Do I Need to Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney?

In 2015, over 860,000 bankruptcy cases were filed and another 1.2 million were pending in the US Courts. If you are one of the thousands considering filing for bankruptcy this year, you might be wondering – do I need to hire a bankruptcy attorney? While individuals are not legally required to use an attorney to file for bankruptcy, it is almost always recommended to have the support of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Varying Complexity: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

There are two types of bankruptcy cases: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is the simpler of the two, while Chapter 13 can be quite complex because more income and assets are involved.

Individuals file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they have little to no disposable income and want to totally wipe out their unsecured debts. In the simplest form of a Chapter 7 filing, it could be feasible to represent yourself without the help of an attorney, but even so, extensive paperwork and documentation are required, so it is always recommended to have the help of an expert. An example of a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy ruling would be if your income is less than the state median, you do not own any assets and there are no priority debts or creditors alleging fraud against you.

Unlike Chapter 7, individuals file for Chapter 13 if their income is great enough that they can pay back their debt. If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is always recommended to hire an attorney because you must propose a repayment plan to pay off the debts. Proceedings for Chapter 13 can be much more complicated than Chapter 7 because there’s more at stake, and it would be very difficult and not recommended for an individual to represent themselves in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

When to Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Arkansas, you should contact a Little Rock bankruptcy attorney for a consultation. No matter the type or complexity of your bankruptcy filing, an experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you reach the most favorable outcome for your situation.

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