Navigating Bankruptcy in Atlanta
When bills begin to pile up and you find yourself unable to keep up with payments or even dodging calls from debt collectors, you may decide that it is time to look into bankruptcy. As you begin the bankruptcy process, you will have questions, concerns, and lots of paperwork to complete. Debt relief is just around the corner, but first, you will need to choose a bankruptcy chapter, assemble documentation of your finances, appear in court, and, if filing a Chapter 13, create a repayment plan. Your creditors will have the opportunity to object to your Chapter 13 repayment plan, and if you do not complete your Chapter 7 exemption calculations correctly, you could lose your home, car, or other assets. The first step in navigating the situation is to find an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney you can trust.
What to Look for in an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney
Simply put, bankruptcy is complex. Hiring the right bankruptcy attorney can make all of the complications that come with bankruptcy less stressful. There are numerous options in lawyers offering their services in Atlanta. You may be eager to hire an attorney and begin your path to debt relief, but this is not a decision to rush since you will also want the best attorney. So, how do you choose the best Atlanta bankruptcy attorney?
You would not hire a contractor without references, experience, and proper licenses. The same should be true of your attorney. Before meeting with an attorney, you will want to check to see if the attorney is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Although not required in order to litigate bankruptcy cases, membership indicates that the attorney is dedicated to staying up-to-date on bankruptcy law. This helps to ensure that your attorney will be a professional capable of handling your case.
You can also verify that your potential attorneys are members of the Georgia bar, granting them privileges to practice law in the state, though any attorney advertising in Atlanta likely is a member. Once you have done your research, you will also want to meet any potential attorneys in-person to evaluate their professionalism for yourself.
Meet in Person
In the digital age, it seems easier to simply get online and read reviews, check pricing, and make a selection. However, choosing an attorney is an extremely important decision that should not be made exclusively online, although web research is a fantastic place to start. You will be working closely with your bankruptcy attorney for the duration of your case, so you need to be certain that you are comfortable with your attorney.
Meeting in person can help you to know whether or not you wish to work with the attorney based on how you are treated in the office. As a customer, you deserve the utmost in respect from the attorney and office staff, so do not feel obligated to give your business to an attorney from whom you do not receive the treatment you deserve.
Additionally, meeting in person can help you to get a clearer picture of your attorney’s fees. You may also be able to get a more accurate price quote, since you will be able to provide the attorney with any relevant information about your case, and will have the opportunity to ask questions of your own.
Willing to Answer Your Questions
You may feel out of control, but the choice of an attorney is well within your control and could make a dramatic difference in how smoothly your bankruptcy case goes. Think of your meeting with your attorney as an interview to help you select the best representative for you and your situation. Like any good interviewer, you will need to ask your potential attorney some important questions to determine the experience and fit of the attorney to your case. Questions to consider include:
- How many years of experience do you have in bankruptcy?
- How much time will you have to devote to my case?
- How quickly will you and your staff be able to respond to my questions?
- Which form of bankruptcy do you believe would be my best option? Why?
- What are your fees?
- What is included in the quoted fee?
- Are there any situations in which your fees would increase?
- Do you require any down payment, or will you take your fees on a payment schedule throughout the bankruptcy process?
These and any other questions you have can help you to evaluate the knowledge and experience of your attorney, as well as his or her professionalism. No matter how simple your question, your attorney should treat you with respect and answer your questions fully. If you feel as though your attorney is not listening to you or is not clearly answering your questions in a way you can understand, you may need to move on to another attorney. On the other hand, an attorney who takes the time to listen and answer your questions, working to make sure that you understand the process, is worth your time.
Bankruptcy may not be your only option to solve your financial problems. Your attorney should be willing to examine your case and discuss your alternative options. An attorney who claims that bankruptcy is the only option may have his or her own income as the priority rather than your financial best interests. You will also want an attorney who fully understands and explains to you the various bankruptcy chapter options available in your case. Although individuals will typically file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, certain situations may allow you to file under other chapters. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to advise you as to the best option for your situation.
Contact an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney
The first step to locating the right attorney for your case is to begin researching and contacting attorneys. The attorneys at Cornwell Law Firm will be your partner in your bankruptcy case. You have the right to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable and you should never have to enter your bankruptcy case alone. Our attorneys have a positive track record and great client service is your best chance for a quick, positive result in your bankruptcy case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.