If you are seriously thinking about filing for bankruptcy, then your next thought may be about whether you should hire a lawyer to help you. After all, isn’t filing for bankruptcy a big deal? Absolutely it is! In some cases it is not mandatory that you have a lawyer assist you, however, it can greatly benefit you to do so. Many people opt to represent themselves because they don’t think legal fees are affordable. When in reality, bankruptcy lawyers often have ways that clients can obtain legal services without draining their bank while in the midst of a financially turbulent time.

Reputable law firms commonly provide free initial consultations for clients, so there is no risk in scheduling a meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer near you for confirmation that bankruptcy is the right decision. 

What is the biggest error that someone can make when representing themselves?

If you so choose to represent yourself in a bankruptcy case, there are certain things you are risking. Perhaps the biggest error that a person could do is filing for the incorrect chapter type. There are six chapters to choose from, and it may be hard to narrow down which is most applicable to your current situation. Each type has benefits that solve specific issues.

Furthermore, your property is treated differently based on the chapter you choose. For instance, if you own your home and are facing foreclosure, filing for Chapter 13 may be your best bet as halting it from happening. Additionally, if you file for the wrong chapter, you may ultimately lose property that is valuable, or you do not end up getting the debt discharges that you need.

Is the paperwork for bankruptcy straight-forward and easy to do yourself?

Bankruptcy is surely a form-heavy process. You will be required to complete a thick federal packet, along with local forms you may have to turn into your local court. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people don’t provide all the paperwork needed for their bankruptcy filing, and can result in a dismissal of their case. By hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, you have a professional who can help you get the forms you need and review documentation before submission.

What is another reason my bankruptcy case may be dismissed?

If you file for either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will have to attend a credit counseling course from a court-approved agency and complete a financial management class before your debts are discharged. Individuals who represent themselves may have their case dismissed because they got confused about what they needed to accomplish, failed to complete the course entirely, or forgot to file their certificate.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a beneficial resource for those who are truly facing financial hardships and do not anticipate an increase in their earnings in the near future. While you may not be required to hire a lawyer, it can be advantageous to do so. Consider calling a reputable lawyer, like a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL from The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L., for a no-obligation consultation.