Should You File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney?

Business Law

Often, when a person decides to file bankruptcy, his or her finances are not in the best shape. The idea of hiring an attorney is often something people feel they cannot do.

If you find yourself in this situation and you think there’s no way you can afford to hire an attorney, you may want to reconsider. Hiring a lawyer may be the best thing that you do.

Not a Requirement

You should understand that, according to the United States Court, you do not have to have a lawyer to file bankruptcy. When you file bankruptcy without legal representation, the court refers to it as filing pro se. However, the court highly recommends using an attorney because bankruptcy law is complex, and mistakes can cause you problems with your case.

Reasons for Legal Help

An attorney can help explain the law and apply it to your specific case. He or she can enable you to get all the exemptions for which you qualify. In addition, you can find out if bankruptcy is even the right option for you and what debts you can discharge through the process.

It is beneficial to use an attorney because if you make mistakes in your bankruptcy case, the court could throw it out without discharging your debts and you will be unable to file again for seven to ten years. In addition, if you make mistakes when listing your debts, you could end up not having them all discharged.

Attorney Costs

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to pay your attorney fees prior to filing your bankruptcy. The reason for this is that once you file, the court issues an automatic stay, which prevents anyone you owe money to from collecting or attempting to collect on the debt. This would include your attorney.

If you file Chapter 13, though, you may be able to roll the costs into your bankruptcy. This would allow you to pay your attorney as part of your repayment plan.

In any situation, if you visit law offices in Rockville Maryland, a bankruptcy attorney will typically allow you to make payments and will gather information from you so that he or she can file your case as soon as you have paid your bill in full.

The Bottom Line

It is your choice to use a lawyer or not for your bankruptcy. However, if you can work out a payment plan or can figure out how to afford the services, it is highly recommended that you secure an attorney.


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