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How long should we wait to begin the filing process once we have decided that bankruptcy is the route we choose?

Tucson, AZ |

Should there be a period of time after we have decided that we would seek filing bankruptcy and when we actually go to a lawyer to file? I have seen in several places to stop using credit cards and stop payments on them, or can we seek a lawyer once we have determined that we cannot continue to make payments.

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Attorney answers 6


You should see a lawyer (or more than one) before you make any final decisions. Then follow the advice of the lawyer. The sooner you meet with one, the better, so you can make the decisions you need to make.


Talk with an attorney and get advice from that person. There are many options and each one has many different avenues, steps and timelines. An attorney can give you tat advice.


I agree with Scott. Several of us local attorney's offer free initial consultations. Take us up on it and make sure that you qualify and that you are filing the right kind of bankruptcy. Timing matters. It matters for income, creditor payments, your personal banking activity, tax refund and so on. Make an appointment early and look into it.

Douglas Edmunds is in the business of helping people and companies file for bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy code requires that I call my firm a "debt relief agency." Any answers or information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion, legal advice or a complete discussion of the legal issues. This is not intended to create a attorney-client relationship. Each individual's situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice from an attorney familiar with the laws of your state for specific information.


You are going about it backwards. FIRST you meet with an attorney to thoroughly discuss your situation, THEN, if you qualify for a Ch.7 or Ch.13, you & your attorney can decide the timing of the filing. If will take your attorney several days to draft the BK petition after you have provided him/her with all the needed documents. Good luck.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.


I agree with the other attorneys that there should not be any time between your making the decision that bankruptcy is right for you and when you actually meet with an attorney.

Your decision may be the right one. but you should consult with an attorney that knows all of your options to resolve the debt, and who can discuss your assets and exemptions, as well as other factors, like a second or third mortgage, judgment liens, upside down secured loans. Until you do, you are only guessing whether bankruptcy is the right option. And the earlier you know what option you will make, and what chapter you will be in, the earlier you will be able to plan. Proper planning in anticipation of filing is as important as the petition and schedules themselves.

Good luck, and consult soon.

I am an Attorney with Fife & Cesta, a compasionate bankruptcy firm conveniently located off the US 60 in Mesa, Arizona. In addition to our other areas of practice, Fife & Cesta is a debt relief agency. We help people and families file for relief under the bankruptcy code. The answers given here are based on the information in the question, but for a complete answer you should have a consultation with an attorney you trust. Call (480) 850-6541 for a free bankruptcy consultation. We carefully evaluate your situation and give you real advice.


Bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step. I am attaching a link to some free videos that explain how bankruptcy works. Most Arizona consumer bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation about the basics of bankruptcy.

Please take time to educate yourself about bankruptcy and to determine which attorney is the best to assist you in the process. Don’t assume the attorney is being completely honest about their experience and capabilities. Check them out. Avoid the attorneys who advertise on TV or profess a 100% success rate in their Internet ads. It costs hundreds or thousands of dollars for these ads and someone has to pay for them – the clients. These attorneys mass produce the work and do not offer the client the hands on assistance that is necessary in a well-planned bankruptcy. Normally these firms assign all or most of the work to paralegals and the client rarely talks to an attorney.

When interviewing the attorney ask them how long they have practiced bankruptcy law. Ask what percentage of their practice is focused on consumer work. Ask whether they are experienced in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases. Ask the attorney for references. Ask about their policy of returning phone calls. They should be committed to answering specific questions about your situation and help you understand your options. If, after talking with them you are still confused about the issues you raised, find another attorney. Check them out with the various ranking sources: such as, and the State Bar. An attorney is should be your guide through this process. They should educate you, be there to assist you in how to avoid pitfalls and help you plan for your future after bankruptcy. There are hundreds of “bankruptcy” attorneys in Arizona. Of those just a few will fit the criteria set forth above. Again, bankruptcy is a very complicated process and you want to use an attorney who will be there when you need them.

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER "HELPFUL" or "THE BEST ANSWER," PLEASE MARK IT SO AS AVVO AWARDS THE ATTORNEY POINTS. All attorneys providing answers on this site are donating their time and not financially compensated.

This firm is in the business of helping people and companies file for bankruptcy protection. Therefore, the bankruptcy code requires that we call our firm a "debt relief agency." This information is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion, legal advice or a complete discussion of the related issues. Nor is this advice intended to create a client - attorney relationship. Every individual's factual situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice from an attorney familiar with the laws of your state or locality regarding specific information.

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