Your Friends’ Explanations of Bankruptcy

I know that this has been said on this blog numerous times about listening to what others, particularly non-attorneys, say about bankruptcy. Just because your friend got to keep his car free and clear of the creditor’s lien does not mean that youwill. Often, there is a substantial amount of misunderstanding and just plain wrong information. The same can be said for information about bankruptcy over the internet (with the exception of Bankruptcy Law Network of course).
Just recently, I had a client call my office wondering if he might be convert his case from a chapter 13 to a chapter 7. His friend had converted his case and was able to get all his unsecured debt discharged. The client wondered why he couln’t do the same thing? What the friend and the client have failed to realize is that the friend’s situation is dramatically different from the client’s situation. In the friend’s situation, the only debts remaining were unsecured debts. In the client’s case, a second mortgage had been “stripped off” and a conversion to a chapter 7 would torpedo the “strip-off” of his second mortgage (meaning the mortgage remains in place).
As any lawyer will tell you, the outcome of any case depends on the particular facts in that particular case. It is very rare that two cases are exactly alike. It takes a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to help guide you through the maze of your particular case. You don’t want to be led into a dead-end by following advice that is wrong for your particular situation.
The same can be said for the huge amount amount of information available over the internet. While having a lot of information available is generally a good thing, you also need a certain knowledge base and experience to be able to sort good information from the bad or even just to know which information is applicable to your situation. Many times, clients will bring up a question involving bankruptcy based on what they read on the internet. Oftentimes, I will have to debunk what a client has read because it just does not apply to his situation.
Your best investment in navigating the bankruptcy maze is a skilled, experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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