Submitted by Rachel R on Fri, 02/19/2016 - 9:59am
Do it yourself bankruptcy filing may be a big mistake
Image Source: Flickr User Paul Downey
Do-it-yourself (DIY) is fine for many things such as painting your porch or changing your oil, but bankruptcy is a whole different thing. Just as you would not do a DIY tumor removal, filing bankruptcy pro se (without a lawyer) is not wise in most cases. Just as surgery requires a very specific set of skills and advanced education, so do most transactions with the bankruptcy court. Here are five reasons to reconsider if you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy on your own.
#1 Bankruptcy lawyer costs can be avoided, but you may lose out on debt relief…
Your first thought may be that you can skip out on paying lawyer fees by filing a DIY bankruptcy on your own. While it is true that this can save you a couple of thousand bucks, you may come out much worse off if you don’t get the most complete debt relief possible. This can result in you paying thousands more in debt that could have been lessened or discharged plus interest, collections costs and more.
#2 Bankruptcy creditor challenges can be difficult…
Bankruptcy is far more than just filling out a few forms and filing them. Credit challenges can be very difficult to deal with – this occurs when a creditor fights back against your bankruptcy. If you are challenged, you must prepare rebuttal statements that provide acceptable points under bankruptcy law to fight off these potential debt deniers. Even if you are in the right, but don’t know how to write up a persuasive legal doc, you can be stuck with the debt.
#3 Bankruptcy petitions are lengthy and complex…
Some matters can be handled easily pro se such as a legal name change. But bankruptcy petitions can be hundreds of pages long (or more) and are very detailed documents that must comply with the tenets of the bankruptcy code. If you leave something off, misstate, or make an error, that won’t matter to the court. If you choose to file without a lawyer, the expectation is that you conduct yourself and prepare documents as well as a lawyer could – they won’t cut you any breaks.
#4 Bankruptcy may not be your best option…
One of the greatest advantages of working with a reputable and experienced bankruptcy attorney is their expertise and track record. They have, no doubt, seen debt dilemmas very similar to yours and know the outcomes of choosing Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7 – or choosing to go another route and not file bankruptcy at all. Not all debt circumstances are best served by filing bankruptcy, and a reputable attorney should give you solid advice on your best course of action.
#5 Bankruptcy procedures require experience and knowledge…
From where to file to how to schedule court dates, how to respond to requests from the court and creditor challenges, to the petition itself, an experienced attorney knows how to handle everything from filing to discharge. This area of the law is complex and flipping through a law book is not enough to prepare you to cope in court. Filing without a lawyer puts you at risk of having your case dismissed, having some of your debts denied for discharge, and other negative outcomes.
Before you decide to do a DIY bankruptcy that may put your financial future at risk, contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt. Call +1-919-646-2654 now for a free North Carolina bankruptcy consultation at one of our convenient locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington. Come see us and let’s talk about your debt and how we can help you have a fresh start and financial peace of mind.
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