Struggling With Debt in Johnson County, KS? You May Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer
Experience Saves You Money
Many people do file bankruptcy on their own without the benefit of an attorney, but often, their bankruptcies are refused or arranged so that they don't really help people start over with their finances. Bankruptcies can be denied for numerous reasons, but if you have an experienced lawyer at your side, the odds of your bankruptcy succeeding go up significantly. This is because they know how to avoid common mistakes that inexperienced filers don't.In fact, you may not even know that there are several types of bankruptcies, and if you choose the wrong one, you may have to start all over by refiling for the correct type. For instance, if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can have all of your debt discharged, but will have to provide your liquid assets to pay off what you can. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you're essentially just restructuring your debt.
Advice May Help You Avoid Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy may not be your only option to get yourself back on solid financial ground. A bankruptcy attorney can provide you options that may allow you to avoid bankruptcy. Alternatives to bankruptcy include negotiation with your creditors, debt counseling, and debt consolidation. Not all alternatives are right for all people, but your attorney will advise you on what's best for your unique situation. They could even save you money by providing you with one of these options.They will also help you decide if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is better for your goals. For example, you can wipe away a lot of debt with Chapter 7, but you could still lose your house if you're behind on your payments. While discharging your debt is attractive, it might not be the best solution in your case, depending on what assets you want to protect. An attorney will give you the pros and cons of both types.
Preparation Is Key
No matter which type of bankruptcy you file, you will need to be prepared when your case appears on the docket. To begin with, you'll need to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 or if you'll be able to afford the payments of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As mentioned above, this process is complicated, so an attorney's advice can be valuable. You'll also need to value your assets and an attorney will ensure your values are realistic.Many people are also under the impression that their debts just go away after filing for bankruptcy. This isn't the case, as some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and others have to meet specific conditions to be discharged. Your attorney not only knows which debts qualify and which debts don't, but they'll also be able to counsel you on how to best handle your debt that's left after your bankruptcy has gone through.
Paperwork Can Bog Your Case Down
In any bankruptcy case, there will be a ton of paperwork involved. For instance, you'll have to file financial data to prove your debts, income statements, expense receipts, asset valuations, and record of recent financial transactions. It can be difficult to keep this information organized and easily accessible when the court needs it. An attorney knows exactly what you'll need and when you'll need it, so you can stay on top of the filing requirements.Your attorney will also guide you through which tax documents you'll need to supply, how to determine which expenses are "reasonable and necessary," and which payments count as income. It's critical to be as forthright and honest as possible when filing bankruptcy so that your financial situation can be fully addressed. Providing false information in a bankruptcy case is considered perjury and can result in jail time. Your attorney will ensure your testimony and paperwork are as accurate as possible.
Dealing With Creditors Is Challenging
If you're considering bankruptcy, you've probably already had to deal with creditors who are constantly calling in an attempt to collect a debt. Once you file your bankruptcy case, creditors must abide by an automatic stay that requires them to cease collection activity as your case makes its way through the process. If creditors continue to pursue debt collection, your lawyer will demand compliance and you don't have to get involved at all.Not only this, but your attorney will also negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. The benefit of this is that experienced bankruptcy attorneys know how to get the most favorable outcome for their clients since they've negotiated with hundreds of creditors for hundreds of clients. They can help negotiate favorable payment terms, interest rates, and the value of your collateral to make a repayment plan affordable. You can negotiate on your own, but an attorney may get better results.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney already has relationships built with many of the players who will be involved in your case, from the judges to the administrators, to the trustees. These established relationships will help your case move more quickly through the system since your attorney will already know what each person expects to happen in a bankruptcy case. Filing on your own can take much longer if you have to refile paperwork or redo a process.
Peace of Mind Is Priceless
Undoubtedly, going through bankruptcy is extremely stressful, especially if you don't understand the process or how it's going to affect your life. An attorney can give you peace of mind by explaining what's going on with your case every step of the way. They're going to help you rebuild your financial life by giving you the best start they can. They'll reassure you through the proceedings and make sure you understand your role once the case is finalized.
Issues May Linger Post-Bankruptcy
Even once your case is settled in court and you've received a ruling, you may end up having to deal with creditors who don't abide by the bankruptcy agreement and continue to attempt to collect a debt. Your lawyer will help resolve these post-bankruptcy issues that may arise. They will also be available if you have questions about your obligations following a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and can go back to court if you're unable to meet those obligations.Another issue that will likely be at the forefront of your mind after your bankruptcy case is over is how to rebuild your credit. This isn't going to be easy, and you're going to receive many offers to help you increase your credit rating once your bankruptcy is finalized. An attorney will help you sift through these offers to ensure they are legitimate and will actually help you rebuild your credit. They'll give you credit-building tips as well.No one wants to have to file bankruptcy, but sometimes we get into debt so quickly we're not even sure how it happened. Trying to get yourself out is admirable, but there's also no shame in asking for help. Contact our bankruptcy experts at Stockton and Stern, LLC today to get on the path to financial stability.