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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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Filing for Bankruptcy: Going Pro Se is a Difficult Road

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2017 | Bankruptcy Basics, Why Hire an Attorney?

While you can file for bankruptcy without an attorney, it is not recommended unless you have an in-depth grasp of bankruptcy law and the many intricate details involved in the process. There is a learning curve involved to understand all aspects of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Without a skilled bankruptcy attorney, this learning curve is usually extremely time-consuming and challenging. Before you get started, it is important to seek expert advice on whether bankruptcy is right for you and if so what type of bankruptcy.

The Means Test is Complicated

If, however, you have decided to file for bankruptcy, it is important to know that in order to be eligible to file Chapter 7, you must pass the means test. The means test is full of complex calculations and many questions usually arise during completion. You may find yourself having many problems in trying to correctly fill out the means test without expert counsel-maybe finding yourself ineligible for filing Chapter 7 when that was your hope. If you qualify for Chapter 7, the next step is to complete the bankruptcy schedules which includes listing all of your assets and income and of the exemptions -which determines what assets you can keep. The completed bankruptcy petition must be filed with the bankruptcy court. Again, this is complicated on your own, but seamless with the help of a skilled bankruptcy attorney.

Without the Proper Legal Guidance, You Could End up Losing

If you are filing a for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will need to complete form B-122C-1. With this paperwork, you can calculate how much you make each month, and how long your repayment plan will need to be (up to five years). It is even more uncommon for debtors to represent themselves in Chapter 13, due to far greater complexities in filing all the required forms, plans, notifying creditors, and far more. Should you attempt to represent yourself, if you are not extremely well-versed in the law, you could run into complications which might result in not having your bankruptcy confirmed (approved).

Although you may be greatly tempted to save money by handling your bankruptcy filing yourself, the danger is that without the proper knowledge, you could end up making mistakes, losing assets, and failing to get a bankruptcy discharge in the end.

Call Us for Help

Because Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. has already helped thousands of clients through the bankruptcy process, we understand exactly what you are going through, and we are here to answer all your questions. Call us at 973-323-2953, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an act of Congress.