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Should I hire an Attorney or File myself (Pro Se)?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by sbrownie28
    i have been thinking about filing bankruptcy but the fees are so expensive that i can't afford that. can a person do the same thing as an attorney with filing a bankruptcy case.

    You are legally allowed to represent yourself; however, the laws can be complex, and if you have any assets you're worried about keeping, then an attorney becomes more important. There are a lot of deadlines and a certain order things need to be done. One of the most common mistakes is that people do not do their credit counseling BEFORE they file.

    NOLO ( just came out with their step-by-step book on filing--line by line how to fill out the forms and what laws apply. It's by no means a substitute for legal representation, but $25 well spent to see how the law works and the paperwork is completed.

    Take advantage of free consulations with attorneys. The fees vary widely. Ask plenty of questions here--we're not lawyers, but we try to help as best as we can based on our experiences and research on the web.

    If you have been paying your unsecured creditors (i.e. credit cards), stop paying them and save up that money for an attorney.

    Good luck!

    My posts represent hours of research on and off the web, these forums, my experience, and my opinions.


    • #32
      Go to the United States Trustees website and look for chapter 7 trustees in your area. Most do debtor work as well. Theres a lot of corruption going on so your best bet is to hire an insider for that kind of money.


      • #33
        Chapter 13..$2000 $374 up front. Not sure how much a 7 is.


        • #34
          we gave our attorney 530.00 upfront to file chapter 13 with a total of 3000.00 for chapter 13 several weeks ago. He has changed his mind since then and hopes to put us in a chapter 7, so now we have to give him 700.00 more for a total of 1300.00 to file 7.
          9/28/06: Filed Chapter 7
          10/25/06: 341 meeting Done!
          12/25/06: Last day for objections.... Dear Santa, can we have a bk discharge for Christmas please?
          1/12/07: Discharged & closed!!


          • #35
            Questions about BK.

            Originally posted by oaklag
            i met with an attorney for the first time today and she said it was $3000 to file a chapter 13 with $850 upfornt and it was $2250 to file for chapter 7. Can anyone tell me if this seems reasonable. My case is pretty simple i think. Is it worth trying to do it yourself? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
            Im doing mine myself, I have this bk online site which seems legit, and
            you enter your info, and afterwards, you print your documents for filing.

            I was also going to ask if anyone has ever used this site, and
            was you successful on filing to the court?


            They do have a time limit for your account, make sure everything
            is filled out correctly, you will have to pay a small amount
            when your account expires, in case you need to get back in.

            2nd question.

            I have a gov't loan, and a private school loan for my school...
            I know the gov't loan can not be discharged under BK, but
            how about the private school loan, can that be discharged.



            • #36
              My answers in red below....

              Originally posted by dscurlock
              Im doing mine myself, I have this bk online site which seems legit, and
              you enter your info, and afterwards, you print your documents for filing.

              I was also going to ask if anyone has ever used this site, and
              was you successful on filing to the court?


              I haven't - we filed with a lawyer. If your income is below your state's median income, you don't have complicated assets or liens already in place, and you have a very uncomplicated Ch 7 case to file, then it MIGHT be ok to try this kind of approach. I would rather see you get the Nolo book on how to file Ch 7 - - at least this way you will know how to interpret each part of the forms correctly and it's written specifically for the new bk laws.

              They do have a time limit for your account, make sure everything
              is filled out correctly, you will have to pay a small amount
              when your account expires, in case you need to get back in.

              2nd question.

              I have a gov't loan, and a private school loan for my school...
              I know the gov't loan can not be discharged under BK, but
              how about the private school loan, can that be discharged.

              Hard to say. When the new bk law passed last October, it made discharging private student loans much harder. See - scroll down to the Discharging Student Loans Through Bankruptcy section. Finaid does a great job explaining all the many variables around bk and student loans.

              A suggestion, dscurlock - in the future would you please post your questions like this in a new thread? Buried at the end of this older one often means you won't get as many responses. Thanks and I hope these answers helped!
              I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

              06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
              06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
              07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
              10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
              01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
              09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
              06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
              08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

              10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
              Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go


              • #37
                just wanted to add my input here since i met with an attorney the other day. i'm in NC and he told me $1395 to file ch 7 plus $299 for court fees (which he said might go up very soon) and then i think it was $35+$8 for the pre and post counseling if i went through him. i think i'm gonna go pro se because my case is pretty simple, i think. i should get the nolo book in the mail in the next few days!
                planning to file Ch. 7 - soon!


