Tell the Truth in Bankruptcy Court

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Can I Omit Certain Information on My Bankruptcy Paperwork?

When you first file for bankruptcy, you are required to submit a bundle of paperwork to the Bankruptcy court. Part of this paperwork is a complete list of your income, assets, and expected future windfalls (such as inheritances). While it may be tempting to omit some of this information, it is very important that you are honest when filing your bankruptcy paperwork.

What are the Consequences of Submitting Incomplete or Incorrect Bankruptcy Paperwork?

If the Bankruptcy judge suspects that the information you have provided is not complete, there is a good chance that your case will be dismissed. You may then be barred from re-filing in Bankruptcy court.

Even worse, if the Bankruptcy judge believes that you were dishonest the result may be more detrimental than your current debt crisis. In addition to your case being dismissed, you may be prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud. The punishment for bankruptcy fraud is serious – jail time is a common sentence.

Is it Possible to Recover a Case If the Bankruptcy Papers are Incomplete or Incorrect?

Debtors are allowed to amend their papers in a timely manner if they forget certain information on their paperwork.

In very rare instances, a debtor can recover a case after the case has been dismissed. The requirements can differ between circuits. In the Ninth Circuit, for example, the debtor must prove that he or she omitted information on his or her bankruptcy papers because of an honest mistake. A party who submits paperwork with the intent to deceive the courts will not be permitted to continue the case.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

It is important to hire a bankruptcy lawyer when filing for bankruptcy. Many of your assets may be exempt from being taken by creditors. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help protect your assets, and make the entire bankruptcy process as painless as possible.

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Last Modified: 09-03-2013 02:21 PM PDT

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