Bankruptcy law covers a variety of complex federal legal proceedings for borrowers who cannot meet all their financial obligations. Declaring bankruptcy may help families, individuals, or businesses that cannot afford to pay off all their unpaid debts to creditors. Attorneys that specialize in bankruptcy law can represent both debtors and creditors alike. Since bankruptcy law is complex, attorneys may also serve as impartial intermediaries to ensure the process is fair to everyone. This means they may occasionally take on other roles, such as mediators, trustees, regulators, or even become court judges.
Generally, any changes to bankruptcy law must happen at the federal level only. No matter where you live in the U.S., the rules, procedures, and steps to declare bankruptcy are always the same.
You might know that bankruptcy law covers multiple filing options, called “Chapters,” designed to provide debt relief:
In fact, many people with excess debt may qualify to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you believe that may apply in your case, consult an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law about your situation. Most bankruptcy lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations by phone to individuals who can confirm they qualify for legal assistance.
It’s true that some people declare bankruptcy without a lawyer. It’s known as a “pro se” filing, and it’s significantly harder than, say, filing your own divorce papers. However, even the United States Courts website says it’s probably a bad idea.
Here are just a few reasons to consult an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law about your situation first: