First, you should gather all of your financial information. Be as detailed as possible about debts, income, assets, property, and monthly household living expenses.
Debts. Include all relevant information about your debts.
Income. Include all money you have received for any reason in the past six months, how often you receive this money, any money you expect to receive in the future, and where the money it is coming from. This could include unemployment compensation, your regular working income, dividends, pensions, and money contributed to the household by other people.
Assets and Property. Include stocks, savings accounts, real estate, cars, collectibles, and art. You should also list items like clothes, home furnishings, and other personal possessions, especially if they’re particularly valuable. Personal belongings are generally considered “exempt,” that is, they won’t be sold in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, what is deemed to be exempt can vary, so it's important to ask a lawyer.
Monthly Household Living Expenses. Include costs for all things pertaining to rent or mortgage, food, utilities, medical expenses, clothing, taxes, transportation, child support, and alimony.
You must undergo credit counseling six months before filing for bankruptcy. Pre-bankruptcy counseling should include:
A thorough review of your finances
Discussion of bankruptcy alternatives
Personal budget plan
Credit counseling sessions usually only last an hour and can be done in-person, over the phone, or online. You will be able to request a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the fee. The session typically costs around $25. After completing the credit counseling requirement, the organization will supply you with a certificate, which you will use as proof when you file for bankruptcy.
The creditors’ meeting
Within 40 days after your filing date, the court will set the creditors' meeting. At this meeting, the person in charge of overseeing your case will verify your identity and ask you questions about your bankruptcy case. This hearing is used to check the information contained in your bankruptcy papers is accurate and complete.
Post-bankruptcy credit counseling
Once you have had your creditors’ meeting, you will need to undergo post-bankruptcy credit counseling. For chapter 7 cases this will need to happen within 45 days of the creditors’ meeting. For chapter 13 bankruptcies, this must happen the day before you make the last payment or when you file a motion to discharge the bankruptcy. You must send confirmation that you completed the post-bankruptcy credit counseling so that you can complete the bankruptcy process and have your debts dismissed.