Once you've made the decision to declare personal bankruptcy, the legal process begins. There are documents, filing dates, fees, procedures and court dates. There are things you must do, and other things you CANNOT do without breaking the law.
A good personal bankruptcy lawyer can help you through this process. Choose carefully. You need someone you can trust and like. After all, you will be spending a lot of time with this person.
Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer
Some lawyers handle a lot of different kinds of cases, and others specialize in bankruptcy. A lawyer who deals with complex bankruptcy law on a regular basis will be more up to date with current rules. If you know a lawyer, ask him or her for a referral to someone who specifically practices bankruptcy law. Lawyers.com also provides a list of practicing bankruptcy attorneys in your area.
Personal Bankruptcy Information
There are two kinds of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 erases many of your debts. Chapter 13 reorganizes your debts. It is designed for those who have some income left over after paying regular bills each month. Chapter 13 requires you to repay your debts a little bit at a time over three to five years, according to a court-supervised repayment plan. A bankruptcy lawyer can explain the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings - and what those differences mean to your future.
Specialization in Either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Filings
When interviewing attorneys to represent you in your bankruptcy, ask them if they file more Chapter 7s or more Chapter 13s - and choose appropriately. A lawyer who does mostly Chapter 7s can calculate your income to see if you’re eligible. A lawyer who does mostly Chapter 13s might not be as familiar with the Chapter 7 income calculation process. Timing is also important when you’re qualifying to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
The bankruptcy court looks at your average income during the three months before you file. A higher-than-normal income during this time might make a difference. An example would be if you received a one-time bonus at work. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you make sure you try to qualify at the right time.
How to Pay Your Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy attorneys usually work on a flat fee arrangement - one price covers the whole process from start to finish. Often, they want you to pay ahead of time. If you don't have that much cash on hand - and if you're filing for bankruptcy, you might not – ask if the lawyer will let you pay in installments.
A Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding personal bankruptcy is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a bankruptcy lawyer.