– Dan Freund, Eau Claire, Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney

More bankruptcy questions? Check our our FAQ page.

I'm brokeThis page contains general information. Contact a WBG attorney for specific advice.

Many people wait to see a bankruptcy lawyer because they worry about the cost. They shouldn’t. Here are four reasons why:

♦   Maybe you can avoid bankruptcy. A good attorney will help you explore ALL your options, some of which cost little or nothing. Beware of attorneys – often the cheapest – who don’t first make sure that bankruptcy is your best choice.

♦   Delay reduces your options. As time passes you may lose the chance to use a non-bankruptcy solution. If bankruptcy is your best option then delay might mean losing the chance to maximize its benefits.

♦   Delay can cost more. Many non-bankruptcy solutions are less expensive than bankruptcy – in fact, some are free. Delay could limit you to more expensive approaches. If you should do a bankruptcy then postponing action may cost you extra in both attorney fees and in lost opportunities to plan.

♦   Bankruptcy may cost less than you think. How much a bankruptcy costs depends on your circumstances and the type of bankruptcy that is right for you. For example, you may qualify for legal aid (more about that at the end of this article). Or, if you file a Chapter 13, you can start with a down payment. Then you pay the balance as part of the bankruptcy plan.

      For many, bankruptcy costs less than the alternative of struggling day-in and day-out to pay bills. Far too often debt relief attorneys see folks who use up all their assets in a failed attempt to avoid bankruptcy. If bankruptcy is right for you then it is better to stop paying creditors. You can use the money you save to pay for permanent debt relief.

      And don’t forget the emotional toll of constantly of robbing Peter to pay Paul. While bankruptcy is a big step, it can put an end to unhealthy stress for you and your family.

What about filing without the help of a bankruptcy attorney? The law allows you to do your own bankruptcy. (It also allows you to do your own dentistry.) You might save a bit of money by filing on your own if you know for sure that (a) bankruptcy is your best option, (b) now is the best time to file, and (c) you have a genuinely simple case. On the other hand, such savings will be “penny wise and pound foolish” if you discover after you file that your assets are at risk, you have filed too soon, or you will not receive a discharge.

Well then, how about saving a few bucks by using a non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparer? Petition preparers cannot help you decide whether bankruptcy is your best option, help you prepare for bankruptcy, or represent you during a bankruptcy. All they can do is take the information you give them and type that information into the official forms. In short, they are a waste of money.

More bankruptcy questions? Check our our FAQ page.

Legal Aid

Truly can’t afford an attorney? You may qualify for legal aid. Wisconsin has six legal aid offices across the state. Which one you use depends on where you live. Here is a list of the offices (click for contact information) and, following that, the counties they serve.

Judicare (map)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Legal Action of Wisconsin (Racine)

Adams County (Friendship) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Ashland County (Ashland) – Judicare
Barron County (Barron) – Judicare
Bayfield County (Washburn) – Judicare
Brown County (Green Bay) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Buffalo County (Alma) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Burnett County (Siren) – Judicare
Calumet County (Chilton) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Chippewa County (Chippewa Falls) – Judicare
Clark County (Neillsville) – Judicare
Columbia County (Portage) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Crawford County (Prairie du Chien) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Dane County (Madison) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Dodge County (Juneau) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Door County (Sturgeon Bay) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Douglas County (Superior) – Judicare
Dunn County (Menomonie) – Judicare
Eau Claire County (Eau Claire) – Judicare
Florence County (Florence) – Judicare
Fond du Lac County (Fond du Lac) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Forest County (Crandon) – Judicare
Grant County (Lancaster) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Green County (Monroe) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Green Lake County (Green Lake) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Iowa County (Dodgeville) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Iron County (Hurley) – Judicare
Jackson County (Black River Falls) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Jefferson County (Jefferson) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Juneau County (Mauston) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Kenosha County (Kenosha) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Racine)
Kewaunee County (Kewaunee) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
La Crosse County (La Crosse) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Lafayette County (Darlington) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Langlade County (Antigo) – Judicare
Lincoln County (Merrill) – Judicare
Manitowoc County (Manitowoc) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Marathon County (Wausau) – Judicare
Marinette County (Marinette) – Judicare
Marquette County (Montello) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Menominee County (Keshena) – Judicare
Milwaukee County (Milwaukee) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
Monroe County (Sparta) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Oconto County (Oconto) – Judicare
Oneida County (Rhinelander) – Judicare
Outagamie County (Appleton) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Ozaukee County (Port Washington) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Pepin County (Durand) – Judicare
Pierce County (Ellsworth) – Judicare
Polk County (Balsam Lake) – Judicare
Portage County (Stevens Point) – Judicare
Price County (Phillips) – Judicare
Racine County (Racine) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Racine)
Richland County (Richland Center) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Rock County (Janesville) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Rusk County (Ladysmith) – Judicare
St. Croix County (Hudson) – Judicare
Sauk County (Baraboo) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Madison)
Sawyer County (Hayward) – Judicare
Shawano County (Shawano) – Judicare
Sheboygan County (Sheboygan) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Taylor County (Medford) – Judicare
Trempealeau County (Whitehall) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Vernon County (Viroqua) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (La Crosse)
Vilas County (Eagle River) – Judicare
Walworth County (Elkhorn) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Racine)
Washburn County (Shell Lake) – Judicare
Washington County (West Bend) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Waukesha County (Waukesha) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
Waupaca County (Waupaca) – Judicare
Waushara County (Wautoma) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Winnebago County (Oshkosh) – Legal Action of Wisconsin (Oshkosh)
Wood County (Wisconsin Rapids) – Judicare

More bankruptcy questions? Check our our FAQ page.

This page contains general information. Contact a WBG attorney for specific advice.
Wisconsin Bankruptcy Guide is provided by law firms designated as Debt Relief Agencies by the federal government because we help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. We also provide other types of debt relief options.

Image credit: flickr/danielmoyle

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