I Fix $599 Bankruptcy Cases

$599 Bankruptcy Cases

Yes… I Fix $599.00
Bankruptcy Cases

“I Figured I could Save Money Using a Paralegal to Prepare My Bankruptcy Case…”

One of the challenges that many people face in filing bankruptcy is coming up with the cash to pay the attorney’s fee.

Unfortunately, due to the significant changes in the bankruptcy laws that were passed by Congress in 2005, there is much more work required of a bankruptcy lawyer to properly prepare a bankruptcy case these days. Even what some would call a fairly straightforward Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case is, in reality, not so simple anymore. Furthermore, if done incorrectly, both the person filing bankruptcy and the bankruptcy lawyer could face serious trouble. Therefore, a good bankruptcy lawyer will now spend at least twice as much time if not more on each case than prior to 2005, and as a result, attorney fees have gone up.

In an attempt to save money, many people decide to skip hiring a “competent bankruptcy lawyer” and instead hire a bankruptcy document preparation service or a paralegal. That’s where the trouble starts! There are many problems that can arise from filing bankruptcy without an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. The most obvious problem is that bankruptcy document preparation services and paralegals are not attorneys and, BY LAW, are strictly prohibited from giving legal advice. All they are allowed to do is fill out the numerous forms and schedules required to be filed with the Bankruptcy Court based on information you provide.

Frankly, Document Preparation Services and Paralegals are just expensive “typing services.” Getting Legal advice is Mission Critical! The ONE CRITICAL NEED that a person considering filing bankruptcy wants and must have is a ton of good & competent legal advice. Beginning with which type of bankruptcy would be best for that person’s unique situation.

Many debtors have had bad results from using paralegal services for bankruptcy filings, such as having their cases dismissed or losing the family home that could have been saved had the debtor hired a competent bankruptcy attorney. Very often people end up losing valuable or sentimental personal property in a bankruptcy because they did not first get some wise and experienced advice that could have prevented all that anguish. Of course the most common and disappointing result is the judge dismissing their bankruptcy case outright. Slam. Bam. Dismissed! Sadly, it need not have gone down that way.

A week doesn’t go by where I do not have a prospective client say “… but I spoke to a paralegal who said they can file my bankruptcy for only $500.00.” I simply respond, “Yes… I’m sure that they did.” That’s because they are NOT lawyers and will only be providing you with minimal service: basically typing information into a series of forms – information that you are supposed to know and must provide them! And from experience I can tell you that you are not real sure WHAT information to dictate to them. How could you know what information to furnish and how to present it to your advantage? That, after all, is the “key” to your eventual outcome: good or bad… What I’d really like to ask at times like this is: “Would you allow the doctor’s receptionist to operate on you if they told you they would charge you half the price the doctor would charge?” Yeah, that’s what I thought…

I can’t blame folks for asking for a matching $500 fee though. Everyone’s on a budget these days and if you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy, then there’s no question that you, more than most, are already in financial difficulty. In the big picture, the price difference between hiring a paralegal versus hiring a competent and experienced bankruptcy attorney is minimal when you take into consideration the vast difference in the quality of service provided. Not to mention, we’re talking about BANKRUPTCY!#$%!! Yikes! Bankruptcy is one of life’s BIG DECISIONS. You need Legal Advice before making BIG decisions that take place in a Federal Courtroom and this is not the time to cut corners. Most well-know, competent bankruptcy lawyers will price their services fairly, taking into account your finances, often offering comfortable payment arrangements. We do.

Document Preparation Service – Paralegal – Or Licensed Bankruptcy Attorney?

Paralegals typically charge a minimal fee to prepare and file the necessary paperwork to file a bankruptcy. However, since “bankruptcy petition preparers” and Paralegals are strictly prohibited from practicing law, they are prohibited from giving legal advice. That means that they cannot even ask the minimal necessary questions to make sure you are completing your paperwork fully and completely. Is that really a problem? You bet!

  • They cannot advise you on how to take the proper exemptions to protect the assets you have.
  • They cannot warn you that failure to take the proper exemption could result in you losing those assets in a bankruptcy case.

The sad truth is, you could be paying that paralegals’ “cheap price” for years or decades to come. Because no legal advice was received, you may have assumed that there was no problem with listing a particular asset, or reaffirming a particular debt, only to find out months or even years later, that because you filed the bankruptcy or didn’t take the necessary and appropriate steps, that you are still liable for that debt.

Vanessa’s clients tell Him They NOW Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Why is that? Simple, really… They have a professional lawyer working for them – taking over on their behalf – legally their spokesperson – so why wouldn’t they have some immediate and needed relief? Those who choose a document preparer or a Paralegal have hired a non-attorney and, not surprisingly are likely still loosing sleep.

