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Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy Lawyer

Considering bankruptcy and need free legal advice? Call 1-800-ATTORNEY (1-800-288-6763)!

Facing overwhelming debt can be a stressful and isolating experience, and many people have concerns about the legal costs associated with filing for bankruptcy. There’s a common misconception about how much you’re expected to pay for legal representation in a bankruptcy case. In fact, there’s so much misinformation out there that most people don’t realize that it’s possible to get free and low-cost legal help for their financial situation.

24-Hour Free Bankruptcy Legal Help Hotline

If you are considering bankruptcy and need expert legal guidance, call 1-800-ATTORNEY today to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer (calls accepted 24/7).

Whether you’re exploring Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your best bet is always going to be finding a local bankruptcy attorney who offers free consultations.

When you call 1-800-ATTORNEY (1-800-288-6763), you’ll be connected with a bankruptcy lawyer in your area who’s familiar with the bankruptcy laws in your state, who’s willing to listen to your concerns, and who can explain the options available to you moving forward. Calls are answered 24 hours a day!

Feeling weighed down by bills? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans face the stress of mounting debt, and the constant worry about finances can be overwhelming. At 1-800-ATTORNEY, we understand the emotional and practical challenges debt can create.

Debt collectors’ calls, late fees, and the struggle to make ends meet can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. But there’s good news: we offer expert and timely legal help from experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Filing for bankruptcy can provide a fresh start and relief from the burden of debt. Our skilled bankruptcy lawyers can guide you through the process of filing bankruptcy, helping you understand your rights and obligations under the bankruptcy code. We’ll work with you to prepare and file all necessary legal documents, ensure you meet important deadlines, and represent you in your bankruptcy case.

We recognize that each bankruptcy situation is unique. Our bankruptcy attorneys will work closely with you to find a personalized solution addressing your circumstances. Whether you’re considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we’ll help you understand your options and make informed decisions about your financial future.

At 1-800-ATTORNEY, we believe everyone deserves access to quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we offer free legal services and consultations to help you determine if bankruptcy is the right path forward. We’ll clearly explain the filing process, associated fees, and what to expect as your case progresses.

Don’t let debt control your life any longer. Take a step towards financial peace of mind and call 1-800-ATTORNEY (1-800-288-6763) today. Our friendly representatives are available 24/7 to answer your questions, explore your options, and connect you with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you get back on track.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process overseen by federal courts that helps individuals or businesses struggling with overwhelming debt. It provides a path towards financial relief by offering two main options: discharge or repayment. Discharge, also known as liquidation bankruptcy or Chapter 7, eliminates most of your debts, giving you a clean slate to rebuild your finances. Repayment, often called Chapter 13 or personal bankruptcy, involves creating a court-ordered plan to manage and repay your debts over time, often with reduced interest and monthly payments.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex process, and it’s essential to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side. A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through the process, determine which option is best suited to your situation, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. They can help you understand the eligibility requirements, gather necessary documents, and prepare and file your bankruptcy petition.

It’s important to note that filing for bankruptcy does come with costs, including filing fees and attorney fees. However, the long-term financial relief and peace of mind that bankruptcy can provide often outweigh these initial costs. Additionally, many bankruptcy attorneys offer flexible payment plans or may waive certain fees for those in need.

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact 1-800-ATTORNEY today for a free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. We’ll help you understand your options, guide you through the process of filing bankruptcy, and work tirelessly to ensure you get the fresh start you deserve.

How Bankruptcy Can Help You

If you’re drowning in debt and struggling to stay afloat, bankruptcy might be a good option to consider. But how exactly can bankruptcy help you?

Relief from Creditor Harassment

One of the most immediate benefits of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay. This court order halts all collection efforts from creditors, including phone calls, letters, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and repossessions. This provides much-needed breathing room to assess your situation and explore your options without the constant pressure from creditors.

