Bankruptcy isn’t a situation most people want to find themselves in, but sometimes it’s the first step to getting their lives back in order. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you are facing a personal bankruptcy, you aren’t alone: around one in 70 households in the United States experiences a bankruptcy, or over one million each year, and approximately 62% of all of those bankruptcies can be traced to debt from illness or medical bills. In short, it’s a lot more common than you might think, so having an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney is key in getting back on track.
Good bankruptcy attorneys won’t simply tell you how to file for bankruptcy. They will also take the time to walk you through the process, so you know what to expect every step of the way. Here are just a few of the things you should expect from good bankruptcy attorneys as they work with you before, during, and after your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
Before a Bankruptcy
Above all, your attorney should be able to let you know ahead of time what you may be getting yourself into. A large portion of that has to do with how you file for bankruptcy, and an attorney should be able to let you know about difference between Chapter 7 and 13 filing. Chapter 7 is a liquidation, meaning that you are unable to pay back your creditors and must relinquish any unsecured assets. Chapter 13, however, establishes a payment plan for any unsecured debt under $383,175 or secured debt of no more than $1,149,525. This type of filing typically will take approximately three to five years to complete paying back, depending on how much you are able to afford.
During a Bankruptcy
Once you go to file for bankruptcy, your attorney should provide you with accurate information at every stage of your filing. A Chapter 7 filing costs just $306, for example, so you shouldn’t see any additional fees for the filing itself. Your lawyer should also let you know approximately how long filing and completing a bankruptcy may take. While Chapter 7 is the “quick” form of bankruptcy, only taking around six months, Chapter 13 can take several years to complete as you pay back your debt.
After a Bankruptcy
What separates the good bankruptcy attorneys from the bad is how they will treat you once your filing is complete. Good bankruptcy lawyers should also have a plan in place to help you rebuild your credit and finances within as short of a period of time as possible. Doing so will ensure that you get back on track, despite the fact that your bankruptcy will appear on your credit report (especially after Chapter 7 filings). No matter how you’ve filed, your attorney should be able to check in to make sure your financial difficulties haven’t returned after you’ve successfully filed for bankruptcy.
Have more questions about bankruptcy? Leave a comment below, and don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Refernce materials.