Friday, July 5, 2013

Can You File Bankruptcy Without An Attorney?

How Hard Is Filing Bankruptcy Without An Attorney?

You have two options when filing for bankruptcy: hire an attorney or do it yourself (also known as filing pro se).
As a pro se bankruptcy filer, you have all the same rights that you would have had you had filed with an attorney.  However, when you represent yourself, you are expected to know and understand how the law is practiced in the Bankruptcy Courts.  Bankruptcy Judges and trustees deal with heavy case loads and can have very little patience for those pro se filers who are not prepared or who don’t understand how the process of bankruptcy works. Be sure you are familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Rules of your jurisdiction before you file a pro se bankruptcy.

What about Online Bankruptcy Kits and non-attorney “Petition Preparers?”

There are many websites and companies that offer “bankruptcy kits” to help you file without an attorney.  Also, some non-attorney “petition preparers” may offer their services in preparing and filing your bankruptcy petition, but they do not actually represent you or your interests in Court.  These preparers are almost never attorneys and do not help you once your case is filed. There is also little supervision over these companies, unlike the strict court rules that govern bankruptcy attorneys to ensure your best interests are being represented at all times.
The truth is, bankruptcy is much more complex than just filling out forms. People who file their cases using bankruptcy kits or “petition preparers” often encounter problems with their bankruptcy and can be forced to hire a bankruptcy attorney to help correct the mistakes that were made. This can be a very expensive, time-consuming and painstaking route to take.

A personal individual evaluation by a lawyer is the only way to get a true understanding of what bankruptcy law can do for you.  Filing for bankruptcy without the help of a lawyer can be a difficult and time-consuming experience. We recommended that if you are considering filing bankruptcy that you consult with a competent attorney prior to filing your case.  Call King and King at 404-524-6400 for a free consultation to identify any potential issues specific to your case.
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