After struggling to pay your debts for months or even years, you think that you’re ready to file bankruptcy. It’s time to contact a bankruptcy lawyer, but which one? Can you trust the ones who advertise on TV and radio, others on taxi cabs and bus stops? Asking a friend to refer you to a bankruptcy attorney to help you with filing bankruptcy can be awkward. But you are facing foreclosure, have huge medical bills, a pile of credit card debt, struggling with student loan debt and/or wage garnishment, so you have to do something. You know that one creditor is closing in and any day you’ll be dealing with an automobile repossession. Maybe you tried credit counseling but you are still getting harassing phone calls from creditors at all hours so a bankruptcy filing is your only hope.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step. You know that you need sound legal advice but you are not sure that you can pay the attorney fees. You are considering one of those cheap bankruptcy lawyers but you have heard the horror stories about them. So how do you find the right bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the bankruptcy process?
Here’s how to find the best bankruptcy attorney for you.
- Is the bankruptcy attorney professional?
By professional, we don’t mean that they wear a 3-piece suit to meet with you but their general attire and personal presence should be professional in appearance. Their conduct should proper and courteous when discussing your bankruptcy options on the telephone and when you meet them in person for additional bankruptcy information. Their office and staff should also be helpful and while they should not give you specific legal advice, they should be able to discuss the bankruptcy basics with you. Their office does not have to be the Taj Mahal but it probably shouldn’t be a coffee shop either. Every law office can look a bit cluttered at times but it should not look like it needs a major reorganization. If you have to step over a pile of bankruptcy forms when you enter the office, you might be at the wrong place for you.
You will know that you have found the right bankruptcy help if you walk out of their office confident that your bankruptcy petition will be handled properly.
- Avoid the bargain or free bankruptcy attorneys (there are none)
Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation and many advertise a low price but, you are making a huge mistake if you price shop. A cheap bankruptcy law firm may use what amounts to bait and switch. Meaning, they advertise a low price but if you want someone to go to court with you, well that’s extra. In the end, you will usually end up paying the same amount or more than what you would have paid with an attorney who told you the price upfront. Bargain attorneys work on volume so they simply cannot provide the same level of service of a more reputable law firm. You are far more likely to have problems with your personal bankruptcy using one of the cheap law offices in town.
There is actually little need to go with a cut-rate law firm anyway. Most bankruptcy attorneys will have a payment plan that will fit your budget.
- Your first office bankruptcy consultation
The first time that you meet with a bankruptcy attorney, they should discuss your alternatives to bankruptcy, as well as, the types of bankruptcy like chapter 7 and chapter 13. They should give you plenty of time to ask bankruptcy questions and use the means test to determine if you qualify for bankruptcy. They don’t need to bore you with a bunch of bankruptcy laws and bankruptcy codes that mean little to you but they should explain the automatic stay, unsecured and secured debt, bankruptcy exemptions and other matters that concern a consumer bankruptcy case.
If you feel rushed through the office visit or like the attorney isn’t really interested in helping you to get a fresh start, you may be in the wrong place.
- After bankruptcy support
When you meet with a bankruptcy attorney, it is a good idea to ask them about after bankruptcy support. If things go right, your case will be discharged and you will be on your way to financial freedom. But, what if something comes up? You need to know that your bankruptcy attorney will be there to help resolve any post-discharge bankruptcy problems.
Additionally, a sign of a really quality bankruptcy law firm is one that offers you assistance after bankruptcy to re-establish your credit and help you learn how to avoid financial disasters in the future.
Contact Our Phoenix Bankruptcy Law Office Today
You know that it is time. Things aren’t getting any better and they won’t until you do something to change your situation. Filing a bankruptcy may be the best option for you but if it isn’t we’ll recommend a different course of action during a free consultation. Call us today. We can help.