Filing Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer
Filing bankruptcy can be a complex and overwhelming process, but it is possible to do it yourself without hiring an attorney. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to file for bankruptcy by yourself:
- Determine which type of bankruptcy to file. There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy that involves selling off non-exempt assets to pay off creditors, while Chapter 13 involves creating a repayment plan to pay off debts over a period of three to five years. To determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you, you can use the U.S. Courts’ Bankruptcy Basics website, which provides information on the different types of bankruptcy and eligibility requirements.
- Complete the necessary forms. The U.S. Courts’ website also provides access to the necessary bankruptcy forms, which you can download and fill out yourself. These forms include a petition, schedules of assets and liabilities, a statement of financial affairs, and a means test calculation. Make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions on each form.
- File the forms with the court. Once you have completed the forms, you will need to file them with the bankruptcy court in your district. You can find a list of bankruptcy courts and their contact information on the U.S. Courts’ website.
- Pay the filing fee. There is a fee to file for bankruptcy, which varies depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing for. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for a fee waiver. Information on how to do this can be found on the U.S. Courts’ website.
- Attend a meeting of creditors. After you file for bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a meeting of creditors, where you will answer questions about your financial situation. The meeting is usually held about a month after you file. Make sure to bring a government-issued photo ID and proof of your Social Security number.
- Complete a debtor education course. Before your bankruptcy can be discharged, you will need to complete a debtor education course. This course provides information on how to manage your finances after bankruptcy. You can find a list of approved debtor education providers on the U.S. Trustee Program’s website.
- Receive your discharge. If your bankruptcy is approved, you will receive a discharge, which means your debts are forgiven or you have a repayment plan in place. This usually happens about three to six months after you file for bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy by yourself can be a complex process, but with the right resources and information, it’s possible to do it successfully. For more information on filing for bankruptcy, you may want to consult the website of the United States Courts, the website of the United States Trustee Program, or the website of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.