What Are Attorney Fees for Bankruptcy Advice?
Although bankruptcy filing services come with a fee, most reputable law firms offer consultations to help you determine your next move. At Stockton & Stern, LLC, we provide free consultations for new clients. This consultation allows us to learn the details of your situation and understand how we can best serve you. Additionally, you'll be able to ask questions regarding bankruptcy law or legal matters during this meeting.Attorney fees for handling a bankruptcy filing will vary from client to client, as every circumstance has unique factors that must be considered. For example, the type of bankruptcy filing will impact attorney fees, as will the complexity. However, don't let the thought of attorney fees discourage you from working with a bankruptcy lawyer. Numerous challenges are associated with a bankruptcy filing, making it difficult for the average individual to successfully complete.
You'll have to pay filing fees even if you choose to file bankruptcy without legal help. Depending on how you file, the cost will be anywhere from $310-$335. Unfortunately, self-filed bankruptcies have a low rate of acceptance. If your case is dismissed, you'll lose the filing fees and be still struggling to find a way to resolve your debt.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees Near Overland Park, KS
Attorney fees in the state of Kansas range on average between $999 and $1,183, although depending on how much legwork the case requires, rates can increase. The national average for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is more straightforward, is between $1,500 and $3,000. For a chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is more complicated, the average is around $3,000-$4,000.A skilled attorney will not only ensure your paperwork is filed correctly, but they will also work to ensure you experience the maximum amount of debt relief possible. When filing a bankruptcy, there are exemptions and motions that your attorney can use to increase the bankruptcy's positive impact on your finances and help prevent you from unnecessarily sacrificing your assets.
Types of Bankruptcy
The majority of individuals in Overland Park, KS, who file bankruptcy will file one of the two most common types of bankruptcy. Choosing the correct type of bankruptcy, also referred to as a chapter of bankruptcy, for your financial situation is essential to gaining control of your finances. The two most frequently filed bankruptcy chapters are the following:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also referred to as a "straight bankruptcy." When you complete this chapter, most of your assets will be liquidated (sold) to pay off your debt. Per Kansas law, certain assets are exempt from liquidation. You may be able to maintain possession of assets such as your primary residence, the vehicle you use to travel to work, and specific insurance policies and benefits. These are known as bankruptcy exemptions, and the state of Kansas has many. Your lawyer will be able to determine which you are eligible for and if they will benefit you.After liquidations have been applied to your debt, any remaining balance will be discharged except for a few categories. Remember that a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing doesn't negate creditors' rights if they have secured loans, such as auto loans or mortgages. Creditors with secured loans can still take back the financed item if you fall behind on payments.
To file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must have an income less than the Kansas median. The median income amount is based on family size. If you're overwhelmed by hefty medical bills, have suffered from long-term unemployment, or have overextended credit, this type of bankruptcy may benefit you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also commonly called "reorganization bankruptcy" because it reorganizes your debt via a payment plan. When you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will follow a payment plan to pay off your debt over three to five years. If you follow the bankruptcy terms, the debt remaining at the end of your payment period will be discarded, except for several unique situations.
You'll need a consistent income source to qualify for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Since chapter 13 bankruptcy relies on completing scheduled payments, you must have funds to contribute to the payment plan. Remember, just because you qualify for a chapter doesn't mean it's your best option. Your lawyer can help you decide which chapter will provide the most significant improvements to your financial situation.
In both bankruptcy chapters, certain types of debt cannot be discharged. Exceptions include the following:
- Debt owed for an injury or fatality that resulted from a DUI
- Income tax debts from the prior three years and all other miscellaneous tax debt
- Legal fines, penalties, and tickets
- Owed child support and alimony
- Student loans
Chapter 7 bankruptcies also allow an individual to declare other types of debt non-dischargeable under specific circumstances. For example, loans and cash advances greater than $1,150 and credit purchase of luxury goods within 60 days of filing bankruptcy can be ruled non-dischargeable. Debts that occurred from any illegal activities will also not be removed.
Deciding to File Bankruptcy
While no one ever looks forward to filing bankruptcy, it is a reasonable option for individuals in certain situations. However, since every person's financial circumstances are unique, you'll want to consult with a professional to ensure that filing bankruptcy is wise. Some reasons for filing bankruptcy include:
You're Facing Foreclosure
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to save your home if you are facing foreclosure. Instead of losing your home to the bank, a chapter 13 bankruptcy provides you with the opportunity to pay off any existing balance using a payment plan in exchange for being able to resume mortgage payments at the end of it.
You Owe More Money Than You Can Make
Whether your debt results from an extended period of unemployment or never-ending medical bills, it's easy to fall far enough behind that you cannot catch up. If you don't have the assets or income required to pay off your debt, bankruptcy can give you a fresh start.
You're Being Pursued by Debt Collectors
Once your debts are given to a collection agency, it's only a matter of time before they file a lawsuit if you cannot pay off your debts. Not only does a case contribute excessive stress to your life, but it will also leave you responsible for court costs and attorney fees on top of your debt. However, after you have filed a bankruptcy petition, all collection actions will pause, including lawsuits, until the bankruptcy filing status has been determined.
You've Eliminated Other Options
If you've tried in vain to reduce your debt using less drastic methods or attempted to create a practical payment plan with creditors, bankruptcy is the remaining option. Options such as negotiation, credit card consolidation, loan modification or refinancing, or credit counseling are all worth pursuing before resorting to bankruptcy. Still, you'll have to consider bankruptcy if they aren't helping your financial problems.Filing bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of; for many individuals, it offers the chance to regain control of their lives. If you need help filing bankruptcy, or have any other legal needs, call Stockton & Stern, LLC. We are here to help you through every stage of life.