One of the questions that I am asked the most as an Oakbrook Terrace bankruptcy lawyer is do you think that I should file for bankruptcy? Filing for bankruptcy is a personal decision that no attorney can make for you. You have to look at your own financial situation and decide whether or not you really feel it’s in your best interest. I often look to the person’s income and their expenses and determine whether or not they have the ability to repay over time. If they do have the ability to repay over time, then bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily have to be the way to go. However, if someone comes to see me and their income does not exceed their expenses, so in other words, they do not have available money per month then bankruptcy is a good option because there’s no other way the debt is going to be eliminated.
The rule of thumb that I often use with my clients is this: if you feel that you can bail yourself out of debt within six months’ time, then I do not recommend filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, on the other hand, at the end of six months, you have not made a significant dent into your debt and you are still struggling and you are going on continue to struggle, then I would recommend either a Chapter 7 fresh start or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case to help provide some sort of debt relief.
But once again, the decision to actually file is a personal decision, and no attorney should make that decision for you. Take a look at your financial situation. Are you working? Are you making decent money? Take a look at your expenses. Are they out of control, or do you have a handle on those expenses? Also, can you work deals with your creditors, or are the creditors threatening to sue you and not willing to work out any deals with you? These and others are the factors that have to be considered into whether or not it’s a good idea for you to file a bankruptcy claim or not.
An attorney can give you advice, but remember, the attorney is in business to sell legal services. There are some attorneys that are out there that will try and convince you to file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case when you really do not need a bankruptcy. One such example would be someone who was solely on Social Security income and has no significant assets. That person is what we call “collectionproof.” A creditor can obtain a judgment against that person; however, enforcement of the judgment, actually collecting on the debt, would be virtually impossible if the person only has Social Security income and has no significant assets. Some attorneys will advise the individual of this fact, while others will say, “It is best that you file for bankruptcy to prevent your wages or your bank account from being attached.” Well, some cheap bankruptcy lawyers are in the business just to make money, and they will say whatever they need to say to convince a client to file for bankruptcy.