Questions Answered By A Licensed Bankruptcy Attorney

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The Stigma Of Filing Bankruptcy Is Gone

Once upon a time, there was a strong social and financial stigma attached to the word “bankrupt” that left the debtor damaged by the process. Times have changed, and much of that negative aspect has disappeared. However, one must carefully consider taking this step. There are still merchants, landlords, and lenders who require extra precaution when dealing with those who have demonstrated poor financial skills. Deciding to pursue a bankruptcy as an option is not a decision one should take without professional counseling.

Debt Relief Can Be Accomplished Without Bankruptcy

There are other options for solving financial stress other than the bankruptcy option. The financial counseling option allows one to work with creditors to find solutions that are in both parties’ best interests. Lenders often are willing to consider settling for less rather than nothing, which is what they will receive in bankruptcy. Having said this, a competent bankruptcy lawyer will want to explore these options. We believe that we have the responsibility to help you find the best solution, even if it may not require our services. We hope our actions will help us earn a reputation that makes us be both successful and able to serve our goal of being a resource to you and others that find themselves in a similar situation.

Initial Review With A Licensed Bankruptcy Attorney

The goal of the initial meeting with a bankruptcy attorney is to assess the entire financial situation. Only then can a lawyer confidently suggest whether or not bankruptcy is the path one should go down. If we determined that bankruptcy is the only option, then we will discuss which type of bankruptcy makes sense for the situation. We will compare the pros and cons of each bankruptcy type, including costs, time frame, and credit impact. Below are the summaries of the typical bankruptcy types. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the basic terms and concepts before meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer.


Main Types of Bankruptcy

For the purposes of this discussion there are two levels (types) of bankruptcy, referred to as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. These are both available to the normal individual wishing to pursue debt relief.

There are a couple other options applicable to situations where the majority of the debt is business related, or to farmers. All of which, a competent attorney will pursue these alternatives on your behalf.

Most of the time I see people who have incurred large uninsured medical bills, large credit card debt, real estate where value is less than current debt, and lastly, due to a recent divorce they can no longer individually handle debt occurred during the marriage.


A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is called “Going all the Way” which means the individual is asking the court to discharge him from all obligations. Basically the individual is telling the court he/she is insolvent and unable to meet any of the financial obligations one is currently being held responsible for.

There are a several requirements to be considered such as current assets, current income, near term future assets (inheritance), and several others.

There are also several types of debts that are not normally dischargeable such as student loans and federal/state taxes. There are ways to address these debts and a competent bankruptcy attorney can advise if you can qualify.


A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called a Consumer Reorganization Plan. It is the courts goal that a person should pay their debts, or at least as many of their debts as possible. It because of this goal that courts favor a Chapter 13 whenever possible. Your bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the pros and cons of choosing Chapter 13 for your specific situation.

A Fresh Start

By Magali Trujillo

First put your financial house in order. Get a copy of your credit score for free from and deal with any outstanding debts or inaccuracies. Next, create a budget, track your income and expenses, and spend money only on what’s important and essential. Also create a record of your assets and liabilities, a balance sheet. And don’t forget to set aside money for an emergency fund equal to at least one month’s income, if not more.

Then you can start rebuilding credit by applying for a credit card. Research cards at to see which banks offer cards to people with poor credit records. Look for a secured card with the best rates and lowest fees and that reports to the credit bureau. A secured card is an account backed by a deposit made to the issuer, says Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. After you’ve developed a history of making payments responsibly , you can apply for an unsecured card. Check out for more tips.

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A Good Attorney Can Help

The right bankruptcy attorney can help decide if bankruptcy is the right decision for you. A bankruptcy should be a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. Meeting with a top rated bankruptcy attorney should be free of pressure and sales pitches. We pride ourselves for being easy to work with, and providing you with all of the information needed to make a proper decision. Hartling Law is here to provide support, guidance, and information so that our clients are confident in the decision they have made. Find out what it’s like to work with one of Indianapolis’ top rated bankruptcy attorneys. Give us a call today to see why we’re different.

Top Client Resources

Much of what has been provided here for your information has shamelessly been taken from Gregory Garrison’s book entitled FREE LEGAL ADVICE which can be purchased from local book stores or this link: bankruptcy book. I highly recommend this book as it is written in a style that makes the information easily understood and thus used. If you go my LinkedIn page you will find a number of links that may be helpful and also forms that will need to be filled out prior to the actual filing of a bankruptcy proceeding. Again, my consultation is at no charge and although all bankruptcies share many issues each person needs to have one’s own circumstance addressed by a competent bankruptcy attorney.