Paperwork When Filing Bankruptcy is Very Important


WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Octomum Nadya Suleman and her large family plus helpers launch their signature Milkshake at 'Millions of Milkshakes' on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Paperwork when filing a bankruptcy is very important in the bankruptcy process. The paperwork filed in your petition should include all the information a court needs in able for a court to make all the legal decisions in deciding your case. Without all the information, the court will not be able to help you utilize the full extent of bankruptcy laws.

The paperwork is so necessary and serious in bankruptcy cases that if you do not have all the paperwork or you have made blatant errors on the information provided in the paperwork, you could have your bankruptcy case dismissed.

As an example of paperwork’s importance in bankruptcy, “Octomom” Nadya Suleman had her recent bankruptcy case thrown out of court after she failed to complete and file the proper paperwork. She failed to include over a dozen financial documents required to support her case. She was given extra days to get the paperwork in but failed to meet the deadline.

The famous mother, who gave birth to eight babies at one time and has six other children, claimed to have somewhere in between $500,000 and $1 million dollars of debt she was trying to get discharged in her bankruptcy. She also claimed she had no assets available to pay off her debts.

There has been no indication Suleman filed with the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney, so she most likely filed Pro Se. Her failure to complete the documents required for filing a petition is a good example of how complicated the paperwork can be in some bankruptcy cases. Suleman filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the simplest type of bankruptcy a debtor can file.

Having a bankruptcy dismissed can be a minor or serious offense against the bankruptcy system. Most dismissals are like the Suleman example. Messing up the paperwork is serious to your efforts at filing bankruptcy, but it does not mean you cannot file again in the future.

What it does mean is that Suleman, if she elects to file again within a year, will have protection of the automatic stay for only 30 days unless she files a motion to extend the stay once she has refiled her case. It will be up to the bankruptcy judge whether or not he will accept the request for extension.

If you bankruptcy is dismissed, you will automatically lose the effects of the automatic stay. Your creditors will be free to pursue collection, foreclosure, or repossession activities once again.

In Suleman’s case, one of the reasons she filed bankruptcy was to stop foreclosure on her house. With the dismissal, she now stands to lose the roof over her head, and over the fourteen children heads depending on her.

More serious dismissals are made “for cause.” In bankruptcy legal jargon, getting a bankruptcy dismissed “for cause” usually relates to fraudulent activity or failing to obey certain bankruptcy court orders. When you get dismissed “for cause,” you may lose your right to file bankruptcy forever, depending on your case and what the bankruptcy court judge decides.

Paperwork when filing bankruptcy is very important. If the paperwork is too complicated for you, consider getting a bankruptcy lawyer to help you.

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