The internet is a wonderful thing. It makes available to everyone the research resources that only 2 decades ago were not really available to people who didn’t happen to attend law school. Most people approaching bankruptcy realize that they should have professional help with the process. But, for some, the intersection of the internet and their own desperation spells a disastrous result. The bottom line is, do not be too cleaver as you approach bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy code provides the honest debtor with a fresh start and contains numerous provisions that essentially draw the line between the honest debtor who deserves that fresh start and the manipulative debtor who will be judged as trying to cheat their creditors. Moreover, the current code was enacted in 1978. There are nearly 37 years of accumulated court decisions that have created common law interpretations of the code. Taken together this material takes up a full size room in printed form.
There are steps that can and should be taken prior to filings that are legal, ethical, and considered honest. But these steps must be taken carefully and transparently. So, having guidance when entering the bankruptcy system is key to success.