Sometimes life leads people into financial difficulties that prove almost impossible to overcome. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney – including those who practice at The Law Offices of Ronald I. Chorches – can confirm, even the most fiscally responsible Americans can find themselves in need of significant debt relief through no fault of their own. Declaring bankruptcy is one way to effectively deal with many kinds of debt that may be proving impossible to pay off.
Self-Filing Versus Working with an Attorney
If you don’t earn much income, you may qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although this process is relatively straightforward, it is generally a good idea to work with an attorney to ensure that your case is as successful as it can be. If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you’ll want to explore Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This process is far more complex and requires an attorney’s guidance. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court imposes a payment plan that the individual must follow for 3-5 years to pay back a portion of certain debts. If you are a sole proprietor and you are struggling primarily with business debt, you may be able to file for Chapter 11 instead, which also requires a lawyer’s assistance.
Different rules apply to each type of bankruptcy and various circumstances determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 makes sense. An attorney will be able to explain the rules as they apply to your specific circumstances.
What to Expect
During your first consultation, an attorney will review your options with you and learn about your financial situation. You will also have the chance to ask questions about your options.
Before your consultation, you’ll want to collect information that summarizes your financial circumstances. Make sure to bring:
- Information on all of your creditors and your balance owed to each
- A list of major assets you own and their value
- Letters you have received from creditors up through the date of the appointment
- Income and sources
- Any specific questions you want to address
Your attorney will use this information to advise you on your options. After your consultation, – if you decide to file for bankruptcy – your attorney will file the relevant paperwork with the court and help to ensure that you meet all requirements and deadlines associated with this process. A lawyer can even help you to take advantage of various opportunities designed to help ensure that you never have to file for bankruptcy again.