If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the first step is to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. This initial consultation serves to understand better your financial situation and begin to plan the way towards resolving it. It is the important foundation from which you will work build a future of financial security.
At the initial bankruptcy consultation, here’s what you can expect:
- You will be asked some questions about your financial situation.
- The legal team will begin to determine if you qualify for bankruptcy, and which type.
- The lawyer will provide information about your assets, repayment period and how long it should take to close the bankruptcy case.
- You will have the opportunity to ask the lawyer some questions about the process.
Before this consultation, you will want to get a few things in order. Find out how to prepare for a bankruptcy consultation, what information and documentation you will need to provide to your lawyer, and what will be discussed and determined in the meeting.
How to Prepare for a Bankruptcy Consultation
In preparation for the first meeting with your bankruptcy lawyer, you should collect all the relevant information and documentation. These will help give your attorney a better idea of your current financial situation and background. You should also be ready to answer a few questions which will help determine if you qualify for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Be Ready to Show
During the consultation, you may be asked to fill out a form which requires some basic information about your finances. To fill this out, or at least discuss the situation with your attorney, you should have some information prepared. The following types of documentation will be helpful in an initial consultation:
- W-2 or 1099 pay stubs, Social Security statement, Unemployment/Workman’s Compensation Statements, or Business Profit/Loss Statement from the last 6 months,
- Bank statements from the last 3 months,
- Unpaid bills,
- Loan agreements,
- Most recent car finance statement,
- Most recent mortgage statement,
- Notifications from creditors,
- Letters related to legal action taken by creditors,
- Notice of foreclosure,
- Documentation of wages being garnished,
- Receipts of payments made to creditors,
- Liens that have been filed,
- Tax returns from the past 2 years, AND
- Credit counseling certification (if already completed).
Bring along any other related documents that may assist the bankruptcy attorney identifying the best solution for your bankruptcy case.
Be Ready to Discuss
You will also want to inform your lawyer about the most urgent issues that you’re dealing with:
- Domestic support that you are required to pay, including alimony and child support,
- Qualification factors and any potential issues that may keep your case from proceeding,
- The property that you own,
- Other assets including vehicles, retirement funds and insurance policies.
Your attorney needs to know about your assets in order to file the necessary petitions for items that are exempt in Ohio.
Make a list of the questions that you have for your attorney as well. It’s normal to have a lot of concerns when you’re considering bankruptcy. At this consultation, you will get a lot of information to help you understand the options that are available to you.
Meeting with a Bankruptcy Lawyer
A bankruptcy lawyer is your partner in finding the best solution to your financial problems and helping you get out from under accumulated debt. To do this successfully, he or she will need to fully understand your situation. Be honest with your attorney. Giving your legal team incorrect information or not providing all the details can actually hurt your bankruptcy case in the long run. This may hinder the chances of qualifying for bankruptcy, completing the repayment period or getting debt discharged.
Goals for a Successful Bankruptcy Consultation
Each bankruptcy case is different. The best financial solution for you will depend directly on your particular situation. Once you have provided the basic information requested by your lawyer, you can discuss the different options that are available to you. A successful consultation will begin to map the way towards financial stability.
Here are some goals to focus on for what should be accomplished in a bankruptcy consultation:
- Discuss the terms for qualifying for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Identify your current assets and determine the best way to protect them as you work towards being debt free.
- Review the potential costs associated with filing for bankruptcy and the length of an eventual repayment period.
- Define the next steps you will need to take in order to file for bankruptcy.
At the initial consultation, your attorney will provide valuable advice and recommendations for how you should proceed. This is an early point in the process, but an experienced lawyer will also be able to give you an idea of some of the challenges that you might have along the way.
Schedule a Bankruptcy Consultation
If you live in Ohio and are struggling with debt, we can help you find a workable solution. Trust the bankruptcy attorneys at Amourgis & Associates to help you reach financial security. Call our offices at (330) 535-6650 to request an initial consultation, or contact us online.