Makes perfect sense! They know that they will be representing themselves in court and they are understandably stressed and anxious about that. Paralegals cannot represent you in court if the need should arise. And by hiring a paralegal it will more likely end up the case! Unfortunately when you do it yourself you are significantly more likely to be required to defend your numerous omissions and mistakes. Many, many consumers who hire document preparers or paralegals will likely end up in court explaining the discrepancies in your petition, where a seasoned bankruptcy attorney will have counseled you, asked you all the right questions, completely understood your situation, and then prepared your bankruptcy petition package so that it would slide smoothly through the Federal Court Process without challenge. Moreover, Paralegals are NOT liable to you if they make a mistake. In fact, by hiring a non-lawyer, ALL mistakes, omissions, and discrepancies in your petition become YOUR mistakes. Ultimately, the debtor may will expend several thousand dollars to attempt to remedy a situation that could have been avoided from the start by doing it right.

Are Paralegals Incompetent?

Of course not! I am not saying that Paralegals are incompetent. Many law firms rely on paralegals working under the lawyer’s direct supervision to do many necessary tasks. Unfortunately, a Paralegal, cannot by law offer legal advice and, if for no other reason, that should eliminate them from assisting you with a major step like Bankruptcy! Bankruptcy isn’t something done at the local city traffic court – it is done in Federal Court.

This is serious business and there are no “Do Overs.” Likewise, all rock-bottom, super low-price attorneys are not necessarily incompetent either! Frankly there are a lot of over-priced lawyers who have recently gotten into doing bankruptcy as they thought there might be money to be made since the economy hit the skids back in late 2007. You should make every attempt to steer clear of those folks too!

Hopefully you will search out and find a competent, licensed bankruptcy attorney who focuses their day-to-day efforts on bankruptcy: Day IN and Day OUT… Chances are far better that they’ll be really good at that which they concentrate all of their time, effort and skills. Moreover, since they are in Federal Bankruptcy Court all the time —like I am— they too will know all of the judges, trustees, and support staff on a friendly, first name basis. It really is true. Hiring the Right Lawyer is like having Friends in all the Right Places…

How Much Should A Bankruptcy Attorney Charge?

The attorney you select should charge a fee sufficient for them to keep their doors open without constantly being anxious about the next 10 clients they need to make sure that they will be able to pay their upcoming rent and electric bills. Here at Childs Law, my fees are not the lowest, but they are nowhere near the highest. I charge the lowest amount possible to be able to give my precious clients my best possible level of service that they deserve and leave me worry-free to concentrate on their cases! Apparently my formula is working well, judging by the constant stream of positive client testimonials I’m blessed to receive.

Hiring An Experienced Bankruptcy Law Attorney Can Be Reassuring

Much of what ends up in your bankruptcy petition package comes from my knowing and probing questioning of my clients. I ask it all – and frankly, my clients want me to. While I can’t conspire with you to hide pertinent information from the court, my clients need to lay all their cards on the table so we can both understand the BIG picture and then make a legal strategy on how to proceed. Oftentimes there are legal ways to structure and organize your life prior to filing where you will find yourself far better off than if you did not have a plan of action. What you tell your attorney is utterly private and confidential. It’s comforting to have attorney-client privilege with a licensed attorney so you can frankly discuss your private financial situation and then make a plan to protect yourself while paving the way for a new, fresh start. Bankruptcy Document Preparers and Paralegals are strictly prohibited from practicing law and, therefore, they cannot offer you legal advice or ask the necessary questions to make sure you are completing your paperwork fully and completely for the best possible outcome.

Some Personal Thoughts After Years of Noting But Bankruptcy Law…

It is extremely rare for a person to have a Chapter 13 plan confirmed without the assistance of a competent attorney. The vast majority of Chapter 13 cases which are filed “pro per” (without the assistance of a licensed attorney) are eventually dismissed. It is probably true, statistically, that the majority of people who hire paralegals to assist with Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases will receive a discharge in their case. However, it is still a risky thing to do and is NOT recommended. Since a paralegal can not give legal advice, he or she will not be liable if something goes wrong in your case. You will pay the price if the paralegal fails to claim the proper exemptions in order to protect your property, completes the means test incorrectly, or makes other mistakes in preparing your bankruptcy petition, schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs. Moreover, the paralegal will not be responsible for making sure that you are eligible for bankruptcy relief, or for helping you decide whether you should file bankruptcy, or what type of bankruptcy to file. If anything goes wrong, the paralegal will simply state (correctly) that he or she can not give legal advice and that you should check with an attorney—by that time, though, it may be too late to protect your property or receive a discharge in the case.

