Can You File for Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code doesn’t require you to have a lawyer to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. You can legally represent yourself, filing as a pro se debtor.
Why, then, should you consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer?
Filing for bankruptcy on your own is no easy task, and going that route is taking a major risk. Pro se cases are often dismissed due to missteps by debtors, and if you don’t receive a discharge, you can expect your creditors to start hounding you again. Here’s more on why working with a bankruptcy lawyer is in your best interests.
Bankruptcy Isn’t Always the Right Solution
For some people, working with a credit counseling agency or negotiating with creditors can be the best option for dealing with debt. Get a lawyer’s advice, and you’ll know if filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is a smart decision.
Bankruptcy Law is Quite Complicated
Yours might be a simple Chapter 7 case, but it’s going to be difficult to obtain a discharge without a bankruptcy lawyer. You’ll need to get very familiar with the laws and rules involved in order to fill out the forms and schedules correctly – and any mistake could result in dismissal.
Several Steps to the Bankruptcy Process
Before filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 claim, you must complete a credit counseling course. Then, of course, you’ll have a stack of documents to fill out and file with the court. There’s a Meeting of Creditors to attend as well, and you’ll need to redeem or reaffirm your secured debts. These aren’t the only steps to the process, either, but with a bankruptcy lawyer at your side, you won’t have to worry about what comes next.
Issues Can Arise with Any Bankruptcy Case
A creditor could challenge your ability to discharge a debt, for example, or the bankruptcy trustee could suspect you of committing fraud. Anything could go wrong, and as a pro se filer, you won’t be prepared to handle the problem and get back on the path to debt relief. Hire a bankruptcy lawyer, and you’ll have an expert moving your case along to discharge.
Finding an Affordable Bankruptcy Lawyer
Chances are, you’re thinking about filing as a pro se debtor to save money on legal fees. But, hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can be in your financial reach. Many attorneys – including those at the Law Office of Davis & Jones, P.C. – are willing to work with debtors and can come up with a payment arrangement that you can afford. And a small retainer may be enough to make the creditor calls stop until you pay the fees in full.
At the Law Office of Davis & Jones, we offer free consultations to Utah residents who are in need of debt relief. To discuss your case with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, contact our Salt Lake City office today.