Although U.S. Courts allow individuals who are filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 to file without attorneys, there are many things you need to be cautious about when filing a DIY bankruptcy.
First of all, you should understand that United States Courts do not expect a newbie to file a DIY bankruptcy. United States Courts only recommend those who have experience with bankruptcy to file personal bankruptcy, since any misunderstandings of the law or making mistakes in the process can affect the applicant’s rights.
Before DIY bankruptcy, you need to confirm the following things:
- Whether you need to file a bankruptcy petition or not.
- Which chapter you shall file. As an individual, you can only choose chapter 7 and chapter 13.
- Whether your debts can be discharged after filing the bankruptcy.
- Whether you will be able to keep your home, car, or other property after you file.
- Whether you should continue to pay creditors.
- Whether you are familiar with bankruptcy laws and procedures, which can help you complete and file a huge number of forms.
Once you choose to DIY your bankruptcy, you need to have a good knowledge about the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court where your case is filed. All of the information is free online. In addition, the bankruptcy forms are also available for free.
There are various types of bankruptcy forms. For example, forms numbered in the 100 series are designed for individuals or married couples. Forms numbered in the 200 series are for those who are filing for a bankruptcy on behalf of a non-individual, like corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Besides, many courts might entail local forms, so you need to check your local court’s website to make sure what you need to fill out before filing.