Local Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Albuquerque and New Mexico
We are here to help when you need it most.
Being overwhelmed with debt can be scary. You may not know how to pay back all of your debts and pay your current bills. Since 2006, we have represented individuals who have gotten behind on their bills due to an illness, divorce, accident, loss of a job, poor financial planning, or a poor economy. The majority of our clients are hard-working people that want to pay back their debts, but are simply unable to. The sudden loss of a job, unexpected medical bills, a divorce or a natural disaster can quickly and completely wipe out any savings an individual might have.
Our Albuquerque bankruptcy lawyers are ready to help when you need it. For many, bankruptcy can eliminate debt and provide a fresh start to their financial lives. Whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 or just need help figuring out what next steps to take, you will receive patient, positive, and comprehensive advice. Although it may seem overwhelming, there are many options available to you and most situations can be untangled to provide you a clear way forward. Our New Mexico bankruptcy lawyers are here to help you get back on track.
Areas of Expertise
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy and is often referred to as “fresh start bankruptcy” or a “liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is great for wiping out all of your qualifying debt, such as medical bills, credit cards, repossession or foreclosure deficiencies, lawsuits and other debts.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option for those who have income or wages sufficient to fund a repayment plan. A Chapter 13 is often used to prevent foreclosure and allow individuals to stay in there home. It may be option for those don’t pass the means test. A Chapter 13 can also be an option if you have received a Chapter 7 discharge within the last 8 years.
Not enough insurance or no insurance can be a huge problem if you are injured or become sick. Medical costs are high and if no insurance exists, then you are responsible for paying back your medical bills. After an unexpected accident or illness, it can be daunting to receive all of those medical bills. Bankruptcy can be option to eliminate or reduce medical bills that you are unable to pay.
If you get behind on your mortgage payments, it is almost impossible to catch up. Mortgage lenders will sometimes offer a loan modification. If that does not work, a bankruptcy stay can stop the foreclosure and if you want to stay in your house, there may be an option to get you caught up and get current on your mortgage. If you are facing a foreclosure, it will not go away. Contact our Albuquerque bankruptcy lawyers to set up a free bankruptcy consultation.
- Free Bankruptcy Consultation
We offer a free bankruptcy consultation. We can meet by phone, virtually (i.e. Zoom) or in person. Most of clients appreciate that we offer phone consults as it saves time in traveling to and from our office. We are happy to meet in person as well. The choice is yours.
The bankruptcy consult will take between 40 to 60 minutes and in order to properly advise you on your financial situation, we will ask questions about your assets, your debt, your income and your expenses. This information is important for a few reasons. First to qualify for a chapter 7, you must pass the means test. The means test is based on your current (over 6 months) income as well as your expenses. And while Chapter 7 is great for eliminating some types of debt, it does not eliminate all types of debt. Domestic support obligations, back taxes or student loans are all examples of the type of debt that cannot be eliminated, but may be able to be addressed in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After we have gone through your assets, debt, income and expenses, we will have a general idea of whether bankruptcy is an option for you and whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will work better. Of course, if you decide to retain us and we are able to look at the details of your situation, our advice may change. Click here for our free bankruptcy evaluation.
2. Engagement and Payment
If you decide to retain us to file a bankruptcy or some other matter, we will send you an engagement agreement which you can electronically sign. Our engagement will specify our scope of representation, or what will or will not do in exchange for the attorney’s fee. In Chapter 7, we offer a flat fee agreement, meaning that you pay the fee and even if your case is more complicated than we originally thought, you do not pay any additional fees. For a Chapter 13, we accept retainers and will bill your case hourly. Our attorney’s fees will be paid through the Chapter 13 plan, meaning you do not need to worry about how to pay our attorney’s fees separately.
We accept payment plans and typically we can get started for $250.00 and we accept online payments as well as cash or check. You are not allowed to use a credit card to pay for the bankruptcy, so if you use our online payment option, please only use a debit card. Whether we have agreed to a flat fee or a retainer agreement, the full, agreed-to amount must be paid in full prior to filing your bankruptcy case.
3. Documents and Information Gathering
After you have retained us, we will need to collect more detailed information to prepare the bankruptcy petition and schedules. We will typically request your last two years of tax returns (federal and state), 6 months of paystubs, 6 months of bank statements as well as a homework packet, which asks for information that cannot be gathered from the documents we request. It sounds like a lot, but we have great staff at Maxwell Gilchrist to help you through the homework. We also have a way to upload these items through a secure portal. Email is not the most secure form of electronic communications and we offer a secure client portal in which you can upload your documents. This secure portal is important to protect your sensitive financial information.
Client communication is incredibly important to us and we want to make sure the steps you take through the bankruptcy process are as easy and seamless as possible. We encourage you to reach out when you have a question and we will try and respond within twenty-four hours. We also offer email and text messaging as a way to communicate with us. Text messaging has been great for many of our clients as they work and cannot take the time to answer a call.
5. Filing and Next Steps
After we have prepared the bankruptcy petition, schedules and statements, we will meet with you (either in person or virtually) to review the schedules with you. If the documents do not need any changes, then you will sign a signature page and we will get your bankruptcy case filed. Once your case is filed, an automatic stay will be entered, meaning that creditors can no longer act to collect the debts. The bankruptcy automatic stay prevents foreclosures, repossessions and lawsuits from proceeding.
After the filing of the bankruptcy petition and schedules, a 341 meeting of the creditors is set. The meeting is typically set within 30 days of the filing of the bankruptcy. The 341 meeting allows the trustee and any creditors who may attend ask you questions about the information you provided for the bankruptcy documents. It is not as scary as it sounds and one of our bankruptcy lawyers will be with you at the time of the meeting. If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and no one objects to your discharge within 90 days of filing, you will receive your discharge. A chapter 7 bankruptcy, once filed, can be completed within 4-6 months.