This is a question that I am often asked. After all, people say, if a person can’t pay his or her creditors; how can they afford to pay their bankruptcy attorney. As with many issues concerning bankruptcy, the answer is not a simple one.
Not everyone that consults with a bankruptcy attorney is completely “broke”. Most simply can’t afford to pay their bills as they become due. They have a source of income but can’t afford to pay their car payment, house payment, credit card bills and payday loans while still having money left over to feed their family.
As a bankruptcy attorney, my first job may be to help put together a workable budget. In some cases, we conclude that it is simply not possible to pay all of one’s bills and still provide for a family. In this situation, a chapter 7 bankruptcy may be appropriate. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow an individual to discharge many, or all, of her debts. She will be able to obtain a fresh start. If this conclusion is reached, we may tell the individual to simply stop paying credit card bills and payday loans. We will field calls from collectors while the individual saves up money to pay our fee. It is not difficult to save up money for an attorney fee if the person stops paying minimum payments on the credit cards and interest on payday loans.
Some folks simply need bankruptcy relief quickly. They may be facing a garnishment, foreclosure or repossession and don’t have time to save up to pay an attorney. In this type situation, a chapter 13 bankruptcy may be appropriate. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, the individual files a plan of reorganization to catch up a mortgage, pay for a car and/or deal with other bills. The plan of reorganization may provide for payment of all or part of the attorney fee through the plan. The bankruptcy petition is filed and the attorney fee is paid with the other creditors after the protection has been put in place.
In our law offices, we offer a free consultation during which we can explore options and determine if bankruptcy is appropriate, if so what type of bankruptcy and how to pay the fees related to filing. Our offices are conveniently located and our experienced attorneys will meet with you privately to help develop a plan to deal with your debt while maintaining your dignity.
Please let us know if we can help!
Brad Botes is a principal of each of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He and his team of bankruptcy lawyers have spent over 30 years guiding people through financial challenges. Read his full bio here.