With any legal process it is typically best to hire an attorney to help with the complex rules that our laws contain. The same goes for filing bankruptcy; having a bankruptcy lawyer on your side may be in your best interest. However, you should be prepare yourself with tools that ensure that your lawyer is the best bankruptcy lawyer for you. There are dozens of chapter 7 bankruptcy rules as well as very different chapter 13 bankruptcy rules. Here are 5 things that your bankruptcy attorney should not say:
- “Which Chapter do you want to file?” This question is not typically asked by bankruptcy attorneys because a lot more goes into choosing a chapter of bankruptcy. In most cases the chapter of bankruptcy that you file will depend on your household income, the type of debt that you have, and if you have ever gone bankrupt before.
- “I can get rid of all your debt.”
Yes, going bankrupt plays a part in erasing debt, but in most cases it is difficult to say that all of your debt will be eliminated. The reason is because there are certain types of debt that the bankruptcy law does not allow to be erased such as: student loans, child support, alimony, or debt owed to the government.
- “Don’t worry about any other civil court hearings.”
Hearing any attorney say this would be a red flag, but especially from a bankruptcy attorney. If you are receiving summons to go to a court hearing because one of your creditors is suing you it should not go unattended. Court summons are very important, no matter who they come from.
- “Don’t worry about any extra overtime that you are working.”
Filing bankruptcy depends on your income so it is typical for a bankruptcy attorney to ask you to notify him/her if your income drastically changes in one direction or the other. A drastic change of income could mean the difference between filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- “I’ll do your bankruptcy for no money down.”
Just like with any legal process, going bankrupt costs money. In most cases attorneys require a “retainer” fee to be paid at the time you sign the contract for service and then a larger amount of attorneys fees to be paid before the case is filed. There are attorneys that do “pro bono” work that is free of charge, but in most cases bankruptcy doesn’t fall into that category.
Going bankrupt is a process that many attorneys specialize in and know very well, however there are just as many attorneys, if not more, that know very little about the practice of bankruptcy. Take your time finding the best bankruptcy attorney for your situation and don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the entire filing process. If you hear one of the phrases listed above, don’t panic; just try to get a second opinion from another bankruptcy lawyer, friends or family that have filed, or even your local bar association.