With more than 900,000 non-business bankruptcy cases filed in 2014, it's safe to say that bankruptcy isn't an obscure thing that only happens to a few. While bankruptcy is a common act, there is still much that isn't known about it by the general public.
If you're considering bankruptcy, consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney because you may fall into one (or all) of the categories listed below.
Filing Without the Proper Knowledge of What Bankruptcy Can Do for You
Bankruptcy has a huge impact on your financial—and personal—life. While bankruptcy can provide a reprieve from certain types of debts and financial woes, it can't even begin to fix all of your financial problems. Bankruptcy is meant to be a starting point for a financial turnaround, not a fix-all for your finances.
Student loans, child support and alimony, and tax debts are just a few things that bankruptcy cannot touch, with few exceptions. While bankruptcy can get a few debt collectors off of your back, you will still be financially responsible for many secured and personal debts you've attained over your lifetime.
An attorney can inform you of which debts you'll still be responsible for, and that could make a difference in whether you choose to file or not.
Filing When You Don't Need To, Or You Don't Meet the Qualifications
There are many alternatives available to filing bankruptcy. It's important to remember that bankruptcy is a last ditch effort, and it shouldn't be considered a first line of attack.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can first help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you. Filing without an attorney can also mean you're filing (wasting time and money) when you don't even meet bankruptcy qualifications. An attorney may be able to offer a number of alternatives, such as negotiating with creditors and finding you a debt counselor who can help you with your financial situation.
A bankruptcy attorney may be able to speak with creditors on your behalf to stop them from harassing you, and working out a repayment deal that won't cause undue hardship on you.
Filing Under the Wrong Bankruptcy Chapter
If you do qualify for bankruptcy, without an experienced attorney to guide you on your path, you may end up filing under the wrong bankruptcy chapter.
The two main types of bankruptcy chapters, 7 and 13, have different purposes and offer their own set of benefits and drawbacks. An attorney can help you decide which chapter is right for you by determining which one you qualify for, and if you qualify for both, which one would make the most sense in your situation. If you're losing your home, for example, chapter 13 may be the only way to save it, so filing chapter 7 wouldn't do you much good.
The decision to file bankruptcy should only come after a long road of financial analysis and contemplation. If you're considering filing for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, it's vital that you find a bankruptcy attorney who can answer all of your questions. Working with an attorney can save you time, money, and effort that could be wasted otherwise.
To learn more, contact a company like Reppe Law Office with any questions you have.