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How To File For Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer In Florida

If Im Filing From Home While Do I Need A Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing Bankruptcy Without An Attorney in Florida | Frequently Asked Question

The process of filing from home is convenient and removes some of the burdens of filing for bankruptcy. But it doesnt change the process entirely. It just means youre handling meetings and exchange of paperwork remotely. Youll still need to submit correct and complete information. You have all of the same obligations and responsibilities youd have if you were filing for bankruptcy in person. An attorney helps you through the process, ensures everything you submit to the court is correct and complete, and is there to answer your questions every step of the way.

If youd like to know more about filing for bankruptcy from home or you are ready to get started, give us a call!

I Am Ready To File A Bankruptcy Do I Need To Hire A Daytona Bankruptcy Attorney Or Can I Do It Myself

You may have heard several times that just because you can do something that does not mean you should do it. Many of our parents used this logic as we were growing up to try to teach us that there are some things that we do not want to do even if we can do them. The logic applies to filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

The Bankruptcy Code does not prevent you from filing bankruptcy without an attorney. However, even though you may legally file your case pro se or without an attorney does not mean that you should do so. We represent many clients who attempted to file bankruptcy without an attorney. After they filed their case, they realized they needed help.

In many cases, we were able to help them correct the issues that were preventing them from obtaining a bankruptcy discharge. Sadly, some people who file bankruptcy without an attorney are not so fortunate. Some debtors who file bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney lose property and have their discharge denied. Therefore, we urge you to consult with our Daytona Beach bankruptcy attorney to avoid potential mistakes that could become very costly.

Can I File Bankruptcy Without My Spouse Knowing

If youre wondering How can I file bankruptcy without my spouse knowing? then there are lots of things to consider. First and foremost, its usually not a good idea to keep something as big as bankruptcy a secret from your spouse. Depending on how you file, you could inadvertently leave your spouse on the hook for some outstanding debts. If youre considering filing bankruptcy without your spouse knowing, its best to consult a bankruptcy attorney first.

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Bankruptcy Fees And Costs

It may seem ironic, but there are fees involved with filing for bankruptcy. Counsel fees for individual bankruptcy cases can cost several thousand dollars depending upon what type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 13 fees are typically paid through the plan, but Chapter 7 fees must be paid up front to the attorney before the case is filed.

Even without attorney’s fees, you must pay standard court fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. As of March 2020, the fee for filing Chapter 7 is $335, and the fee for filing Chapter 13 is $310. Additional fees are required for the credit counseling course you must complete before filing your petition and the financial management course that is mandatory to complete after you file your petition those fees can add another $50 to $100 to your total costs.

Preparing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Chapter 13 Issues

Theres some protocol to follow in the months before filing for bankruptcy. Failing to follow these instructions could undermine your efforts.

Dont Pay Creditors It seems counterintuitive and you should definitely make routine payments. But any large or unusual payments could be viewed as preferential transfers. That means one creditor has benefited unfairly over others.

No New Debt A new creditor could claim you took out a loan or ran up the balance on a credit card without intending to pay it back. Legally, thats fraud and it will not be forgiven.

No Unusual Transactions Dont stray from the routine. Dont transfer titles of cars or homes. Dont buy luxury goods. Dont transfer your business or remove your name from it. They can all be classified as fraud.

Be Truthful You are required, while filing for bankruptcy, to provide full and complete information. You must disclose any debt, assets, accounts or other financial information. Failure to comply could lead to fraud and potential criminal charges.

Dont Touch Retirement Funds You are generally allowed to keep retirement plans and accounts, so keep them safe while considering bankruptcy and dont use those funds to pay down debt.

Never think you can get away with something sneaky or dishonest. Your bankruptcy lawyer is always a good resource for what you should and shouldnt do.

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Debts That Can And Cant Be Discharged In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 should dismiss most of the debts you owe, but there are some hard-and-fast debts that cant be discharged in Chapter 7.

The list of non-dischargeable debts includes:

  • Child support
  • Student loans must prove undue hardship
  • HOA fees if you surrender your home or condo
  • Any other form of unsecured debt.

Providing Reliable Debt Relief Solutions For Clients In Brandon Plant City & All Of Hillsborough County

Questions? Call The Golden Law Group for FREE at 699-4911.

Bankruptcy is a legal process that involves the United States federal court system and appointed judges and trustees. Just like any other lawsuit, you will need to petition in court, and the authorities will review your petition for bankruptcy and decide whether or not your case has merit to proceed. Because of the intense, legal nature of a bankruptcy case, it is important that you hire a skilled bankruptcy lawyer to represent your case.

