The Process of Filing for Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

The hardest part of filing for bankruptcy is making the initial decision to do so. Once you have decided that a bankruptcy can help your financial situation, gathering the necessary paperwork and discussing your options with our office will not be difficult. We will answer any question you may have and walk you through the process, taking good care of your finances along the way.

The following information listed on this page will be done at your initial free consultation with Attorney Oberhauser.

The Median Income Level and the Means Test

Before you file for bankruptcy our office will determine which Chapter is right for you. To do this, we will examine your income level to see if it falls under the Massachusetts median income level. If you exceed the income level you still may qualify. The means test, which was instituted under the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, determines if those who have income levels higher than average for the state they live in still qualify for bankruptcy. It is a series of mathematical calculations that uses a debtor’s financial information to see if they meet the requirements.

Preparing Your Petition

Our firm will need information about your finances prior to filing. This will help us determine if you pass the means test and if filing for bankruptcy is the best option for you. You will need to bring in the following to your free consultation appointment at our office:

  • Our bankruptcy questionnaire (download in pdf format)
  • Last six months of pay stubs
  • The last filed tax return
  • A complete list of creditors

In addition to these documents we may need to see additional information in order to lift a garnishment, stop a foreclosure, and halt creditor harassment. These documents may include:

  • A copy of a judgment or garnishments papers served
  • Contact information for your place of work
  • Details on your home loan and/or liens against the home
  • Information on all bank accounts
  • Information on secured loans (vehicle, second home, mobile home, etc)

For a complete list of documents you may need, please read additional documents required to file your bankruptcy petition.

Once our office has all the information and the right documents, we will begin to prepare your petition. A petition is a set of documents that is submitted to the Bankruptcy Court and to creditors clearly outlining your need for bankruptcy. It can be anywhere from 45-60 pages depending on your specific financial information. After your petition is prepared the following steps will take place in your bankruptcy process: