This personal bankruptcy story was posted on the internet: “We are struggling to pay bills and owe the government $10,000. We owe house taxes and utilities and just don’t make enough money. My husband works, but I am on SSDI. My husband is currently having his wages garnished for debts we could not pay. We make a mortgage payment and car payment, but that is it. Fees for lawyers are high. My husband is considering filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy but we need help.”
Attorney’s fees seem high to the debtor. To make matters worse, the debtor’s husband is currently having his wages garnished, and the debtor doesn’t know how they can afford to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy protection. So, how are bankruptcy attorney’s fees paid?
Many lawyers will not charge you for an exploratory visit to see if you need their services. At this first meeting, you can usually find out what the lawyer is going to charge for his services, when and how you will pay for their services, and general answers to questions about the bankruptcy process.
Also during the initial consultation, the lawyer will ask questions about your financial affairs and you can assess whether the lawyer can help you. You are under no obligation to hire them. But if you need a bankruptcy lawyer, find a bankruptcy attorney you can trust and you can afford.
Many bankruptcy lawyers will require their fees paid to them up front. You have a history of not being able to pay your bills and stiffing the one who could help you start over is not really a good way to start over. Most lawyers will suggest you stop paying your unsecured loans, like credit cards, to save enough money to pay the lawyer’s fees.
You are required to take a counseling course before you can file bankruptcy, and you do not need to use your credit card for a minimum of six months before you file. This is usually long enough for you to save enough money to pay your bankruptcy attorney’s fees.
The debtor in the illustration above is in a “catch 22”. The debtors are being strapped by a wage garnishment making it almost impossible to cut enough expenses to save the attorney fees, but if they could go ahead and file their bankruptcy, the garnishment would immediately cease.
The moment you file a bankruptcy, a judge will order all collecting actions to cease through an automatic stay. The automatic stay, applicable to all types of bankruptcy filings, stops certain lawsuits, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions, repossessions, garnishments, attachments, and debt collection harassment.
The only problem with this suggestion is that many bankruptcy lawyers want their money up front before they will file for bankruptcy. For the debtors in the illustration above, a bankruptcy lawyers may be willing to add their fees into the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan. This options would allow the debtor to file bankruptcy, which in turn will stop the garnishment of wages and release those funds to be a part of the plan.
Whether or not the bankruptcy lawyer will allow you to build their fees in the bankruptcy plan is a question you should ask them at the initial consultation. Bankruptcy laws are complicated, and you most likely will need legal assistance.
If you need relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan areas of McAllen, Edinburg, or Mission, Texas, contact us at www.betterbankruptcy.com . We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who will answer your bankruptcy questions.
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