What is Bankruptcy Law? How to Find a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy Law

What is Bankruptcy Law?

Bankruptcy law refers to the body of law that handles the declaration of bankruptcy and disbursement of property and debt. Through bankruptcy, certain debts can be discharged. In other cases, the debts can be reorganized. Declaring bankruptcy can result in halting foreclosure actions and collection proceedings.

Governing Law

Bankruptcy law is codified in Title 11 of the United States Code. Within Title 11, the code is broken into several chapters. Chapters 1, 3, and 5 discuss and define the general bankruptcy procedures and rules. The more well known portions of bankruptcy law can be found in Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 15. Each of these chapters address particular components and types of bankruptcy. Often times, people refer to bankruptcy by the chapter that they are filing. Most consumers file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, whereas most businesses file Chapter 11.

Additional laws also govern bankruptcy such as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This act, sometimes referred to as the New Bankruptcy Law, actually makes it harder for most consumers to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and to require that they instead file under Chapter 13. Additional certifications and specializations in bankruptcy are handled by the state bar association of your individual state.

Reasons for Hiring an Attorney

As any bankruptcy lawyer will tell you, bankruptcy law is a complex and ever changing body of law. Each separate chapter of bankruptcy has its benefits and consequences as well as requirements that you must satisfy before you can apply. Additionally, you may presume that everything you need to know will be contained in the particular chapter of bankruptcy that you plan to file. However, the bankruptcy proceedings are all informed by the governing laws of Title 11 as well as the subsequent laws. Navigating all of the required paperwork, forms, and requirements can be quite difficult. Hiring an attorney will ensure that you get everything in order. A good lawyer will also help you to protect your assets as much as possible. In fact, in your initial consultation at the law firm or law office, the bankruptcy lawyer will likely talk to you about other options besides bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is typically a last ditch resort for financial problems. If there is another option, it’s important to consider it, and your attorney should discuss these options with you.

What To Look for in a Bankruptcy Lawyer or Law Firm

When searching for a lawyer to handle your bankruptcy proceeding, it’s best to find one who specializes in bankruptcy. Each state has its own categories of legal specialists for bankruptcy and other similar specialized fields of law. Because of the complexities of bankruptcy proceedings and law, the specialization and certification by the state bar association indicates that this attorney or law firm has satisfied additional educational requirements and certification processes. In other words, they have far more training and can better handle complex situations.

You will also want to find an attorney who will be able to assist you in coming up with additional options, if possible. With the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, for instance, you will find it harder to file for Chapter 7 and may have to file for Chapter 13 instead. This means that instead of discharging most of your debts, you will have to repay at least a portion of them and will likely have to sell a number of your belongings. The categorization of your debt is crucial in a Chapter 13 proceeding, and a good creative bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you with this process.

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