With bankruptcy, as with many processes, the best way to succeed is to understand what could derail it and then avoid those factors as much as possible. A bankruptcy attorney will tell you to be wary of these four issues that could damage your case.
Bankruptcy tends to be documentation-heavy. You need to provide paperwork that attests to your current financial situation. Likewise, you'll want to submit at least the last two years of your tax filings. Particularly if your financial situation has changed quickly, such as due to a layoff, you need to be able to document the change. Bankruptcy law also requires you to list all of your creditors and which debts they hold.
Messing up any part of the documentation could force the judge to reject your petition, and then you'll have to start from the beginning. Also, an incomplete filing could expose you to continued collection efforts by whichever creditors went unlisted in the petition.
Ineligible Bankruptcy Type
When you speak with a bankruptcy lawyer, they'll help you figure out which type of bankruptcy suits your situation. The two types of bankruptcy are liquidation and restructuring. Liquidating means the court sells your non-exempt assets to satisfy as much of the unpaid debt load as possible. Restructuring involves paying a reduced amount based on a payment plan. You have to be eligible for a particular type of bankruptcy to pursue it.
Most cases are fairly clear-cut, especially if you have the benefit of counsel. However, there may be some edge cases that sit on the border between liquidation and restructuring.
Generally, it's best to avoid taking on new debts unnecessarily before and while pursuing bankruptcy. Especially if the new debts are going into the bankruptcy petition, the court may frown upon this decision. A judge could reject the case entirely if they believe the actions were deliberate or reckless.
Bankruptcy law discourages multiple filings unless there's a compelling reason for them. There are credible reasons to file more than one case in a short period, but you should only do this with the support of a bankruptcy lawyer. For example, you might want to discharge a portion of your debts through liquidation and restructure others. However, that is a complex process and you need to let the judge know what you intend early on in the process. Otherwise, the court will likely interpret the multiple filings in a short span as an abuse of the bankruptcy law system.