Three Important Decisions When Filing Bankruptcy

The first important decision when filing bankruptcy is should I file? Most clients struggle with whether or not to file for bankruptcy. Even if the person has significant outstanding debt, there is still often a question as to whether or not filing bankruptcy is the right solution. People worry about their credit scores. People worry about obtaining financing for such things as homes and cars after they file for bankruptcy. People fail to realize that they are actually in a better position to obtain financing shortly after filing bankruptcy then the current timeframe. There is also a moral question for many people. Is bankruptcy and easy way out? Is bankruptcy is the wrong thing to do vies a vie your creditors? Is filing bankruptcy going to be that stigma that follows me for the rest of my life? These are some of the questions that many potential clients have when they visit me in my Chicago office. For most people, the decision to file bankruptcy is a tough one. It is only in rare occasions where I see somebody deciding to file without putting much thought behind the decision.

The second important decision when filing bankruptcy is which attorney should handle the case? Now that you have made up your decision to file for bankruptcy, you need to determine who is going to help you through the process. Are you going to seek out the cheapest attorney in the community? Are you going to seek out the most expensive attorney in the community? Are you going to seek out an attorney that does more than just bankruptcy? Are you going to contact the attorney that did your real estate closing? In reality, you want to hire an experienced, bankruptcy attorney who handles bankruptcy cases on a daily basis. Bankruptcy law has become extremely complex since the laws were revised back in 2005. You want to meet with that attorney face-to-face to get a better understanding of his or her qualifications and personality. The bankruptcy process is going to last anywhere from four months in a chapter 7 case of to five years in a chapter 13 case. You want to make sure that you have a good feeling and good working relationship with the attorney that you hire as well as the attorney’s staff. If you make a poor decision at this stage, you will be stuck in a poor relationship with your attorney and the attorney’s office for the duration of your case.

Another important decision when filing bankruptcy is when to file? The timing of bankruptcy cases is critical. A good attorney is going to advise you as to when is the right time to file as opposed to the wrong time to file. For example, you may have transferred real estate within two years of considering bankruptcy. The attorney should advise you to wait until you cross the two-year threshold before you file. You also may have used your credit cards within the last 60 to 90 days for non-necessities. The attorney once again should advise you to wait to file bankruptcy until the statutory time frames for a presumption of abuse have passed. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to wait. Sometimes you’re facing a Sheriff sale or a wage garnishment or a bank citation. In those situations, your attorney will help you decide when it is the best time to file based upon the totality of the circumstances in your case. You also may have jurisdictional issues if you recently located to a new district or state or if you are thinking of leaving. If your case is not filed in the proper jurisdiction, it can be dismissed upon motion of the trustee, a creditor, or on the court’s own motion.

In summary, these are just three of the big decisions that you have to make when you’re considering filing for bankruptcy. There are many other decisions; however, these are the three most significant in my opinion. For more information on filing bankruptcy as it relates to your particular case, you can contact my office at 847-520-8100. We have offices in Chicago, Wheeling, Waukegan, Aurora, Joliet, and Westchester. The first consultation is always complimentary and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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