Beset by a mountain of setbacks, Americans have watched themselves fall into financial ruin since the recession hit full stride in 2008. Likely candidates for blame are unexpected medical expenses, unemployment, and foreclosure or any number of events that hit suddenly and left a devastating trail of debt behind. For these hard-working individuals, filing for bankruptcy offers the chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. If you find yourself in this position, you should consider hiring a qualified bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the labyrinth of bankruptcy law.
In this economic climate, with more and more Americans choosing to file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy claims, bankruptcy laws have become more complex in response to the demand. While plaintiffs have the option to file without an attorney, otherwise known as pro se representation, it is not advisable and can cause irrevocable harm to your case. With an attorney that specializes in bankruptcy law, you will have someone versed in its complexities and capable of addressing your unique situation.
With an attorney, you can get through the following steps with ease:
Initial Consultation: During your initial consultation with an El Paso bankruptcy attorney (many of which offer them free of charge), they will get familiar with your case and your budget, including your income, household size, and your monthly expenses. In addition, they will need a list of the assets you hold, including your house, life insurance, stocks, etc., as well as a bit of background about your financial history. After amassing this information, your attorney can give you a clearer picture about your financial standing from a legal perspective and whether filing for bankruptcy is a necessary course of action. Also, one of the most important steps in any bankruptcy filing is the documentation of all your debt. Having all the pertinent information – from proof of your income tax returns to bank statements – will further aid your attorney in best representing your case.
Required Paperwork: The court requires that plaintiffs understand the type of bankruptcy they are filing for, the penalties for knowingly concealing assets or making false statements under penalty of perjury, and that all information filed is subject to examination by federal employees of the Department of Justice.
Credit Counseling and Debt Education: This concerns both pre-bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy requirements. The courts will want to see that you have devised a plan to repay your debts. An attorney can work to tailor each plan to a client’s individual needs, income, and difficulties. Lastly, a bankruptcy attorney will know how to construct a valid payment plan that fulfills the terms of a court mandate.
An attorney’s role in a bankruptcy filing is to be your guide, your companion and your champion. By selecting the right attorney for you, you can ensure that your bankruptcy claim will be the first step to relief from your financial burdens.
About the Author: Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced El Paso bankruptcy attorney. To find out more information about a El Paso bankruptcy lawyer, please visit www.jeffdavislawfirm.com.