Am I able to file bankruptcy without a lawyer?
Some people may want to file bankruptcy without representation of an attorney. This is permitted, if it’s an individual that is filing. Any type of corporations or partnerships, such as limited partnerships, must be represented by an attorney. Although the bankruptcy process can be a very complicated one, surprisingly a lot of people do elect to go this route to save money. People that elect to represent themselves in any legal proceeding including a bankruptcy, are known as pro se or pro per, which means they are representing themselves. The odds for failure for people trying to file bankruptcy without an attorney are high, if you don’t do the proper research, that it takes to make sure everything thing is done properly. A person who files bankruptcy is known as a debtor, meaning they owe the debt, to various creditors. Some people that file bankruptcy without an attorney, choose to hire a paralegal, to help them with the mountain of paperwork that is necessary to successfully file. If the bankruptcy paperwork is not filed correctly, it could effect a person’s ability to be able to file a bankruptcy again. The first order of business for a debtor, is to sit down and list every debt they have, large or small. Every bill they currently owe that is not paid, regardless of the reason should be listed. It’s impetrative that all debts, no matter how old they are, or the amounts be listed on the bankruptcy, so that it can be discharged when the bankruptcy is finalized.
Any paperwork that accompanies the listed debt, like bills or statements, should be indexed in order of when the debt occurred. In the end of the process, people will go before a bankruptcy judge, it’s important to be very honest and compliant with all listed debt. It’s also necessary for people to disclose all of their assets to the court, being dishonest or lying can result in bankruptcy fraud charges which is a felony. It’s extremely important for all debtors that are representing themselves, to be very knowledgably about current bankruptcy laws, before filing. The codes and laws, are posted on individual court websites. The bankruptcy laws have substantially changed in the last ten years, due to strong lobbying by many retailers, that were routinely not being paid, as debts were being discharged through bankruptcy proceedings. With new laws firmly in place, many types of debt must be repaid, in monthly installments, or in other prearranged methods. A new requirement as the new stricter bankruptcy laws are in place is, debtors that want to file bankruptcy, must take a court approved course, that acts as credit counseling. It basically addresses how a debtor can handle their finances in a more responsible way going forward. After successful completion of the course, which the debtor must pay for, they are issued a certificate, showing they completed the course. This certificate is necessary for any bankruptcy proceeding to move forward, and generally must be completed within six months of filing for bankruptcy.