Obviously you are in a financial bind if you are considering filing for bankruptcy. You will be tempted to think that you cannot afford an attorney, and that you are capable of filling out a few forms. An attorney at this crucial point in your life is not an expense, it is an investment in your future.
Bankruptcy rules and procedures differ from other courts. The rules and procedures are complex and you may be taking risks that could have devastating effects on your bankruptcy case and financial situation.
The Federal Court website warns that it is very difficult to successfully file a bankruptcy case without a bankruptcy attorney. When filing your own consumer bankruptcy petition, you must be familiar with the Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Procedure, and the local rules of the court where you file your bankruptcy case. You are responsible for filing all required bankruptcy documents in a timely manner and representing yourself before the court.
If you fail to understand and comply with court rules, file papers incorrectly, or fail to file required documents, the following could happen:
- You may fail to list a debt on your bankruptcy schedule resulting in the debt not being discharged;
- You may fail to file a required document or miss a deadline to file a document, resulting in your bankruptcy case being dismissed;
- You may fail to respond to a challenge to your discharge, resulting in debts that survive your bankruptcy;
- You may fail to complete the required bankruptcy courses in a timely matter, which could result in your case being dismissed;
- If filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be unable to meet requirements necessary to have your Chapter 13 plan confirmed.
Now consider how much total debt you have. Then compare that figure to the fee charged by a bankruptcy attorney. The attorney fee is only a small fraction of the total debt that will be discharged. The attorney fee is smart money.
If your bankruptcy case is dismissed, you will need to start over. Rather than waste time and money taking a chance doing your own bankruptcy, find a bankruptcy attorney to handle all aspects of your bankruptcy case.