Bankruptcy refers to the inability to repay outstanding debts by a business or a person. In such cases, a bankruptcy petition is filed by the person who owes the money (debtor). Generally, a portion of the assets owned by the debtor is then sold to pay off outstanding debts. However, filing for bankruptcy indicates that the concerned party is in no position to pay off debts and needs a fresh start to stabilize financials.
The federal court will issue a discharge order that will validate the proceeding to waive off an outstanding debt. After a discharge, no creditor will be in a position to recover their debt, as the debtor is absolved of all personal liability. A bankruptcy lawyer is more than qualified to handle the proceedings to ensure a positive verdict and a fair claim made on behalf of the client.
You must consider the following points before hiring a bankruptcy lawyer:
- The legal representative must be well qualified, experienced, and must have experience in handling bankruptcy cases.
- Determine if you are comfortable sharing sensitive information relevant to the filing.
- What are the costs involved from the first filing to the final discharge?
- Compare legal services online, do not just settle with the first listed representative.
In case you cannot afford bankruptcy lawyers, free legal representation is available. You can contact lawyers listed in the American Bar Association (ABA) or find someone to represent your case from the Legal Services Corporation. Many bankruptcy lawyers offer their assistance pro bono to give low-income clients a fair and equal representation in the court of law.
The ABA is a union of 400,000 members of the bar spread across 3500 entities in the country. The ABA directory is one of the best resources to find legal representation online. You can search for bankruptcy lawyers state-wise and narrow down search results to local representation in your city, county, and area.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), on the other hand, is a non-profit entity established by the Congress in 1974. The main objectives of the LSC include providing legal aid at a low cost, ensuring fairness in the justice system, and providing critical constituent services apart from financial assistance to low-income Americans.
The courts also allow individuals to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. Filing personal bankruptcy is beneficial only when you have a good understanding of bankruptcy laws and the legal jargons that govern the same. However, this is an alternative you can consider only after consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer.