Let’s clear the air here. No one wants to be in a position to file bankruptcy. If you are reading this, it’s likely that you or someone you love is in over their head in debt. The sleepless nights, the constant barrage of harassing phone calls from creditors and collection agencies and the game of “who gets paid this month” have resulted in overwhelming frustration, anxiety and even possibly despair.
The good news is that bankruptcy is not the end of the world. When advised by a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer, it’s very possible to clear the slate, so to speak, and get back on track financially. However, bankruptcy is certainly not a magic pill.
Here are 5 things you need to know before filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection:
- Get some patience. There is nothing fast about the bankruptcy process. Even Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is often considered a simpler process than Chapter 13, takes upward of four months to complete. If you opt for a Chapter 13 reorganization, it will be at least three years (often more like five) until you are going to see the “fresh start” you so desperately want and need.
- Hello world! Bankruptcy is a public process. This is not to say that your neighbors and friends will begin getting updates about how your repayment plan is going. However, anyone who wants to check out your personal information can do so. Further, you will have to get very comfortable discussing your debt and finances with your attorney, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, and others who may have a right to question you throughout the process.
- There’s no place to hide. If you think you can sweep some things under the rug because they are too embarrassing or even possibly illegal, think again. In fact, if you don’t disclose all financial information as required by the bankruptcy process, you can be setting yourself up for serious consequences. You want a fresh start? Be prepared to come clean.
- You can’t do this alone. And it will be costly. Well, technically you are allowed to file for bankruptcy alone. Don’t do it. It’s critically important that your filing be done correctly with an eye on accuracy and deadlines. The truth is, you have to pay a lawyer to get through bankruptcy and the filing fees are steep. However, when you consider how complicated the filing process, you really don’t have a choice. The attention required to complete even the basic forms in enormous. You may be thinking you can’t afford to pay someone to get you out of unmanageable debt. Think again. The truth is, you can’t afford not to find someone who has “been there, done that” and is prepared to protect you while handling your bankruptcy.
Contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack today for a free consultation about your personal financial situation. he will answer your questions and advise you about your options for managing debt.