First, of course, you contact us for that first appointment. Usually I meet with bankruptcy clients three times before I file your case with the court. The first meeting is a free consultation, to answer any questions you may have (but I’ve tried to answer them all here!) and so you can explain your specific circumstances to me. After you’ve told me your story, I’ll make sure you understand the choices you have and how they affect your particular situation. I will help you decide whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you and, if so, which chapter best suits your needs. If bankruptcy is not for you, I’ll send you with my best wishes and you will owe nothing.
If we agree that Bankruptcy by Bodle is your best way to get a fresh start, I will welcome you as a new client and we’ll get the process started. First, I’ll have to know practically every detail of your financial life – where you work, what you earn, what you own, what you owe & to whom, what you rent, where you live, who you support, what they earn, etc., etc. We’ve got this OBNOXIOUSLY long <questionnaire> that asks all those questions and more, and for most folks, coming up with complete and accurate answers is probably the second-most-difficult thing about bankruptcy (right after making the decision to make that appointment with the lawyer). And we’ll need a lot of supporting documentation – paystubs, deeds, contracts, notes, bills, and the like. (We’ve got a <list>.) We’ll make all this as easy as we can for you; you can fill out the questionnaire online and fax or email the documents, if that’s what’s easy for you; or you can fill out the paper form by hand and bring us your original documents for us to copy or scan; whatever works best for you.
The second appointment is for me to review your questionnaire and documents and for us to answer one another’s questions – usually, at this point, if you don’t have some more questions for me, I’ve got several for you. This is usually a shorter meeting than the first, often less than a half-hour. At the end of this second meeting, I should have all the information and documents I need to prepare your case for filing with the court.
Before your case is filed, you must complete a qualified <credit counseling> session; we must file the Certificate of Completion with your petition.
The third meeting is for you to sign the petition, supporting schedules, and other documents to file with the court – a couple of dozen forms, usually about 50-100 pages, a dozen or so signatures, all saying, “Really, this is all my information, all my stuff, all my debts, and it’s all true, I swear.” As soon as we’re done signing, I’m ready to file the case in the United States Bankruptcy Court.