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When unexpected life events happen, it can cause severe financial stress. Medical bills and other debt can begin piling up after a severe illness, an unexpected layoff or the death of a spouse. If you’re dealing with a mountain of debt and don’t see how you’ll ever be able to pay it back, don’t panic! There’s a legal process you can follow to get your debts discharged through bankruptcy. CommonWealth Law Group’s attorneys are familiar with bankruptcy laws and can help you understand your options if you are struggling to pay back your debt.

Always Consult An Attorney

The government allows people to file for bankruptcy pro se, or without an attorney. Although it may be tempting to save money by doing this, don’t! If you file pro se, you probably won’t have as good an outcome as you hope for.

  • Court personnel are not allowed to give you advice about filling out bankruptcy forms, so you’ll have to do them on your own. If you make a mistake, your bankruptcy may be denied and you may have adverse financial consequences.
  • You might not discharge all the debt you’re entitled to discharge if you file pro se. For example, common knowledge states that you cannot discharge student loan debt, but your attorney can advise you as to how to do just that.
  • You might inadvertently fail to report a debt or notify a creditor, which can lead to fraud charges or other legal problems. An attorney can ensure your forms are filled out correctly so this can’t happen.
  • If you don’t have the money to pay the filing fees, your attorney can help you apply for a waiver.
  • On your own, you might file for the wrong type of bankruptcy or end up losing your home or car in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your attorney can help you avoid these problems.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are two main types of consumer bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is meant for low-income filers. It allows them to liquidate assets to discharge their debt. Usually, you have to pass a means test demonstrating that your income is low in order to qualify. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is meant for debtors with steady income. This type of bankruptcy allows debtors to repay part of their debts via a structured repayment plan. After three to five years, remaining debt is discharged. Mortgage holders often have to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that they can repay their arrears and avoid foreclosure; this type of debt usually is not discharged via Chapter 7.

Your attorney can help you decide which type of bankruptcy to file and explain what your legal requirements are. (You usually have to complete credit counseling and a financial management course in addition to other requirements.) Contact the CommonWealth Law Group to schedule a consultation about bankruptcy today.