It almost goes without saying that you do not want to file bankruptcy, but if you have exhausted all viable options, your next step is to select a bankruptcy lawyer. One step that people often do not check out thoroughly enough is making sure there are no other options or alternatives to bankruptcy, and a good bankruptcy lawyer can help with that step too.
The bankruptcy process is a very complex one and you want to be sure to select a bankruptcy lawyer who is familiar with bankruptcy, is familiar with the federal laws, and also familiar with the laws in your state, since the laws vary widely. There will be decisions to be made and a virtual mountain of paperwork to be completed, and the best use of your time is to allow an attorney to do this rather than trying to comprehend it all yourself.
A reputable bankruptcy lawyer will begin the process by working with you to determine your current financial situation, and then make a determination as to whether you really need to file at all. You may have investigated various alternatives, but since the attorney deals with this all the time, there may be some options that you overlooked, and these can be considered and discussed. Again, since the bankruptcy laws vary from state to state, the bankruptcy attorney can advise you of your best course of action, and if filing is the best option, they can handle the huge burden of the paperwork for you.
Although you would assume that bankruptcy lawyers are a dime a dozen if you look through the yellow pages, there are several things to keep in mind when you are selecting the right bankruptcy lawyer for you. One of the first things you should do is to research the reputation of the lawyers you are considering. This can be done by contacting the bar association in your state. While this might be a time-consuming step, it would be worth your time to do it.
You also need to remember that you get what you pay for. Do not hire a bankruptcy lawyer simply on the basis of price. A good attorney may cost a bit more, but it is typically money well spent. A lawyer who does not know what he is doing or is not intimately familiar with the bankruptcy laws in your state is actually going to cost you MORE in the long run based on time you will have lost as a result of that lack of knowledge.
Also take time to determine what is covered by the fees being quoted. Like an insurance policy, not all fees cover the same things, and you want to make sure that you are going into this with a clear picture of what it will cost and what additional things need to be done that are not covered in the quoted fee.
You may want to make an appointment to talk with the bankruptcy lawyers that you are considering before making a firm decision. Make a list of questions and ask them to see how they respond. Make sure you understand their answers, because bankruptcy is going to be a huge step for you, and you need to feel very comfortable with the attorney you choose.
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