If you are having financial difficulties, bankruptcy may be the best course of action. Due to the legal aspects of filing for bankruptcy, it can be challenging to navigate the process alone. You can file the case without legal help, known as going pro se, though experts recommend hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to handle your case. Our Arkansas bankruptcy team breaks down what exactly a bankruptcy lawyer can do for you and what to expect throughout the process.
Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help individuals and businesses who cannot repay their debts. When you file for bankruptcy, your assets are liquidated and used to pay off your creditors. In return, your creditors agree to discharge the remaining debt you owe. The two most common chapters filed for are chapter 7 and chapter 13.
What Does a Bankruptcy Attorney Do?
Lawyers specializing in bankruptcy give clients legal advice, prepare legal documents, and represent clients in court. A lawyer must hold a law degree and be licensed in the state where they conduct business.
In addition to guiding you through the bankruptcy process, a lawyer can provide you with the following advice:
- Whether or not to file
- Which type of bankruptcy to file
- What's involved in filing for bankruptcy
- What kinds of debts can be reduced or eliminated
- What forms are required by the court
- What your options are after filing for bankruptcy: Keeping your house, car, or other property
Overall, a bankruptcy attorney can guide you toward the right course of action. You may make legal mistakes that have long-term financial consequences if you handle a bankruptcy case without a lawyer.
What To Expect From a Bankruptcy Lawyer
You can expect the following if you hire a bankruptcy lawyer:
- A written agreement or contract. In the contract, the lawyer should outline the work they will do for you.
- A description of payment arrangements. Will the lawyer charge an hourly rate or a flat fee? What will the costs be?
- Ongoing discussions. You'll discuss your case with the lawyer.
- An agreement. You and the lawyer will decide when and how often the lawyer will update you about your case.
- A list of documents. You should receive a complete list of documents needed for your bankruptcy case from your lawyer.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
You can represent yourself in court. It all depends on your situation. You are more likely to succeed in bankruptcy by hiring a lawyer. A 2018 American Bankruptcy Institute study found that Chapter 7 pro se filers are nearly ten times more likely than lawyer-represented filers to have their cases dismissed or some debt discharge requests denied.
Bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for seven or ten years, depending on the type. For this reason, you should hire a bankruptcy lawyer. Here are three reasons why you might need one:
- You feel uncomfortable handling the bankruptcy case on your own. You may find it intimidating to represent yourself in court so that a bankruptcy lawyer can handle legal matters on your behalf.
- You're worried about the paperwork. Court cases require much paperwork. Incorrectly filling out paperwork or turning it in the past the deadline, for example, could jeopardize your bankruptcy case. Any documents (such as credit card bills) you need to submit can be managed by a bankruptcy lawyer.
- You're tired of hearing from debt collectors. Rather than constantly being bugged by debt collectors, you can deal with them through a bankruptcy attorney. When a debt collector learns that a lawyer represents you, they will need to contact the lawyer, not you.
Why You Should Hire
Filing for bankruptcy is complex, but it may be the right choice if you cannot repay your debts. Our skilled team will be there with you every step to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!
We look forward to helping you get a fresh start.
Contact us today through our website or give us a call at (501) 299-5963 to schedule your consultation!