If you intend to file for bankruptcy, there are a few things that you should do—or are required to do—before you are able to file. Keep reading to learn a few dos and don'ts that you should keep in mind as you consider moving forward with the bankruptcy process.

Do Sign Up for Credit Counseling

Before you can file for bankruptcy, you are required to enroll in and complete a credit counseling course. In some states, this course may not have to be taken in person, which means you can take it online or even over the telephone.

Do Start to Get Your Documentation Together

From your bank statements and proof of income to any lawsuits that have been filed against you, you will need to start gathering any kind of financial information and compile it into a folder to take to the lawyer's office with you. Your lawyer may request copies of all of your bills, tax stubs, and collection letters.

Do Refer Any Collection Calls to Your Lawyer

As soon as you have retained an attorney, make sure that any collection calls that come in are referred to him or her. While you can speak to your creditors if you wish, keep in mind that you hired an attorney for a reason. The one exception to all of this is if your lawyer is not involved in the process of a loan modification.

Don't Repay Debts to Friends or Family

If you owe your friends or family members money, do not pay it back to them without first consulting your lawyer. If you have already repaid debts to them in the previous year, make sure to inform your attorney.

Don't Withdraw from Your Retirement Fund

In the same sense, you should also not withdraw from your retirement fund, especially if it is to repay a debt. More often than not, this is a bad idea. Make sure to speak to your attorney before making a call like this.

Don't Transfer Assets

You may assume that transferring assets out of your name and into someone else's name is a good idea because it will protect the assets during the bankruptcy process, but it is important to speak to your attorney first. There are specific requirements that need to be met in order to do this to ensure that your friends and family aren't negatively impacted in the end.

For more information about filing for bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area.