If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 it is important that you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney on your side. A bankruptcy attorney has the expertise that you need to navigate the bankruptcy laws.
Having a Chapter 7 attorney, many Atlanta clients have found makes the entire bankruptcy process go smoother. There are a lot of working parts to any bankruptcy filing that bankruptcy lawyers can easily manage. Filing bankruptcy is common but it is not easy.
Understanding Your Options
There are two types of bankruptcy chapters that are available to consumers. Chapter 13, often called the wage earners plan, and chapter 7. Each plan delivers relief from debt but how you achieve that relief is different.
However Chapter 13 is often filed when keeping everything you own is the goal and you want to make payments. In 2016 Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi had the most Chapter 13 filings. Whereas Chapter 7 is when you want to walk away from the debt without making payments.
Which one is right for your situation? A chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can tell you.
Pro Se Representation
Technically in the United States, all our courts are open to the people. Although, technically you do not need an attorney, but there are some serious consequences to not having one. Anyone can file anything that they would like to with the courts including a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
When you are a litigant in any filing where you represent yourself, you are considered Pro Se. Pro Se is a Latin term which means on one’s own behalf. Unfortunately, there is no grace given to Pro Se filers by the bankruptcy court. In other words, ignorance of a law or rule does not exclude you from having to follow them.
Means Test and More
Additionally, as part of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, you will have to use the means test, which is what determines who can and who cannot file for debt relief under the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules. It is complex and can be difficult to navigate without an attorney.
An attorney is an expert in what exemptions are available and which exemptions you should claim. However you could miss out on a great deal of savings and opportunity without an attorney.
The bankruptcy court is very strict, not only about what you are filing but how it is filed. The Clerk of Court at the bankruptcy court is not permitted to provide you with any legal advice. Ensuring that you are meeting the local rules and the general rules can be a challenge.
Potential Consequences the Pro Se Filer May Face
If you are missing documents, or there is something not filled out correctly, it is at the court’s discretion whether to dismiss your case. Your case can be dismissed both with prejudice and without prejudice.
It is a risky endeavor to file on your own. Getting the help of an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will ensure you get the outcome that you are hoping for. Call the experienced Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys of Holston and Huntley at (404) 620-3337 to schedule a consultation today.