Understanding Bankruptcy and Debt Law

A Bankruptcy & Debt attorney represents clients who are unable to repay or are having trouble repaying individual or business debts. This specialized attorney protects clients against debt collection agencies and, if necessary, guides them through the complicated bankruptcy process that applies to their situation and best suits their needs. Bankruptcy and Debt attorneys can help clients in the following areas:

  • Credit Repair
  • Debt Settlement
  • Debt Collection
  • Tax
  • Bankruptcy

Is bankruptcy right for me?

If your financial situation has taken a turn for the worst, you’ve probably considered filing for bankruptcy. If you are wondering, “Is bankruptcy right for me?”, it is a good idea to consult a bankruptcy attorney about your situation. Bankruptcy is a complicated process, and depending upon your situation, it may or may not be in your best interests to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It’s something that should be avoided if possible, but almost 1 million people a year in the U.S. file for bankruptcy to find relief from their financial issues. People who represent themselves pro se (without an attorney) have a significantly lower success rate than those who use bankruptcy attorneys. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this complicated process while helping you protect your assets. Listed below are answers to some basic questions related to filing for bankruptcy.

Do I need to hire an attorney?

You’re already in a tough position financially. Do you really need to spend money that you may not have to hire proper representation? The law does not require you to have a bankruptcy lawyer and many people do choose to file without assistance, but doing so is risky.

On average, 25% of filers choose not hire representation when filing for bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, more than 60% of people who chose to file without representation were successful in discharging their debt, but almost 95% of people who did choose to hire an attorney to represent them filed successful bankruptcies.

Missing a deadline, forgetting to list an asset or incorrectly filing can cause you to have your case dismissed. In most cases, an experienced attorney will make up for any cost you may surrender by filing the case on your own.

How to choose an attorney for your bankruptcy case. Do your research!

doing research to understand is bankruptcy right for me when choosing an attorney for bankruptcy
  1. Ask your friends and family for recommendations.
  2. If you know an attorney who specializes in another type of law, ask them to recommend a colleague that can expertly handle your bankruptcy case.
  3. If your financial situation does not allow you the funds to hire an attorney, but you would still like representation, check with your local non-profit legal service organizations.
  4. If you are employed, check with your Human Resources department to find out if they offer a group legal plan that is available to you.
  5. Check your state’s bar association website to ensure that they are certified to handle your bankruptcy case.
  6. Visit firmdoor.com to find the best local bankruptcy attorneys in your area. Compare attorneys near you to select the firm that best fit your case and situation. Look for firms that handle bankruptcy cases as their primary practice area. This will ensure that you select an attorney that has experience in representing cases like yours.

Choose a bankruptcy lawyer that will allow you to meet with him or her for a free initial consultation to find out if your needs can be met and to be sure that they are the best choice to handle your filing. Make sure that the attorney you choose is up-to-date on all bankruptcy code changes and, most importantly, that you are comfortable with allowing this person to help you through a very difficult and emotional period in your life.

Be prepared to meet with a few bankruptcy firms to make sure that you are choosing your representation wisely.

What you should expect when hiring a bankruptcy attorney?

Once you select an attorney to assist you with your bankruptcy, you will sign a retainer agreement, in which your attorney will outline the scope of the services they will provide while managing your case.

You should expect competent legal advice for your bankruptcy. This should include a decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your attorney will be able to explain the benefits of each and help you decide which filing best fits your situation. Each of these choices will include risks that should be thoroughly explained to you at the start of the process. At this time, they should also explain what you can do to make the filing process quicker and easier, such as having your financial records, previous legal records and any additional documents collected and organized for your attorney.

Gathering facts and records for your case will help you navigate difficult situations that may arise during your case. Be sure to ask them if they will be attending your court dates with you. If they will not be with you, make sure that the attorney attending your court appearance will be briefed on your case and will serve as a strong representation of your primary attorney.

Your attorney should keep you updated on all information and changes that occur during the length of your bankruptcy case. This may include communication between your attorney and any creditors to clear up any issues that may turn up as the case goes on.

get bankruptcy dismissal otherwise you might have to go to creditors meeting

Don’t delay!

Your attorney should be able to clearly explain when all forms and documents must be submitted to the court. If you don’t clearly understand when these documents must be presented or they allow you to miss these deadlines, there can be delays in your case or other types of complications.

You will be required, after you file for bankruptcy, to attend a mandatory meeting called a “Meeting of Creditors”. There are cases where your attorney may instruct you not to attend, but they will attend on your behalf. They should also inform you of any situation where you may be required to attend additional hearings. They will make sure that you clearly understand the importance of these hearings and when you should be prepared to attend.

How much will my bankruptcy cost?

If you case will result in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney fees will depend on the complexity of your case. If you’re filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is possible that your bankruptcy court will have guidelines for what your attorney should be charging. Be careful not to hire an attorney to file your bankruptcy solely based on their firm charging you the lowest fee. They may not have enough experience or be able to provide you with enough service to handle your case correctly.

This process takes about two to three months to complete. With this type of bankruptcy, you will sell your property and belongings to pay your debts off.
This type is much lengthier than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a three to five year process. You will pay a portion of your debts under a court-supervised repayment plan. In this case, it is important to stay on top of your payments.
Depending on which type of bankruptcy you file, the process will take anywhere from two or three months (Chapter 7) to three to five years (Chapter 13).
Currently, each type has a different filing fee. To file a Chapter 7 case, it is $306. To file a Chapter 13 case, it costs $281. If your income is below a specified amount, the court may waive the fee for a Chapter 7 case. Your attorneys fees are in addition to the filing fees. Without legal representation, you risk a decreased chance of winning your case.
If your bankruptcy case is dismissed without prejudice, which usually occurs as a result of a filing error, you can correct the mistake(s) and refile right away. However, if you your case is dismissed with prejudice, then you cannot refile for bankruptcy for a specific period of time, and your debts will not be discharged. If you have questions about bankruptcy dismissal, contact your bankruptcy attorney or find one to represent you.