Filing Bankruptcy Without Attorney: Pro Se No Way

Do You Need a Fresh Start?

You did everything you could to avoid it. You cut back on spending. You sold stuff to make payments. You’ve been eating noodles for months now. But even with all the work, you’ve come to one painful conclusion—you may need to file bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy isn’t the end of the world. It may even be good for you. Bankruptcy stops collection calls, lawsuits and wage garnishments. It erases debt. And despite what you’ve heard, bankruptcy may help your credit scores.

Individuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney, which is called filing “pro se.” However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended by the United States Courts because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys urges you to say “Pro Se, No Way!”

What do Walt Disney, MC Hammer, Larry King, Dave Ramsey, Burt ReynoldsRapper 50 Cent and Mike Tyson all have in common? They all filed for bankruptcy! What else do they have in common? They all utilized bankruptcy attorneys to help discharge their debts.

What Others Are Saying?

  • Per CNN Money, “if all else fails, the last resort could be to file for bankruptcy. You can’t discharge some kinds of debt in bankruptcy, like certain government debts. But you can probably get the wage withholding stopped” and credit card debt wiped out.
  • Per Fox Business, “filing for bankruptcy is a serious step, requiring excellent advice and the right representation. To get started, check the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Find an Attorney. Membership in this organization indicates that the firm or lawyer is dedicated to the practice of bankruptcy, stays up to date on the latest developments, and provides competent representation.”

  • Per Nerd Wallet, “your bankruptcy attorney will serve as your advocate and guide through what is a sometimes confusing process. Taking the time to contact a few lawyers and knowing what to look for can set you on the path toward successfully filing for bankruptcy. The NACBA directory lists bankruptcy attorneys exclusively. The organization is dedicated to helping consumers going through bankruptcy and attorneys who specialize in this area.”

Isn’t it Just Filling Out Forms?

Bankruptcy laws impose many obligations on debtors filing bankruptcy. They include obtaining the proper pre-petition mandatory credit counseling, demonstrating eligibility for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the Means Test, filing certain documents with the court and trustee, and meeting certain important bankruptcy deadlines.

Many pro se bankruptcy cases have been dismissed because the debtors did not file the correct way or fulfill their bankruptcy obligations.

Many people perceive bankruptcy as simple and straightforward, as it is mostly based on forms. Unfortunately, bankruptcy forms are more like confusing tax returns than “check the box” forms. The forms contain complex, seemingly trick questions about your financial affairs. In 2016, new bankruptcy forms were required to be used for all cases. The purpose of redesigning the official bankruptcy forms was to permit more debtors (filers) to complete and file their own bankruptcy cases without the assistance of an attorney. The old forms have a 14 page instruction form. The instructions for the new forms are 42 pages! In fact, almost all of the actual schedules themselves are longer, and more complicated than the old forms.

What About the Courts?

Find a Bankruptcy Attorney Near You!

An experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney can help you understand the information necessary to complete the forms and to avoid the pitfalls that can cost you property, money or even your freedom.

NACBA is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.  Many attorney members in NACBA attend the Annual Conventions or Workshops and receive professional development training in all areas of consumer bankruptcy law.

Make sure the attorney you are speaking with is a member of NACBA and has received training from NACBA expert speakers. The attorney’s membership in NACBA is his or her personal commitment to the profession and to debtors in need of a fresh start. Don’t let them tell you it doesn’t matter, it does matter! Your financial situation commands the same level of commitment and dedication.