Filing An Emergency Bankruptcy Petition
Sometimes, you get to file for bankruptcy, or decide whether to file for bankruptcy, on your own schedule. But sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, life creates problems, and there is a reason why you may need to immediately file a bankruptcy.
The Automatic Stay
The reason why an immediate bankruptcy filing can help is because when you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay immediately stops all collection activities against you. Situations where the immediate stay may be not just convenient, but absolutely necessary, include:
- You are in foreclosure and need the stay to delay the foreclosure so you can get caught up with payments, hire an attorney, or negotiate a modification to your home loan
- You are in eviction, and need the stay to help you negotiate with the landlord, or give you time to find other living arrangements
- You are behind on utilities and need to keep them on (which the automatic stay will do)
- You are being sued on a debt, and you do not want to deal with the time and difficulties of a collection lawsuit
Filing Isn’t So Easy
Here is the problem with just filing a bankruptcy—to file for bankruptcy, you need a lot of paperwork. You need to fill out forms and provide documents and information to your attorney that you may not have on hand. It can sometimes take a few days—sometimes weeks—to gather all the information needed to file for bankruptcy.
But the bankruptcy code provides a way that you can file a bankruptcy without all that information and paperwork – you can file with just the minimal amount of paperwork. This “skeleton filing” will still require that you submit all your information, but you have some time after filing to submit it.
By filing just a basic, emergency, skeletal filing, you get the benefit of the automatic stay without having to wait to gather all the needed information.
You do need to take a required online credit counseling class, but most debtors can do this in less than a day, and get the certificate of completion to their attorneys for the emergency filing.
What Gets Filed and When
You will need a list of your creditors (called a creditor matrix), Social Security disclosure, and the petition. Your bankruptcy attorney can do this for you. Once you file this information, all collection activity against you stops. Your bankruptcy attorney will also assist in informing creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy, to avoid anything from happening, such as eviction or utility shutoffs.
You will then have 14 days to submit the rest of your information, and your bankruptcy will proceed as normal—you are not harmed or prejudiced in any way because you filed an emergency petition.
If you are filing for Chapter 13, you will also have to make your first payment plan 30 days after the emergency filing.