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Suffering under crushing debt is one of the most devastating realizations that a person can make. Making too little money to pay your bills and live within your means can cause additional debt and have a snowball effect that may seem to have no end in sight. Rather than taking any drastic measures, first, consult with a Bankruptcy lawyer to determine if any of your debt can be forgiven under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Determining the Requirements

A bankruptcy attorney is more than just legal counsel from the sidelines in the bankruptcy process. They will first determine whether or not you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on your specific debt situation. For example, 8% of people have filed for bankruptcy at least once before; if they filed in the last six to eight years, they would not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

  • Gross income must be below the state’s median income
  • Must not have filed for bankruptcy in the last six to eight years
  • The process takes four to six months
  • Chapter 7 specific paperwork
  • Filing fees are under $500
  • One to two trips to the courthouse
  • Surviving debts include: child support, most tax debts, student loans, and debts incurred by fraud or malicious intent

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

  • Different from Chapter 7: more complicated, requires qualifying repayments over three to five years, more income
  • Earn significant income or want to protect property
  • Debt limits must not be too high; if so, can file for potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • Must have proof of steady income
  • Must not be a business
  • Undergo confirmation process
  • Complete counseling courses

Your Bankruptcy lawyer will be an essential component in making sure that you complete the necessary paperwork and processes specific to each type of bankruptcy. In 2020, about 493 non-business entities filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If you happen to qualify for the Chapter 11 outlier, your lawyer will be able to help you convert the work that you have already done to meet the requirements there too.

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Completing the Process

Your bankruptcy attorney will help you set financial goals that coincide with the bankruptcy option for which your qualify. Goal setting is part of the mandatory counseling in Chapter 13 and is best practice for all bankruptcy filings. Your lawyer will also help you complete your paperwork and ensure that you do not miss any filing deadlines. Because bankruptcy proceedings are very lengthy and time-consuming, missing a deadline may cause your entire process to start over.

Choosing the Attorney

When choosing your Bankruptcy lawyer, be sure that you use to source legal counsel. The selection of attorneys available are skilled and experienced in their fields of expertise. Your bankruptcy attorney should offer the following bankruptcy legal services:

  • Attending 341, confirmation, and reaffirmation hearings
  • Details of local rules and procedures to file for bankruptcy
  • Filing and prepare your bankruptcy paperwork
  • Helping gather any necessary documentation
  • Determining which chapter will best meet your needs and qualifications
  • Building financial goals around your bankruptcy filing

Turn to Billy for a large selection of curated legal counsel to meet your specific needs. One out of our lists of Bankruptcy lawyers will help you determine which chapter to file for and how to get the job done right. can help you find a great lawyer, no matter if it’s a consumer law firm attorney or an immigration attorney, we’ve got you covered.

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