Brooklyn Bankruptcy Lawyers – Your Guide to Finding the Right Fit
Filing for bankruptcy can be overwhelming. But having the right Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer in your corner makes the process smoother. At Delancey Street Financial, we want to help you find an attorney who gets you and has your back.
This article will cover:
- The different types of bankruptcy
- How to choose the right lawyer
- Questions to ask during your consultation
- Average attorney fees and costs
- Pros and cons of filing Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13
Let’s dig in!
Types of Bankruptcy
There are a few options when it comes to filing bankruptcy. The most common types of bankruptcy for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Here’s a quick overview:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what’s called a “liquidation” bankruptcy. It wipes out many of your debts, with some exceptions like student loans and tax debt.
The court appoints a trustee who sells any nonexempt assets and uses that money to pay your creditors. But you do get to keep exempt property like your home, car, clothing and household items.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep your property while you work on a 3-5 year repayment plan. The court approves a monthly budgeted amount you pay to a trustee, who distributes payments to your creditors.
This type of bankruptcy stops foreclosures, wage garnishments, and debt collection calls while you get back on your feet. And if you stick to the repayment plan, you get a bankruptcy discharge at the end.
Choosing the Right Brooklyn Bankruptcy Attorney
Picking the right lawyer for your situation is key. Here are some tips on finding someone you click with:
- Search for lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy law, not a general practice attorney
- Find someone experienced – look for 5+ years specifically handling bankruptcies
- Read online reviews to get a feel for their style and professionalism
- Choose a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable and listens to your concerns
You want an attorney who takes time to explain things in everyday language, not scary legal jargon. And they should customize options to fit your unique financial situation.
Questions to Ask During Your Consultation
When you meet with a prospective Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer, come armed with questions. This is your chance to feel them out and see if they’re the right match. Here are some important things to ask:
- What type of bankruptcy do you recommend for my situation?
- How long have you been practicing bankruptcy law?
- How many bankruptcies have you handled that are similar to mine?
- Will you be handling my case or will other attorneys/paralegals in your firm?
- What are all the fees involved if I hire you?
- What documents will I need to provide?
- How quickly can I get debt relief if I file?
And don’t be shy about asking follow-up questions if you don’t understand something. You want an attorney who can clearly explain bankruptcy in simple terms.
Attorney Fees and Costs
Filing for bankruptcy has costs associated with it. Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer fees often include:
- Attorney’s fee – Average of $1,500-$3,500+ for Chapter 7 or 13
- Filing fee – $338 for Chapter 7, $313 for Chapter 13
- Debtor education course – Average of $50-$100
Some attorneys offer free consultations, while others charge $100-$250. And their fees may be flat rate or hourly.
Make sure to ask up front what’s included so you aren’t surprised by any hidden costs down the road. Many lawyers accept payment plans too.
Pros and Cons of Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13
Should you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? There are pros and cons to each option. Here are some things to consider:
Pros of Filing Chapter 7
- Get debt relief and a fresh start relatively quickly – within 4-6 months
- Eliminate most unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans
- Stop wage garnishments and debt collections immediately upon filing
- Keep exempt assets like your home, car, retirement funds
Cons of Filing Chapter 7
- Won’t discharge some debts like student loans, alimony, and recent tax debt
- Risk losing nonexempt property the trustee might seize and sell
- Hurts your credit – Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on credit reports for 10 years
- Can only file Chapter 7 once every 8 years
Pros of Filing Chapter 13
- Keep all property by repaying creditors over 3-5 years
- Catch up on mortgage or car loan payments through the repayment plan
- Only need to pay creditors a portion of what you owe
- Can file again after 2 years (vs 6 years for Chapter 7)
Cons of Filing Chapter 13
- Repayment plan lasts 3-5 years before debts are discharged
- Risk of falling behind on payments and not getting discharge
- Owe more interest over time by stretching out payments
- Possibility of paying much more than if debts were wiped out under Chapter 7
As you can see, there are good and bad points to each type of bankruptcy. Talk to a qualified Brooklyn bankruptcy attorney to discuss your specific situation.
Find the Right Bankruptcy Lawyer for You
The decision to file for bankruptcy is a big one. You want an attorney who will protect your rights and guide you through the process.
We hope this article gave you insights on finding the best Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer for your needs. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation. We’re here to help get you back on track financially!