As with most court procedures and motions, you can save money by filling out the paperwork and filing it yourself. However, there are special instances where the pro se approach could flub your case and cost you more than you intended. Bankruptcy is one such instance. Here are three very good reasons why you should not file bankruptcy without the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney.
1. Lack of Representation and Facing Your Creditors
Your creditors receive a copy of your bankruptcy paperwork and notices to appear, should they wish to contest your filing. Usually, many creditors do not appear, but they still have the right to do so. In the event that one or more of your creditors sends a lawyer to represent their interests and you do not have representation, you cannot argue for yourself. The judge could then side with the represented creditors and force you to pay those bills while excusing the rest.
2. Postponement of Court Hearing
You cannot file for a postponement of your bankruptcy hearing once you select the date. Furthermore, because you choose to represent yourself, if you are late or cannot make the hearing, your bankruptcy is thrown out of court, and you have to start fresh. At least if you have legal representation in a bankruptcy attorney, the attorney can be present for your interests even if your car breaks down and/or you are late to court. The attorney can also file a postponement for you if you find that you have a more pressing matter on the original court date.
3. Missing Paperwork
Probably the biggest problem of all pro se filings is missing paperwork. You may think you have crossed all your legal t's and dotted your legal i's, but if you miss something, even if it is minor, your case will be delayed until you file everything correctly. That could mean additional refiling fees, since the court clerks will have to do twice the work on your case. Hiring a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney and/or a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney means all your paperwork is in order and filed correctly the first time.
Understanding How the Courts View Your Decision to File for Bankruptcy
Some people file for bankruptcy like it is going out of style. Courts do not like seeing cases like these because it gives bankruptcy a black eye and makes the filers appear irresponsible. You, on the other hand, have legitimate reasons for filing, and a lawyer can argue that you are trying to be more fiscally responsible by removing the debt that prevents you from moving forward. Consider hiring a lawyer like Wiesner & Frackowiak, LC to make sure you leave a good impression and that your case comes out the best way it can.