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Getting Help with New Laws and Requirements

It is not surprising that many people today have questions about filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is of course is a natural and healthy reaction for anyone who is seriously thinking about making a life changing, financial decision. What is concerning however is the number of questions we receive regarding the possibility of filing bankruptcy without a lawyer. Sadly, many people simply do not have the financial means to afford attorney fees and filing fees.

Have Questions about Filing? Correct Answers Are Better than Fast Answers

The new mean testing requirements change often. The test determines the availability of various options for debtors, in both chapters, and often causes unnecessary problems. Read on to discover what you can do on a very limited budget.

Everyone would like to have a top bankruptcy attorney that provides assistance with forms, legal advice and especially representation during court appearances. Almost all lawyers who handle consumer cases, from the best to the worst, provide a free consultation for all potential new clients.

The official forms required to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case should not cause concern. Free forms for filing a bankruptcy case are available from the court. They are also provided free of charge online from the official site maintained by each court.

Many people look for a free means test calculator online. These tools are all different and some are better than others are. All of these tools are unique yet not one actually provides a user with accurate information. To calculate the test accurately, each debtor must use personal financial information based on historical records of income, spending and other items. These tools are teasers that spit out estimates as quick answers that are neither accurate nor reliable.

Many people ask, “How long should bankruptcy last?” The answer depends on many factors. It would be fairly accurate however to expect that a Chapter 7 case, one that remains uncontested each step of the way, requires a minimum of four months before a discharge is granted. In uncontested Chapter 13 cases, ones in which repayment of all debts is less than 100%, last at least 36 months, up to 60 months, plus any extensions required by the court to resolve contested matters.

"Free" Isn’t Necessarily a Good Deal

Bankruptcy Pro Bono
Bankruptcy Pro Bono Attorneys Are Rarely Available Today

When just starting to learn about filing, many people ask, “Can I file bankruptcy free?” The literal answer is yes, you can, the court even waives the filing fee in hardship cases. However, be very cautious about trying to use this option.

Rather than file bankruptcy yourself, without a lawyer, consider looking for a pro bono bankruptcy attorney. These free bankruptcy attorneys, law firms and lawyers do not charge fees. Additionally, know that finding pro bono representation for Chapter 7 and 13 is difficult. For almost all people, finding lawyers who charge modest fees is a far better option and much safer than a free bankruptcy filing without legal counsel.

You may find more information at Chapter 7 Information and Chapter 13 Information. You may also find California Information interesting.

Debtors who have no assistance other than the instructions that accompany free official forms are, unfortunately, doomed to failure. New laws are simply too complex and courts unforgiving for this approach to work well.