007(b) & (c).
8. Statement of financial affairs (Official Form 107). Must be filed with the petition or within 14 days. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1007(b) & (c).
9. Copies of all pay stubs or other evidence of income received by the debtor within 60 days before the filing of the petition provided to the Chapter 7 or 13 Trustee no later than 7 days before the first meeting of creditors.
10. Copies of the most recently filed tax returns provided to the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee no later than 7 days before the first meeting of creditors.
11. You must appear at the first meeting of creditors or your case may be dismissed.
For Chapter 13 the following are also required:
12. Evidence of current and sufficient property and liability insurance for all property,
13. Independent evidence of valuation, copies of deeds and Declaration of Homestead provided to the Chapter 13 Trustee on or before the first meeting of creditors.
14. Chapter 13 Plan (Official Local Form 3). Must be filed with the petition or within 14 days thereafter. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 3015. The plan must be served on all creditors.