Filing for a personal bankruptcy is a fairly simple and straightforward process. In fact, most cities and states have forms online at your local county courthouse's website. It then begs the question, if it is so simple to do, why do you "need" an attorney? Here are the most valid reasons why.
If You Get Stuck on the Paperwork, You Have Help
If you get stuck on filling out all of the necessary paperwork for your bankruptcy, your lawyer can answer questions, guide you through the sticking points, and advise you as to how to proceed in certain situations. When you get stuck on the paperwork, and you are trying to file on your own, no lawyer will advise you because you have not hired him/her. Unless you can find a "free legal help" clinic near you, you will not be able to move forward with the paperwork and file the paperwork promptly.
Your Attorney Runs Defense
All of those creditors and collection agents that keep calling you and harassing you cannot call and harass you when you have filed for bankruptcy through a bankruptcy law attorney. In fact, if you file for bankruptcy pro se, the very first thing the creditors and collection agents will ask when you tell them that you are filing for bankruptcy is, "Who is your lawyer?"
If you say that you are doing the bankruptcy on your own, they can continue to call and harass you. Yet, if you do have a lawyer, you can provide your lawyer's contact information. Then all of those obnoxious calls stop because they are fenced off from you by your lawyer.
You Have Some Legal Power Against Creditors That Keep Coming
Some creditors are quite ruthless in their pursuit of debtors. Rather than accept that you have filed for a personal bankruptcy, they will hire their own lawyers to represent them at your bankruptcy hearing. Then they demand that the judge presiding over your case force you to pay them the money owed rather than discharge the amount completely. If you do not have a lawyer to defend you, the judge can rule in their favor. That tends to upset the whole point of your bankruptcy!
You Still Have Fees
Many people who think they can avoid the legal fees of hiring a lawyer for bankruptcy are surprised to learn that they still have legal fees! All of the documents you need to file with the courts have filing fees attached. These fees must be paid at the time you file the paperwork, or your bankruptcy hearing cannot be scheduled. The money you pay your lawyer is mostly the legal fees for court!
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