You could theoretically deal with debt collectors, and other companies involved in the debt process, on your own. But, there are certain circumstances that you might need to get help from a professional attorney. Certain legal matters should be handled delicately, so getting advice from an attorney could keep you from making a big mistake.
You’re considering bankruptcy.
If you’ve exhausted all your options and you’ve decided bankruptcy is the best option for you, it’s probably time to see a bankruptcy attorney. While you can file bankruptcy on your own, it’s likely easier to go through the process with someone who’s knowledgeable about bankruptcy law and experienced in the filing process. A bankruptcy attorney could look through your finances and help you decide which bankruptcy is right for you.
You could see a credit counseling agency before you visit the attorney if you’re not sure that bankruptcy is the final option. You should receive counseling from a court-approved agency. That way, you’ll have the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling requirement satisfied if you ultimately decide that bankruptcy is right for you.
You’re served with a lawsuit summons.
You should never ignore a lawsuit summons from a creditor or a debt collector. If you don’t appear in court to defend your case, the judge will likely award the plaintiff with what they’ve sued you for. Not only that, the plaintiff could also ask the court to garnish your wages or levy your bank account.
If you get sued and you’re not sure how to handle it, you should talk to an attorney about your options. You may still have a chance to settle outside the court – and avoid a judgment going on your credit report – but you should take action before the court date arrives.
How to Choose an Attorney
You may already have an attorney that you’re used to working with. If not, you can find one. You should start by asking for referrals from people you trust. You don’t have to give too many details about why you need the attorney, probably just ask for an attorney who’s experienced in financial matters.
You should choose a lawyer who’s a specialist in the area that you’re looking for. That way you’re likely to get the appropriate help with your situation. For bankruptcy, you should find an attorney who’s experienced in handling bankruptcies for clients. And for a lawsuit by a creditor or a debt collector, you probably want an attorney who has handled cases dealing with creditors and debt collectors.
You should make sure you’re comfortable with the attorney and have no problem talking with them about your situation. You should have a good working relationship with the attorney you choose.
You should get an idea of how the attorney communicates. For example, how soon do they return phone calls if they return phone calls at all. Some attorneys require you to make an appointment to discuss your case. And if that’s the requirement, you should find out if there’s a delay between the time you call and the appointment time. Of course, your attorney most likely won’t be at your beck and call, but you probably want to know that you can get in touch with them in a timely manner.