What is Bankruptcy?

Congress enacted the bankruptcy code (found in Title 11 of the United States Code) for the sole purpose of giving debt relief to individuals and businesses.  Recognizing that many people experience severe financial difficulties at least once in their lives, whether due to job loss, high medical bills, divorce, or other unforeseen hardship, Congress understood that people sometimes need a fresh start when they simply cannot repay their creditors.


How do I know if I qualify?

Even after the “new” bankruptcy law was enacted in 2005, the proper question is not “do I qualify?”  The proper question is “do I need to file?”  For those individuals who no longer qualify for a chapter 7 filing, chapter 13 is almost always still an option.  The question of which bankruptcy chapter is right for you, of course, depends on many factors specific to your case and can only be answered after a full, free consultation.


Is bankruptcy right for me?

Bankruptcy is not right for everyone and should be your last resort.  I can help you assess whether or not you have reached your last resort.  I will only recommend bankruptcy as an option for you if it will address the particular financial issues you are facing.


 What advice can a bankruptcy attorney give me?

At the conclusion of your initial free consultation, I will give you candid advice on the following:

  1. Whether or not you should file bankruptcy.  If bankruptcy is not the solution for you, I will not advise you to file if it will not alleviate your financial problems or if your financial problems can be remedied outside of bankruptcy.

  2. How to plan, if necessary, for the bankruptcy filing.

  3. The cost to file bankruptcy.

  4. The pros and cons of filing bankruptcy.

  5. Outline the bankruptcy process.

  6. What can be done to rebuild your credit after you file bankruptcy.


Is my first consultation free?


Yes. I will meet with you in person during your first consultation and it’s free.  After meeting with me, you may decide to file, wait, or find another attorney with whom you are more comfortable.  You will not be pressured to file or even to use me as your attorney.



What is the cost of Bankruptcy?


The cost to file bankruptcy depends on many factors: which chapter is filed (chapter 7 or chapter 13), the type and number of creditors, the type and amount of non-exempt (if any non-exempt assets), the existence of any lawsuits pending against you, etc. Therefore, we cannot quote you a fee until after the initial consultation. It would be quite simple for our firm, like many others, to have a “one price” policy whereby we quote and charge everyone the same price to file bankruptcy. However, we believe most people do not have complex financial issues. In these situations, we are able to lower our fee to make the filing of a bankruptcy more affordable to more people.



What do I need to bring to my first consultation?


Very little. The objective of the first free consultation is to educate and inform you of all your bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options, answer all of your questions, and to gather enough information about your financial situation we can give you candid advice about your options. Therefore, the only thing we really need at your first free initial consultation is YOU. We simply need the “big picture.” We need to ask you a lot of questions. While not necessary at your first free initial consultation, it will be helpful if you can bring some of your most recent pay stubs and a list of your creditors with the approximate amount owed.



Will creditors still be able to harass me?


No. One of the great benefits of filing bankruptcy is, as of the date your bankruptcy is filed, all of your creditors are prohibited from calling you, writing you letters, or taking any further collection activity against you. This means your creditors will no longer be able to call you at home or at work or at all hours of the day and night, they won’t be able to send you nasty collection letters, and they won’t be able to file a lawsuit against you.



Can I pay some creditors if I want to?


Sometimes, depending on the amount of the debt. However, the question then becomes, “Why do you want to?” Some clients want to re-pay some creditors for the following reasons: the creditor may be a family member, the debt may be a small amount, or you may want to continue using the services of the creditor after you file bankruptcy. If you want to continue paying a creditor (i.e., a credit card) even after you file bankruptcy, please be aware that the creditor will most likely terminate your privileges after you file bankruptcy. While there may be some legitimate reason to repay some creditors, in most cases it is not in your best interest to do so.



Does my spouse have to file with me?


No. However, it may be in your spouse’s best interest to do so.  I will advise you during your free initial consultation whether or not it is in your and your spouse’s best interest to exclude your spouse from your bankruptcy fling. It will be entirely your spouse’s decision as to whether or not he or she files bankruptcy with you.



Will filing bankruptcy hurt my credit?


Not usually. This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get and it is a very good question. Our response to this question is always, “How is your credit now?” If you have good credit and you are current with your debt obligations, then, yes filing bankruptcy will most likely hurt your credit. But if you are considering filing bankruptcy, then you are probably in a situation where your credit is about to go bad anyway. However, if you already have bad credit and are behind on payments to creditors then I do not believe filing bankruptcy will hurt your credit. In my opinion, there are two types of credit. Good credit and bad credit. If your credit is already bad, can you make it more bad? Generally speaking, the answer is no. However, the true answer to this question can only be given after you meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Please contact me today to schedule an appointment.