I am recently divorced. What name should I list on my bankruptcy petition?

All of them.

When you file bankruptcy, the court sends a notice to all of your creditors with your bankruptcy case number.  To identify you, we list your social security number or ITIN, which are very clear indicators of who you are.  That being said, we want all of your creditors to be sure that they know you’ve filed bankruptcy.  This means that we try to go for overkill.

So, we put your name on the bankruptcy petition, like Amanda Smith.  Form 1 of the bankruptcy petition also has a space for AKA (also known as).  So, if you’re divorced, I also put Amanda Brown.  If you’re divorced twice, Amanda Jensen.  What if your friends call you Mandy?  Then I list Mandy Smith too, just to be sure.

It doesn’t hurt to list every aka you have, and it definitely helps.

Yesterday at a 341 meeting of creditors, my client’s social security card didn’t match any of the names we’d listed on Form 1, so the chapter 7 trustee asked us to file an amendment with yet another aka.  It is better to be safe than sorry, so we try to list them all.

That being said:  if you are in the witness protection program, we’ll just use your new name and social security number the Justice Department or FBI or CIA gave you.  Old creditors from a previous life as an accountant for the mob are probably the least of your worries.