Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
Filing for bankruptcy without an attorney, also known as "pro se," may not be as easy as it seems since it can be a challenge to complete successfully. Cases filed with the bankruptcy court need to be handled appropriately in order for the court to consider discharging debt associated with the filing. Meaning, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will understand qualifications and requirements set within the bankruptcy code. When you file on your own you greatly increase the risk of getting your case dismissed or even losing the right to file again if legal procedures are not followed accordingly.
The filing process includes providing necessary documents and preparing them according to bankruptcy court standards. This means you need to provide all required forms and complete them in their entirety. You also need to provide documentation of meeting credit counseling requirements by an approval provider. Information about creditors, living expenses, and other pertinent details about your financial situation are required. You need to review filing eligibility based on code regulations outline in the state you reside.
If you are missing any information in your filing that is considered vital, or even the absence of one form, this may cause the court to dismiss you case. If you leave out or forget to add a debt, you may not be able to get it discharged, meaning you will be responsible for paying the debt. If information is left out when you file, this may be seen by the court as intentions to commit bankruptcy fraud. Due to the complexity involved in filing bankruptcy cases, it is advised for debtors to complete the process under guidance of an experienced attorney who understands the expectations of the bankruptcy court.
There are legal services available that can help you obtain legal counsel, even if you feel you cannot afford an attorney. The American Bar Association offers information on where to seek legal help. You can also contact your local bankruptcy court where you intend to file your case for further legal assistance.