Do I have to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy?

You do not have to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy; however, I would strongly recommend that you do so.  You do have the ability to fill out forms online or from an office supply company, go down to the clerk’s office and attempt to handle a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case on your own.

The problem with doing so is that the law has gotten very complex, especially since the law changed October 17, 2005.  It used to be that someone with a simple Chapter 7 case could technically do the case themselves with very little in the way of error except for possibly losing property.  Under the current law, there are all kinds of pre-filing requirements that must be satisfied before a case can officially be filed.  If you are unfamiliar with the process and if you don’t follow to the letter all of the requirements that need to be done, then your case will either be dismissed where it will be declared void from the beginning; and I’m just talking about it Chapter 7, the more simple of the two types of cases.

If you are looking to file a Chapter 13, then I certainly do not recommend that you even attempt to file on your own.  Chapter 13 is a complex form of bankruptcy that can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years.  There are multiple court appearances for an attorney and if you are representing yourself, you are going to have to act as your own attorney and you are going to be held to the same standard that attorneys are held to in your local area.

Thus, if you are thinking of filing a bankruptcy, consider hiring a competent, skilled attorney in your local area.  I would caution anyone against filing a bankruptcy case on their own without an attorney.


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