Short on Cash and Filing for Bankruptcy?

Of all the unfortunate circumstances you can think of, filing for bankruptcy has to be near the top of the list. It’s not at the top because it’s the best unfortunate circumstance; it’s at the top because it’s almost always an odious experience. No one wants to go through all the legal red tape and experience the shots at their pride. No one really wants to endure the hassle that comes with filing for bankruptcy. Of course, this isn’t something to around bragging to your friends, but it also shouldn’t force you into an unsustainable, fear cocoon of unmitigated bankruptcy. Sometimes, it can feel like there is no way out when it comes to bankruptcy.

Of course, for those in the low income bankruptcy bracket, this feeling can get even worse. There are always going to be fees and rules and different concepts that require understanding. Of course, the fees are probably going to be the worst seeing as how you’re relatively broke as it is. For starters, there are several resources online including Bankruptcy Basics on the U.S. Courts’ website. This will give you a primer for understanding what to do when bankruptcy becomes your only feasible option.

Unfortunately, most other resources are going to cost you some money. Assuming you feel comfortable spending a few extra dollars, there are plenty of extensive books out there that teach you exactly how to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can buy those, or you can just use various internet resources to find your way for free. In any event, there is going to be a number of forms that you will be forced to fill out in order to get started. Many of these forms can be found in the Do-it-yourself bankruptcy books, but you can also find them at the U.S. Courts’ website.

Within 180 days of your bankruptcy petition filing, you’ll need to take a Credit Counseling class that will usually run you between $25 and $50. If you’d rather not pay any court fees (and who would want to pay court fees) you can fill out something called Form 3B. This will essentially allow you to waive the nearly $300 court fee if your income is less than 150 percent of the official poverty line. After you submit the completed petition (with a fee waiver or not) you will then be required to take a debtor education class that must be filed with the court within 45 days of your first scheduled 341(a) meeting of creditors. Debtor education classes usually cost about $50 but can go for as low as $14.95.