Anyone Declare Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

Updated on November 30, 2011
T.R. asks from Altamonte Springs, FL
8 answers

I am in need of declaring a simple bankruptcy (revolving credit only), yes, I am aware of the negative impact, but my circumstance is dire, and will get worse if I don't declare. Unfortunately, I miss the eligibility for Legal Aid, by just a few dollars. They were only able to recommend a referral service by the Bar Association, that allows qualified people to hire a lawyer at a rate of $50 for 30 minutes. Anyway, has anyone filed bankruptcy on their own? Was it really as daunting as it seems? I've looked at the paperwork on the government site, and it's a lot...I know the filing fee is $299. It warns against using filing services, so, how did you do it? BTW, it's because I was laid off and out of work for 18 months, and now the job I have does't cover all of my rent and child-care...I have already downsized everything, apartment etc...doing the best I can. Any advice for the bankruptcy?

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So What Happened?

thank you for the suggestion on debt settlement, but, I have trouble paying my rent, food and childcare expenses, there is no extra for a "lowered" monthly bill, or a larger settled amount, and there hasn't been for 2 years now, I am way past that point, a lot has been charged off, but a few things in collection and one is about to take me to court. my only option now, is to declare bankruptcy.

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answers from Houston on

Have you contacted any bankruptcy attorneys? Many will do payment plans. You are after all in financial straits. Also using an attorney provides you access to better information so you can avoid problems, complications and errors with the filing, missing creditors, etc. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

We filed chapter 7 a little over a year ago & honestlly, I wouldn't do anything w/out the guidance of an attorney. There was way too much mumbo jumbo to take a chance of missing something, or not dotting an "i" or crossing a "t". As others have suggested, you can set up payments, they just can't actually file until your fee is paid in full. We shopped around and the rates varied (mostly depending on the area). Our first price we were given was over $2,000, but we ended up paying $850 total. Best of luck to you. The impact it has on your credit does take a while to repair, but I know in our case it was well worth it. No one knows your own personal situation as you do. My husband & I tried to do debt consolidation, however the brunt of the debt we had to file for was for his cancer treatment and most of the hospitals just didn't want to hear it. People have a clouded perception of the whole "they have to take whatever you can afford to send" - so not true :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Our lawyer fees (ch13) were PART of our settlement. As in, we owed nothing up front... the fees were spread out. If something happens (like job loss, illness, etc.) then the lawyer simply files a motion and our payments are stopped until x number of days after a new job is found, illness over, etc. (like 60 or 90) and those missing payments just tack onto the end.

I would recommend NEVER dealing with the legal system without a lawyer.

Our bankruptcy was reeeeally complicated (we were excluding the house), and we had a reeeeeally good lawyer. 3 year settlement (instead of 5), over 90% wiped. The bulk of our monthly payment actually ARE the lawyer fees. And he was worth every. single. penny.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I don't know how bad you are in debt but have you tried contacting your creditors yourself and see if you can work out a settlement?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I ditto Jo. A few years ago we were in really bad debt. We got most of our debt on affordable plans with a lot in the interest and penalties reduced. We raised our credit score over 100 points in 6 months. It allowed us to build our first home together.

If you want to PM, I can give you the name of the lady who helped us. She charged us $200 and got our credit cleared up.


answers from San Diego on

I think you should look at other options like, swapping childcare with other moms in your same situation. I have some people that live across the street from me. They are very poor, living on moms aging social security, daughter didn't work forever. But recently, they started swapping childcare. I don't know how they found each other. But now it's a revolving front door over there. I see all the parents taking turns sitting out there waiting for the bus 3 times per day. There are several preschoolers. No one is paying anything for childcare and everyone is working. It kind of bites for daycare providers like me LOL! But it's a much better alternative to what sounds like will be a night-mare no matter what.

If they take you to court, you'll be forced into bankruptcy or they will garnish your wages. They can take you down to the standard deduction and your personnel exceptions. Right now, that's about 3500 per year for 2 people and I think roughly 9500. So if it's just 2 of you, that's 1350 per month they have to leave you. They can take every penny above that amount of gross income.



answers from Tulsa on

You better pay the lawyer. You want to make sure it is right because you can't go back and change it if you mess up.



answers from Provo on

I filed bankruptcy without using a lawyer. I paid a service to write up the papers for me. The bankruptcy went fine but when it came time to go to the meeting of the creditors the trustee sorta took advantage of the fact and was mean to me. Others there had a lawyer and skipped right through but I was the only one without a lawyer and he had to show all of his power to me. I had to show him lots of documents that the others were not even asked about.

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