There’s an old expression in the legal community: a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In most situations, a non-lawyer who represents himself in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy (i.e. a pro se debtor) exposes himself to legal and financial risks he doesn’t understand. While there are many potential adverse outcomes associated with self-representation, the most significant is that the pro se debtor will lose his chance to shed consumer debts through bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of pro se debtors in recent years. In 2005, Congress passed major bankruptcy reform legislation, known as BAPCPA, which has had the effect of making bankruptcies more complicated and costly for consumer debtors. Specifically, Chapter 7 debtors now face more paperwork, tighter deadlines, and more arduous procedural requirements. In general, this has driven up the cost of hiring experienced counsel and, in turn, caused more debtors to self-represent. Since the passage of BAPCPA, the number of debtors filing pro se has jumped more than 150 percent, according to data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP).
Consumer bankruptcy is a minefield of technicalities and requirements. And, like a minefield, disturbing just one mine can have catastrophic results. If you’re thinking about filing for personal bankruptcy, you should also consider finding a qualified, dedicated attorney who has experience in handling consumer bankruptcies. You need someone who can guide you through the minefield.
The attorneys at the Dallas law firm are prepared to help you work your way through each stage of the bankruptcy process: from preparing to file, to living post-petition, and to adjusting to life after your discharge. Talk to our professionals today to find out what your next steps should be. We’re ready to help you.