Tue Sep 02 2014   

Bankruptcy Law Research Guide:

Do I need an attorney to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

You are not required to have an attorney to file for bankruptcy. You have the right to represent yourself in any type of bankruptcy proceeding. People who represent themselves are referred to as “pro se” filers.

However, according to the District of Arizona Bankruptcy Court FAQs section, it is difficult to successfully file for bankruptcy without the aid of an attorney. In order to file successfully, you have to familiarize yourself with United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the local rules of the District of Arizona Bankruptcy Court, and the bankruptcy forms.

If you do not fill out the forms correctly or disclose all the required information, you might lose important rights and/or fail to maximize your debt relief. Also, if you do not follow the various bankruptcy rules, your case could be dismissed.

However, there are a number of self help resources available. See the Bankruptcy Self Help page.

Do I need an attorney to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief and getting a plan confirmed is a complicated process. Failure to meet the technical requirements of the law and follow the federal and local bankruptcy rules will result in dismissal. Even reputable legal self help books recommend at least consulting with an attorney throughout the various steps of the process.

How can I find a local attorney?

There are many lawyer referral services available online.

Can I find a local attorney if I do not have much money?

Arizona has a number of legal aid services available. Often these pro bono organizations have income requirements to qualify for assistance. You can check their websites or call the organizations for more information.

Page Updated:  5 November 2008