Filing for bankruptcy is a financial decision that can have long-term financial, business, and life impacts. A qualified lawyer can ensure that you make decisions that are aligned with your unique circumstances and financial needs.
Specific support from an attorney will vary based on the type of bankruptcy you file and the requirements of the court you file in.
Main areas in which your lawyer will guide you
- Determining whether or not bankruptcy is the appropriate course of action based on your circumstances.
- Analyzing your debt and determining which balances can be discharged by bankruptcy and which debts stay with you (such as student loans and most back taxes).
- Choosing the type of bankruptcy that pertains to your specific situation.
- Understanding whether or not you will be able to keep your home, car, or other property.
- Assessing the tax consequences of bankruptcy and whether you should continue to pay your creditors.
- Explaining bankruptcy law and guiding you through the procedures and strict deadlines.
- Completing and filing forms. Paying fees correctly and on time.
- Knowing when to appear in court, what to say, and what documents to present.
- The steps for filing bankruptcy are explained in the Bankruptcy Code and also in The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures which you can find at most libraries. The USCourts.gov website warns that:
“Misunderstandings of the law or making mistakes in the process can affect your rights. Court employees and bankruptcy judges are prohibited by law from offering legal advice”
Before attempting to file bankruptcy on your own (filing per se) it is important that you realistically assess your capacity for understanding complex codes of law, completing legal documents, meeting strict deadlines, and presenting cases to court officials.