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Preparing To File Bankruptcy In The San Francisco Bay Area

Once you have decided you are interested in filing bankruptcy your next step should be to research which attorney you are going to hire to represent you. This is no small matter, as over the past couple of years the number of bankruptcy attorneys has increased significantly. This is both good and bad. The good news is that you have many options to choose from and because there are now so many attorneys in the bankruptcy field, in order to stay competitive many are slashing their prices. The bad news is that if you don’t do your research, you may end up with an attorney who knows very little about bankruptcy and has only just recently jumped into the field in order to take advantage of the high number of people filing bankruptcy cases. A good way to decide who you want to hire is to schedule consultations with a number of bankruptcy attorneys. The consultations should be free and you should be able to ask the attorney many of the questions that you have about your case.

In order to get the most out of these free consultations, you need to prepare for the meeting. There are a number of things you should bring to your consultation in order to get the best advice from the attorney. If you are working, it is important to bring six months worth of pay stubs to the meeting. If you make the same amount every pay stub and don’t receive overtime, then it should be fine for you to bring a single pay stub to the first consultation. The reason you need to bring this information is so the attorney can determine based on your income which chapter of bankruptcy you are eligible for. Generally, you will either be filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy and often your income level is the determining factor.

You will also need to bring in your most recently filed tax return. Bankruptcy Rule 4002(b)(3) specifies that once you file bankruptcy you must supply the trustee assigned to your case with a copy of your most recently filed tax return. If you feel good about the attorney you are consulting with and decide to hire them, it is helpful to have your tax return with you so they can make copies of it during your consultation. It saves you and your attorney time if you have it available at your first meeting.

Finally, it is helpful if you bring a recent credit report or have a general idea of the type and amount of debt you owe. If you are behind on your mortgage, you should try to figure out exactly how far behind you are. If you owe taxes, it is important to know how much. These factors will contribute to how much your chapter 13 plan payment may be if that is the chapter that will be most helpful to you. The more exact you are, the more exact your attorney can be in giving you an idea of how much a monthly payment might be.

If this all seems overwhelming, do not worry too much about it. Sometimes you just need to go to the initial consultation and get a feel for the attorney you are seeing. A good one will make you feel relaxed and confident about your decision to obtain bankruptcy relief. Once you feel comfortable with the bankruptcy attorney, it should be easier to compile all of the documents you will need to file.

The Law Offices of Melanie Tavare is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code


"Melanie is the best she very responsive and helpful throughout the process everything was taken care of smoothly. If you are thinking of going through bankruptcy she is the best attorney for you. I will forever be grateful having the chance to work with her. She is very honest too."


"I can't thank Melanie enough for helping me through a challenging process and doing so with incredible knowledge, professionalism and tenacity! She went to great lengths to keep me informed, she responded quickly to my questions, and communicated in terms that I could understand. I highly recommend getting in touch with Melanie should you have the need."


"Choosing to work with Atty. Melanie has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. She was a very patient professional to work with and attentive while providing valuable solutions to all of my concerns. If you are searching for of an Attorney who is knowledgeable, transparent, and diligent - well that's Atty. Melanie."


"What I liked about working with Melanie was how prompt and easy to work with she was. She made the process clear and understandable with as little stress as possible. I would work with her again and recommend her to others."