How to File Bankruptcy without a Lawyer
You are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in a bankruptcy case. You can file on your own with or without guidance, but we suggest that you educate yourself first to determine whether filing pro se is the best option for you.
Yes you absolutely can get a conviction expunged without having an attorney. In fact, you can do any legal procedure on behalf of yourself (pro se) without having an attorney. Of course, most legal procedures go smoother with the aid of an attorney.
Steps to File an Injunction Without a Lawyer
The following debts are not discharged if a creditor objects during the case. Creditors must prove the debt fits one of these categories: Debts from fraud. Certain debts for luxury goods or services bought 90 days before filing.
Filing for bankruptcy can negatively impact your immediate financial future. Obtaining credit after filing for bankruptcy could mean increased interest rates. Obtaining credit after filing for bankruptcy might require security deposits.
While the goal of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to put your debts behind you so that you can move on with your life, not all debts are eligible for discharge.
At the end of your case, the bankruptcy court will discharge all qualifying pre-petition debt, such as credit card balances, personal loans, and medical debt. Post-filing debt. The bills that you rack up after submitting your initial bankruptcy paperwork are post-petition debt.
Again, there's no minimum or maximum amount of unsecured debt required to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In fact, your amount of debt doesn't affect your eligibility at all. You can file as long as you pass the means test. One thing that does matter is when you incurred your unsecured debt.
Medical Expenses. Job Loss. Poor or Excess Use of Credit. Divorce or Separation. Unexpected Expenses.
Unsecured debts wiped out by Chapter 7 bankruptcy include credit card debt, medical bills, and gasoline card debt. However, you can't wipe out all unsecured debt. For instance, child and spousal support and student loans (except in limited circumstances) are nondischargeable?
Nondischargeable debt is a type of debt that cannot be eliminated through a bankruptcy proceeding. Such debts include, but are not limited to, student loans; most federal, state, and local taxes; money borrowed on a credit card to pay those taxes; and child support and alimony.
Most people prefer Chapter 7 bankruptcy because, unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it doesn't require you to repay a portion of your debt to creditors. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must pay all of your disposable income—the amount remaining after allowed monthly expenses—to your creditors for three to five years.
Bankruptcy will have a devastating impact on your credit health. The exact effects will vary. But according to top scoring model FICO, filing for bankruptcy can send a good credit score of 700 or above plummeting by at least 200 points. If your score is a bit lower—around 680—you can lose between 130 and 150 points.
In general, you need to at least pay a filing fee and the credit counseling and financial management course fees to finalize your bankruptcy petition. But if you have no money, you can ask for a fee waiver (in Chapter 7 cases) or ask the bankruptcy judge to roll the payment in your repayment plan (in Chapter 13 cases).
Download the bankruptcy forms package to save the time and stress involved in tracking down the necessary materials. The packages are inexpensive and provide you with all the forms you need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state.
Finally, you must complete a post-filing Personal Financial Management Instruction Course within 45 days of your meeting of creditors. Take a look at the U.S. Trustee Program's site to find an approved course near you. After you've completed the course, the last step is to wait to hear from the bankruptcy court whether your debts have been discharged.
You'll need all three reports because creditors don't typically report to every bureau. If you fail to report a debt, it won't be discharged in bankruptcy. Next, you'll have to complete a credit counseling and financial literacy course.
You'll have to attend your “ Meeting of Creditors " on the scheduled date. Although your creditors won't actually be present , the trustee will be and will ask you a number of standard questions about your case. Be sure to answer truthfully and accurately.
Even though your case is relatively uncomplicated, a bankruptcy case requires you to fill out extensive paperwork and have a good knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code. Thus, it may be in your best interest to at least have an initial consultation with an attorney to make sure you are on the right course.
You will need to fill out a petition and schedules and be certain to list all of your assets and creditors. In order to make certain that you are properly listing all of your creditors you should get a copy of your credit report. You can request a free copy here.
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A Chapter 7 is what you think of as a traditional bankruptcy, where you walk away from your debt and get a fresh start. A Chapter 7 case lasts for a significantly shorter amount of time than a Chapter 13 case. A Chapter 13 can be much more complicated. A Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan that will run for three to five years.
