Each year, many Americans looking for a fresh start turn to bankruptcy for relief from their debt obligations. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, meeting with an experienced attorney is one of the best ways to determine whether it’s the right solution for you. Once you have scheduled an initial consultation, you may receive a questionnaire from the attorney’s office to be filled out prior to the meeting. This early assessment will generally ask you about your outstanding debts, monthly expenses, assets and income so your attorney has a full picture of your financial health and can advise you on the best course of action. Before your meeting, you will want to start gathering any and all documents pertaining to any active or past due accounts, bank statements, paystubs, child support or spousal support orders as well as any documents that may relate to legal action or judgments you have against you.
During your initial meeting, the attorney will carefully examine the questionnaire, relevant documentation and likely ask a series of questions about your finances to determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) is ideal. The bankruptcy attorney will review your income, on a long and short term basis as well as your expenses to make sure that your expenditures would be considered reasonable by the court. Finally, the attorney will look at your assets and debts. It is important to have up to date information about your debts at this time, which is why most attorneys encourage you to bring your most recent credit or loan statements. An attorney will also look at your assets to determine which, if any, may qualify for exemptions.
Many individuals considering bankruptcy are embarrassed and feel some reluctance when discussing their financial situations. It’s important to remember that full disclosure is absolutely necessary when working with your attorney. Based on the information that you’ve provided before and during the meeting, your attorney will inform you on some of the basics of bankruptcy, offer advice as to various options, including whether it is in your best interest to proceed with the bankruptcy petition.
Contact a bankruptcy attorney at Schneiders & Associates, L.L.P. to schedule an initial consultation so we can review your situation and recommend the best course of action for you.