Everyone experiences financial problems at one point or another in their lives but realizing that bankruptcy is inevitable transcends all feelings associated with financial stress. Attempting to file bankruptcy pro se, or on your own, can make the ordeal even more daunting. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can significantly decrease your level of anxiety and guide you through the bankruptcy process, as well as represent you during any court proceedings.
While you are looking for a good fit for your legal representation, these are a few questions you should ask during your search:
1. How many years have you represented bankruptcy clients? Have you experienced similar cases?A law firm that has handled bankruptcy cases does not equate a law firm that practices bankruptcy law exclusively. If you want the best possible outcome for your case, you should focus on finding an attorney who knows the bankruptcy codes like the back of their hand.
Do not worry about seeming rude when you ask prospective lawyers about their experience. Believe it or not, this question is asked often. Most successful and skilled attorneys are more than happy to boast about their experience with past clients, as well as how many cases they have successfully handled. A good question to ask is: How many bankruptcy cases do you typically handle each month?
2. Which type of bankruptcy should I file?
Personal bankruptcy offers two potential options - Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, the court liquidates your nonexempt property and pays your creditors with the proceeds. In Chapter 13, the court essentially allows you to reorganize your debts. You come up with a repayment plan that is affordable to pay to your creditors on a monthly basis according to your income.
If you provide a general overview of your financial situation, including your debts, assets, income, and any property you would like to keep, the attorney should be able to tell you which chapter of bankruptcy would be best for your circumstances.
3. Will you appear in court with me?
There is nothing more stressful than going to court by yourself - for any reason, and not all attorneys will show up to court for bankruptcy hearings or meetings. They might send another attorney in their place, as that is common practice when scheduling conflicts arise. By asking ahead of time, you will know which attorney will be there by your side through the entire bankruptcy proceeding and which ones will not.
4. How much will my entire bankruptcy cost me?
First, there are bankruptcy filing fees. Then, you have to worry about what your attorney is going to charge you, and every attorney will charge a bit differently. Typically, newer bankruptcy attorneys will be more affordable, while attorneys from high profile law firms will be more expensive.
There is nothing wrong with asking the attorneys you are most interested in hiring for your bankruptcy for an estimate. The estimate your attorney provides you should include the bankruptcy filing fees, administration and court expenses, and charges for the attorney’s services.
5. Do I have options other than bankruptcy?
After consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, they should be able to provide you with possible alternatives to bankruptcy, if any are available. A reputable attorney will not advise you to file for bankruptcy if there are better alternatives.
Are You Considering Filing For Bankruptcy?
If you feel bankruptcy is the best option for your financial situation you need to speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.348.2616 to schedule your free consultation.