Allow me to pull back the curtain and show you what it means to be a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. For the most part, the job is very satisfying and rewarding. I can think of no other area of law where you can assist with financial problems and make a difference so quickly. You can literally be in debt one day and out of debt the next. You can eliminate stress and pressure and turn someone’s life around. There are not many practice areas that can say that. In fact, I do not believe that there is a single practice area that can have that impact so quickly.
Now you have to be skilled in bankruptcy to truly be effective. It is great to know the bankruptcy basics; however, the true expert goes way beyond the basics. Most attorneys can decide which chapter is best. It could be Chapter 7 or it could be Chapter 13. However, knowing how the two chapters can interplay is one of keys to being an exceptions consumer bankruptcy lawyer. You have to start with the goals of the client. Not every homeowner wants to save the home. Not every auto owner wants to save the auto. You have to dig deep as an attorney to get to the heart of the case. It is from there that you can start to formulate a game plan.
If a fresh start is what the client is seeking, then it would be wise for that client to start with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. There are some attorneys that try to lump everyone into a Chapter 13. This is a huge disservice especially if the client desires a fresh start. Chapter 13 is a debt reorganization plan which requires monthly payments to a Trustee over a three to five year period. That is not quite the fresh start the person was seeking. In some cases, Chapter 13 is the only bankruptcy case to file. However, there are three to four times the number of cases that could be Chapter 7 cases over Chapter 13 cases.
If you live in Chicago or in the suburbs of Chicago, you will be filing an Illinois bankruptcy case. That means that the State of Illinois law will govern as to what property you can protect from creditors and from the Trustee in your bankruptcy case. Each state has different laws and different dollar amounts with regard to personal and real property. For example, in Illinois, you can protect up to $15,000.00 worth of equity in your real estate property. For a married couple filing jointly, that number doubles to $30,000.00. Once again, each state is different so please contact an attorney in your local area to determine the amount that you can protect.