Filing Bankruptcy

Myth: It’s much harder to file bankruptcy under the new law.

Fact: While there is more paperwork and more hoops to jump through, it’s still easier to file bankruptcy than to deal with excessive debt. However, most people will need a lawyer’s help. If not done properly, your bankruptcy case can be dismissed and you won’t be able to discharge debt.

Deciding Whether to File Bankruptcy

Choosing to file bankruptcy is a serious decision that has consequences that last several years. Although the Bankruptcy Code does not require you to owe a certain amount of money before you can file bankruptcy, there are many situations that may not warrant a bankruptcy filing.

For example, if you are behind on your rent and want to stop an eviction, some attorneys or petition preparers may advise you that you can stop the eviction if you file bankruptcy. This advice may be technically correct. However, if you have no unsecured debts, the situation probably does not warrant filing bankruptcy. In addition, if a debt buyer bought your delinquent credit card account and is suing you for collection, you may be able to assert many legal defenses to defeat the claim that do not require you to file bankruptcy.

Your initial consultation

Your initial consultation with bankruptcy attorney Fred E. Walker usually lasts about an hour. The initial meeting should include a discussion of whether filing bankruptcy is appropriate, which form of bankruptcy relief is best for you (normally Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy), bankruptcy alternatives, the bankruptcy process, and credit considerations of a bankruptcy filing.

Credit Counseling

The 2005 bankruptcy law requires consumers to complete a credit counseling briefing six months before filing for bankruptcy. You also have to complete a personal financial management seminar before your bankruptcy is completed and debts are discharged. Our law offices will be able to coordinate the fulfillment of these requirements for you.

If you have completed credit counseling through a consumer credit counseling agency and were presented with a debt management plan that you are unable to adhere to, we can help. Navigating the new system alone has proven difficult and frustrating for many people who are already facing significant stress from their financial situations.

You must obtain an individual or group briefing from a nonprofit counseling agency that has been approved by the U.S. Trustee within 180 days before you file for bankruptcy. The agency will provide you with a certificate that must be filed with the bankruptcy petition. This certificate proves that the counseling session took place. We recommend that you wait until after we have completed your schedules before you submit to the credit counseling session so that the information you provide the agency is as accurate as the information contained in your bankruptcy schedules. Most conversations you have with your lawyer are privileged communications. Conversations with credit counselors are not. Most credit counseling agencies receive a substantial amount of funding from the creditors they represent. Please allow your attorney to answer any questions you may have about your case.