Ten Steps of Obtaining Bankruptcy Protection
Consult an Attorney
Decide whether or not to hire an attorney or go it alone. Section 527(b) of the Bankruptcy Code states:
''IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER.
If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone." (Underlining emphasis added)
Even if you decide to "go it alone," take advantage of the free initial consultation most professional bankruptcy attorneys provide.
If you choose to hire an attorney (a WISE choice!) seek out a bankruptcy "professional." Now, all attorneys are "professionals" in the sense that they are "engaged in one of the learned professions." A bankruptcy "professional" however, is an attorney who is participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by others as a side line or hobby. Now, this is not to say that an attorney who practices in four, five, six or more different areas of the law cannot provide great representation in a bankruptcy; in fact most of them do. But filing for bankruptcy is a HUGE decision and you owe it to yourself to find representation from an attorney that has committed his or her full attention to the area of law you need help in. There are three primary attributes of a bankruptcy professional that set us apart from the general category of "attorney"
- Appears in the phone book under the heading of "bankruptcy attorney" and no more than two other categories;
- Is a member in good standing with the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys ("NACBA")
- Offers a FREE, thorough, one-hour or more initial consultation
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