A Fresh Start for Your Future

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can help you break free from the cycle of debt and achieve financial stability. By eliminating a significant portion of your debt or creating a manageable repayment plan, you can finally gain control of your finances. This sense of control and freedom allows you to focus on rebuilding your credit score, saving for the future, and achieving your financial goals.

Remember, bankruptcy is a serious decision with long-term implications. Consulting with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer is crucial to determine if it’s the right path for you and to navigate the process effectively. Call 1-800-ATTORNEY today and let us help you evaluate your case and explore your legal options to help you move forward.

Understanding the Types of Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

Debt can feel like a suffocating weight, and when considering bankruptcy, navigating the different chapters can be confusing. There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7: Fresh Start Through Discharge

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “liquidation,” focuses on eliminating most unsecured debts. This includes credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans.

The court appoints a trustee who may sell some of your non-exempt assets (assets you cannot protect under bankruptcy law) to repay creditors a portion of what you owe. However, most people don’t have enough assets to warrant liquidation, and the primary benefit lies in discharging the debt itself.

This fresh start allows you to rebuild your finances without the burden of overwhelming debt. After the court order (discharge), creditors can no longer pursue collection efforts for the eliminated debts.

Chapter 13: Repayment Plan for Long-Term Relief

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as the “wage earner’s plan,” is a court-approved repayment plan lasting 3-5 years. You propose a plan to consolidate your debts into one manageable monthly payment, potentially with reduced interest rates. Your income and expenses determine the amount you’ll repay to creditors through the court-appointed trustee.

This chapter is beneficial if you want to keep certain assets, like your car or house, even if you have fallen behind on payments. The bankruptcy process can help restructure repayment terms for secured debts like mortgages and car loans.

How to Choose the Right Chapter

The decision between Chapters 7 and 13 depends on your financial situation and goals. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

Choose Chapter 7 if:

  • You don’t have significant assets to protect.
  • Your income falls below the median for your family size in your state (as determined by the means test).
  • You prioritize a quick discharge of unsecured debts for a fresh start.

Choose Chapter 13 if:

  • You have assets you want to keep, like a car or house, even if you are behind on payments.
  • Your income exceeds the median in the means test, but you can still afford a manageable monthly repayment plan.
  • You need to restructure secured debts.

Determining Your Eligibility for Bankruptcy Relief

Not everyone qualifies for bankruptcy relief, but a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer at 1-800-ATTORNEY can help you understand your options. Here’s a general overview of eligibility factors:

The Means Test

The means test is a crucial component in assessing eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common chapter for individuals. This test compares your household income to the median income for your family size in your state. If your income falls below the median, you likely qualify for Chapter 7.

However, if your income exceeds the median, the test doesn’t end there. It then analyzes your necessary monthly expenses against your disposable income (income remaining after essential expenses). If your disposable income is deemed sufficient to repay a portion of your debts, you might not qualify for Chapter 7.

In such cases, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be an option. This chapter allows you to create a court-approved repayment plan, typically lasting 3-5 years, to manage your debts with potentially reduced interest.

Debt Type

The type of debt you owe also plays a role. Chapter 7 typically discharges unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills. Secured debts like mortgages and car loans are usually not eliminated, but the bankruptcy process can help restructure repayment terms.

Prior Bankruptcy Filings

If you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy and gotten your debts discharged through Chapter 7, you need to wait for a while before you can file Chapter 13. Make sure you confide in your bankruptcy attorney about your previous debt filings.

What to Expect When Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be a challenging process, but understanding the steps involved can help alleviate some of the stress. Here’s what you should expect in the process:

Initial Consultation

  • Connect with a lawyer: Your first step is to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer. They will assess your financial situation, including income, assets, debts, and expenses. This will help determine if bankruptcy is the right path for you and which chapter (7 or 13) is best suited to your needs.
  • Means Test (Chapter 7): For Chapter 7 filers, the lawyer will analyze your income against the median income for your family size in your state. This helps determine eligibility based on the means test.

Preparing the Petition

  • Gather Documents: Your lawyer will guide you on gathering essential documents like pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and proof of debt.
  • Complete the Petition: The lawyer will help you complete the bankruptcy petition, which details your financial situation and proposes a repayment plan (Chapter 13) or debt discharge (Chapter 7).

