Legally, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without retaining an attorney. However, this might be a mistake. Even if your petition seems simple, there are hidden complexities that could hurt your filing and result in it being dismissed. If you are considering filing for yourself, here are some possible mistakes to avoid.
Improperly Assessing Your Finances
Even though you might be swimming in debt, there is a possibility that filing for bankruptcy might not be the best option for you. There are limitations to what a bankruptcy can do and this could also have a negative impact on you.
With the assistance of an attorney, you could properly assess your financial situation and learn what a bankruptcy can and cannot do for your situation. At that point, you can fully understand what options you have and determine if bankruptcy truly is best for you.
Failing to File the Right Documents
When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to complete all of the necessary documents required by the court. The documentation that is needed can vary from court to court. The documentation can sometimes be more complex than expected.
For instance, you have to accurately determine the value of your property. A miscalculation could result in you losing property that otherwise would have been protected through exemptions.
An attorney can assist with the calculations and help you understand how exemptions work. He or she can also help you deal with negotiations with the bankruptcy trustee to potentially retain even more of your possessions.
Failing to Defend Against a Creditor's Challenge
Creditors have the right to challenge a discharge of your debts. If this happens, you and the creditors have to meet in court to argue whether or not the debt stands.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your case is failing to defend yourself against the challenge. Not only do you have to appear in court to face the creditor, but you also have to file a response to the initial challenge. What you say in the response and any other motions that are required matters a great deal. If the creditor wins, despite the bankruptcy, you could still owe the debt.
If you have professional legal representation, he or she will know how to handle challenges and can take action to ensure that the debts are discharged.
Even if you are not convinced that hiring an attorney is the best course of action, you should consult with one. He or she can help you further understand why legal representation is possible and also help with the assessment of your case.
For more information, contact William C Fithian III or a similar legal professional.
Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Melanie. I am a 31-year-old woman who recently found myself unable to pay my bills following a devastating divorce. I created this website because I know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about filing for bankruptcy when you have student loans. I read about many of these misconceptions when doing my own research. Ultimately, I hired an attorney who helped me learn the truth. If you have loans, you may be able to get them discharged, though it is challenging and rare. If you are drowning in debt and have student loans as well, I hope my website helps you learn about bankruptcy and how student loans may affect it.