Debt, especially when it is more than you can handle, is one of the most stressful things you can face in life. A Chicago, IL bankruptcy lawyer can help you get a handle on debt and start fresh with your finances. Having a list of questions ready for your initial meeting with a Chicago, IL bankruptcy lawyer can help you stay calm and learn as much as possible before you decide to file.
What questions should you ask your bankruptcy attorney?
What is Your Bankruptcy Experience?
It is important to work with a lawyer who is focused on bankruptcy. The laws regarding bankruptcy tend to change fairly frequently and someone who is only practicing bankruptcy law part time will have a tough time keeping up. Any lawyer you work with should have at least three years of experience working with bankruptcy clients and should dedicate the majority of his or her practice to bankruptcy cases.
What Types of Bankruptcy Cases Have You Handled?
Most individual consumer files for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Though there are similarities among the two, they overall process of each is vastly different. You want an attorney who can offer you the best advice concerning which chapter is right for you and be able to guide you through the process from start to finish regardless of which chapter you choose.
How Much Will It Cost Me to File for Bankruptcy?
It might seem counterintuitive to pay to file for bankruptcy, but the simple fact is bankruptcy is not cheap and your attorney’s fees are only part of the cost. Make sure you understand in detail how much filing will cost and whether there will be any extra costs once you get started. Make sure you receive a written fee agreement and that you understand when payments are due.
Will You Represent Me in Court?
Some bankruptcy attorneys meet with a client for an initial introduction and then pass that client off to their staff. This does not mean that working with someone other than the lead attorney will hurt your case, but it does mean you need to know what to expect. If another attorney will be going to court with you, make sure you meet this person prior to your 341 meeting of creditors.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Much of this depends on the chapter you choose. Most Chapter 7 cases are completed within a few months – usually about six. Chapter 13 cases take much longer because you will be committing to a multi-year payment plan. In either chapter, it is possible to get the ball up and running and get the automatic stay in place quickly, but when it comes to debt discharge, you are dealing with drastically different timeframes.
Is Bankruptcy My Best Option?
You should never feel pressured into bankruptcy by Chicago, IL bankruptcy lawyer. The truth is it is not the right option for everyone and an honest bankruptcy lawyer will tell you if this is the case for you. But if bankruptcy is your best option, you want to work with someone who can clearly explain the benefits of filing and help you every step of the way.