                • #38
                  We filled on our own and it is hard we use the us bankruptcy court papers on their website and apparently they dont use those in the middle district of Florida our case was dismissed and we will have to get a attorney now and may have to wait 180 days to file again. We are well educated people who have done a divorce and small claims on our own. Our case was involved maybe if you did have assets it would be easier. I would of hired a attorney from the beginning we just didn't have the money. We still don't have the money but we will have to find some.


                  • #39
                    The idea of spending a couple of grand to hire an attorney to file ones BK is tough to swallow...when you're already broke. And just because one hires an attorney doesn't necessarily mean matters will be easier either. If you're not comfortable doing the preparation yourself, consider hiring an expeirenced BK paralegal to prepare the paperwork for you. This typical costs a lot less.
                    The information provided is not, and should not be considered legal advice. All information provided is only informational and should be verified by a law practioner whenever possible. When confronted with legal issues contact an experienced attorney in your state who specializes in the area of law most directly called into question by your particular situation.


                    • #40
                      Pro se or hire an attorney

                      I have a young atty here in Hawaii who will file my Ch. 7 bankruptcy petition in Decermber 2006 (I am on disability and slowly saving money for my total costs to file --$1,150 -- my total debt is under $13,000).

                      Should I be concerned at his lack of much experience? Could I encounter problems he missed (should he) that will land in my lap to take care of -- despite my having paid a fee for his services?

                      I am anxious enough over this process and realize everyone be given the opportunity to gain experience. I just don't want inexperience to cost me troubles down the road.
                      will file Ch. 7


                      • #41
                        i'm in la, and lots of poor mexicans i saw file by themselves.

                        Many were missing this and that, and were told to come back on a certain day.

                        Get a lawyer. You don't want to screw things up and get a dismissal.

                        Filed: 05/04/06 (los angeles)
                        341: 06/05/06
                        Discharged: 8/29/06
                        Closed: 9/08/06


                        • #42
                          Got 2 qoutes here in Oregon for Chapter 7

                          One was for $1000, the other for $1200...


                          • #43
                            Chapter 13

                            $2000 upfront (well, in installments)
                            $1000 paid to the lawyer through the plan

                            Filing done after payment was made (the $2000)

                            Chapter 7's seem less expensive??? I'm wondering if I decide to change chapters from a 13 to a 7 would the lawyer be charging me extra???
                            Also, does anyone know if you need to modify your plan, such as a change in income, does that cost extra too??? Has anyone modified their plan??? How long to it take to be acknowledged (go through the court system). Lets say your income changed where you would be paying less, what does the Trustee expect while your plan is being modified to less amnt of money towards the plan???

                            July 2006: Filed Ch13 :blink:
                            Oct 2006: Converted to Ch7 :clapping:
                            Jan 2007: DISCHARGED :clapping:
                            Nov 2007: CLOSED :yahoo::yahoo::yahoo:


                            • #44
                              We were trying to decide if we were going to file ourselves, or hire an attorney- and I think we're going with an awsome attorney that I found that will do our BK7 for $750.00 plus $299.00 filing fees. He's fantastic, has 26 years experience with BK law, and now I'm really glad we went with him since we have a car loan with the same credit union as our credit card that we need to discharge. He knows our credit union, and said that they are notorious for cross collateralization and would probably be a problem if we tried to reafirm the loan but not the credit card. See? A loophole that would have freaked me out- it really does pay to go with a lawyer. We don't really have the money for him, but since he told us to stop paying our creditors, now we do!


                              • #45
                                Should I hire an Attorney or File myself (Pro Se)?

                                I would recomment visiting a site dedicated to bankruptcy information. One site that I have found is (link removed by moderator - violation of forum rules). Here you will find the information you need to decide.
                                Last edited by lrprn; 05-05-2007, 08:13 PM. Reason: removed link - violation of forum rules


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