When your debt problems get to be more than you can handle, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can be a real life-saver. Financial problems can split up spouses, fracture families, and generate a vicious cycle of stress that leads to greater financial problems that in turn lead to more stress--and so on, and so on. It's important to know about bankruptcy and how the process can help you recover your life, but how will it work exactly? Every case is different, but the role of the attorney will be similar in each case, and understanding what a good bankruptcy attorney can do for you may help you understand how powerful bankruptcy law can be.
The role of the attorney as expert is more nuanced than you may realize. Some people hear about friends or relatives who attempt to file or actually complete a bankruptcy filing on their own, but understanding what a good bankruptcy attorney's expertise is all about reveals why this isn't a good idea. First of all, every state in the United States has different laws. This means that buying yourself a generalized "How To" guide won't be enough. Not only does a good bankruptcy attorney know and understand the local laws as they appear on the books, he will also understand how they function in practice. Who are the trustees? What is the local bankruptcy judge like? A bankruptcy attorney with experience will know the answers to these questions. Make sure to seek out an attorney who is a personal bankruptcy specialist, who has handled many cases in your area, and who is actually licensed to practice in your state.
In addition, keep in mind that bankruptcy laws, which were already complicated, became even more so with the system reforms Congress passed in 2005. In the United States, laws are made both by the legislative body that enacts them and by the judges who interpret them. Because these reforms are recent, there are many areas of the bankruptcy law that are still being settled, your attorney's practice should be limited to bankruptcy. This is the only way to ensure that your attorney has a finger on the pulse of this constantly changing area of law.
A bankruptcy attorney with experience will know how to be supportive to his clients. He will be able to anticipate problems and propose solutions before filing your case. The attorney you choose should have an accessible support staff that responds to you before and after the filing of your case. At your initial consultation, ask lots of questions and make sure you feel comfortable working with the attorney and his staff.
Don't be afraid to ask how much the attorney will charge you for his services. Remember that you get what you pay for. With so much at risk, it's certainly worth the extra money to make sure your bankruptcy goes smoothly. Remember that the attorney knows you are in financial trouble--that's why you're calling him! Law offices that handle lots of personal bankruptcy cases are more attuned to the concerns of individuals filing for bankruptcy protection and will be better prepared to work with you to fit legal services into your budget. Don't forget, in a Chapter 13, the majority of your legal fees will be paid through your plan, minimizing the up-front costs.
In order to pick a good attorney, it's a good idea not to wait until the last minute. Making life altering decisions on the fly is risky for obvious reasons, so it's a good idea to get in touch with a bankruptcy attorney sooner rather than later. If you can't keep up with your debts, the time to call is now.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt know bankruptcy inside and out. With over 50 years of combined bankruptcy experience, we are the preeminent North Carolina bankruptcy firm. But don't take our word for it, see what our clients have to say at www.billsbills.com.