Being a bankruptcy lawyer, I have a tendency to focus on the specifics of Utah bankruptcy law in this blog. However, the first and most important step of my representation as your Utah bankruptcy lawyer is to decide whether or not you should actually be filing for bankruptcy. For that reason, it seems natural that I should discuss that topic here in my first post to this blog.
By the time you visit me, you have probably already decided that you need to file bankruptcy. But there may be things that you don’t realize about bankruptcy, and specifically, Utah bankruptcy. Sometimes filing for bankruptcy is not the answer you are looking for.
When you file for bankruptcy, the court “discharges” some or all of your debts so that you don’t have to pay them. One common situation where filing for bankruptcy will not help you is where a you want to file for bankruptcy to get out from under debts that are not dischargeable under the bankruptcy code. There is an entire section in the bankruptcy code devoted to identifying certain debts that are not dischargeable. Some of the most common are:
- Debt owed to the government for unpaid taxes, or debt incurred to pay taxes.
- Debt for a loan that was obtained by fraud or false representation.
- Debt for domestic support obligations such as child support or spousal support.
- Debt for student loans. (Technically, this debt is dischargeable, but only where it would impose an “undue hardship” on you and your family. The practical reality of this is that a court will almost never find there to be an undue hardship. Even in seemingly extreme cases, courts have declined to discharge student debt.)
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy in Utah, please call a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy law is complicated. You may not be able to decide whether bankruptcy is the best solution for you. And if you attempt to file by yourself you are risking making a huge mistake because you are not aware of the things I talk about on this blog. Even if you have a bankruptcy petition preparer help you out, they are not always aware of these things, and they are not allowed to give you legal advice – because they’re not lawyers.
As a bankruptcy attorney, I realize that cost is always a concern. But the fact of the matter is that you are filing bankruptcy because you want a fresh start; if you do it the wrong way you will end up in lots of trouble with no fresh start at all.
I offer free consultations, and I will talk with you about whether bankruptcy is an appropriate solution for you; so there’s no excuse not to call me if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Utah.