There are also debts which are non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy case. Non-dischargeable debts include things like child support, alimony, most tax debt, etc. If the bulk of your debts are non-dischargeable a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not offer the relief you are seeking.
First you will need to determine if you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 by passing the means test. If you are below a certain threshold for your state you will qualify, otherwise you need to complete both parts of the means test calculation to determine your disposable income.
There are two debtor education courses you will have to take. You will take the first course before you file, and the second course after you file.
Bankruptcy is most helpful to people with unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills, because these kind of debts are dischargeable. You can potentially walk away from them completely. Secured debts are those which are tied to a specific item as collateral.
Your meeting of creditors may take longer than for filers who are represented by attorneys so the trustee can do a thorough job of examining you under oath. For the same reason, your creditors will often look more carefully at your paperwork.
Your debt may initially seem like the biggest complication, and it can be a serious issue if your creditor challenges the discharge, but it isn't always the biggest concern. The real issue may have more to do with the type and the value of assets.
No debtor in bankruptcy is left with nothing at the end of a case. In every state, a debtor is allowed to keep a certain amount and value of assets needed to get a fresh start. These are called exemptions, and the amounts differ from state to state.
For the same reason, your creditors will often look more carefully at your paperwork. Keep in mind that the information you provide the court has to be complete and accurate . You will sign your paperwork under penalty of perjury, and later you will have to testify as to its accuracy under oath.
To some extent, legal representation can indeed be costly. To get quality representation, like most things, you'll need to pay for it. However, before you jump to any conclusions, you may find that it's more affordable than you think. Many consumer bankruptcy lawyers offer a free initial consultation.
Keep in mind that the information you provide the court has to be complete and accurate. You will sign your paperwork under penalty of perjury, and later you will have to testify as to its accuracy under oath. The consequences of lying are severe. If you are willing to put up with that much scrutiny, you must still be mindful of the pitfalls you might encounter that can derail your attempt to go it alone unscathed.
Exemptions work differently in Chapter 7 than in Chapter 13. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case while you own property that is not exempt, your trustee can take that property, sell it, and use the money to pay your creditors some of what you owe them. 2 If you have non-exempt property when you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep it, but the value of the assets could be considered when establishing your payment plan. 3
How a bankruptcy lawyer can help. Our advice is to avoid the risks of pro se filing and seek the proper legal services. After you choose a bankruptcy attorney, they help you through the filing process. An attorney can help you: Decide if bankruptcy is right for you, and if so, which chapter.
With any bankruptcy that requires you to submit a payment plan that will be approved by the courts, not using a qualified attorney means you could be risking plan rejection.
It’s called filing pro se, and it can apply to individual bankruptcy filings, too. “Pro se” is a Latin phrase that means “for oneself” or “for one’s own behalf.”.
Decide if bankruptcy is right for you, and if so, which chapter. Understand which debts can be discharged and which cant. Accurately fill out your bankruptcy forms. Know what tax consequences to expect. Understand which assets you can keep. This is just a small sample of what a bankruptcy attorney can do for you.
The last thing you want to do is give up an asset when you don’t have to. Redeem or reaffirm your debts. This may involve filing multiple motions with the court. Fill out and file the forms. They can be confusing, and it’s important to fill them out correctly. Pay the filing fee or request a fee waiver.
Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have a means test you must fill out. If you fill out these forms on your own and miss things, you could be deemed unqualified to file. Lawyers know the details of these tests and can help you qualify. Get assigned a bankruptcy trustee. This is who you give your forms to.
If you don’t file correctly, discharge can be denied. You can always file again with an attorney if your case is denied the first time, but it can be problematic to get discharge approved on the same debt if it’s already been denied once.
The first form is the Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period, Official Form B122C-1 .
