Bankruptcy can offer filers a chance to start over financially without the shackle of debt weighing them down. There are many decisions that go into filing for bankruptcy, such as which chapter to file under and whether to work with an attorney or opt for a DIY bankruptcy filing.
An attorney can provide valuable insight into your situation and the bankruptcy process. If you'd like to take advantage of a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case by a bankruptcy lawyer, please fill out the case review form below.
Lawyers Vs. DIY Bankruptcy
While it's perfectly legal to forgo legal representation when you file for bankruptcy, most insiders recommend that you enlist legal counsel. Here's why:
- "Long-term financial and legal consequences": This is the phrase used on the web site of the U.S. court system, which "strongly recommends" that filers hire an attorney to help them navigate the process. So, even as you consider DIY bankruptcy, take some time to weigh that recommendation from the government – the body, after all, that created the bankruptcy laws.
- Complex laws and legal language: If you've ever tried to sift through legislation in its original legalese, you've experienced the language that is legal jargon. Naturally, bankruptcy laws (like all laws) are written in this dense legal language, which can be difficult to decipher without a background in law. Because most bankruptcy filers have enough on their plates with their debt concerns, trying to decode the laws of bankruptcy court can be a frustrating added chore.
- Plentiful opportunities for dismissal: Let's say you think you understand the legalese pretty well, but maybe you miss a deadline or incorrectly fill out one of the forms involved with your case. Such a mistake could lead a bankruptcy court to dismiss your case and thus ruin your chances at getting your bankruptcy discharge. Working with a lawyer could eliminate that risk, as your lawyer would keep track of the bankruptcy timeline and help you keep abreast of all necessary paperwork.
- Steep penalties for bankruptcy fraud: There are many other potential ways a filer can commit fraud without meaning to, simply because he or she isn't familiar with the strict laws governing bankruptcy filings. Did you know that the penalty for bankruptcy fraud can range up to jail
time and a serious fine? Naturally, if you worked with a lawyer, he or she could advise you how to proceed with your case to avoid fraudulent actions.
Make a Careful Decision about Your Bankruptcy Case
Again, DIY bankruptcy is certainly legal and may work well if you feel confident navigating the legal system and interpreting legal language. But if you'd like to at least speak with a bankruptcy lawyer before making your decision, you can take advantage of this opportunity for a free legal consultation before you begin your case.