Filing the Petition and Creditor Meeting

  • Court Filing: Once everything is finalized, your lawyer will file the petition with the bankruptcy court.
  • Automatic Stay: Filing triggers an automatic stay, halting all collection efforts from creditors. This provides temporary relief from harassing phone calls, wage garnishments, and repossessions.
  • Meeting of Creditors: You’ll attend a meeting with the court-appointed trustee and your creditors to answer questions about your financial situation and proposed plan (Chapter 13).

Case Resolution

  • Chapter 7: If filing for Chapter 7, the court will typically discharge most unsecured debts after reviewing your case. This allows for a fresh start.
  • Chapter 13: If filing for Chapter 13, you’ll make monthly payments according to your court-approved repayment plan for 3-5 years. Once the plan is completed and your obligations are met, the remaining eligible debts are discharged.


  • Rebuilding Credit: Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for a specific period (typically 7-10 years). However, you can still rebuild your credit score with responsible financial management practices.
  • Seeking Guidance: A credit counselor can offer guidance on managing your finances and rebuilding credit after bankruptcy.

Remember: This is a simplified overview. Every case is unique, and legal complexities might arise. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer is essential to navigate the process effectively and achieve the best outcome for your specific situation.

The Role of a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Debt Negotiation and Settlement

While bankruptcy offers a powerful tool for debt relief, the process itself can be intricate and daunting. This is where a bankruptcy lawyer becomes an invaluable asset. Their expertise goes far beyond simply filing the paperwork.

Here’s how a bankruptcy lawyer can be helpful during debt negotiation and settlement:

Negotiation Expertise

Many people are unaware that negotiation is often an option before resorting to bankruptcy. A skilled lawyer can leverage their knowledge of debt collection laws and creditor practices to negotiate lower settlements with your creditors. This can potentially save you money and allow you to avoid the complexities of bankruptcy altogether.

Strategic Planning

Bankruptcy lawyers are well-versed in the different chapters (7 and 13) and their eligibility requirements. They can analyze your financial situation, income, assets, and debts to determine the most strategic course of action. This includes exploring debt consolidation options and assessing your suitability for Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Effective Representation

Negotiating with creditors can be stressful, especially when facing aggressive collection tactics. Your lawyer can act as your advocate, communicating on your behalf and ensuring your rights are protected throughout the process. This includes shielding you from harassing phone calls and ensuring a fair settlement is reached.

Maximizing Your Outcome

A lawyer’s experience with bankruptcy law allows them to navigate the legal complexities and maximize your chances of a successful outcome. They can ensure all paperwork is filed correctly and represent you in court if necessary. Additionally, they can advise on potential tax implications and credit score recovery strategies post-bankruptcy.

Peace of Mind

Debt negotiation and the bankruptcy process can be emotionally draining. Having a qualified legal professional by your side provides crucial support and guidance. Their expertise can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with financial difficulties, allowing you to focus on rebuilding your financial future.

Asset Protection in Bankruptcy Cases

While bankruptcy offers relief from overwhelming debt, many people worry about losing their possessions. Fortunately, bankruptcy laws allow you to protect a certain amount of assets, exempting them from liquidation to repay creditors.

The extent of this protection depends on two key factors:

Exemption Laws

Each state has its own set of exemption laws that dictate which assets are protected in bankruptcy. These laws typically cover essentials like your primary residence (up to a specific value), household goods, and tools of your trade.

Some states offer a choice between federal exemptions and their own state exemptions. A bankruptcy lawyer can advise you on the most advantageous set of exemptions for your situation.

Asset Value

Exemption laws often limit the value of assets you can protect. For example, you might be able to exempt your car entirely, but only up to a certain dollar amount. Assets exceeding the exemption limit could be sold by the court-appointed trustee to partially satisfy your debts.

