Here is an overview about how to file bankruptcy yourself and what to expect.
Businesses must have a lawyer or attorney to register a bankruptcy case. Individuals, can, may represent themselves in bankruptcy court. While people can file a bankruptcy case without a attorney or “pro se,” it is seriously difficult to do it competently.
It is particularly important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled thoroughly.
The directions are very technical, and a misstep may impact a debtor’s rights. For instance, a borrower whose case is dismissed for failure to file a required document, such as a credit counseling certificate, may surrender the right to file another case or lose shelters in a later case, including the advantage of the automatic stay.
Bankruptcy has lasting financial and legal consequences – hiring a certified attorney is strongly advised. You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney in your area. If you are thinking of filing your own bankruptcy, our advice is don’t do it.
Debtors must list all property and liabilities in their bankruptcy schedules. If a debt is not noted, it is possible the debt will not be discharged. (Lists of the documents including schedules that debtors must file are set out on Form B200)
The judge can also deny the discharge of all debts if a consumer does something tricky in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as destroying or obscuring property, falsifying records, or lying. Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly analyzed to determine the accuracy, reliability, and entirety of the information that the debtor is required to provide.
Please understand that bankruptcy fraud is a criminal activity.
Pro se litigants, whether debtor or banker, are assumed to abide by the procedures that govern procedures in the federal courts. Pro se litigants should understand the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court in which the case is filed. Local rules, in addition to other useful details, are normally posted on the court’s web site and are provided at the local court’s information counter.
Individual debtors are commonly required to get credit counseling from an authorized agency within 180 days ahead of filing a case, and to file a statement of compliance and a certificate of credit counseling supplied by the provider. Neglecting to do so may result in dismissal of the case.
Borrowers are really encouraged to get the services of competent legal counsel. Even if you can not afford to pay an attorney, you may be able to qualify for free legal help. For help and advice about choosing an attorney, or about free (also known as “pro bono”) legal services, contact your state or local bar association. Numerous law schools have legal facilities that make available complimentary legal services. Court web sites frequently have contact information for bar associations and pro bono legal service programs, as well as essential procedural information.
You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney in your area.
For information about this sort of legal resources, check the American Bar Association ‘s Legal Help page, the Legal Services Corporation, or the web site of the bankruptcy court where you are going to file.
Homeowners who are having difficulty or have fallen behind in making their mortgage monthly payments may have options that would allow them to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy. For more information, check these foreclosure resources.
Beware of special offers made once your house is in foreclosure – there are a number of fraudulent schemes precisely directed at individuals facing foreclosure. Contact your state attorney general or other state consumer protection agency regarding any suspicious proposal, such as one that requires transferring your property to a third party in order to avoid foreclosure.
Consider avoiding bankruptcy petition preparers who do not comply with all legal requirements. The job of non-attorney application preparers is primarily enter details on Bankruptcy Forms (available at this link without charge). Petition preparers are barred by law from supplying legal advice – they may not talk about how to resolve legal questions or aid in bankruptcy court. Petition preparers must authorize all documents they prepare; print their name, address, and social security number on such documents; and offer copies to the debtor. They may not sign a document on the debtor’s behalf or collect payment from the consumer for court fees.