Can I File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

The Buchalter Law Group

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, paying an attorney to help you declare bankruptcy may seem counterintuitive. How can you possibly pay a lawyer if you can’t even pay your bills?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows you to file pro se, or without a lawyer. But it also advises against it. While representing yourself may be cheaper, the odds of making critical errors or failing to take full advantage of bankruptcy protections are extraordinarily high.

An experienced attorney can:

  • Clear up myths and misconceptions about bankruptcy.
  • Assess whether bankruptcy is truly the best option for your situation.
  • Decide which chapter is right for you.
  • Determine which of your debts may be discharged.
  • Determine whether you will be able to keep your assets (e.g. real estate, vehicles, personal possessions, etc.)
  • Help you take full advantage of state or federal bankruptcy exemptions.
  • Help you understand the tax implications of your bankruptcy filing.
  • Represent you in adversarial proceedings (i.e. when you or a creditor file a lawsuit related to your case).
  • Guide you through the petition and documentation processes.
  • Ensure your petition is thorough and free of error.
  • Explain the bankruptcy process and how certain laws may affect you.
  • Help you decide whether to pay creditors, negotiate for better terms, or file suit against them for creditor harassment.
  • Advise you on how to recover from bankruptcy (e.g. rebuilding credit, taking out new loans, etc.)

Many people who represent themselves expect to receive help or answers from court employees or judges, but this assistance is against the law. As such, you would need to have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and obligations under the Bankruptcy Code.

Without this understanding, you could potentially miss substantial opportunities to protect your assets or discharge debt. The court could convert your case into a different chapter or even deny your petition outright. Whether or not you have a lawyer, the system will expect you to adhere to every detail of the Bankruptcy Code, as well as the nuances of your local court.

In short, bankruptcy costs money—in both filing fees and attorney fees. With qualified support, however, bankruptcy can save you much more in the long run, giving you the clean slate you need to build solid financial foundations. Bankruptcy has long-lasting legal and financial consequences, and a skilled lawyer can help you minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of your filing process.

Retain the Support You Need Today

Our attorneys at The Buchalter Law Group focus exclusively on debt-related matters because we are both professionally and personally dedicated to helping clients regain their financial footing. When you are struggling to overcome a financial crisis, we step in, putting our 45+ years of experience to work for your future.

For a free case evaluation, give our office a call at (321) 320-6088 or reach out to us online.

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