If you have been fighting to overcome your debt trap and tried virtually everything but failed, maybe it is time that you consider filing for bankruptcy. The process, however, can be quite complicated, and you need to understand it thoroughly in order to get the maximum protection permissible under law.

The bankruptcy filing process is quite complex and requires you to make a number of vital decisions right from the time of the filing to the time of the discharge of your debts and the conclusion of the bankruptcy process. A competent and experienced bankruptcy lawyer can guide you effectively through the labyrinth of the procedure and documentation that is characteristic of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Is It Right for You?
You can approach a bankruptcy lawyer to counsel you on what the bankruptcy procedure entails and whether you should at all be considering it. The lawyer will evaluate your financial situation and advise you if indeed a bankruptcy filing is the most appropriate course of action or there are alternatives that are likely to be more beneficial. For example, if you have a number of debts that are not eligible for protection under bankruptcy, the lawyer would be able to help you to determine if a filing would at all be in your best interest.

If on the face of it, filing for bankruptcy seems to be a viable option, then the lawyer would help you to understand and compare the pros and cons of filing under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. This will involve a complete scrutiny of your assets and the composition of your debts and your ability to settle your debts or at least some portion of them. If you do not know where you can contact legal professionals who are competent and reliable, you should try and ask your friends or even a neighborhood legal clinic for recommendations.

Helping You to Make Key Decisions
After you and your lawyer have agreed upon a particular filing plan, your attorney will be in a position to assist you to understand your options for retaining assets that are important to you if you are filing under Chapter 7. In case, the filing is being considered under Chapter 13, you lawyer will help you to devise an ideal repayment plan that is affordable by you. With the assistance of your lawyer, you would also be able to take into account the impact of your bankruptcy filing on the co-signers of loans that you may have taken and who are now included in your filing. Your lawyer will also be able to counsel you whether you should make the bankruptcy filing in your individual capacity or jointly with your spouse.

Extending Assistance with the Documentation and Filing Technicalities
The bankruptcy filing process requires a large number of documents and declarations regarding your income, owned assets, and debts. Your lawyer will be advising you regarding what documents are required and how to prepare them without any errors that may negatively impact your filing. Once the process has been initiated, there could be a requirement for further documents and responses and again your lawyer is the best person to assist you in taking necessary action.

Client Representation
The process of a bankruptcy filing involves appearing before the court as well as meetings with creditors. Your lawyer will make representations on your behalf and ensure that you are able to best protect your interests. Since there are variations in the laws applicable to bankruptcies across different states, it is vital that you engage a lawyer who has very good familiarity with the laws of the state in which the bankruptcy filing is being made. It also helps a lot if your lawyer is familiar with the local courts and the bankruptcy trustees as the attitude and approach can vary from one area to another.

Since the process of a bankruptcy filing can be very complex and there could be serious repercussions if mistakes are made, it is vital that you take the assistance of a competent and experienced bankruptcy lawyer. While for most people a bankruptcy filing can be an extremely challenging experience, a competent lawyer will be able to help you to ensure that you are successful in your efforts to regain a secure financial footing.

Author bio: Jules Arlington runs a non-profit clinic that extends counseling services to people in financial and legal problems. Jules also maintains a website where people with concerns can describe their issues and contact legal professionals for necessary assistance.