Bankruptcy Blog

How to find an affordable bankruptcy lawyer

Searching for an affordable bankruptcy lawyer online can feel like a daunting task when you have almost no money. It can even be embarrassing to call various law firms, find out about their services, and then ask about costs. Your heart sinks when you realize that the attorney fees are far beyond what you’re able to pay.

You can have a different experience with attorney Jerry E. Smith. Providing you with hope, help and peace of mind is our goal. We know that this is a very stressful time for you, and we want to help ease your burdens. We understand that debt relief is stress relief. While you focus on family and work, we can handle the legal paperwork of filing affordable bankruptcy. This will place you on a firmer financial footing and give you a fresh start.

Why affordability is important

When you’ve fallen far behind on bills and are struggling to count pennies, coming up with the money to hire an attorney can feel impossible. In your household, every available dollar is already earmarked for rent, groceries, school supplies, gas and car payments. The stress is overwhelming. Affordability is important because you want to be able to put food on the table and have a little left over while still paying the necessary legal fees for bankruptcy. When talking to potential bankruptcy attorneys, following are some key questions to ask:

  1. What is your total legal fee for handling my bankruptcy?
  2. What are the court filing fees?
  3. How much money do I need to pay up front to get the process started?
  4. Do you have a payment plan?

 
The affordable bankruptcy lawyers at Smith Law Firm have helped hundreds of clients who have just meager funds.  There is a way forward, and we will walk beside you every step of the way.  Our fees are very manageable, and our legal team shows respect and dignity to every client.  To find out more about affordable bankruptcy, call us for a free initial one-hour consultation at (317) 917-8680.

Get hope. Get help. Get peace of mind.

Bankruptcy statistics in the United States

It’s important to know that you’re not alone.  According to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the March 2021 annual bankruptcy filings totaled 473,349.  While this represented a significant 38.1% drop in filings compared to the previous 12-month period, it still shows that nearly half a million people in the U.S. pursued bankruptcy during the year ending March 31, 2021.

These U.S. bankruptcy filings broke down by chapter as follows:

  • Chapter 7 – 345,224
  • Chapter 11 – 7,832
  • Chapter 12 – 487
  • Chapter 13 – 119,502

Different types of affordable bankruptcy

The two most common types of bankruptcy for individuals and businesses are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is often called “liquidation bankruptcy.”  This means that you sell items to help pay creditors, and then your remaining unsecured debts are typically discharged.  In some cases, when a person has very few assets, nearly all their debts are eliminated through bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 typically takes just a few months to complete.

Chapter 7 has a bankruptcy means test. In 2005, the law was changed to include a “means test” to try to screen out those who may abuse the system. If your monthly income is greater than Indiana’s median, you must pass this test to determine whether your filing is considered abusive. A Chapter 7 lawyer in Indianapolis can help you navigate through the means test to improve your chances of bankruptcy relief.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 is often called “reorganization bankruptcy” or “wage earners’ bankruptcy.” 

One early step to help you decide whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you is to evaluate the total value of your debts. Generally, anyone is eligible for Chapter 13 relief as long as their unsecured debts are less than $419,275 and secured debts (debts where you agree property can be used as collateral) are less than $1,257,850. (Amounts are subject to change, so please check with our attorneys for the most current information.)  Under a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, you will create a 3- to 5-year court-approved repayment plan wherein you’ll repay to creditors some of your outstanding debts, often under more favorable terms.  Once you have completed the repayment plan, some of your unsecured debts can be discharged.

A skilled and affordable bankruptcy lawyer can help you evaluate whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best way forward for you, depending on your unique circumstances.

Debts that typically cannot be discharged in bankruptcy

There are certain kinds of debt that the government does not allow you to eliminate – or discharge – through bankruptcy. These include:

  • Alimony and child support
  • Some types of taxes
  • Debt for student loans made or guaranteed by the government
  • Debts for a willful and malicious injury you caused to another party or their property
  • Debts for death or personal injury because you operated a motor vehicle while you were intoxicated
  • Debts for specific criminal restitution orders
  • Liens on your property if you want to keep the property. (You can discharge these liens only if you give up the property.)

Contact affordable attorney Jerry E. Smith today

If you are burdened with overwhelming debt and don’t know which way to turn, an affordable bankruptcy may be the first step toward a brighter future. You do not have to feel ashamed or stressed when reaching out to our law firm. We understand that even the most hardworking and responsible people can find themselves deeply in debt, often due to unforeseen circumstances like job loss, serious illness, or natural disaster. Attorney Jerry E. Smith has helped hundreds of clients file affordable bankruptcy and get a fresh start. Smith Law Firm offers weekend and evening appointments as well as same day filings if possible. To find out more about our affordable legal services, call us for a free initial one-hour consultation at (317) 917-8680. It’s time for a fresh start!