Chapter 7 & Bankruptcy WITHOUT an Attorney

Updated on April 22, 2008
M.L. asks from Gilbert, AZ
7 answers

Hello ~

I have finally decided that I need to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I have looked at thier website & it says that it is nearly impossible to be successful to be declared Bankrupt without the use of a Attorney. I do not have the money to pay an Attorney, I have gone on several free consults, and they all want at least $1500.00 as a retainer fee. If I had that I could pay some of the ones who call be 10 times a day. Oh, & I also found out that thier is a differance in a creditor & a debt collector, seems the debt collectors do not have as many rules to follow. I really do appreciate all the adivce I can get. I can tell when it is 8am without looking at the clock, casuse my phone starts ringing, and this happens everyday. I have one that calls every hour until I answer, I have even fotten to the point of googleing the #'s and reading that I am not the only one & it helps but it does not fix my problem.



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answers from Phoenix on

I had a friend who went through bankruptcy recently. I think her fees were about what you were quoted. She was able to pay $100/month until the lawyer was paid up and then started the process. Once she retained a lawyer all she had to do was give the creditors the lawyers info and the calls stopped. I can find out who she went thru if you are interested.



answers from Phoenix on

I'm going through the phone calls too. When it gets too annoying, I just unplug my phone. I then check my messages at my convenience. Sometimes at the colleges, MCC or ASU, they have programs that help people, the legal students need the practice. I'm sure you'll feel lots better when you can just start over again!



answers from Phoenix on

Well, I don't have a lot of advice for you but your post did catch my eye.

Those debt collectors can be total jerks. I was a victim of identity theft and they tried to harass me. I was dealing with a lot of agencies at the time, one of them being the FTC. When they got out of hand, I was able to tell them they were not allowed to do that particular thing and that I would complain about them! They didn't like that. :-) If they do violate laws against you, perhaps contact the State Attorney General. If you need help, let me know.

If you suspect that your rights are being violated, contact the FTC. Here is something I found for you to read:

Bankruptcies are pretty common legal procedures and unless you have some complicated issues, perhaps you could see if it is legal (and adviseable) if you work with a paralegal predominantly at a law-firm. That could maybe save you some big bucks there. Paralegals do other things that lawyers do like divorces and wills.

It's sad. People need to file for bankruptcy, surely the last house on the block and then maybe feel victimized again by the lawyer fees alone!

Do all the research you can. Government sites and also try Suze Orman. Google Bankruptcy.

I got this off a Suze Orman page:
"You can't expect Bankruptcy to bail you out. Beginning in October new bankruptcy rules will make it much harder to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many consumers who seek bankruptcy relief will be required to file Chapter 13, which entails repayment of at least some of the filer's debts. Bottom line: It's always best to try and work out your financial problems without turning to bankruptcy; but now even if you go the bankruptcy route it is going to cost you more." SO

Here is another page:
Here is another page.

If you need to talk, email me.

Lastly, turn off the ringer. Some newer phones have a do not disturb feature on it. Of course caller ID/block may be helpful too.

Good luck. That is tough what you are going through.



answers from Phoenix on

I'm so proud of you for deciding to get control of your finances. It will bring you such great peace of mind, which is much more valuable than any material things. Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who offers sound, solid advice (he's been there, done that--he filed bankruptcy years ago and now he doesn't have any debt whatsoever, not even a mortgage). Check out He has a radio talk show on 1310 am in the afternoons here in the Phoenix area that I LOVE. He celebrates becoming debt-free and answers financial questions. He has a cash-only envelope system set up to help people stick to their budgets. I love the entry to his show where they say, "The show where a paid-off mortgage replaces a BMW as the status symbol of choice."

I know this is an extremely uncomfortable position to be in, but I would like quote Suze Orman:
"It's always best to try and work out your financial problems without turning to bankruptcy." Many bill collectors are happy to get anything at all out of you, so many will work with you and forgive part of your debt and take payments (I know because we had many bill collectors calling my house when I was a teen but my parents couldn't file bankruptcy because they already had a few years earlier). I'm sure you can find free financial counseling that would help. Is there any expenses you can cut out? My mother-in-law has many unpaid debts that will most likely never be paid, and it is hard for me to watch her buy new clothes and get cable TV or join the gym or go on vacation when she owes people money. It's a matter of integrity and I think one should pay people they owe before spending frivolous money (I'm not saying you are--but in case you are you may want to take a good hard look at your spending habits. And even if you do file bankruptcy it is a good idea to take a good hard look your finances and spending and prevent this situation from occurring again). Good luck. I wish you the best!

More than anything, it just takes great discipline. The little things do add up. Track your spending and expenses for a couple months and you'll most likely be surprised how much money is wasted (I was!) and you will see where you can cut back to save more. Making a budget and sticking with it is helpful.



answers from Phoenix on

M. - you can tell the creditors/debt collectors that under the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" you request that they only contact you in writing via mail.

You should be able to file for a chapter 7 by yourself - you just need the forms and the filing fee. (I filed a few years ago, and the laws were a little different - but you still should be able to do it).

I know how stressful it is. Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on


My husband did this also before we married. We couldn't afford the attorney fees either but he did use paralegals! He paid between $100-$200 and that was split into 2 payments which did have to made before it was final. Mostly what he was paying for was the court fees. Do some checking into this and I hope it is not all different now as it has been a few years since he did this. I do know things have changed with filing bankruptcy but maybe a paralegal service can help you like they did my hubby!

Good luck and hang in there! I know how it is about the phone ringing and calling every hour until you answer - how annoying!!! Then they always want me to give them a post-dated check - which I always tell them it is against the law to do that!! That shuts them up about it pretty quick!!!



answers from Phoenix on

Have you ever heard of debt shield? My sister did this. They work out a payment plan with the creditors (hers were credit card companies). They get the interest rate lowered, & then you pay them. Then, the creditors cannot call, if they do, you call your rep, & they call them. It worked out so well for them, & a friend of hers, who also had debt from an ex-husband. They had years topay, & if they could not, they called up &put them on hol, but they work out another payment amount. It was a lifesaver for them.

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