If you have decided to file for bankruptcy and are also thinking about filing for bankruptcy yourself, you should reconsider. There are forms available at legal stores, so it would seem an easy thing to do. But there are many problems that you are likely to encounter. The following are just three reasons to consult with an attorney when filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.
You may not qualify
It is not as simple as deciding you want to declare bankruptcy. You must qualify for a bankruptcy, and determining whether you do qualify can become complicated because it relates to the median income for your state as well as the assets you have. And some of your assets may be exempt from a bankruptcy. Additionally, there are two forms of individual bankruptcy. There is a Chapter 13 filing as well as Chapter 7. Although you may want to file for Chapter 7, you may not qualify, but you may still qualify for a Chapter 13. Whether you want to do this or not is up to you, but you need to talk it over with an attorney.
Some of your debts may not qualify
Because you are looking to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are already likely to be aware that it has the potential to clear away all of your debts, but the key word is potential. Not all debts are eligible to be discharged under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Student loans are just one example. If you attempt to file yourself, you may end up with significant debts after your bankruptcy.
Creditors can challenge your bankruptcy
You can't expect all of your debts to go away without any sacrifice. Creditors have a right to their money, so if a bankruptcy judge discovers any assets that are not deemed a necessity, you may have to sell them to pay your creditors. Also, creditors can attempt to get the money owed to them in a variety of ways. Many of these methods may be legal, but it doesn't mean you are required to pay. If you have an attorney, all communication about your debt is handled by your attorney. He or she will not be fooled by a creditor. They know the law. You do not.
Don't worry about the cost of an attorney for bankruptcy. The initial consultation for a bankruptcy is often free, and the fees charged by an attorney can be paid in various ways. With a Chapter 13 filing, your fees may be rolled into the total amount that you will pay in installments to a court trustee. With a Chapter 7 filing, an attorney will often allow you to make payments directly to him or her. Bankruptcy attorneys understand that their clients have limited financial resources.