Also Check: What Is A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

Can I File Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer

By FindLaw Staff | Reviewed by Bridget Molitor, JD | Last updated June 30, 2021

Yes, you can legally file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. But should you?

Every year, thousands of Americans find themselves too broke to pay off their debts, yet unable to afford bankruptcy. It probably comes as no surprise that attorneys’ fees make up the lion’s share of bankruptcy expenses. So you might be wondering, “Do I really need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?”

It largely depends on how complex your case is. If you own little property and don’t make a lot of money, it might be possible to file bankruptcy pro se . But while filing for bankruptcy on your own can save you money, it’s a serious undertaking. You’ll have to pull together all of your financial documentation, file a lot of paperwork on time, and communicate with your bankruptcy trustee. You’ll also need to take the time to understand the state and federal laws that apply.

In this section, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a few tips to help make the process as simple and painless as possible.

Doesnt Filing For Bankruptcy Ruin My Reputation And My Life

How To File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer MUST SEE!

Not if it gets you out of debt. You might be able to run from creditors for a while, but eventually the stress of that overwhelms people. Bankruptcy lets you stop running and start over again. It may take a few years for you to get loans and obtain credit again, but at least youll have that opportunity. Bankruptcy is meant to give people who made financial mistakes a second chance. In todays turbulent economy, that is a good thing.

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What Documents Are Needed For Chapter 13

What Are The Steps to Filing A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Tax returns for the past 4 years. Paystubs or other proof of income for the last 6 months before filing. Bank account statements from the past 3 to 6 months. Recent mortgage statement and real estate tax bills. Residential lease agreement if applicable.

Talk To A Bankruptcy Lawyer

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    Fill Out The Paperwork

    Filling out the official bankruptcy forms is generally the most complicated and time-consuming task if you choose to file bankruptcy without a lawyer.

    Download the bankruptcy forms package to save the time and stress involved in tracking down the necessary materials. The packages are inexpensive and provide you with all the forms you need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state.

    Once you complete the forms, attach the relevant documents and submit the paperwork with the filing fee either in person or by mail. It’s important that you promptly respond to any correspondence from the bankruptcy trustee. Failure to do so can get your case dismissed.

    What Is A Bankruptcy Petition Preparer

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    A bankruptcy petition preparer is any person or business, other than a lawyer or someone who works for a lawyer, that charges a fee to prepare bankruptcy documents. Under your direction and control, the bankruptcy petition preparer generates bankruptcy forms for you to file either by typing them or inputting information into a bankruptcy software program.

    Because bankruptcy petition preparers are not attorneys, they can’t provide legal advice or represent you in bankruptcy court. Specifically, they can’t:

    • tell you which type of bankruptcy to file
    • tell you not to list certain debts
    • tell you not to list certain assets, or
    • tell you what property to exempt.

    In essence, you must understand what debts your bankruptcy will discharge, what will happen to your property in the bankruptcy, and what laws should be used to exempt your property from being taken for the benefit of your creditors.

    Also, you must file the bankruptcy papers yourself and represent yourself in court. In other words, you are responsible for your case. You act as your attorney and use the bankruptcy petition preparer as a typing service that transposes the information you give them onto the official forms.

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    Is Bankruptcy Better Than Debt Settlement

    Determining how to handle your debts is not an easy decision. It is essential to evaluate each option carefully to ensure that you choose the best option. The surest way to achieve this goal is to seek the guidance of a legal expert who knows the pros and cons of debt settlement and bankruptcy. By seeking the services of an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney, you can help ensure that you consider every angle during the decision making process.

    What Types Of Bankruptcy Cases Should I Consider

    There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law:

    • Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy or liquidation requires a debtor to give up property, which exceeds certain limits called exemptions, so the property can be sold to paycreditors
    • Chapter 11 reorganization used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large
    • Chapter 12 reserved for family farmers
    • Chapter 13 debt adjustment requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts from current income

    Most people filing bankruptcy will want to file under wither Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.

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    Mail Documents To Your Trustee

    Most of the steps in your journey to a fresh start are done before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed with the court. But, do you have some obligations after filing your case. The first such task is to send your bankruptcy trustee the paperwork that they request.

