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Do I Have to File Bankruptcy with an Attorney?

Posted By Allmand Law Firm, PLLC || 20-Jun-2016

The bankruptcy code allows debtors the option of representing themselves, also known as a "pro se" debtor. Yet, just because you can file on your own doesn't mean it is always the best idea. In many cases, you should complete the process with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, especially when your financial future is shaped by the process. To understand this further, it helps to get advice from an attorney even if you decide to file on your own.

There are a few factors to help determine whether you should hire legal representation for your situation:

  • The type of bankruptcy you want to file, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • The amount of personal assets such as property and income.

  • The complexity of your case or personal situation.

  • Whether or not you are confident you can complete the process on your own.

This is often an important decision that needs a considerable amount of time, review and understanding in order to secure the outcome you want. With simple Chapter 7 cases, filing pro se may be something to consider when you have little or no property. Still, there always exists a risk for error and mistakes when you file without experienced representation, especially if unforeseen complexities arise.

There are other points to consider such as household income being below state median level, having a thorough understanding of the forms needed to complete and making sure your debts are indeed dischargeable in which creditors cannot argue they are non-dischargeable.

So when is it best to work with a bankruptcy attorney?

  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in which debtors are looking to reduce what they owe on their vehicle, catch up on vehicle or mortgage payments or want to strip or eliminate junior liens and second mortgages.

  • A complex Chapter 7 case if you own a business, have assets high in value or may put you at risk if filing on your own, or debts that may not qualify for discharge. Other elements may apply to this scenario.

  • When you are uncomfortable with the idea of presenting your case to the bankruptcy court alone, want to ensure all matters are handled efficiently on your behalf, and wish to put yourself in the best possible position for a positive financial future.

Learn how Allmand Law Firm, PLLC can help you during a FREE financial empowerment consultation. Contact us today to get started!

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