BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS and LAWS – A Bankruptcy Overview

The basic purpose of allowing individuals and businesses to file bankruptcy is to provide debtors with a fresh start. Bankruptcy can be an effective solution for debt strapped consumers still struggling with the recession and credit crunches. The process of filing for bankruptcy is governed by a set of state and local rules that a bankruptcy attorney can help clarify. Filing for bankruptcy is generally a "numbers game", namely—how much do you owe and how much do you have. Even though most bankruptcy concepts are fairly strait forward, a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your state will help you avoid many procedural pitfalls in the bankruptcy process.

Every bankruptcy petition is filed in a federal court, within the state you are domiciled, according to the general rules established by the United States Codes (Bankruptcy Code). In addition to the federal rules, each bankruptcy court adopts its own set of local rules. When you are considering filing for bankruptcy, avoid filing incorrectly by contacting a bankruptcy attorney that is familiar with the federal code and also knows the local procedures.

Prior to filing for bankruptcy, law requires that all consumers complete a credit counseling class. You cannot finish your bankruptcy action without obtaining a certificate of completion. After you have completed this class, your bankruptcy attorney will help you prepare your outline for your debt obligations and the relief you are seeking, to be formed into a bankruptcy petition. Depending on your financial situation, you can seek relief under Chapter 7 or 13 of the bankruptcy code. Chapter 7 is designed to discharge debts when there are no assets or hope of repayment. Chapter 13 focuses more on debt repayment when you do have a means to pay the debt. Similar bankruptcy options are available for small business entities. This process should be discussed with your bankruptcy attorney to avoid filing for the wrong Chapter.

The type of bankruptcy you select and the number of contested debt issues will control how much you have to pay for filing fees and bankruptcy attorney fees. The complexity of your situation, the experience level of your bankruptcy attorney, and your state's local practices, will also influence how much you will have to pay for representation during the bankruptcy process. Make sure to discuss all related fees and costs associated with filing a bankruptcy with your bankruptcy attorney before proceeding.

After you file the petition, you will review you bankruptcy plan with the bankruptcy trustee in a settlement meeting. A bankruptcy trustee is an officer of the bankruptcy court who will review the plan to make sure that you are honest about your responses and that that your plan is fair to your creditors. If you pre-worked your plan, you can usually get your plan confirmed within a couple of months after you file with the aid of a bankruptcy attorney. The less assets and contested issues you have, the quicker the potential for early confirmation.

Essentially, the basic steps for any type of bankruptcy are compiling a list of creditors, seeking the aid of a bankruptcy attorney to help in filing a petition, and developing a plan that the court will approve. Even though the steps are generally that same from state to state, each jurisdiction will have its own local rules. Before you file a petition, contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area that can help you with the general federal bankruptcy rules and the nuances of the local court rules.

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