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Potential Dangers of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on Your Own

Posted By Allmand Law Firm, PLLC || 12-Aug-2013

Debtors exploring the option of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy on their own without an attorney, (pro se) may be in for a few surprises if they do not know what they are getting themselves into. While it is true you have the option to file on your own, it is often not advised for debtors to do so for several reasons. The bankruptcy code is filed with complex rules and regulations an experienced bankruptcy attorney practices and exercises on a regular basis. Plus, many debtors who try to file on their own turn out unsuccessful in the end.

There are a number of pitfalls debtors have come across in the case of representing themselves in bankruptcy court.

The following points detail a few common problems:

  • Debtors often choose to file bankruptcy but it turns out to be the wrong chapter. This may happen when the debtor didn't take time to review their options in full detail, or they didn't realize there are multiple bankruptcy chapters with different purposes. Sometimes filing the wrong chapter could lead the debtor into losing their property or not being granted discharge of debts.

  • Paperwork related to the filing is either inaccurate, missing documents, or not filed out correctly. You may have an idea of which chapter you want to file, but the petition, schedules, and related documentation need to be completed in its entirety before the court will consider reviewing them. If you are missing documents your case could be dismissed before it gets reviewed.

  • Failing to understand property exemptions. Such exemptions help you retain and protect assets and personal property, but they work differently depending on which chapter you file, and vary at state and federal levels. You must also list property values accurately or you stand to lose them.

  • Credit counseling and financial management: failing to understand their differences. Each is different from the other while they are both required in either bankruptcy chapter you decide to file. Debt may not be granted discharge if each course isn't completed.

Categories: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
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