The paradox of hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer when you’re having trouble with debt is that you’re likely doing it because you don’t have enough money to cover your debts. So why, then, would you spend even more money to hire a bankruptcy attorney in Columbus? Couldn’t you simply file bankruptcy yourself and skip the lawyer’s fees?
Well, yes and no. Technically you are not legally required to hire a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, or even a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. However, the processes required to file bankruptcy are complicated, lengthy, and extremely time sensitive. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally considered a simpler process than Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but both are complex and even small mistakes or oversights can make it much more difficult on you.
Here are a few things you should be keeping in mind when deciding whether you need to hire a bankruptcy attorney in Columbus, Ohio.
Why Filing Bankruptcy Without a Personal Bankruptcy Attorney is Difficult
How complicated your bankruptcy filing may be depends on a wide number of factors, from your salary, to your assets (owning a car/home), to your type of debt, your marital status, your type of work, the number of people in your household, and whether you’re filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Lawyers help you figure all of that out, but generally the more income and assets you have, the more complicated your bankruptcy process will be. All of those factors, and the way they are each affected by the Bankruptcy Code, will significantly change your approach to bankruptcy, and not understanding these details could affect your rights under bankruptcy law.
Court employees and judges are legally prohibited from giving you advice or answering procedural questions about things like what type of bankruptcy you should file, or what types of debts can be discharged under what provisions. So these are things you have to spend significant time and effort studying yourself without the benefit of a personal bankruptcy attorney to take care of it for you.
In addition to filing the mountain of confusing paperwork associated with personal bankruptcy, attorneys also make sure your filing deadlines are met. Filing paperwork inaccurately, missing a filing deadline, or failure to respond promptly to correspondence from the bankruptcy trustee can all get your case dismissed, and these are all pitfalls that a Columbus bankruptcy attorney will protect you from.
Filing Still Costs Money Even if You Don’t Hire a Personal Bankruptcy Attorney
It may be tempting to try to handle your own bankruptcy case to save money, but filing for bankruptcy is still going to cost you money regardless of whether you hire a personal bankruptcy attorney or not.
When you submit your bankruptcy paperwork, you have to also submit a filing fee. And if your case gets dismissed because of a procedural error, you don’t get that filing fee back! You will also have to pay the fee for a mandatory credit counseling and financial literacy course, which is a requirement of any personal bankruptcy case.
Regardless of whether you have a personal bankruptcy attorney or not, filing for bankruptcy will still cost money. However, under certain circumstances, some of these fees can be waived or rolled into your bankruptcy itself, and your Columbus bankruptcy attorney can help you find out if those circumstances apply to you!
Contact us today for a free consultation – we can help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you, and how easy or difficult it may be to file without a personal bankruptcy attorney to assist.