Can I File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney?

Although it may be possible for some people to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, it is not a step to be taken lightly.  The process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law.  It takes patience and careful preparation.  Chapter 7 (straight bankruptcy) cases are somewhat easier.  Very few people have been able to successfully file chapter 13 (reorganization) cases on their own.

Source: Answers to Common Bankruptcy Questions Pamphlet
National Consumer Law Center, Boston, MA
www.nclc.org

Here is what the Kansas Bankruptcy Court says about filing bankruptcy without an attorney:

It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly. The rules are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights. For example, a debtor whose case is dismissed for failure to file a required document, such as a credit counseling certificate, may lose the right to file another case or lose protections in a later case, including the benefit of the automatic stay. Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences – hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.

Debtors must list all property and debts in their bankruptcy schedules. If a debt is not listed, it is possible the debt will not be discharged.  The judge can also deny the discharge of all debts if a debtor does something dishonest in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as destroying or hiding property, falsifying records, or lying. Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly audited to determine the accuracy, truthfulness, and completeness of the information that the debtor is required to provide. Please be aware that bankruptcy fraud is a crime.

Pro se litigants, whether debtor or creditor, are expected to follow the rules that govern procedures in the federal courts. Pro se litigants should be familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court in which the case is filed.