How to Defend Against an Involuntary Bankruptcy Petition

Written by ehow legal editor
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If a person or business is in deep debt with creditors, bankruptcy can be filed against that individual or company. Sometimes, these charges are justified. In other cases, it is necessary to defend against involuntary bankruptcy petitions to avoid selling or giving up assets.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Records of paychecks and monthly bills

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Hire a bankruptcy lawyer to help defend you the day that you hear about the petition. If bankruptcy is being filed against your business, talk to your accountant about potential lawyers. Call your state's bar association for help finding someone to defend a personal case.

  2. 2

    Gather up any supporting documents that prove the amount you owe, your net income and your expenses. If possible, try to break down your finances by month, since that's the schedule many bankruptcy courts follow. Be sure that you have bank statements that prove your past payments to your creditors.

  3. 3

    File any complaints against your creditor within 20 days of receiving an involuntary bankruptcy petition. Sending in at least one objection will guarantee that your case goes to court.

  4. 4

    Work with your lawyer to present your finances in a way that makes them appear to be getting better. For example, if you can show that your business is growing in profit, despite some earlier troubles, then you may be able to convince the court that bankruptcy isn't justified. Proving that your debt is less than $10,000 can also defeat an involuntary petition in most states.

  5. 5

    Work for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if your other arguments don't work. Prove that you are making enough money to pay your rent and cover your living expenses, and the court may use this section of the bankruptcy code to allow you to refinance your debt.

  6. 6

    Show that the creditor is filing against you in order to gain favor over your other creditors. The court can dismiss the charges against you if it determines that the bankruptcy would pay out to a select few of your lenders rather than distributing assets evenly amongst them.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're facing serious financial problems, take the initiative to file for bankruptcy quickly because your creditors will file against you if they detect any issues. Filing yourself is often much more favorable than having involuntary charges pressed on you.
  • If you cannot prove your income and costs of living, you may be forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which could require you to sell many of your assets.

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