If you are struggling with overwhelming debt and unfortunate financial circumstances, it might be time to consider working with bankruptcy lawyers who can help you file the right paperwork for bankruptcy and get a fresh financial start.
What is a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
When you hire bankruptcy lawyers near you, they can help you with issues that have to do with bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney is there to give you legal counsel on the bankruptcy process, to explain whether it might be a good fit for your situation, and to help you go over the right paperwork, when to file, and what happens after you file.
What Does a Bankruptcy Attorney Do?
Knowing how to file your bankruptcy paperwork at a local court begins with a consultation.
During a consultation, bankruptcy lawyers might help you by looking over the type of debt you have. There are two different types of debts: secured and unsecured. Secured debt is that which is tied to an asset - something that a bank or financial institution can take back if you are unable to fulfill your financial duties. Examples include a car loan or mortgage. An example of unsecured debt is a credit card.
Bankruptcy only helps with unsecured debt, so if you have a lot of things like car loans, mortgages, and student loans, a bankruptcy attorney can help you decide whether you would actually benefit from filing for bankruptcy or not.
If you decide to move forward and file for bankruptcy after consulting with bankruptcy attorneys near you, then an attorney can help you determine whether you should file for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, based on your situation. Once you decide, they can help you by gathering all of the necessary documents, putting together the paperwork, and filing everything in bankruptcy court on your behalf.
When to Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Understanding the process of bankruptcy law means speaking with an affordable, personal, local, and top rated law firm about your financial situation. Explaining your debts and other legal situations can help you get answers and explanations about the process of bankruptcies, how your legal matter might be resolved, and what you might have to pay as part of the resolution process.
You should consider hiring a bankruptcy attorney in situations where you have explored all other options for financial resolution, such as debt consolidation, lowering your monthly payments, or even changing the interest rate, but to no avail.
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer should only be done as a last resort after you have tried other financial solutions. The most significant benefit to hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is that they can help you get a solution when there seems to be no other opportunity in sight.
How Do I Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney?
Filing chapter 7 or chapter 13 is made easier by finding a bankruptcy attorney in your area. Knowing how to choose a lawyer for bankruptcy near you starts with finding someone who has handled cases just like yours.
For example: If there is an attorney who specializes in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you don't qualify for that and you are filing chapter 13, you might consider working with an attorney who has more experience filing chapter 13 bankruptcy.
How Much Does the Average Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?
When you hire bankruptcy attorneys near you, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on where you live. The amount of money it costs for a bankruptcy lawyer is based on the type of bankruptcy you file.
For example, if you are filing chapter 7 versus chapter 13, you might have a simple case that doesn't require ongoing paperwork, in which case you might pay only a few thousand dollars in attorney fees. However, if you filed a long-term resolution that takes up to 5 years to resolve, your attorney might be negotiating on your behalf regularly and submitting paperwork and updates throughout the course of the process, which means they charge more.
Some attorneys will charge a flat fee for simple bankruptcy whereas others will charge an hourly fee. Usually if you are filing chapter 7, the attorney will charge a flat fee; if you are filing chapter 13, they will charge an hourly fee.
Do Bankruptcy Attorneys Usually Charge for Consultations?
The best bankruptcy lawyer near you will likely not charge for initial consultations. The consultation is usually a free opportunity for you to question them about what they charge, what the process is like, and why you should work with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a situation where all of your debt is removed. The court erases it all within a few months and you get to start over. However, this is only for people whose situations are very dire with no resolution in sight. It is uncommon for people to qualify if they have any source of income. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan where the court decides on a repayment structure for your unsecured debt, usually only requiring you to pay back a fraction of what you owe, after which the rest of your debt is erased.
How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?
The amount of time it takes to reach a resolution is based on which type of bankruptcy you file. A bankruptcy attorney near you can help you decide whether chapter 7 or chapter 13 is best for your situation. Chapter 7 is often resolved within a few months while chapter 13 can take between 3and 5 years.
Do I Need to Work With a Bankruptcy Attorney to File for Bankruptcy?
Technically no; you can represent yourself, but bankruptcy takes place in a specialized bankruptcy court and the filing process is very specific. If you make even a single mistake, it can result in your case being thrown out with no financial resolution for you. Working with an attorney can help you avoid these mistakes and get the best possible solution.