How to Maximize Asset Protection in Bankruptcy

Here are some strategies to maximize asset protection in bankruptcy:

  • Timing: Generally, you cannot hide or transfer assets shortly before filing for bankruptcy. Such actions might be considered fraudulent and could jeopardize your case.
  • Exempt Assets: Review your assets and understand which ones qualify for exemption under your state’s laws. Consider selling non-exempt assets and using the proceeds to pay down unsecured debts before filing.
  • Chapter Selection: The type of bankruptcy you file can also impact asset protection. Chapter 7 typically involves liquidation of non-exempt assets, while Chapter 13 allows you to create a repayment plan and potentially keep all your assets.

Remember, navigating asset protection in bankruptcy requires a deep understanding of complex legal matters. Consulting with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer is crucial. They can analyze your financial situation, including assets and debts, and recommend the best course of action to maximize your exemptions and achieve a successful outcome.

Credit Counseling Requirements in Bankruptcy Cases

Before filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to understand credit counseling requirements. This mandatory step helps ensure you’re fully informed about the process and potential consequences.

Who Needs Credit Counseling?

Nearly all individual bankruptcy filers must complete credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. This applies to both Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 13 (repayment plan) filings.

What Does Credit Counseling Entail?

The counseling session, typically conducted by phone or online, focuses on financial education and debt management strategies. It will cover topics like:

  • Budgeting and expense management
  • Exploring debt consolidation options
  • Understanding the different bankruptcy chapters
  • The impact of bankruptcy on your credit score
  • Rebuilding your credit post-bankruptcy

Completing the Course and Obtaining Proof

Once you complete the counseling session, the agency will issue a certificate as proof. You’ll need to submit this certificate along with your bankruptcy paperwork within a specific timeframe (usually 15 days after filing).

Exceptions to Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling

There are limited exceptions to the mandatory counseling requirement. These may include:

  • Military deployment within a certain timeframe
  • Financial hardship that prevents affording counseling

If you believe an exception applies to you, consult with a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your situation and explore alternative options.

Benefits of Credit Counseling

Even if not mandatory, credit counseling can be a valuable resource before filing for bankruptcy. It can help you:

  • Gain a clearer picture of your financial situation
  • Explore alternatives to bankruptcy
  • Develop a plan for managing your finances after bankruptcy

While credit counseling provides valuable education, navigating the intricacies of bankruptcy law requires legal expertise. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through the process, including:

  • Determining the best chapter for your situation
  • Completing the necessary paperwork
  • Representing you in court (if needed)

By understanding credit counseling requirements and seeking professional legal guidance, you can approach bankruptcy with a more informed and empowered perspective.

Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Even though bankruptcy is an effective way to get out of overwhelming debt, it’s not the only option. Here are some other alternatives you can consider before filing for bankruptcy:

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans (DMPs)

As mentioned previously, non-profit credit counseling agencies can analyze your financial situation and create a personalized budget. They may also negotiate with creditors to lower your interest rates and create a DMP. This plan consolidates your debts into a single monthly payment you can afford, often reducing the overall amount you owe.

Debt Consolidation Loan

If you have good credit, you might qualify for a debt consolidation loan. This loan allows you to combine your high-interest debts into one lower-interest loan, simplifying your payments and potentially saving money. However, this approach requires discipline to avoid adding more debt.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement companies negotiate with creditors to significantly reduce your outstanding debt in exchange for a lump sum payment. While this can lower your debt burden, it can negatively impact your credit score and involve upfront fees.

Negotiating with Creditors Directly

You can attempt to negotiate directly with creditors to lower your interest rates or monthly payments. Explain your financial hardship and propose a realistic repayment plan. Persistence can be key here.

Selling Assets

Selling non-essential assets like a second car or unused valuables can generate funds to pay down debt. This can be a quick way to free up cash but requires careful consideration of the value you place on the asset.

FAQ About Bankruptcy

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and how do I determine which one is right for my situation?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, involves the discharge of most unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and medical bills. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or reorganization bankruptcy, involves creating a 3-5 year repayment plan to pay back a portion of your debts. The best option depends on factors like your income, assets, and debt types. A bankruptcy attorney can help you assess your situation and choose the most appropriate path.

