For many bankruptcy cases, bankruptcy attorneys are not required. The bankruptcy petition can be filled out on your own without the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer. However, some bankruptcy forms require additional paperwork to be attached, so an attorney should always be consulted before filing bankruptcy.
Legal advice is often needed to understand bankruptcy law
People considering bankruptcy should always consult with bankruptcy attorneys. Bankruptcy laws are constantly changing, and bankruptcy lawyers are frequently needed to argue over the legal interpretation of the bankruptcy code. It is difficult enough to keep up with all of these changes without an attorney, so hiring a bankruptcy lawyer will save you time and money in the long run.
Many bankruptcy attorneys offer a free evaluation of your legal issues and whether you may have to pay creditors. The bankruptcy process can be very confusing for people that do not know bankruptcy law, so speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer before you file is never a bad idea. Simply call the bankruptcy lawyer and ask if they offer free bankruptcy consultations. If they do, see if you can schedule an appointment to discuss what your rights are. You may find debt relief to be a very simple process after your legal consultation.
Clients of our law firm should always feel comfortable asking bankruptcy lawyers questions about their bankruptcy case, no matter how minor it is. Bankruptcy attorneys are required to keep your confidence so asking bankruptcy lawyers questions will not hurt your legal situation in any way.
Is there a difference between a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers specialize in bankruptcy cases that protect your assets, but do require a monthly payment. Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys specialize in bankruptcy cases that only deal with unsecurred debts and may not protect your assets. Although there is no difference between the bankruptcy laws, bankruptcy attorneys are sometimes needed to advise you on which bankruptcy chapter will benefit you most.
There are several factors involved in deciding what bankruptcy chapter should be used.
How do I know if I qualify for Chapter 7?
A bankruptcy lawyer will access several things about your financial situation before they will provide legal advice. The bankruptcy attorney will need to know how much your income is and what type of assets you have including real estate holdings before they can determine which type of consumer bankruptcy chapter would be best for you. Most bankruptcy attorneys evaluate whether you should file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 based upon several factors and a review of your legal documents.
You may qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if:
- Your income does not exceed the median income of your state
- You do not own any non-exempt assets
- You have not committed bankruptcy fraud
- You are not in active foreclosure
- You are not in default of your car loan where debt collectors have repossessed your vehicle
When Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief is the better option:
A qualified attorney may provide the legal advice to get debt relief through a Chapter 13 payment plan when:
- Your car loans are behind
- Your mortgage payments are in arrears
- Your income exceeds the means test (you earn more money than the average person in your state)
- You have no equity in your home, but liens against it
- You have back taxes that can be resolved by filing bankruptcy
Your bankruptcy attorney or law firm will need to know the answers to these questions and review your financial documentation before they can give you bankruptcy advice.
You should speak with bankruptcy attorneys about your bankruptcy decision even if it is not time for bankruptcy yet. Bankruptcy lawyers are skilled at determining which bankruptcy chapter can benefit you the most, but they cannot give you legal advice
When you might consider filing bankruptcy without an attorney
When you file for consumer bankruptcy without legal representation, you file bankruptcy pro se. You may be able to go to your local bankruptcy court and seek legal aid provided by volunteer bankruptcy lawyers if they offer legal resources to the public. This is one way you can file bankruptcy without legal representation, but you will be on your own to navigate the legal system. A good bankruptcy attorney is generally worth the money, as they understand the local rules, which local bankruptcy forms you will need to fill out and, ultimately can save you a great deal of money especially in a more complex Chapter 13 case.
How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer?
If you are trying to save money by filing bankruptcy without a lawyer you will still need to pay the bankruptcy filing fee. You will also need to pay the required credit counseling fees. You will, however, save on attorney’s fees.
In addition to the administrative costs and court fees discussed above, if you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, your repayment plan will need to be approved by the court. This plan must benefit all of your creditors. That means that the bankruptcy judge will look at your proposed repayment plan and decide whether it is a reasonable way to repay your debts. All bankruptcy lawyers who file bankruptcy petitions must also include a fee for bankruptcy court usage, for the court to allow. With this in mind, if you file bankruptcy without and bankruptcy attorney, you could be saving hundreds of dollars only to incur thousands more over time. For this reason alone bankruptcy filings are often less expensive with the help of an experienced attorney.
What bankruptcy attorneys can offer:
Bankruptcy attorneys in Greenbelt offer a wide range of bankruptcy services to individuals and businesses that are filing bankruptcy or have significant federal debt issues. The bankruptcy lawyers at our firm have been helping consumers for well over 20 years. If you need a bankruptcy attorney, please call an experienced attorney and schedule an initial consultation today.
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