The least expensive way to file bankruptcy is on your own or pro se. If you decide to file bankruptcy without an attorney you will need to take an approved credit counseling course, submit your bankruptcy petition and all of the appropriate bankruptcy schedules to the court, attend the 341 Creditor's Meeting, complete a bankruptcy repayment schedule (for Chapter 13 only) and complete a personal financial management class.
Keep in mind, filing for bankruptcy on your own will require you to understand the United States Bankruptcy Code as well as the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy. For instance, all debts must be listed on the schedules to be discharged, and the courts will consider it fraud if you attempt to hide property, lie, or falsify your records.
How to File Bankruptcy
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can simplify the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy lawyers will complete the bankruptcy petition and schedules for you, ensuring that the information is accurate and meets the standards outlined by bankruptcy law.
Filing Bankruptcy is never an easy decision. If you're considering bankruptcy, the best thing to do is to speak to a local bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy lawyer will explain the different options available to you and help you weigh the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy.
How does filing help?
If you have creditors who are threatening foreclosure or who have begun to repossess your property and efforts to reschedule or modify the debt payments has not been successful, it may be time to evaluate whether filing bankruptcy is an option for you.
Filing bankruptcy will initiate an automatic stay, which is a court order that stops harassing creditor actions immediately.
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can allow you to discharge:
- Payday and personal loans
- Medical debts
- Credit card bills
- Utility bills
- Store credit card debts
Although many of your assets may be liquidated, talk to a bankruptcy lawyer about debts which may be exempt from the bankruptcy process. After the discharge of the bankruptcy the debts (which are included in the bankruptcy) will be discharged, and the creditors are not allowed to attempt further collection actions.
Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can allow you to:
- Stop a home foreclosure
- Create a debt consolidation plan to restructure your debts including car payments, credit card debts, and mortgage arrears
- Allows you to finance the cost of filing bankruptcy within the plan
- Potentially convert to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if your financial situation changes
5 Common Myths About Filing Bankruptcy
- Filing bankruptcy will discharge all my debts
Filing bankruptcy does discharge most unsecured debts, but it will not generally discharge government student loans, child or spousal support, debt created through fraud, debts created through willful or malicious injury, unscheduled debts or current tax obligations.
- Everyone can file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Changes in bankruptcy laws have made it increasingly difficult for many debtors to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Debtors must now pass stringent "means testing" to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
- I will lose all of my property
State and federal bankruptcy exemptions laws may offer protection for many bankruptcy filers to keep a substantial amount of their property.
- Filing bankruptcy will prevent me from getting credit in the future
You may begin to rebuild your credit immediately after filing bankruptcy. After your debt is eliminated or repaid your debt to income ratio can make it easier in the future to get credit.
- Good people don't file bankruptcy
Given the high unemployment rate and economic turmoil, many decent, hardworking citizens have had to file bankruptcy. Whether it is due to serious medical issues, job loss or divorce, bankruptcy is a legal option for everyone facing a severe financial crisis.
Elgibile to file bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is available to individuals, partnerships or corporations. Debtors must have taken a credit counseling course within 180 days before filing their bankruptcy petition (exemptions exist). Debtors must also pass the Chapter 7 Means Test which will determine if the debtor has sufficient funds to repay their unsecured debts by filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is available to individuals, including the self-employed. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is not available for partnerships or corporations. To file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy the debtor must have unsecured debts which are less than $360,475 and secured debts which are less than $1,081,400. Chapter 13 debtors must also take a credit counseling course 180 days prior to filing bankruptcy (exceptions exist).
Bankruptcy is not available to any debtor who has filed a bankruptcy petition within the last 180 days if that petition was dismissed because they did not appear in court or follow the court's orders or they voluntarily dismissed a previous bankruptcy case.
If you are considering filing bankruptcy how you would you like free bankruptcy advice before deciding if bankruptcy is right for you? Do you want to ask a bankruptcy lawyer about all of your financial options?
We have created an easy process to help you connect with a bankruptcy lawyer in your area. Fill out the FREE evaluation form and after answering a few questions an experienced attorney will call to discuss your options and see if bankruptcy is the solution to your financial situation.