Welcome to my Atlanta bankruptcy blog. I appreciate your time and attention. I hope you find this blog useful as you educate yourself about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and I encourage you to interact with me by adding comments and asking questions.
My goal with this blog is to share information and educate my readers about the confusing and complex world of consumer bankruptcy. After 20+ years of representing consumer bankruptcy clients, I sometimes forget that bankruptcy exists in a kind of alternate universe. When researching bankruptcy you will run across terms such as:
- 341 hearing
- trustee MTD
- means test
- median income test
- Form B22
- pay advices
- Schedule I & J
- household income
These terms and phrases have a very specific meaning in the bankruptcy universe. If you were to wander into a bankruptcy continuing education seminar, you’d hear these terms and others and you might think that some new language was being spoken. I hope that this blog can demystify the process a little.
I also regularly post case studies – stories about good and bad things that happened to other bankruptcy debtors. You can learn from these stories.
There is one thing that this blog is not, however. This blog is not a substitute for a detailed conversation with a real lawyer about your personal situation. As such, you will not see me offering legal advice on this blog. I am happy to explain a procedure or offer comments about why something might have happened. I may even throw out ideas about what you may want to discuss with your lawyer. But I will not offer legal advice.
What is “legal advice?” If you set out a specific set of facts and ask “what should I do?” that is legal advice. If you ask me if your lawyer made a good or bad decision, that is legal advice.
When I get questions that fall into the “legal advice” category, I may search for the “big picture” point and use that as a theme for a blog post. I may respond directly to the emailer with a referral or I may not answer at all. I generally do not respond to legal advice questions that appear as comments to other blog posts.
I don’t offer legal advice by email or on this blog for several reasons. First and foremost, I do not want to be held liable if you act on that advice and it turns out that I did not have all the facts. Lawyers are subject to rules of professional responsibility, meaning that we can be held liable for bad advice given at a dinner party, email or in casual conversation, regardless of whether a formal retainer was signed or money was exchanged. Therefore, you should not take any specific action based on what you read on this blog. You should consider all of the information on this blog as general educational information about bankruptcy, but not specific advice applicable to any particular situation. If you have a legal problem you need advice specific to your situation and the best way to get that advice is to sit down face to face with a lawyer. I happen to charge for this type of consultation, but some bankruptcy lawyers will meet with you in person at no charge.
I also don’t offer legal advice by email or on this blog because I believe that I deserve to get paid for offering my knowledge and experience. I came to the conclusion several years ago that if I offer my knowledge for nothing, then I am saying to the world that my 20+ years of experience and know-how in the consumer bankruptcy area have no value. I don’t believe that to be the case so if someone wants my analysis and advice, I expect something in return. Most of the time, my fee for a consultation is $150 or $250, which I think is a fair trade for what I can offer.
I encourage you to make this blog part of your educational process. There are several very useful blogs in the consumer bankruptcy area, many of which are listed on the blogroll for this site. Let me recommend one resource to you specifically. It is a blog called the Bankruptcy Law Network blog. The Bankruptcy Law Network is a group of unaffiliated lawyers who contribute to several blogs about financial topics. I am one of the contributors along with over a dozen experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys from all over the country. The BLN blogs are a great resource for anyone seeking knowledge about bankruptcy and debt issues.