If you are considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might be wondering whether you need to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to help with your case. You might be thinking that consumer bankruptcy is relatively straightforward in that you provide information to the bankruptcy court and receive a discharge of your debts. However, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is extremely complex, and making even a minor mistake could put your entire bankruptcy case at risk. There are numerous steps to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, and these steps require the debtor to show that he or she can pass the “means test,” as well as to fill out and submit precise information about assets and exemptions. In addition to the complicated process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it could turn out that this is not the best bankruptcy chapter for your specific situation.
An Oak Park bankruptcy lawyer can ensure that you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that it is the best course of action for you, and that your bankruptcy filing goes as smoothly as possible. We will explain in more detail.
A Lawyer can Help with the Complex Requirements of a Bankruptcy Filing
Every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case has multiple steps, including the following:
- Debtor will need to go through mandatory credit counseling;
- Debtor must file bankruptcy petition and all required documents, which include schedules of the debtor’s assets and financial information to prove that the debtor can pass the “means test,” as well as documents on which the debtor claims exemptions;
- Bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to the case, and the debtor will be required to submit additional documentation to the trustee, including the most recent tax return; and
- The “meeting of the creditors” occurs, at which time the debtor will need to answer questions about his or her financial situation and the documents submitted.
All of those steps occur before the court even determines that the debtor is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As such, it is essential that you have an experienced attorney on your side throughout these steps.
Is Chapter 7 the Right Bankruptcy Option for Your Situation?
Another important reason to work with a lawyer on your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is that it could turn out that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not really the right decision for you. In some cases, it might be that you are ineligible to file for liquidation bankruptcy because you cannot pass the “means test.” In other scenarios, you could simply benefit more from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, especially if you are seeking to stop a foreclosure.
A bankruptcy lawyer can assess your situation and can talk through your options with you for seeking debt relief.
Discuss Your Situation with an Oak Park Bankruptcy Attorney
The general process of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing might sound relatively straightforward, but U.S. bankruptcy law is extremely complicated. As we discussed above, making even a minor mistake in your bankruptcy petition or in any of the documents you are required to file can delay your bankruptcy discharge or could even result in your inability to have your debts discharged. An experienced bankruptcy attorney in Oak Park can assist with your case. Contact the Emerson Law Firm for more information.
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