What should I bring to meet with a bankruptcy attorney?

Basically, in order to adequately assess your debt problems and prospects for filing bankruptcy, any bankruptcy attorney would need to review the past six months of paystubs, along with as many of your bills as possible. If you are married, then paystubs for both spouses (whether you are intending to file a joint bankruptcy case or not) would be needed.

The reason that the attorney needs to review the paystubs of both spouses is that the current bankruptcy laws have a concept of “household income” that is important for assessing whether someone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you don’t have all of the past six months of paystubs, you should bring at least a few months of paystubs. It is an initial consultation, after all. But for the purposes of filing bankruptcy, your attorney will need proof of income for the past six months. If you have lost or thrown away your paystubs, then ask your payroll department to print out a summary of your income over that time period.

If you don’t have all of your bills and statements, then a credit report will pick up most of the credit card debt. One helpful thing, however, is to save all letters you may have received from debt collection companies or law offices that are representing collectors. If your bankruptcy attorney has copies of those letters, then he or she can add those addresses to the list of creditors submitted to the Court when filing your case.

Finally, it’s helpful to provide your attorney with your past two years of federal income tax returns. Your attorney will need a copy of the actual return. Your W-2 tax form will not be enough. If you have lost or misplaced your tax return, then your attorney can easily obtain a transcript of your tax return from the IRS, which will be sufficient.

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