Filing for bankruptcy can help you get back on track financially, but it’s hard to find an affordable bankruptcy attorney. Legal advice, guidance, and preparing paperwork comes at a cost. But not everyone who files can afford a bankruptcy lawyer. While one option is to represent yourself as a “pro se” debtor (a complex process that requires a great deal of research), you can take the following steps to save money on professional service.
Negotiate Reduced Fees
Try negotiating if you can’t afford the amount your attorney has quoted. Make a proposal based on what you can afford to pay and are willing to offer. If your lawyer understands your financial situation and/or your income is low, they may agree to accept your case. Otherwise, consult with other local attorneys that charge a more affordable fee.
Chapter 13 Repayment Plan
Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can agree to an option that allows you to pay your attorney’s fees through the plan. While you’ll need to pay a filing fee and other costs, you can pay out attorney’s fees and your creditors will cover the costs up front. Your lawyer can look at your situation to see whether you can afford this type of arrangement.
Apply for Chapter 7 Filing Fee Payment Plan
If you can’t afford a bankruptcy attorney near you or a Chapter 7 filing fee in full, you can apply for a Chapter 7 filing fee installment payment plan (Form 103B). You must have a steady income source to qualify. The application process requires disclosing income, expenses, and family size information and the plan you propose must cover the filing fee in four payments or less.
Contact a Legal Aid Society
There are legal aid societies in the U.S. that offer low-income individuals with free legal services. One in your area can help if you can’t find an affordable bankruptcy attorney. You can also check with a bankruptcy court in your area for information on such entities or that can provide you with information on or assistance with self-representation. Other options include getting referrals to free/low-cost attorneys by local bar associations and legal clinics run by some law schools,
Seek a Pro Bono Attorney
Some legal professionals will take on a case pro bono, or free of charge/at a reduced rate. You can find pro bono attorneys through your state bar or a local bar association, by referral from other lawyers, and on the internet. The American Bankruptcy Institute also provides resources to locate pro bono attorneys by state and city.
Contact OakTree Law
If you’re looking for a bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles or Orange County, OakTree Law can help find the right solution for you based on your financial situation, starting with a thorough evaluation. We specialize in Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Able to help you file, we can also negotiate a plan that works for you and allows for a fresh start on managing your finances. Our team is experienced with a wide range of debt relief options. If necessary, we can provide debt and credit counseling as well as relief from foreclosure with loan modification and mortgage litigation services.
Continue browsing to learn more about our bankruptcy and other legal services, and to see OakTree Law reviews, video FAQs, and additional information. To request a free evaluation by an experienced, knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer, call 888-348-2609.