I have no equity in my house in CA but owe $400K when it's worth $140K. I have maybe $10K to my name if I had to liquidate personal belongings. I have $180K in my 401K. I have a job that pays $70K and a car that's worth 4K. I'm willing to change my life dramatically by getting a job I enjoy at 35K per year so I will be eligible for Chapter 7.
I live in Ft. Lauderdale and there are many choices. How can I find an attorney that is motivated to help me plan to limit my loss before my house is foreclosed (leaving me with less options). I am willing to pay well for an attorney with an excellent record. How do I find the best attorney to suit my needs?
Thanking you in advance...........
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
There are some good lawyers listed on this site, if they take the time to answer questions for free they are interested in helping people, take the time read there answers and legal guides. If I ever had to hire an attorney for something I would go to the court for a few hours and watch, it will become very clear who knows what they are doing and who does not. Also look for someone who is actually a bankruptcy attorney as their primary practice, you do not want someone who only does a couple a month.
For more information, visit www.freebankruptcyinformation.info or checkout my legal guides regarding this topic posted on my AVVO profile.
Legal Information is Not Legal Advice
My answer provides information about the law based on the limited information provided in the questions asked and is not intended to be legal advice. The law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on the location or situation. I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney to discuss the specific details of your situation so you can get legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. The information in my answer is for educational and information purposes only, and is not legal advice or legal opinions. The answer provided to the question asked does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship.
You can do several things. You can ask people who you trust. If you know a lawyer, you can ask him or her to refer you to a bankruptcy attorney. You can hang around the bankruptcy court or trustee hearings to watch the attorneys in action.
You need to ask what types of cases the attorney handles. Does the attorney limit practice to only 7s or only 13s or avoid adversary proceedings. You want to know what the attorney can do for your case. Do not shop around based on price because you get what you pay for.
The number of cases is irrelevant. Some attorneys limit the number they take every year and devote more time to them. Others spend less time and handle hundreds of cases without much client contact. The right attorney is one that makes you feel comfortable, practices the way you expect and tells you what you need to hear (not what you want to hear). Don't be afraid of the attorney who says he doesn't know and has to do some research. The ones who think they know it all tend to be wrong or tend to miss something.
You can contact attorneys through the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
The previous answer gives some excellent suggestions.
You need to be comfortable with whatever attorney you choose. Many attorneys offer free consultations. You might want to consider spending time with more than one attorney before you choose.
In addition to the Means Test (which you seem to be aware of), another important aspect of your case may be which set of state exemptions you need to use. If you moved to Florida from California within the last two years, you may need to use California exemptions. Any attorney you speak with should address this question.
This response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response is based on the limited facts provided. Given additional or different facts, the response would change. Attorney is licensed to practice law in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.