Sometimes circumstances are such that you have to file bankruptcy right away. Perhaps a creditor is threatening to attach your wages or levy your bank account. You may even be facing the imminent foreclosure sale of your home.

The question then becomes, can you file right away? The answer is, in most instances, yes, but I do not recommend it for two reasons.

First, in New Jersey, under the bankruptcy rules, you can file what is called a "bare bones" or "skeletal" petition that contains very little information, as long as you file the remaining "schedules" of information within two weeks.

But, if you fail to file the remaining parts of the petition by the deadline, your case will be dismissed. When that happens, any new filing of bankruptcy will result in an automatic stay that only protects you from creditors for 30 days, unless you can prove changed circumstances to the judge and get the stay extended.

Second, rushing to file could also result in you overlooking a major issue that could make filing a bad idea: maybe your home is worth more than you thought it was, and the trustee would want to sell it. Maybe you fail the means test, and the trustee could claim you filed in bad faith! Find out more!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.