Your Orlando Florida bankruptcy lawyer knows that filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision, with major consequences. Trust that he or she has been through these proceedings before, and can help you work through the challenging days ahead. In addition, here is a simple guide to assist you with the difficult choices ahead.
First, make sure that you have familiarized yourself with all of your options. You may know your problem inside and out, but be open minded about the solutions. Bankruptcy may not be your only way out. You can easily arrange a free consultation with an attorney to get information on the best path for you.
Do your research and find out what the effects of bankruptcy will be on your future. Don't make this decision lightly, motivated only by alleviating your current pressures. This kind of filing will stay on your credit report for the next 10 years, potentially affecting your employment and credit opportunities. Ten years is a long road to look down. That is a big chunk of your life, and the lives of your family members.
That's one of the reasons that the government requires you to complete a consumer credit counseling course before filing a petition for bankruptcy. This isn't just to prepare you for life after the big B, but to help educate you on alternatives. However, it may very well be that filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is your best chance at a better financial future. This course will help you recognize that, too.
Second, you'll need to determine which filing is best for you, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. This will largely depend on your assets, and your income. Chapter 7 is the most popular, as this liquidates your assets so that the money can be used to completely pay off your debts. This closes the door to your current creditors completely.
Chapter 13, on the other hand, enables you to maintain your current assets, and set up a payment plan with your current creditors. Repayment plans usually extend over the period of three to five years. This option is becoming more and more common. Your Orlando Florida bankruptcy lawyer will help direct you through the test that measures which filing you qualify for.
Third, ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. If you arrange for a free, initial consultation, and you aren't confident that your representative is able to answer your concerns, or to help you feel comfortable, don't hesitate to keep looking. It's important that you establish a relationship with your attorney in which you can feel comfortable asking questions, and sharing sensitive and personal financial information.
Fourth, once you've hired a legal advisor, talk to him or her about how you need to handle your communication with current creditors. Once you start the filing process, you will probably be expected to start directing all communication to your attorney. It's important not to open any new lines of credit during this process. If your creditor feels that you opened an account, with the intention of never paying because you were about to file, then this could seriously complicate your proceedings.
Fifth, once everything has been decided and moved through the pipeline, your creditors have two months to respond to the financial arrangements that have been established, either through the liquidation of your assets, or the payment plan that's been set up.
Then, when everything is finalized, it's time to rebuild your financial life. Start building your credit again, and take full advantage of your second chance. Be responsible in meeting all of your financial obligations each month, and pay all accounts on time and in full.
Throughout this process, you can rely on your Orlando Florida bankruptcy lawyer for direction, advice, and information. Ask for clarification on things you don't understand, and be sure to do all you can to educate yourself on the process. This will help ease the journey as you work your way toward what you've been hoping for all along; a second chance.