Over the years, I have heard many questions being asked with filing bankruptcy alone, or with an attorney. These questions covered a wide variety of topics, and so I decided to write this article to address just this one. Here I also address the question of whether or not an individual should use an attorney to help them through the process.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of filing by yourself
Pros: If you take the time to do the research and planning the process, you will probably end up getting a better result.
Cons: If you do nothing or begin the process without planning how you will complete it, you may end up with a worse outcome.
The deciding factor
The deciding factor will be your situation and your circumstances. You need to do your research and have an action plan in place to make sure that you can complete the process. If you conclude that you need to contact an attorney, my strongest recommendation would be to find a lawyer within your area, so he or she can contact your creditors and get the documentation filed.
Another consideration is to try to contact all of your creditors as soon as possible. By contacting them, during income season they will know that you intend on paying your bills. As soon as you pay those bills, you will be buying yourself a fresh start. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get new lines of credit or loans because you have incomplete credit.
Secondly, make sure if you do file alone that you get all of your information in order, and keep a copy of all filed documents. This will give you a solid basis if you need to sue the creditor or file a motion to implement a wage garnishment.
The final decision
When it comes to deciding whether to file alone or with an attorney, part of the decision depends on if you feel that you should be represented by an attorney. When it comes to legal matters, if you don’t have an attorney, you have by default made the decision.
If you have decided that you need an attorney for personal matters, then you have made the right decision. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances and legal situations are the same no matter what size pocketbook you have.
The one legal principle I live by is, “the only time you should use a lawyer is when you can’t do it yourself”. Everyone has a right to representation, either through your attorney or not. If you feel that you cannot, seek the advice of a good legal adviser. This will save you a lot of heartache in the future.
Also, this process can be very emotional. Attorneys try to keep emotion out of the equation, but there is a point where emotion takes over. When this happens, it is very difficult to make rational decisions while feeling stressed out and depressed.
So if you decide to seek representation, make sure your attorney agrees with your wishes. Do not force or try to force an issue or try to get a result that you are not happy with. Do not ignore your creditors or avoid the issue just because you don’t want your creditors to contact the credit agencies.
With all of these legal factors in mind, if you decide to use an attorney, make sure you understand the process, make sure you have a thorough understanding of your cases and have action plans in place in the event of an issue. This will allow you to be sure that everything is handled the way you want it to be, without any surprises in the future.
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