10 Mistakes to Avoid During the Bankruptcy Process
In a previous post, we discussed 10 mistakes to avoid when considering personal bankruptcy. In that article, we focused on pitfalls during the pre-bankruptcy process, such as racking up more debt and transferring money to friends or family members.
But, while you need to be careful when preparing to file for bankruptcy, you need to be equally careful during the bankruptcy process. Mistakes during the process can also prove costly—and, in some cases, they can prevent you from securing debt relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
What Not to Do After Filing for Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
So, what are the mistakes you need to avoid after filing for bankruptcy? Here are 10 things not to do during the bankruptcy process:
1. Make Any of the Mistakes We Discussed Previously
Many of the topics we discussed in our prior article are equally relevant during your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you haven’t read that article already, we encourage you to go back and read it now. When you are going through the bankruptcy process, the more you know—and the more you can do to protect yourself—the better.
2. Stop Paying What You Can
Some people incorrectly assume that once they file for bankruptcy, they can stop paying their bills until everything gets sorted out through the bankruptcy process. But this is not the case. When going through personal bankruptcy, you need to be very careful, and this includes continuing to make informed decisions about how to manage your finances. If you can only afford to pay some of your bills, you should talk to your lawyer about how to handle this so that you are still able to maximize the benefits of the process.
3. Confuse Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
Once you decide whether to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you need to remember which option you chose. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies follow different procedures, and they present different opportunities to reduce the amount you owe. If you aren’t thinking about your bankruptcy correctly, you could end up making uninformed decisions that prevent you from maximizing the benefits that are available to you.
4. Let Your Creditors Take Control of the Process
Creditors have a lot to lose during consumer bankruptcies, and, as a result, they will try to assert as much control over the process as possible. But it is your bankruptcy, and you are the one who should remain in control. If you hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will be able to stand firm when necessary and make sure that your creditors don’t take more than their fair share.
5. Assume the Process Will Go Smoothly
While the bankruptcy process can go smoothly if you are prepared and have an experienced lawyer on your side, you should not assume that everything will go according to plan. Even if you don’t let them take control, your creditors will still play a role, and the judge will be reviewing all of the filings to make sure that the relief you are seeking is appropriate. There are no guarantees in court, and this is just a reality that you will need to accept as you work through the steps in the process.
6. Stop Communicating with Your Lawyer
As the bankruptcy process moves along, it is important to remain in close contact with your lawyer. Continue reaching out to your lawyer when you have questions, and when your lawyer contacts you, pick up the phone, text back or return your lawyer’s call as soon as possible. If your lawyer is trying to contact you, there is probably a good reason why, and if you don’t respond this could lead to unnecessary issues or delays.
7. Avoid Reading Important Documents and Communications
Likewise, if you receive any documents or written communications from your bankruptcy lawyer, you should read and consider them carefully. Don’t ignore them, and don’t ignore any questions you may have. Even with a lawyer representing you, you still need to remain actively involved. You need to make sure that you know what is going on, and you need to make informed decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.
8. Submit Any Information that is False or Misleading
When going through a consumer bankruptcy, it is very important that you not submit any information that is false or misleading. If you do—even unintentionally—your creditors may try to accuse you of “bankruptcy fraud.” These accusations can have serious consequences, and if proven, they can potentially prevent you from securing protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
9. Let Your Emotions Get the Better of You
Going through personal bankruptcy is stressful. It requires lots of time and attention, and it can be frustrating at times. But it is important not to let your emotions get the better of you. Always remember that you will get through the process—and when you do, you will have a new financial lease on life. Keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will be there before you know it.
10. Fail to Maximize the Benefits of the Process
Finally, as you work through your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should work closely with your lawyer to maximize the benefits of the process. Personal bankruptcies can get resolved in a variety of ways, some of which are much more beneficial for debtors than others. So, as you make decisions during your bankruptcy, listen closely to your lawyer’s advice, consider your options carefully and remember that the effort you put in now will be well worth it in the long term.
Get Help from Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer Georgette Miller in New Jersey
Do you need to know more about the personal bankruptcy process? If so, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with bankruptcy lawyer Georgette Miller in confidence, please call 866-964-6529 or tell us how we can reach you online today.