Can I File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?
Bankruptcy courts allow filers to represent themselves, known in the legal language as "per se." However, if your bankruptcy case is complicated, you might not want to go it alone.
Filing for bankruptcy involves filling out numerous forms to inform the court about your income, assets, expenses, and debts. If you choose to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, you will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information you provide and for understanding what property you own should be protected in a bankruptcy case.
Finding the necessary forms, the correct paperwork, and filling out the information completely and accurately will involve hours of your time, and any mistakes or omissions will delay your relief from your debts. DoNotPay simplifies the process of filing for bankruptcy and ensures you will easily find all the necessary information.
What Happens When Declaring Bankruptcy?
Declaring bankruptcy allows you to clear away certain unsecured debts, such as credit card bills and medical bills, but will require you to set up a structure to pay off your secured debts, either through selling off assets or by agreeing to a longer-term payment plan. If you want to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, you will need to understand which of your debts falls into which category.
Secured debts and others that cannot be eliminated under a bankruptcy filing include student loans, child support or alimony, auto loans, tax debts or government fees and mortgages
How you will go about paying off these debts also factors into which type of personal bankruptcy you will file for. Personal bankruptcy falls into these two categories:
|Bankruptcy Type:||What Happens:|
|Chapter 7||Defined for lower-income earners, Chapter 7 bankruptcy also is known as liquidation bankruptcy. A trustee will be appointed to sell off part of your personal property to pay off your secured debts. The process generally takes four to six months.|
|Chapter 13||Designated for higher-income persons, Chapter 13 allows filers to keep their property but get on a plan to pay off or establish a foundation for paying secured debts over a longer period. Filers make payments on unsecured debts while in the process, but at the end of the term, the remainder of those debts can be discharged. The process takes three to five years.|
How to File for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
To file for bankruptcy without an attorney, you will need to follow these steps:
- Get the bankruptcy filing forms from your local court or online.
- Gather the documents for your income, assets expenses, and debts.
- Determine if any of your personal property should be exempt from being sold.
- Fill out all the bankruptcy forms that are applicable to your case.
- File your case with the filing fee or the application to have the fee waived or made in payments.
- Be prepared for questions from the trustee and provide any missing information.
Missing information or incorrectly reporting any information will cause a delay in your case while the records are corrected. Purposely filing any incorrect information could lead to your case being rejected and you to face fraud or contempt charges.
Save Time and Money by Filing for Bankruptcy with DoNotPay
DoNotPay assists individuals, not companies, to determine the best form of bankruptcy to pursue. DNP walks you through determining your debts and assets, so you'll be ready to fill out your forms with ease. DoNotPay also will ensure your paperwork is accurate and complete to avoid delays.
How to file for bankruptcy using DoNotPay:
If you determine it's in your best financial interest to file for bankruptcy, DoNotPay has you covered in 5 easy steps:
- Search for File for Bankruptcy on DoNotPay.
- Put together a list of your debts, expenses, and assets. If you need help accessing information like your credit report, DoNotPay can help you get your report.
- Let DoNotPay walk you through your bankruptcy options and help you determine whether a Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you.
- DoNotPay will then help find the best credit counseling course near you, which you need to complete before filing your bankruptcy forms.
- Lastly, DoNotPay will gather all the forms you need (including available fee waivers) and help you locate your nearest bankruptcy court. All you have to do is complete the required forms, prepare your filing fee, and file the application with your local court.
And you're finished! The court will provide:
- Your bankruptcy case number
- The name of your bankruptcy trustee
- The date, time, and location of your meeting with your trustee
The automatic stay will be in place now to protect you from collectors. Your trustee will contact you if you need to provide further documents.
Other Questions about Bankruptcy
DoNotPay is a great resource for all of your questions about bankruptcy. Here are just some of the questions DoNotPay can answer:
- How long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report?
- What is the downside of filing for bankruptcy?
- How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy?
Once you determine the only way out of your financial situation is to file for bankruptcy, sign up for DoNotPay today and get started pulling all of your paperwork together, and get started toward a brighter financial future.