Thinking about filing for bankruptcy? Wondering what the process will be like, or where to start? You’ve come to the right place. While bankruptcy can be a complicated legal process, it doesn’t have to be confusing when you have an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney on your side. Learn more with this step by step guide to filing for bankruptcy in Scottsdale.
Step 1: Decide if Bankruptcy Is Right for You
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can help consumers eliminate or gradually repay their debts. However, bankruptcy might not be the right choice for everyone. Someone who has primarily nondischargeable debts, for example, might not be the best candidate for bankruptcy.
Nondischargeable debts are those that can’t be eliminated by filing for bankruptcy and may include unpaid child support or alimony, certain tax debts, student loans, personal injury judgments involving drunk or drugged driving, and criminal fines or fees. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney early on can help you decide if a Scottsdale personal bankruptcy is right for you.
Step 2: Find Out What Type of Bankruptcy You Qualify For
There are two kinds of consumer bankruptcy you should know about: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called a liquidation bankruptcy, is only available to filers who meet certain income guidelines—namely, a debtor’s income must be less than the median Arizona income for their family size or pass a Means Test.
Debtors with high medical bills, credit card debt, payday loans, and other unsecured debt may find the most debt relief in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, while Chapter 7 bankruptcy can result in the highest amount of debt being discharged, a debtor’s assets may be sold to pay off their creditors.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, focuses primarily on restructuring your existing debt into more manageable monthly payments. If you have a steady income and want to save your home, vehicle, and other assets, Chapter 13 may be the right choice for you. After successfully completing a three to five-year repayment plan, Chapter 13 debtors may even be eligible to have their remaining debts discharged.
Step 3: Choose a Reputable Bankruptcy Attorney
There’s no law that says you have to hire an attorney when filing for bankruptcy in Scottsdale. That being said, legal representation during bankruptcy is highly recommended. The truth is that bankruptcy is an intricate legal process involving strict filing deadlines, extensive documentation of your finances, and multiple court dates. When it comes to Chapter 13, just 2.3% of debtors who filed on their own successfully completed a repayment plan according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Of course, not just any Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyer will do. It’s important to be selective when choosing a bankruptcy attorney. Focus on finding a lawyer who is experienced in the field of bankruptcy, has a proven track record of successful bankruptcy cases, has received positive client reviews, is available 24/7, and offers flexible payment options.
Many bankruptcy attorneys will offer free initial consultations that can help you determine if they are a good fit.
Step 4: Begin the Bankruptcy Process
Once you’ve found a qualified attorney to help guide you through the Scottsdale personal bankruptcy process, the next step is to file a petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona.
Prior to submitting this petition, complete a credit counseling course no more than 180 days before filing. Your attorney can help you find a course that has been approved by the U.S. Trustee’s office and fill out and file your bankruptcy petition.
Once the ball is rolling, your lawyer will be with you every step of the way by:
- Ensuring the automatic stay goes into effect (protecting you from creditors)
- Representing you during the meeting of the creditors (also called a 341 hearing)
- Drafting and filing your repayment plan
- Keeping you updated from the moment you file to the day your debts are discharged
Related: The Bankruptcy Process, Explained
Get Help Filing for Bankruptcy in Scottsdale
If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Scottsdale, you don’t have to go it alone. With the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney from Lerner and Rowe Law Group, you’ll be on your way to a brighter financial future sooner than you think. As such, our legal team would like to offer you a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case and explore all your legal options.
We are available 24/7 by phone at 602-667-7777. LiveChat agents are also standing by at any time to answer your questions. You can even request your complimentary case review online just by filling out this form. The call is free, the consultation is free, and our affordable payment plans and $0 down bankruptcy options make getting help easier than ever. Contact us today!