FAQ: What To Expect At A Bankruptcy Consultation

FAQ: Bankruptcy Consultations - What To Expect
What should I expect from a bankruptcy lawyer?
How should you prepare for a bankruptcy consultation?

NC Bankruptcy Lawyer in Charlotte North Carolina for Chapter 7 / Chapter 13

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What Should I Expect at an Office Conference?

At the Law Office of Susanne M. Robicsek, you meet with an attorney (not a paralegal) for approximately one hour at your first consultation.  When you arrive, you will fill out some forms with basic personal information and review some forms required by the new bankruptcy laws.  You should plan to be here for more than an hour, so if you are in a hurry please be sure to let us know when you arrive or before you come in. 

We have you bring in some things, and also fill out a few simple forms when you arrive.  We will review that information and then meet with you. 

I also have some forms online (link below) that I will ask you to fill out at least 24 hours (if possible) before your appointment to help me prepare for your appointment before you arrive. 

Once I get the information I need from you to analyze your situation and to make a recommendation, I will spend the balance of the hour advising you of your legal options and explaining bankruptcy.   The information you give us help us get to know you as quickly as possible so I can spend most of the hour giving you information, instead of gathering it. 

The new law requires an income analysis that will be looked at during your first meeting.  We also analyze your special circumstances to try to give you a good idea of what bankruptcy would be like, for you. (We will get more detailed information later if you decide to pursue bankruptcy with this firm, and in some cases, there may be additional information we need to fully advise you).

Your conference will often cover non-bankruptcy collection law and lawsuits. You will learn what property is protected from your creditors in, or out, of bankruptcy. You will learn the difference between Chapters 7 and 13, and when you should (or shouldn't) file them. Procedure and costs will also be addressed.

Finally, the attorney will give you a recommendation for your situation to help you make your decision, or let you know if there is additional information needed for your next meeting.

What  Should I Bring to My Office Conference?

1) List of debts.  You should make a simple list of every debt you owe, including mortgage and car payoff balances, loans, credit cards, overdrafts, bounced checks, loans from friends or family, medical bills or any other debt you might owe.  The name of the creditor and the amount owed are what I need to me analyze your situation quickly.  I do not want to use up your consultation time going through bills when I can look at a list in under a minute.   

2) Bills.  As you go through your bills to put the list together for your consultation, you should gather your bills together since I will need them if I prepare a case for you.  (If you can't bring them this time, you can provide them later). Put the bills into an envelope, bag or box.  You don't have to bring them to the consultation, but I will need those if you go forward with filing a bankruptcy case. 

If you file bankruptcy, I will ask you for recent bills/letters sent to you in the last 3 months.  If you don't have recent bills, gather whatever you have.  Ideally I need at least one "regular" bill (what you got while you were making your payments) from each (original) creditor, even if it is old.  I also want any letters or bills that the creditor may have sent asking for payment (they have different addresses), and any collection letters on each account. (You don't need to bring duplicates if the information looks the same, except for the amount owed). 

3) Income records. If you get a paystub from a job, you should bring your most recent paystub, or your most typical/average paystub if your pay varies.  Under the new law, we will need some documentation of all your income for the last six months so if you have them, bring it.  If you work for yourself, don't get a paystub, or don't have the information, please bring whatever records you have that will show what you have made over the last six months and I will do the best I can to give you an idea of your options.

4) Legal documents. If you were sued, have a foreclosure against you, were divorced with a separation agreement, or have any other legal documents that you think might be important, you should bring them with you to the consultation. 

5)  Car values. NADA printout for ALL vehicles you own or are titled in your name, whether they are paid for or you are making payments.  Please print the page from www.NADA.com and bring it with you.

6)  House/land value. If you own a house or other land, it is helpful to have a good idea of the value that you could sell it for.  You should probably know this anyway. If there is time before you come in, please try to do a little research.    Appraisals for refinancing are often higher than true market value so you should not rely on those, but if you have had any recent appraisals, let us know. Look in your neighborhood to see what similar houses/land are listed and selling for.  Speak to realtors that are selling in your area.  You can look online for comparative sales to get a general idea. If you live in Mecklenburg County, you can get this information at http://meckcama.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/relookup/ 

7) Consultation FormIf you have an appointment with me, please fill out my online "Consultation Form" with some of the information I will need, and submit it to me by email at least 24 hours before your appointment.  This will make your appointment go faster, and will be easier for you to do from home. 

Click here: Consultation Form.  (If you haven't made an appointment yet, please email me by clicking here:  Email for Potential New Clients).

8) If you need a map to my office, click here: Map to Office & Court.

9) Your spouse/partner.  If you are married or live in a family situation where your money is pooled or you share expenses, you should bring your spouse/partner, even if they might not be filing bankruptcy, or at least fill out the appointment form with them before you come in.  Under the new law, their income and their expenses are relevant so please, at least have a really good idea about what their income is and what they pay for their cars, bills, etc.  You should bring a few of their pay stubs with you.  (If there is a reason that you do not want your spouse to be there, please let me know in advance). 

A "regular" roommate that splits expenses does not need to come, but I will need to know how much money they contribute to the bills each month.

10)  You.  Going to see a bankruptcy lawyer does not mean you are going to file, it just means you are going to speak to a lawyer about your options, including bankruptcy, so that you can make the best financial decision for you and your family.

These items will help me get to know you so that I can analyze your case as quickly as possible, and leave more of your office conference available to for me to give you specific information about your situation.  The items requested are not meant to overwhelm you and should not stop you from seeking legal advise.  If you have problems with any of the requested items, please ask discuss it with us.

What Should I Should I Bring To An Office Conference?

1701 Scott Avenue Charlotte North Carolina 28203
phone: 704 / 377-0776
fax: 704 / 377-0775

DISCLAIMER: This message is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. Personal opinions may also be expressed. No attorney-client relationship is created by this message. Do not act or rely upon law-related information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant area.

The Law Office of Susanne M. Robicsek is
a Federally Designated Debt Relief Agency
under the Bankruptcy Code.
I file bankruptcy cases for people in financial need,
and have been doing so since 1989.

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Charlotte NC Bankruptcy Lawyer Concentrating In Consumer Bankruptcy Since 1988
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