How does the means test work in determining eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and what happens if I don’t pass the test?

The means test compares your household income to your state’s median income for your family size. If your income is below the median, you generally qualify for Chapter 7. If it’s above, the test looks at your disposable income after necessary expenses. Failing the means test might make you ineligible for Chapter 7, but you may still qualify for Chapter 13, which involves a repayment plan.

Can I keep my home and car if I file for bankruptcy, and what are the potential consequences of reaffirming these debts?

In many cases, you can keep your home and car if you continue making payments and the equity doesn’t exceed certain exemptions. Reaffirming a debt means agreeing to continue paying it despite the bankruptcy. If you reaffirm and later default, the lender can repossess the property and pursue you for any deficiency. Carefully consider the long-term consequences before reaffirming.

What is the automatic stay in bankruptcy, and how does it protect me from creditor harassment and collection efforts?

The automatic stay is a court order that takes effect immediately upon filing bankruptcy. It prohibits creditors from continuing collection activities, including phone calls, letters, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and repossessions. The stay gives you breathing room to focus on your bankruptcy case and obtain relief from the burden of debt.

How long does a bankruptcy filing stay on my credit report, and what steps can I take to rebuild my credit after bankruptcy?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains for 7 years. To rebuild your credit, start by making timely payments on any remaining debts, such as a mortgage or car loan. Obtain a secured credit card, use it responsibly, and pay the balance in full each month. Monitor your credit report for errors and consider credit counseling for personalized guidance.

What are the tax implications of filing for bankruptcy, and how do I handle any potential tax debts in my case?

In general, bankruptcy does not eliminate tax debts, but it can provide relief from other debts, making it easier to pay off taxes. Some older income tax debts may be dischargeable if they meet specific criteria. It’s crucial to discuss your tax situation with a bankruptcy attorney to understand your options and ensure proper handling of tax debts in your case.

Can I discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy, and if so, what are the requirements for proving undue hardship?

Discharging student loans through bankruptcy is challenging but not impossible. You must demonstrate that repaying the loans would cause undue hardship, which typically requires proving that you cannot maintain a minimal standard of living, your circumstances are likely to persist, and you’ve made good faith efforts to repay. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney experienced in handling student loan discharges for guidance.

How do I handle co-signed debts in bankruptcy, and what are the potential consequences for my co-signer if I file?

If you file for bankruptcy on a co-signed debt, your co-signer remains responsible for the debt unless they also file for bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy may appear on their credit report and could make it difficult for them to obtain credit in the future. Communication with your co-signer is essential to understand the impact and explore potential solutions.

What is the role of the bankruptcy trustee in my case, and how do I navigate the meeting of creditors (341 hearing)?

The bankruptcy trustee is an impartial administrator appointed to oversee your case. They review your petition, assets, and financial transactions. In the 341 hearing, the trustee and creditors can ask questions about your finances under oath. Be honest, provide requested documentation, and consult your attorney for guidance on answering questions appropriately.

Can I file for bankruptcy if I own a small business, and what are the potential implications for my business assets and operations?

Yes, small business owners can file for bankruptcy. Sole proprietors can file personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or 13), which may include both personal and business debts. Partnerships and corporations can file Chapter 7 to liquidate or Chapter 11 to reorganize. Business bankruptcy can impact assets, contracts, and operations, so consult a bankruptcy attorney to understand the implications and explore alternatives like debt negotiation or restructuring.

Get Bankruptcy Help Today!

Don’t let overwhelming debt control your life. At 1-800-ATTORNEY, we connect you with experienced bankruptcy lawyers who can offer a personalized solution for your financial situation.

Our knowledgeable team understands the challenges of debt and the complexities of bankruptcy law. We provide free consultations to assess your eligibility and explore your options, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Take control of your financial future. Call 1-800-ATTORNEY (1-800-288-6763) today for a free consultation with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

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