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Can I File for Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

Posted by CHARLES W. DAFF | Jul 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

When it comes to personal bankruptcy, you are not required to hire a lawyer. In some cases, you can file for bankruptcy on your own and represent yourself (also known as “pro se”). However, this requires plenty of time and thorough research. In most cases, it is wisest to hire a lawyer to help with your bankruptcy.

Learn more about filing for bankruptcy pro se below.

Filling for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy pro se entirely depends on the complexity of your situation, your income and property, and which Chapter you plan on filing.

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Pro Se — If your case is simple, you may be able to file without an experienced attorney. The term “simple” is somewhat relative here. Generally speaking, the characteristics of a simple case include little or no property, a low household income (below your state's median level), debts are unlikely to be disputed, and no payments or property transfers to preferred creditors. 

Even with these simple hallmarks, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy pro se takes up a significant amount of your time and requires plenty of research. To complete your case, discharge your debts, and keep your property, you will need to complete several items:

  • Correctly fill out bankruptcy documents and forms,
  • Learn the laws associated with bankruptcy,
  • Understand exemptions in your state, and
  • Follow all the practices, procedures, and rules to complete this process. 

All of this work requires acute attention to detail and patience. 

More than 70% of Americans filing for bankruptcy in 2018 chose to file with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. 

Filing Chapter 13

Bankruptcy Pro Se — Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is much more complex and requires a considerable amount of time than Chapter 7. Bankruptcy attorneys work in this field every day and know the laws forwards and backward concerning Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While filing for Chapter 13 allows you to play catch up on late payments and reduce interest rates, doing this and more (such as filing motion or adversary proceeding with the court) without a knowledgeable attorney is challenging. Filing Chapter 13 pro se is so complicated that 99% of Americans filing for bankruptcy in 2018 chose to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

When You Should Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer

In most situations, complex or “simple,” hiring an attorney is best. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will give you the peace of mind and help you need to accurately and correctly complete your bankruptcy case. However, if you are a business in debt, an attorney is always required when filing for bankruptcy.

Contact Charles W. Daff, Bankruptcy Attorney

Finding a good bankruptcy attorney is vital for your case. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer, such as Charles W. Daff, Bankruptcy Attorney, who practices bankruptcy law exclusively, will greatly benefit your situation.

If you are an individual or business and are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact our team of professionals. With more than 43 years of bankruptcy law experience, Charles W. Daff has the knowledge to navigate this complex and overwhelming process. Schedule your case review with Charles W. Daff, Bankruptcy Attorney, by contacting us today.

About the Author


Bankruptcy Attorney in Santa Ana, CA Charles W. Daff  is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy with more than 43 years experience.   The firm represents clients  in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.


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