What Can Delay a Bankruptcy Filing?

You have discussed filing bankruptcy with your attorney, and it seems like the right course of action. You're ready to go.

But, sometimes you need to wait...

Several issues can make it preferable, or even necessary, to wait before filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Faster and sooner is not always better.

The first issue may involve securing the proper venue to file. You can only file in a location where you have lived for a majority of the past 180 days. So, if you have not lived in Western Pennsylvania for the past 91 days, you cannot file here in Pennsylvania. Oftentimes, it is worth waiting, as filing in your new home will be much more convenient than commuting to your old state. But, it is a requirement that is absolute.

It may also be advisable to wait to file for purposes of exemption planning. The Court will look back at your domicile (where you lived) for a period of 180 days starting two years back from the date of filing. Sound confusing? It is! But, it will be discussed in another post, and your bankruptcy attorney can walk you through it. The relevant point for right now is that sometimes it is advisable to wait before filing to change the available exemptions. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you with this "exemption planning" to maximize the protection of your property.

Means test planning will likewise play a role in the timing of a bankruptcy filing. The means test looks at your income for the six months before filing. Depending on your employment history, the means test calculation may require a delayed (or expedited) filing. The means test is also discussed in greater detail elsewhere on the website.

A previous bankruptcy discharge can delay a new filing, as well. This will most often be the case when the debtor has previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These debtors will not be eligible to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 8 years since the previous Chapter 7 was filed. Speak with your bankruptcy attorney about strategies for dealing with creditors during this time. 

Finally, making payments to your bankruptcy attorney for legal fees and filing fees may delay your case from being filing. I am always flexible in taking payments and devising payment plans for my clients. However, bankruptcy attorneys will not file a case before being paid in full, otherwise their fees will be discharged with the other debts. But, my office will provide clients with full and professional service during the duration of the payment plan. I will have the petition ready to file at the moment of the final payment.

The timing of bankruptcy is all-important. Contact us to discuss the issue with an experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney.