When you have a mortgage creditor foreclosing on your home, a bank suing on a debt co-signed for your daughter, a lender repossessing your car, you need HELP right away. The Bankruptcy Law Center in Berkeley, California puts a lawyer on your side to reverse these life-changing events.
Not all lawyers are skilled in dealing with these problems because filing bankruptcy must not be a knee-jerk reaction. The new law discourages bankruptcy filings. We often tell our clients that the decision "when to file" is often more important than the decision to actually file a Petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. In some cases, we have stalled creditor action for years before filing a Petition when this course of conduct was in the client's best interests.
Technically there is no requirement to hire a lawyer so some clients think they are saving money by using a self-help book or hiring a Bankruptcy Petition preparer. If a client chooses these aids, neither the book nor the preparer is allowed to assist the Debtor in Court when problems arise. If you own your own home or boat, it is suicide to file a bankruptcy without the assistance of a knowledgeable counselor. Today, all bankruptcy filings are closely watched by the Department of Justice to determine if the Debtor has available money to pay debt or fund a payment plan. Incorrectly filling out the court forms invites trouble from the government or creditors. The Bankruptcy Law Center is hugely successful in developing a budget that is realistic, accurate, and immune from creditor attacks. New rules introduce stringent budget guidelines that cannot be ignored.
When problems erupt in your bankruptcy case, the nightmare continues. In one case, an attorney who did not regularly practice bankruptcy law tried to file his own case without the help of a specialist. Due to ignorance of a technicality, he lost a quarter of a million dollars of equity in his home. That horrible result was easily avoidable.
In 30 years of practice, we have rarely seen a case where a client actually saved money by filing his or her own Chapter 13. These cases can be tricky and the money you don't pay the lawyer will have to be turned over to the creditors anyway.
The usual rule is that student loans survive bankruptcy. Hardship allows a person to escape having to pay these loans. This means real hardship, not just an unlucky break in the job market. The Bankruptcy Law Center in Berkeley, California has tried hardship cases for student loan clients with a very high percentage of wins.