With many people handling their own divorces or criminal matters, you might be curious about whether you can represent yourself in a bankruptcy. Although the courts do not prohibit people from representing themselves, it is usually a poor idea just the same. Read on for more information about why you should hire a lawyer to guide you through the process.
Bankruptcy Might not be Right for You
Many clients come to us convinced that they want to file for bankruptcy. However, in some situations, you might have better options. And in other cases, bankruptcy might actually be the wrong option.
Consider why you want to file. Some people have burdensome debts, like a home mortgage. Unfortunately, a mortgage is a kind of secured debt bankruptcy cannot eliminate. Instead, the lender will retain their security interest, which means they can foreclose on your home. A bankruptcy is therefore inappropriate if mortgage debt is the only debt you want to eliminate.
In other situations, simply working with your lender to temporarily suspend payments or lower the interest rate will help you avoid financial disaster.
If you do not meet with a lawyer, you will never think through these options. Remember that a lawyer is first and foremost a counselor who should explain your options to you in a way that you can understand. Only then can you make an informed decision.
You Might Choose the Wrong Bankruptcy
Generally, consumers choose between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13. They have different criteria to qualify, and the process of eliminating debt is different. For example, a Chapter 13 requires a 3-5 year repayment plan, but you can keep your property. A lawyer can help you understand which bankruptcy is right for you.
You Have a Higher Chance of Receiving a Discharge with a Lawyer
To successfully get debts discharged, you will need to submit complicated forms to the court and attend a Meeting of Creditors. You must submit all information accurately and in a timely manner. Any mistake could cause a judge to reject your bankruptcy.
Statistics back up the fact that a lawyer will help your case. In the Central District of California, the court found that applicants represented by a lawyer were successful 95% of the time in securing a discharge. By contrast, those who went ahead without a lawyer were successful only 61% of the time.
Contact an Oklahoma City Bankruptcy Lawyer
Whether to file for bankruptcy is a tough decision. For help considering your options, contact Deborah Brooks & Associates for your free consultation.