Before you file a bankruptcy petition, you must consult with a competent bankruptcy attorney. In fact, you should do this while even contemplating bankruptcy. The attorney would be able to tell you whether bankruptcy is the best option for your financial situation and the best timing to file. When you are consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, here is what you should ask and seek answers for:
Tell the Lawyer Briefly about Your Financial Situation
When you meet up with your bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale, be 100% honest with them regarding your financial situation. Do NOT withhold the truth for any reason. If you haven’t hired the lawyer, you don’t have to give details of your debts. However, a brief overview will be necessary. Tell the lawyer what type of debt you have, your income situation, and why you think you are unable to repay your loans on time. The lawyer should be able to tell you then whether bankruptcy is the suitable next step for your financial situation. If you lie to your lawyer, you could face criminal prosecution in your underlying bankruptcy case later because he or she would be defrauding the court. The truth the truth and nothing but the truth, because your bankruptcy is filed under penalty of perjury.
Ask the Lawyer if He or She is willing to be a Negotiator
Before you file for bankruptcy, you can try negotiating with creditors. Bankruptcy is not the ideal scenario for either debtors or creditors. Some creditors may be willing to cut down the interest rate or extend the repayment plan. If you are worried about your credit score, negotiating is better than going to court. You can inquire about the pros and cons of bankruptcy from your attorney. It’s important to make sure it’s the best solution for your financial problems before proceeding.
Inquire about Different Types of Bankruptcy
The Bankruptcy Code allows for different types of bankruptcy petitions. You may have heard of some of these already, like Chapter 7. While Chapter 7 is the most common type of petition for individual debtors, it may not be the only one. If you belong to a higher income category, you may have to file for Chapter 13. If you have a family business in fishing or farming, you may be eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Ask your lawyer about which type of bankruptcy petition best suits your situation.
Check Your Eligibility to File a Petition
If you have filed for bankruptcy before, you may not be eligible to file again. For example, if you have declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you will not be eligible for the same type of petition for about 6 to 8 years depending on what state you file in. There could be other factors, like income and alimony that make you ineligible to file for bankruptcy or at least the type of debt relief you seek. Therefore, you will need to ask the attorney to find out if you are eligible to file a petition and which chapter might get you the best debt relief.
Learn about Fees and the Process
Filing for bankruptcy is not expensive, but there will be court fees involved. Learn about these fees from the lawyer. Also, ask the lawyer to explain the general process of filing in your local jurisdiction. You will have to discuss representation fees and consultation fees as well. Bankruptcy attorneys are limited in how much they can charge as per Arizona law. You typically get what you pay for. The $99 down bankruptcy ads on TV are usually highly misleading. Most bankruptcy filings, no matter who you hire, require several thousand dollars to file and complete.
If your consultation goes successfully, you will be able to proceed with your petition. Consider contacting us to consult to discuss your needs.