September 28, 2023

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3 Reasons to Consult With a Lawyer Before Filing for Bankruptcy

3 Reasons to Consult With a Lawyer Before Filing for Bankruptcy

Are you considering bankruptcy as an option to resolve a serious financial situation? More than 380,000 individuals and businesses did just that in 2022, according to the United States Courts, and the potential upside is tremendous: a fresh financial start. However, bankruptcy also comes with a significant, though temporary, impact on credit standing, and bankruptcy will remain on a credit report for 7 or 10 years. It is one of the most important decisions a person can make, and should not be made without consulting a bankruptcy lawyer.

Take a look at three extremely important reasons to have an in-depth consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer before actually filing in federal bankruptcy court.

1. Check Your Specifics and Situation

Confirming with an expert that bankruptcy protection is the best option in your unique personal situation. When is it time to file for bankruptcy? Many financial experts say to watch for several signs including having more than $10,000 in debt and falling behind on mortgage payments. A bankruptcy lawyer can examine your financial situation and let you know if bankruptcy is in your best interests.

2. The Professional Knowledge

A bankruptcy lawyer has the expertise to understand the pros and cons of bankruptcy, including what types of debt can and cannot be discharged. Did you know that bankruptcy cannot erase all the different types of debt a person may have? Understanding what can be discharged – and what can’t – is absolutely essential to making an informed decision to file for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer can determine if the bulk of the debt you have can be erased. For example, child support and spousal support are two examples of debt that cannot be wiped away in bankruptcy.

3. Legal Expertise

A bankruptcy lawyer understands the nuances of the different bankruptcy options – particularly Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Those are the most common options used by consumers. A bankruptcy lawyer can help to make some sense out of a very complicated area of the law. With intimate knowledge of the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, including the qualifications needed for both options as well as the pros and cons, a bankruptcy lawyer can recommend which filing option is best for you.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the length of the bankruptcy case. A Chapter 7 filing takes about four to six months, on average. A Chapter 13 repayment plan is either three or five years in length. Making the right choice between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is what a bankruptcy lawyer does with virtually every client. It’s possible to move ahead with a bankruptcy filing without a lawyer, but why risk making a mistake that could affect your financial situation for years? For example, Chapter 13 is often chosen as a way to protect property, such as a home, from foreclosure. The repayment plan at the heart of a Chapter 13 filing can include any delinquencies and is often acceptable to creditors.

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Don’t guess when it comes to filing for bankruptcy. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a bankruptcy lawyer and regain control over your finances. A timely meeting with the lawyer can save the day.