Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is not easy or pleasant, so you may be tempted to try to get it over with as quickly as possible. But before you begin, be aware of what you should not do before you file, helping ensure the process goes more smoothly and has fewer negative consequences on your financial life

1. Do not acquire more debt

The most obvious thing to avoid is acquiring more debt. Using your credit cards within 90 days of filing may cause creditors to accuse you of fraud. They may think you made the charges with no intentions to repay them because you were planning on the court discharging the debt.

2. Do not hide or sell assets

Whether it’s money or property you currently own or will own soon, such as an inheritance, hiding or transferring assets to protect them is not a good idea. The court may deny your bankruptcy altogether and even charge you with criminal activity. It is best to be honest and thorough in the information you provide.

Although selling assets to pay off debt is not unacceptable, it can have unforeseen consequences. If you used the money to pay back any creditors (including family and friends) close to filing, the trustee may view it as a preferential transfer and try to reclaim the money to distribute it equally among creditors.

3. Do not decide to file on your own

Because of your strained financial situation, you might be tempted to file for bankruptcy on your own. You may think this will save you money, but in the long run it will likely cost you more. Bankruptcy law is very complex and dependent on your specific circumstances. If you do not file correctly, you may pay for it later through delays, fees and lost assets. Hiring a qualified bankruptcy attorney now will save you time and money down the road.