Some Real Life Examples:

I recently had a client come to me to assist in cleaning up a bankruptcy case he had filed with the assistance of a paralegal. Unfortunately, the paralegal had botched the paperwork by omitting creditors, failing to list assets owned by the debtor’s spouse and by making several other errors in the client’s schedules. The client was at risk of having his case dismissed. Fortunately, we were able to clean up the paperwork and attend the hearing with the bankruptcy trustee and the client received a discharge. However, the client ended up paying a paralegal for useless “service” and the paralegal nearly caused his case to be dismissed.

In another case, I helped a client convert a Chapter 7 case she had filed with a paralegal to a Chapter 13 case. Before speaking with me, she was unaware that she was eligible to “strip off” a second mortgage on her residence, which had a balance of over $50,000. We were able to assist her in getting a Chapter 13 plan confirmed. Her plan will require her to pay less than $6,000 to her creditors over a 3 year period. When she completes her case, she will receive a discharge of the second mortgage, along with the other debts that would have been dischargeable in her Chapter 7 case. She was also unaware that if she had proceeded with the Chapter 7 case, she would not have been eligible to get rid of the second mortgage in her bankruptcy case. That ONE error – now corrected – will save her $50,000.00!

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to resolve these situations favorably. I recently spoke with a woman who had previously filed two Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases with the help of a paralegal. She had filed these cases in order to try to save a property that she owned from foreclosure. I reviewed the documents that had been prepared in both prior cases. Both cases had been sloppily prepared and both cases had been dismissed. Not only that, but the judge in the second case banned her from filing a new bankruptcy case without first proving that she had not filed the other two cases in bad faith. Because she did not have a good explanation for the prior two filings and because she did not have enough time left before her sale date to file a motion and have it approved by a bankruptcy judge, we were unable to help her. She lost the property. Ouch!

Bottom Line

Bankruptcy is a very important decision: one of those BIG LIFE DECISIONS. Filing Bankruptcy is basically the first step toward redefining and rebuilding your entire financial future. The entire bankruptcy system was designed so that REAL attorneys would represent all parties involved. Your creditors have attorneys (often whole departments of lawyers!) – shouldn’t you have one? Representing clients against the “Other Guy’s Lawyer” is what we are trained in law school to do. Frankly, when you really consider ALL that is at stake, do you want to trust your future to an unlicensed individual?

Whether you give me a call to interview me for the job of representing you and your family or call another licensed attorney, I hope that I’ve made my point. Please don’t attempt to skimp and save on a Bankruptcy Lawyer. Make every attempt to hire the most competent attorney that you can afford and then go ahead and take charge of your life and get that Fresh Start.


e-Mail Vanessa Childs Map to Office

I am Bankruptcy Attorney Vanessa Childs. Every day I meet good people struggling financially. I have dedicated my law practice to helping people find solutions to tough situations. It is my mission to help clients facing a debt crisis to get control of their finances and start on a path to a financially secure future. It is a very rewarding experience to meet with a client who is facing the loss of their car, home, or their family’s life style as they currently know it because it all about to fall apart; to hear about the stress, anxiety, the loss of sleep, yet we are able to make a legal plan to immediately and drastically improve their situation.

When you visit me, I will likely be able to reduce your anxiety so that you will walk out of my office with real hope and you’ll be looking forward to a tangible and fresh start. It is my experience that anyone is but one job loss or one unexpected medical emergency away from the need for a bankruptcy attorney. Being in debt doesn’t make you a bad person. Good people can fall victim to bad circumstances. I am here to help.

Knowledge is Power and we will share our knowledge with you when you have us partner with you in stopping further damage and harassment from mortgage lenders, banks, and other creditors while getting your financial life back in order.

Call our office to schedule an appointment with attorney Vanessa Childs. Our offices are open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and our service can reach us if you have a pressing after-hours matter.

Call (702) 666-0408


e-Mail Vanessa Childs Map to Office
I am Bankruptcy Attorney Vanessa Childs. Every day I meet good people struggling financially. I have dedicated my law practice to helping people find solutions to tough situations. It is my mission to help clients facing a debt crisis to get control of their finances and start on a path to a financially secure future. It is a very rewarding experience to meet with a client who is facing the loss of their car, home, or their family's life style as they currently know it because it all about to fall apart; to hear about the stress, anxiety, the loss of sleep, yet we are able to make a legal plan to immediately and drastically improve their situation. When you visit me, I will likely be able to reduce your anxiety so that you will walk out of my office with real hope and you'll be looking forward to a tangible and fresh start. It is my experience that anyone is but one job loss or one unexpected medical emergency away from the need for a bankruptcy attorney. Being in debt doesn’t make you a bad person. Good people can fall victim to bad circumstances. I am here to help. Knowledge is Power and we will share our knowledge with you when you have us partner with you in stopping further damage and harassment from mortgage lenders, banks, and other creditors while getting your financial life back in order.
Call our office to schedule an appointment with attorney Vanessa Childs. Our offices are open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and our service can reach us if you have a pressing after-hours matter. Call (702) 666-0408