What You Can Expect and What You Need to Bring
When your financial situation has deteriorated and there’s no reasonable prospect for immediate relief, a bankruptcy filing will often be the best way to get a fresh financial start. It’s important, though, that you go into the process with a strong commitment to putting the past behind you. To get the most out of the bankruptcy process, you want to be as prepared as possible at every stage of the process, including your first meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. Here’s what you can expect and what you want to take with you to that consultation.
What To Expect at Your Initial Consultation
For your lawyer, the primary goal of the first meeting is to gather information. To most effectively advocate for you, your attorney needs to know the details of your financial difficulties, as well as your goals. Therefore, you’ll typically be asked about:
- Your marital status
- Your income (joint, if you are married)
- Whether you own any assets
- All debts you have
- Whether any legal proceedings have been filed, such as foreclosure, eviction, garnishment or repossession efforts
- If you have any tax arrearages
The Things You Need to Bring to Your First Meeting
Your lawyer will want specific information about your income, assets and debts. You won’t need to bring actual bills from creditors, though there’s nothing wrong with that. As a general rule, at least for the first meeting, it’s fine to compile a list of outstanding debts, listing monthly payments and principal balances. A recent pay stub is also extremely helpful. With this information, your attorney can usually determine whether or not you qualify to discharge debts in Chapter 7 or must reorganize your obligations through a Chapter 13 filing. If, based on the information you provide at the first meeting, you decide to go ahead and file for bankruptcy protection, your attorney will give you a list of the specific documents you need to provide.
Contact Attorney Howard N. Sobel
At the office of Howard N. Sobel, we provide personal bankruptcy counsel to men and women throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our office online or call us at 856-424-6400 to set up a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept all major credit cards.
Named a New Jersey SuperLawyer Every Year since 2008, Including 2023