Chapter 13 debtors must file either one or two forms that together determine the duration and available income for a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
It is possible to include your entire car payment in the plan and even adjust your interest rate or the amount of the principal you will repay if your car loan was at least 2 ½ years old when you filed the bankruptcy case. 6 7
In some districts, known as conduit jurisdictions, debtors are required to make their entire house payment through a Chapter 13 trustee, not just an amount to cover arrearages. Conduit payments permit trustees to maintain accurate recordkeeping and better oversight of the debtor’s progress and adherence to the Chapter 13 plan. 5
If you are not comfortable with any aspect of the bankruptcy process, you should consider hiring an attorney who will prepare the forms, attend the hearings with you, and guide you through the process. Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer.
As a result, some attorneys limit their bankruptcy practice to Chapter 7 because they feel they are not qualified to handle Chapter 13. And, an overwhelming majority of Chapter 13 cases filed without an attorney get dismissed by the court.
A good bankruptcy petition preparer will have up-to-date bankruptcy computer software that will generate the documents quickly and relatively easily. And most bankruptcy petition preparers charge low fees, especially compared to lawyers.
You might want to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because you wish to catch up on mortgage arrears, get rid of your second mortgage, cram down (reduce) your car loans, or pay back nondischargeable priority debts, such as back taxes or support arrears. Or maybe you make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. No matter your reason, most Chapter 13 cases are too difficult to file on your own.
You charged a luxury item less than 90 days before you filed for bankruptcy.
homeowners' association dues assessed after filing for bankruptcy. retirement plan loans. money borrowed to pay off nondischargeable tax debt (for instance, the credit card debt incurred after using your account to pay a tax bill), and. debts determined nondischargeable in a previous bankruptcy.
Also, you must file the bankruptcy papers yourself and represent yourself in court. In other words, you are responsible for your case. You act as your attorney and use the bankruptcy petition preparer as a typing service that transposes the information you give them onto the official forms.
If bankruptcy is the option you choose, you will work with the LIT to complete the required forms. The LIT will then file these documents with the OSB and you will be formally declared bankrupt.
Do you know what form of bankruptcy will benefit you the most? You can read about the differences, but you may not be able to tell which will actually help you resolve your issues in the best way. Individuals file for either Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 11, or Chapter 12.
Our advice is to avoid the risks of pro se filing and seek the proper legal services. After you choose a bankruptcy attorney, they help you through the filing process. An attorney can help you:
Choosing the wrong kind of bankruptcy. Individuals can choose between Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 11, and Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Businesses that are registered entities can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11.
Sometimes, a meeting of creditors is required or requested. The purpose of this meeting is to
Before filing for bankruptcy, you should be aware of the major pros and cons associated with this debt solution. The most obvious advantage is that most of your debts are eliminated in bankruptcy.
Even if the debtor chooses the correct chapter, pitfalls abound in the paperwork phase of bankruptcy.
Of course, if you don't believe you can navigate the bankruptcy process, or if you aren't comfortable with it, it's probably best to hire a bankruptcy lawyer.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool that can allow you to: catch up on your missed mortgage or car loan payments. eliminate unsecured junior liens (such as a second mortgage) from your home through lien stripping, or. reduce the principal balance or interest rate on your car loan with a cramdown.
The hallmarks of a simple Chapter 7 would include a: household income below your state's median income level. little or no property. no recent property transfers or payments to preferred creditors ...
But Chapter 13 bankruptcy is considerably more complicated and labor-intensive than Chapter 7. If you want the court to confirm (approve) your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must propose a feasible repayment plan, which is challenging to do without legal knowledge and the software used by bankruptcy lawyers.
Not only does bankruptcy require understanding how many principles interrelate, making a mistake can be costly. Most lawyers won't accept a bankruptcy matter unless they practice bankruptcy law regularly. Here are some suggestions for finding the best bankruptcy lawyer for your job.
Most county bar associations will give you the names of bankruptcy attorneys who practice in your area. Keep in mind that bar associations don't screen the lawyers. It's up to you to check out the credentials and experience of the person to whom the bar association refers you.
Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Unlike a business bankruptcy, an individual debtor doesn't need an attorney to file for bankruptcy relief. But it's not always a good idea to do so. Whether filing on your own will make sense will likely depend on: whether you're comfortable researching and handling your case.