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How Would I Choose a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

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How Would I Choose a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

No matter what strategies you tried, you can't escape it any more. Your debts are much larger than your assets and, to get out from under the imbalance, you have to declare bankruptcy. You want to pay your rightful debts, so look for the right Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer.

Bankruptcy Legal Expert

Stay away from generalists. You need a lawyer who's a true expert in bankruptcy. Whether he's an expert in Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 -- or all three, he should have documented experience. As you look for the right bankruptcy lawyer, ask how many Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases they have filed. Ask, too, what percentage of their firms are bankruptcy cases.

Lawyer Knows Current Law

Perhaps the most important question you should be asking of each lawyer as you meet with them is this: "How will the changes to the bankruptcy code enacted in 2005 affect my case?" If any lawyer can't answer your question in general, keep looking. Changes to the law tightened eligibility requirements and also now require some filers to reorganize their debts rather than have their debts completely forgiven.

Good People Skills

If you don't get along with your lawyer, any work he could do for you won't be as effective as it should. While bankruptcy lawyers shouldn't strive for a best buddy relationship, not having the ability to connect with his potential clients is a sign you should keep looking. If you can't get comfortable discussing your financial issues, listen to your instincts.

Professional Affiliations

Does the Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer you're considering hiring belong to any professional organizations such as the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys? Membership means he's able to stay up to date on the most recent developments in bankruptcy law; he's going to do everything possible to represent you well, and; he'll be competent. Look on your state's bar association website and look for proper certification.

Willing to Explore Alternatives

Any good, ethical bankruptcy attorney you're looking at will consider other possible resolutions for your financial situation. If you're sure you qualify for Chapter 13, that may be the case -- but your attorney should look at other options for declaring bankruptcy, such as Chapter 7 or Chapter 11. In the end, you may not need to declare bankruptcy at all. Your attorney may suggest a debt management plan or he may find you're "collection proof."

Listens to You

A bankruptcy lawyer should be compassionate. You've tried everything, you're feeling emotional and possibly as though you have failed. As you interview your Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer, look for his empathy and understanding.

Will Help Restore Your Credit

What is the good of declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy if your credit rating is still ravaged? A good bankruptcy attorney will take the time to help rebuild your credit rating by disputing reporting errors and giving you a list of lenders willing to work with those who've declared bankruptcy.

Choose a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer