A pro se bankruptcy filer recently blogged in a bankruptcy forum website to ask how to reopen a bankruptcy after being dismissed for failing to fill out his paperwork properly. The situation raised some interesting questions including, “Can filing pro se in bankruptcy make you a serial filer?”
One observation made by a blogger in the forum was if you are going to file bankruptcy pro se you need to have access to PACER and stay on top of everything. PACER is the public access system to all that takes place in the bankruptcy courts. With a small fee, anyone can access PACER.
Making mistakes on paperwork is one sure way of getting your bankruptcy dismissed, and if you are not on top of things, you are going to make mistakes in your paperwork. Bankruptcy is one place the old adage “ignorance is no excuse of the law” can jump out and literally grab hold of your actions.
Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, federal law defines a serial filer as the debtor who has committed a scheme to hinder, defraud, and delay the creditor by multiple bankruptcy filings.
How many times you refile before you are branded a serial filer is up to each individual federal bankruptcy court to decide. The area in federal law is a little gray.
That is why most of you who file bankruptcy need legal counsel in the form of a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy trustee or a law clerk is not there to help you file bankruptcy by telling you how to file. Each of those have a particular job to do in the bankruptcy process.
Some people have the ability to read the complicated bankruptcy forms, especially if they are filing a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Others do not. Those who can fill out the forms without errors have no problem filing pro se in this most simple type of bankruptcy.
On the other hand, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a different proposition. Very few lay people have the ability to file pro se on the complicated bankruptcy laws associated with a Chapter 13. It would be very easy to make paperwork mistakes in this venue.
A dismissal of a bankruptcy for a deficient petition to file is not really an answerable event. You cannot restart your bankruptcy unless you make a Motion to Vacate Dismissal or a Motion to Reconsider. What bankruptcy judge is going to vacate or reconsider if you simply did not know what you were doing when you filled out your paperwork pro se? He most likely will suggest to you to get a bankruptcy attorney, someone who should know what they are doing when filling out the paperwork, and refile.
Make paperwork errors, get dismissed, and refile bankruptcy enough times, and you run the risk of being viewed as a serial filer. Contact us here today, and we will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area that can help you with all the paperwork associated with bankruptcy.
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