    The bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to your case by the court after your bankruptcy petition has been filed. Theyâre also the person youâll be dealing with at your meeting of creditors. You can find the name and contact information of your bankruptcy trustee on Official Form 309A which youâll receive from the court within 1 – 2 weeks of filing your case.

    If you donât hear from your bankruptcy trustee within 2 – 3 weeks from filing, itâs ok to contact their office to find out what paperwork they require.

    What Not To Do Before Filing Bankruptcy

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    If you have made the decision to file Florida bankruptcy, it is a sure bet your decision was not an easy one. Having made this difficult decision, it is crucial you avoid specific mistakes and actions both prior to filing bankruptcy as well as during and after the bankruptcy filing. A considerable amount of preparation is required for your Florida bankruptcy, not including the level of paperwork necessary. The truth is, many things you door dont doprior to bankruptcy can have a serious effect on the success of the bankruptcy, and certain actions or financial transactions can result in an irreversible impact on your bankruptcy. Some of the more common actions and mistakes made prior to filing bankruptcy include the following:

    • Keeping your checking and/or savings account at the same bank you have a personal loan with. Even if you have not filed for bankruptcy, the bank may take money from your accounts to cover your loan if you are behind on the payments. This is known as the right of setoff, and no notice is required.
    • Choosing a filing date for your bankruptcy on which your bank account is artificially high. On some dates your bank account may look pretty healthy, even though you know there are a slew of automatic deductions and checks on their way in. Once you file bankruptcy, you must list your exact bank account balance, applying your Florida exemptions to protect these funds. Wait until all the monthly bills go through before filing for bankruptcy.

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    Alternatives To Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    If you are wondering if you should file for bankruptcy, there are many nonprofit consumer credit counseling organizations that have the ability to negotiate more favorable terms with creditors. Its particularly effective with credit-card companies. The repayment program will be managed expertly and fees could be avoided.

    Here are some options:

    Debt Management Plan Entering into a debt management program can provide relief from interest rates, late fees and penalties from creditors. Under a DMP, which is negotiated by credit counselors, you promise to pay back the full principal over time in an efficiently managed manner.

    The debt management program provides an organized monthly payment plan. It provides an opportunity to handle the debt more efficiently than trying to sort it out yourself. By keeping the payments on track, it will be good for your credit score.

    Some caveats: There is generally an enrollment and maintenance fee and the DMP is never a guaranteed option. Creditors have no obligation to participate.

    Debt Consolidation This option reduces interest rates and combines all of your debts into one manageable monthly payment. Under debt consolidation, you take out a loan, which is used to consolidate and pay off all of your other debts.

    Personal Loan for Bad Credit Yes, you can get a personal loan with bad credit, depending on your situation. You can expect high interest rates and should only consider this option if you can truly afford the monthly payment.

    What Kind Of Debts Do You Have

    The first thing we will look at is what types of debt you have and whether filing bankruptcy is the best remedy for you. Bankruptcy is most helpful to people with unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills, because these kind of debts are dischargeable. You can potentially walk away from them completely. Secured debts are those which are tied to a specific item as collateral. Most often this is a house or a car, where the house or car serves as collateral for the mortgage or car loan. A Chapter 13 case may be more beneficial to you if you have secured debt.

    There are also debts which are non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy case. Non-dischargeable debts include things like child support, alimony, most tax debt, etc. If the bulk of your debts are non-dischargeable a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not offer the relief you are seeking.

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    Will My Spouse Be Affected By My Individual Bankruptcy Filing

    A spouse is not affected by a bankruptcy if they did not sign an agreement for the debt. The answer to this question really depends on how the debt is held and who is responsible for it. It is not uncommon for only one spouse to file for bankruptcy. Prior to either spouse filing for bankruptcy, a consultation should be made with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can go through all of the debt issues with you and give you the proper legal advice.

    Why Do People File For Bankruptcy Relief

    Filing Bankruptcy Without an Attorney

    Many people feel ashamed that they cannot pay their debts. However, in most cases, the financial problems began with a life-event that was not within the person’s control.

    Common reasons why people need to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 include:

    Unemployment or other loss of income

    A prolonged decrease in income

    Death of a spouse or child

    Divorce and separation

    Accidental injury or illness

    Abused credit and/or mismanaged money

    The bankruptcy system is designed to give someone a fresh start to recover from a financial crisis without the burden and stress of debt. The Bankruptcy Code does not say that a person must have a good reason for being in debt. Unless fraud is involved, the reason for your debt problem does not matter. You are entitled to seek debt relief through bankruptcy just like any other person.

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