Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy in New York State

No one wants to file for bankruptcy. No one wants to publicly declare financial failure, to throw up hands and say that debt repayment is impossible. However, sometimes bankruptcy is absolutely necessary. Filing for bankruptcy in the state of New York is a highly structured process. Let's take a look at some of the essential actions that must take place when declaring bankruptcy.

Debt Counseling

Per New York law, you must have attended debt counseling classes within 6 months of declaring bankruptcy. You must demonstrate that you have taken steps toward ameliorating the financial behaviors that have gotten you to the point of insolvency.

Get an Attorney on Your Side

Before doing anything else, it's absolutely vital to consult with a seasoned bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy in New York can be complex, especially in the wake of massive amounts of bankruptcies following the tough economic times of the last decade.

Decide Which Type of Bankruptcy You Will File

There are three types of bankruptcy in the United States (at least only three that most people need to know about: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most drastic; most of the individual's property will be taken away in order to ensure future solvency. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed for debt restructuring, and often results in a payoff plan, often within the context of a business or self-employed individual. Chapter 13 is also designed around debt restructuring, often for individuals who are not business owners.

Complete the Means Test

The means test is a standard Federal test designed to assess debt and income. This is one area in which your lawyer may prove very handy. This test is often superbly complex and difficult: The individual filing for bankruptcy is asked to give an exhaustive picture of debt, assets, income, etc. If anything is left out, then the bankruptcy may not move forward.

File for Bankruptcy

With the above steps complete, you or your lawyer may officially file for bankruptcy within your district.

Attend a 341 Meeting

The 341 Meeting is designed to bring you face-to-face with your debtors, painting a picture of your debts to your debtors. Often this meeting is a pure formality, however.


From this point on, you will deal with New York bankruptcy courts. Here, even more so than the steps listed above, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will prove extremely valuable.

If you feel you may have to declare bankruptcy in the state of New York, call the Law Offices of Neil E. Weissman, your expert local bankruptcy lawyer, today.

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