What You Should Know About Filing for Bankruptcy in Georgia Without an Attorney
Choosing to file bankruptcy by yourself (pro se) can be a very expensive mistake
At DebtStoppers, we encourage initiative. So, if rather than sitting passively with a mountain of debt, you’ve decide to become debt-free, we’re behind you all the way. Our attorneys have the knowledge, skill and experience to represent you in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy efficiently, sparing you undue stress and hardship. But if your initiative extends to filing bankruptcy as a do-it-yourself project, we must warn you that common errors by pro se filers often result in expensive, irreversible losses. But using a qualified bankruptcy attorney results in stress-free, efficient handling of your case that ultimately saves you time and possibly money.
Common errors lead to unnecessary losses when you try to file yourself
At DebtStoppers, we’re able to protect assets our clients thought for sure they’d lose, so our satisfied clients find that our bankruptcy service pays for itself. You might say, “Hey, I’m already in bankruptcy, what else do I have to lose?” But the answer is, “A lot,” as these common mistakes make very clear:
- Filing when bankruptcy’s not the solution — Bankruptcy does not discharge all types of debt. If you have unpaid taxes and student loans, bankruptcy won’t help.
- Depending on the court clerk or bankruptcy trustee to give legal advice — The U.S. Bankruptcy Code runs more than 500 pages; neither the clerk nor the bankruptcy trustee has time to give you a crash course. If you file the wrong forms, fail to observe the rules of your local bankruptcy court, or neglect your pre-filing requirements, such as mandatory credit counseling sessions, the court can toss out your application and make you file again. If you fail to attend your creditors meeting, the trustee can rule against you on important issues.
- Transferring assets to “insiders” or taking on more debt prior to filing — Certain actions prior to bankruptcy, such as making a gift to a relative or running up credit card charges, can expose you to fraud charges.
- Getting stuck in the wrong chapter of bankruptcy — Pro se filers often mishandle the means test, and lose the opportunity to file under Chapter 7. Unfortunately, Chapter 13 requires them to repay much more of their debt over a longer period of time.
- Confusion over exemptions — Pro se filers often miss opportunities to exempt assets, and so leave their possessions exposed to liquidation to pay off debt. Without sound legal advice, filers may use exempt assets to pay down debt before filing for bankruptcy, so they lose wealth paying off liabilities the court would have discharged anyway.
- Losing automatic stay protection — Probably the greatest emotional benefit of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay, which bans creditors from contacting you for collection purposes. If the court dismisses your bankruptcy petition because of an error, you lose your automatic stay. When you refile, your creditors can continue to call you, instead of being forced to work through the bankruptcy court.
DebtStoppers appreciates that people facing bankruptcy to want to save on unnecessary expenses. But eliminating attorney fees means losing many protections the law was designed to deliver. Moreover, most pro se (DIY) filings get dismissed by the courts, because the average filer doesn’t foresee procedural and paperwork problems.
File for bankruptcy the right way. Call Atlanta DebtStoppers today!
Facing bankruptcy alone will only multiply your problems. But an experienced DebtStoppers attorney in Atlanta can manage your bankruptcy from start to finish so you come out further ahead than if you filed yourself.. Call us today at 404.750.4706 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.