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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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How to Get the Most Out of Your First Consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney

by | Mar 16, 2020 | Why Hire an Attorney?

Curious about how bankruptcy works and if it may be right for you?

Your first step is to set up a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Many people are nervous about meeting with a lawyer for the first time; especially when it involves discussing something as personal as their finances. It is important to remember that our New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you get through these difficult times and get a fresh start in your financial life.

Purpose of the First Meeting
The purpose of the first meeting is for the bankruptcy attorney to get an understanding of your financial problems and determine how they can help you. It’s also your opportunity to decide if the attorney is the right one for you. This blog will give some suggestions on how you can get the most out of your first meeting.

Come Prepared to Answer the Attorney’s Questions
Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation that generally lasts about 30 minutes. It’s important to come to the meeting prepared with the important information the attorney will need to properly advise you of your options. Be prepared to provide the following information:
-Are you married? Do you have children or other dependents?
-How much money do you and your spouse earn?
-How much money did you and your spouse earn from all sources in the last 6 months?
-What assets do you own and how much are they worth?
-What is your goal in filing bankruptcy?
-What caused your financial problems?
-Are there any lawsuits against you?
-Is your home in the process of foreclosure? Has a Sheriff Sale been scheduled?
-Type and approximate amount of debt (tax, credit card, medical).

Bring Necessary Financial Documents, if Available
In order for the bankruptcy attorney to best advise you, they may need to review certain documents. The most important are the following:
-Last 6 months of pay stubs or other proof of income for you and your spouse (even if only one spouse is filing). This will help the attorney determine if you are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy;
-Last filed Federal tax return; and
-All paperwork related to foreclosure, or other legal actions.
If you don’t have these documents or don’t want to share them you can still meet with the bankruptcy attorney.

Come Prepared with Your Questions
It’s a good idea to think about your most important questions for the bankruptcy attorney and come with the list so you don’t forget to ask them. These questions might include:
-What bankruptcy chapter can I file?
-What bankruptcy chapter should I file?
-Will I get to keep all my money and property if I file?
-Will all of my debt be eliminated in the bankruptcy?
-What are your fees for the bankruptcy?
-What do the fees include/exclude?
-What documents do you need me to provide?
-What is the process and how long will it take to prepare and file my bankruptcy petition?
-Are there any problems in my case?
-Who will be handling my case?

What Should You Expect from the Bankruptcy Attorney at the Meeting?
You should expect the following from the bankruptcy attorney at your first meeting:
-Active listening
-An honest assessment of your options
-Answers to your questions
-An explanation of the legal fees that you will have to pay and what they cover
-Identification of possible issues in your case
-An explanation of the process
-Who at the law firm will handle your case (will it be a paralegal, lawyer, etc.)
It is important not only to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney, but one that you are comfortable with.

Contact Us to Set Up Your Free Bankruptcy Consultation

At Levitt and Slafkes, PC we know that our clients put their trust in us to handle their difficult financial situation. We treat each client with understanding and compassion. We want our clients to understand what is going on every step of the way. If you’re facing bankruptcy and want advice on what to do contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Levitt and Slafkes to help you get back on your feet.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss how we can help you, call us at (973) 323-2953 or contact us online.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information on this website and blogs is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.