Bankruptcy Options

Most people are unaware that there are several bankruptcy options if you are struggling financially.  Bankruptcy is not a one size fits all situation.  In fact, each case is completely different in that the individual circumstances are different.  One client may own a home where another client is renting.  One client may own a vehicle where another client is on public transportation.  It is important to realize that a bankruptcy attorney will gather all of the necessary facts in order to provide professional advice.  You may qualify for bankruptcy or you may not.  There are some rare situations where there is not a bankruptcy remedy available.

Let’s first explore the option of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  This is the most common form of bankruptcy protection and it makes up approximately 75% of all bankruptcy cases.  The typical Chapter 7 case involves credit card and medical debt.  The typical debtor is someone who is working, but cannot afford to make monthly payments.  In many cases, the debt has accrued over the course of several years.  The interest and late fees have often made it impossible to pay off.  When creditors fail to reduce the interest or reduce the outstanding balance, people are more inclined to file for bankruptcy then continue making minimum payments.  It is incredibly frustrating when the balance does not reduce after making minimum payments.

For others, Chapter 13 seems like the best option.  This is where the debt is reorganized and paid back either in full or at a fraction of what was originally owed.  This is not the type of case that you would want to file bankruptcy yourself.  The process is extremely complex and even seasoned bankruptcy attorneys struggle with Chapter 13 cases.  For one thing, the case lasts from three to five years.  Throughout the case, issues arise that require court appearances.  Sometimes the Trustee is bringing a motion before the court.  Other times, a creditor is seeking relief from the case.  This is where you definitely want to have an attorney representing your interest.

The bottom line is this:  If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should seek the advice and counsel of a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer.  There are simply too many things that could go wrong if you try to go it alone.  For example, you case can be dismissed if you don’t tender pay advices and tax returns within 45 days of filing.  Image the horror of paying the filing fee only to have the case get dismissed.  Further, you will not likely understand the notices that come from the court.  It takes years of experience to decipher between items that need attention and those that are simply generic notices.  Bankruptcy has become a unique specialty under the law.  It is not something that should be taken lightly.