Timothy J. Sierra
Urban Myth # 3 Bankruptcy is a simple process
For some reason, a lot of people I speak to have an understanding that bankruptcy is a simple process. You just sign some papers, go to court, wipe out your debts and then go in peace. In other words, it is a walk in the park. Some call my office wanting to just talk for a few minutes and ask a couple of questions and expect they can get a quick consultation over the phone. I am not sure why people fees this way about bankruptcy; maybe these false impressions are because they think that if they can't pay their debt, they are entitled to a bankruptcy discharge. Most of my clients are surprised that there is more than meets the eye.
Bankruptcy is a complex process with a lot of different issues involved and there are minefields to avoid. Every case has a unique set of circumstances and only an attorney well versed in bankruptcy can competently assist you. Don't fall prey to thinking it is a simple case and find someone to assist you who will just push the paper through the system. Choose an attorney wisely like you would choose any other professional. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation.
Ask the person who conducts the initial consultation if they are a lawyer and whether they will handle the case from start to finish. Ask who will appear at the meeting of creditors. Will it be the person you met at the initial consultation or some hired hand who knows nothing of your case? Do they answer your questions? Is the person supervising your case an attorney who regularly practices bankruptcy law? Some law firms have paralegals who process the bankruptcy cases but these paralegals are not lawyers and the lawyers in the firm do not regularly practice bankruptcy law. Ask if a member of the firm is member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys nacba.org or other related organization.