Why Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
No one intends on ending up in debt. Unfortunately this doesn't stop people from getting into financial situations that they simply can't sustain. Those who find themselves completely unable to repay all or part of one or more significant debts may want to look into filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This form of bankruptcy discharges a client's unsecured debt by selling off nonexempt property to pay off creditors.
Whether or not someone is eligible for a chapter 7 bankruptcy is largely related to their income. Anyone filing for this form of bankruptcy must be able to prove that his or her income is less than the median average of other earners in the state, or to pass what is known as a means test. Most eligible debtors are able to keep the majority of their property, but non-exempt real estate and assets can be taken to help satisfy outstanding debts. Homeowners will not necessarily be forced to give up their homes, but they will continue to face foreclosure if they are unable to get their mortgages current.
The process of filing for this type of bankruptcy usually takes between three and four months from determining eligibility to completion. For all but simple cases it is necessary to hire a bankruptcy attorney to help prepare and file paperwork, as navigating the legal issues pertaining to bankruptcy law is quite a complicated affair. Documents such as tax paperwork from recent years, lists of creditors, sources and amounts of income, existing property, and detailed living expenses will all need to be filed in a timely manner in order to satisfy requirements.
A bankruptcy lawyer can also help clients to determine what property is exempt from seizure. If the debtor has no property at all that is non-exempt, he or she will generally file as having no assets. In no asset cases, there is no redistribution to creditors. Once the debtor's financial status and eligibility have been proven, he or she will be given a chapter 7 discharge. This prevents creditors from taking collection actions and relieves the debtor of his or her debt. There are, however, rare cases in which a discharge will not be granted. Should this occur it is doubly important to have an attorney.
Those interested in getting a fresh start can learn more about filing for chapter 7, chapter 13, or other forms of bankruptcy online today, but the best legal advice always comes from a lawyer practicing within the field of bankruptcy law.