Bankruptcy laws are complex. All courts must enforce the U.S. Code and additionally comply with federal rules of procedure and local court rules. Although anyone can file for bankruptcy for free, the odds of success are small. Legal representation prevents creditor overreaching and insures debtors receive fair treatment. Debtors who chose to file for bankruptcy for free may receive limited assistance throughout the process from court personnel, but the assistance provided seldom produces results available when represented by a qualified attorney.
The U.S. Code Lets People File for Bankruptcy for Free
The U.S. Code permits individuals to represent themselves in cases filed in all federal courts. While legal representation is optional, the assistance of an attorney provides a distinct advantage for all represented parties because of the complexity of legal requirements. In all but the simplest cases, few debtors who file for bankruptcy for free receive the full range of benefits available.
The clerk of the court provides limited assistance for people who file for bankruptcy for free. Official forms are available without charge. Any person who earns less income than 150% of the current poverty level published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources qualifies for a waiver of the filing fee. However, the clerk of the court and administrative personnel cannot provide legal advice.
The clerk of the court may provide general information about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Information allowed for dissemination is generally restricted to a summary of basic legal requirements. The U.S. Courts website provides this information online at http://www.uscourts.gov.
Pros and Cons When Debtors File for Bankruptcy for Free
Avoiding an attorney fee is the primary advantage received by people who file for bankruptcy for free. In addition, a filing fee waiver may save a few hundred dollars. In total, potential savings in a simple Chapter 7 case are approximately $1,000 when filing bankruptcy for free.
The primary disadvantage for debtors who file for bankruptcy for free is the likelihood of attracting objections. Creditors and their attorneys notice when a debtor is not represented. Creditors may file numerous objections and request case dismissal. Each objection may require a hearing. Debtors who fail to appear at all hearings and assert a valid legal defense run a high risk of case dismissal.
U.S. Trustees and presiding judges object to creditor motions that are clearly illegal. Despite this limited protection, experienced creditors and their attorneys frequently prevail when claiming the maximum permissible leeway allowed by law. In effect, when creditors file numerous objections and push legal limits, debtors who file for bankruptcy for bankruptcy for free frequently lose valuable rights unnecessarily.
The Best Way to File for Bankruptcy for Low Cost
Receiving the full range of benefits provided by Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 laws is not difficult. For as little as a $1,000, legal representation eliminates the risk of unnecessary dismissals and the loss of legal rights. In addition, many attorneys allow for the payment of fees in installments spread over several pay periods.