For most people, filing bankruptcy starts the journey of moving beyond problem debts. However in rare cases, an unexpected debt suddenly arises in the weeks or months after filing bankruptcy. Common examples might be an unanticipated medical expense or liability from an accident.
The date on which the bankruptcy petition is filed is commonly called the petition date. This date has important implications on what is in the bankruptcy estate and the details of creditor's claims, among other things. Many look-back periods concerning pre-bankruptcy activity are keyed to the petition date. In a voluntary bankruptcy, the debtor has control of the petition date and can use this ability to time the bankruptcy most advantageously.