Often when people come to see a bankruptcy attorney, they assume that bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) are the only options that attorney will give them. At Halcomb Singler, LLP, this is not correct. Erika Singler does not believe that bankruptcy is the only way out of debt. While bankruptcy is certainly an excellent option from some people, it is not the best option for everyone.
In order to determine what is the best route, it is necessary to meet for about an hour. This appointment is mostly to discuss your finances, but it is also a lot about discussing your life. Your income and expenses do not tell a bankruptcy attorney everything her or she needs to know about whether you should file bankruptcy or consider other options. Perhaps someone has a medical condition and is going to need ongoing treatment. Perhaps someone is approaching retirement age and cannot physically handle the stress of working. Perhaps you anticipate a relocation for a job shortly that will take your family to the other side of the country. The possibilities are really endless, but in order to give you the best advice it is important to know about more than just your finances, it is important to know a little bit about how the debt happened as well as your future plans.
For example, when people come in to Halcomb Singler and tell me that their primary goal is buying a house in the next year, it is unlikely that I am going to advise them to file for bankruptcy, as bankruptcy would derail the timeline of that goal. Or, if someone comes in to our office and is $40,000.00 behind on a mortgage payment and tells me that they had a temporary job loss, but that their primary goal is to keep their home, I’m likely to recommend a Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that they can catch up their payments over a period of up to 60 months. If a couple tells me that they are unwilling to stop paying $500.00 per month for traveling soccer it means that I cannot recommend bankruptcy.
Outside of bankruptcy, we can often work with people doing debt settlement. This can occur prior to or after the filing of a lawsuit. We have handled debt settlements for individuals who owe near $100,000.00 and we able to settle the debts before a lawsuit was filed. We also routinely enter our appearance for people who are being sued for various types of credit card, medical or mortgage foreclosure cases in Hamilton, Boone and Marion Counties here in Indiana. In mortgage foreclosure cases, we often request a settlement conference for our clients in order to determine whether they might be able to qualify for a modification. Sometimes we even tell our clients that they should not worry about the debt and not pay them because they are judgment-proof, which means that they do not own anything that a creditor could take.
The tools that attorneys use to navigate debt issues aren’t endless, but there are several. Sometimes we recommend one option and see another option as a back-up plan. At Halcomb Singler we often tell clients that we can usually help to fix debt, but we can’t fix income. If you are struggling with debt and want some ideas regarding how you might be able to solve your problem our firm offers a fee initial consultation. Call us at (317) 575-8222 to meet at our Carmel, Indiana office.