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Congratulations—you’ve taken an important step and scheduled a meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. While this is a major part of regaining financial security, there are many things you must do to prepare beforehand. Here are some things to do and expect during your very first meeting with your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney:

1. Sharing Financial Information

It’s important to be totally honest with your bankruptcy attorney about your current financial state. Your very first meeting will involve a discussion of your finances, income, and debt load. Try to bring documentation of all of these with you to your first meeting, including pay stubs or other income documentation, the past month’s worth of bills and bank statements, and any other financial records you may have.

2.  Halting Harassment from Creditors

One of the greatest benefits to filing for bankruptcy is protection from debt collectors. When you begin the bankruptcy process, debt collectors and creditors are no longer allowed to contact you, and must instead communicate through your attorney. Disclosing who your creditors are, how much you owe them, and how they have been contacting you will help your attorney provide greater protection and relief from harassment.

3.  Setting Expectations

If all of the information described above is readily available, your bankruptcy attorney should be able to tell you what to expect from the bankruptcy process. While no two bankruptcy cases are exactly alike, certain factors may impact how successful your case may be, including how much debt you have and what assets you own. You and your bankruptcy attorney can therefore begin to develop a strategy, prepare for negotiations, and discuss property exemptions.

To learn more about the process of hiring a bankruptcy attorney, contact Cutler & Associates, Ltd., Chicago’s premier consumer bankruptcy law firm. We work exclusively with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, so call (847) 282-4899 for a free consultation.