How Do I Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney:
The first thing you have to do is call me. As a general rule I will answer the phone rather then one of my paralegals. I do this because the questions that my clients have are very important and need answered as quickly as possible. Many firms will require you to leave a message and promise to call you back when they are back from court. Once you do get a hold of the attorney they will set up an appointment for you to come in and do a consultation with him or her. If you are unlucky this consultation might not be for another week or two. What I do is a little different. Like I said I answer the phone personally. Most times I will pick up on your first call but if not rest assure I will call you back normally within 30 minutes. although my firm has three experienced attorneys and three paralegals I feel that personal attention is the most important component of the attorney client relationship. Once you call me I will on the first call ask you important questions designed to find out if you qualify under Oklahoma bankruptcy law to file either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy case in Oklahoma. A few of the questions are as follows:
1. How long have you lived in Oklahoma? This is a jurisdictional question to help me determine which federal district court your case will be filed in. To qualify to file in Oklahoma you must have lived in the county in which you are filing for six months. Other questions will be asked about your residency but this is generally the most important.
2. Have you ever filed a bankruptcy before. Most people when asked this question become embarrassed and fail to understand that many first time filers will go through the process again in their lives. Although I hope that once you file a bankruptcy case in Oklahoma you will be financially good to go but with recent economic hard times and the current credit and housing crises this is just not the new reality. Why I ask this question is because you can only file a chapter 7 every eight years measured form the date of your last filing and a chapter 13 four years from the filing of a chapter 7.
3. How much money do you make and are you married with children? I ask this question as a part of the means test. With the new Oklahoma Bankruptcy laws the means test determines what chapter of bankruptcy you can file for in Oklahoma. If you make at or below the median family income in the county in which you live you will qualify to file a chapter seven bankruptcy in Oklahoma. If you make above the median family income you must file a chapter 13.
4. Do you own a house or a car? I ask this to determine what your intentions are as to those assets. Generally you can keep those assets and continue to make payments or send them back to the creditor and discharge the debt, its your choice. In the event that you decide to keep the asset we will reaffirm the debt at no additional cost to you.
5. Do you have any retirement accounts or pension plans? I ask this question so as to set your mind at ease. Under Oklahoma bankruptcy law most retirement accounts are exempt…so you keep them.
6. What personal property do you own. Once again this question is informational and designed to let you know that many objects of personal property are also exempt but certain limitations do apply.
7. Provided you qualify I will generally set you up with an appointment the very next day.