Is self-representation wise for bankruptcy filers?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Bankruptcy |

When someone’s financial situation becomes so dire that repayment is impossible, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a structured, legal way out of a difficult situation. Providing definitive evidence of financial insolvency might be tricky for California residents looking for debt relief, so going into court with a lawyer who understands the rules may benefit the debtor.

Working with an attorney in bankruptcy court

Some debtors worry about the legal costs associated with hiring an attorney. While such considerations are understandable, attempts to navigate the federal bankruptcy code or represent oneself in court might turn out far more challenging than expected. An inexperienced person may find the process overwhelming without an attorney guiding the process.

Experience and knowledge are not easily replaced. An attorney who has spent significant time in bankruptcy courts representing clients likely knows a lot more than a debtor seeking personal protection for the first time. A debtor might not even know how to respond to court challenges, clearly provide ample evidence or comply in a timely manner. The debtor may run the risk of contempt of court charges when not following directives properly.

An essential process that must go smoothly

Debtors rely on bankruptcy to get a fresh start. Unnecessarily stressful bankruptcy proceedings won’t help matters, and improper actions might result in the bankruptcy’s dismissal. If this happens, the debtor might have no protection against creditors. A disastrous attempt to file for bankruptcy without an attorney may lead to hiring one anyway. A frustrated debtor could become overwhelmed and realize that he or she might have wasted a lot of time.

A bankruptcy attorney may meet with a potential client to discuss the legal process. The attorney may then provide advice regarding a path forward to avoid complications and common mistakes.