When it comes to a bankruptcy filing, you should always hire an attorney who has experience and knows the laws and guidelines that govern the process. Your family attorney may not be able to handle it for you. There’s a difference between a general practice lawyer and a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer. Hiring the latter to handle your filing will be advantageous to you, eliminating the possibility of mistakes. If you’ve reached the point where you need to file for bankruptcy, you cannot afford mistakes. The first step in a bankruptcy case is determining which debts are “dischargeable” and which aren’t. Most tax debts are not, while many of your standard creditor debts might be if you’re filing Chapter 7. Those include medical bills, credit cards, unsecured loans, and some personal income tax debt. If it’s determined by your attorney that most of your debt is not dischargeable, you may want to look at bankruptcy options other than Chapter 7. A qualified attorney familiar with current bankruptcy laws will be able to review those options with you. The rules governing Chapter 7 filings are the strictest of the three types of bankruptcy because a favorable judgment in Chapter 7 can eliminate almost all of your outstanding debt. Most individuals file Chapter 13, or a “wage earner plan” where you restructure debt over a three to five year period and pay it off over time. Chapter 11 is also a restructuring plan, but it’s for businesses and corporations. Before you make a decision to file any of them, consult a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney. If you need brain surgery, you don’t seek out a heart specialist. Legal proceedings are just as complex as medical procedures, without the obvious physical consequences of failure. There are, however, financial consequences if your file for a bankruptcy and do it wrong. Facing a refusal when you legitimately need a judgment in your favor could cripple you financially. Make sure you do it the right way. Get the help you need from those who have provided it in the past to others just like you. You’ll get a fresh start, and hopefully you’ll know enough not to make the same mistakes again that put you in this position in the first place.