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Filing bankruptcy without the expense of an attorney
It is possible to file bankruptcy yourself, and save a bundle in legal fees. This does not mean that filing for bankruptcy yourself will not cost anything, but it will cost much less than paying for an expensive attorney to do it for you. Anytime you represent yourself in a court, there is some basic advice you should be aware of. Pay close attention to any filing dates, and make sure you understand or find out any time limits that apply to your case. The personal bankruptcy laws were changed a few years ago, and the new laws may place restrictions and limits on some bankruptcy relief in certain circumstances. There are some costs that you will incur, including a filing fee that is paid to the local bankruptcy court to file the bankruptcy petition. This fee will vary depending on where the petition is filed, but it is usually two or three hundred dollars. You will also need a copy of your credit report, and there may be a fee involved to get these. The personal bankruptcy laws were changed so that if you file for bankruptcy you must go through credit counseling before the bankruptcy can be discharged. The bankruptcy court will require copies of your tax return and proof of credit counseling. This can vary in cost depending on the credit counseling service you choose.
Knowing when to file for bankruptcy is just the first step in the process. If you are overwhelmed by debts and can not reasonably pay them off within a few years, bankruptcy may be an option. Gather together a credit report from all three major credit reporting bureaus. These are Experian, Transunion, and Equifax, and all three may have different debts and scores for you. Check with local collection agencies as well, to make sure you include every single debt you owe, no matter what size or age the debt is. The forms for the bankruptcy petition can be found online, in many form and office supply stores, and other places. Fill out the petition forms carefully and correctly. Make sure to list all assets and debts, otherwise you may end up still being in debt afterwards, or you can get in legal trouble for omitting assets. You will need several copies of all paperwork required by the court, including the petition, tax returns, the credit counseling certificate, and other required documentation. You will also need to know what exemptions are allowed in your state.
Once the petition is correctly filled out and you have the required documentation and number of copies, go to your local bankruptcy court and file, paying the filing fee and turning in all the required paperwork to the court. Filing without an attorney means filing pro se. You will get a notice of a 341 meeting, which is a meeting between you and your creditors, those that choose to show up anyway, and you will attend without legal counsel. This meeting also includes the judge, and your income and debts are examined to see if it is possible to pay creditors or not with the existing income.
It is possible to file bankruptcy for yourself and save quite a bit of money, because attorneys can be expensive. There are some debts that you can not get rid of through bankruptcy though. Child support can not be discharged, it is normally illegal for a bankruptcy court to do so. The same is usually true of student loans. Medical bills and almost all other obligations usually can be discharged though, giving you a chance at a fresh start.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.