Your bills got you down? Is the bank trying to take your house? Is the loan company towing your car? Is the IRS taking a big chunk out of your paycheck for back taxes? Who are you going to call? The Bankruptcy Lawyer, thatís who, or at least that used to be the automatic answer. Unfortunately, the rules have changed significantly in the last year or so; bankruptcy may not be the answer that it used to be. To find out for sure, still call the Bankruptcy Lawyer.
Before you make your first call, get all of your bills together; the latest copy of the bills or statements from everyone that you owe money to, copies of all loan agreements, and copies the last three months worth of all of your utility bills, including cell phone and cable bills. The attorney is going to need copies of any legal notices that you have received about the money that you owe and a copy of your credit report as well. Then get copies of your last three pay stubs and documents on any other sources of income. Before it can determined if you are eligible for bankruptcy under the new rules, the lawyer is going to have to put together a budget to see if you can pay your current bills.
During your first meeting with the bankruptcy lawyer, you are going to go over all of these documents in detail so that your attorney understands the true extent of your financial situation. The bankruptcy lawyer is going to ask a lot of questions. In any legal situation it is a good idea to tell your lawyer everything; the good, the bad, and the ugly. In this case it is absolutely necessary. Your attorney needs to know everything about your finances to determine if bankruptcy is a legal option. The attorney wonít have any answers during your first meeting, only questions.
The last thing the bankruptcy lawyer is going to do that day is to refer you to a federally approved credit counseling service. This must be completed before you can actually file for bankruptcy. When Congress wrote the new rules, they felt that too many people were relying on bankruptcy protection rather than actually paying their bills. One of the tools that they thought all people ought to use to solve their financial problems was credit counseling. So, that became part of the rules.
Once your attorney completes the review of your situation, you will be called back for another meeting. At this meeting you will learn whether or not you qualify for bankruptcy under the new rules. If you do qualify there will be at least one more meeting when you come back to sign the paperwork to file for bankruptcy. There will be a stack of paperwork that will rival those you sign when you close on the purchase of a house. At that meeting youíll be told when you have to appear in court.
Your appearance in court will mark the beginning of a new stage of your life. You are not going to be free and clear of debt for a while, but the court will be managing your payments. The good part of bankruptcy is that, as long as you fulfill your requirements to the court, you will no longer have to worry about creditors hounding you for payment; they can no longer talk to you, only to your attorney or the court. That portion of the burden of debt will be lifted.