It sounds like it can get complicated. Do I really need an attorney to file bankruptcy? What is your thought about having an attorney for filing?

If you’re at the point of a divorce, divorce can be complicated and it can be expensive because you have to give so much money to law firm of that’s mine. And this is yours. I mean, you have to fight about who’s going to get what bankruptcy makes that a lot easier because in a bankruptcy you can decide who gets what, and then you get a federal court order that enforces that. And then all you have to do is get unmarried. Getting married is cheap, getting divorced is expensive. So having the federal bankruptcy court on your side to keep creditors from following you, it means you don’t have to fight about who’s paying the credit cards and who’s paying this bill and who’s doing that. You have a plan in place and the rest is easy. You don’t have to have an attorney to file bankruptcy.

But arguably you have to have one to succeed in bankruptcy there’s a significant number of people that try to file on their own, and you have every right to do that. Statistically speaking, less than half of people that file a chapter seven without a bankruptcy, eventually get started with that less than half of people. That file a chapter seven without an attorney, get a discharge, which is the course order at the end of the case, wiping out all the debt, of those that have, and probably more, they get their discharge. Many of them lose significant assets. They didn’t realize they would lose their house. They will lose their car. They would lose their livelihood because they didn’t have an attorney to tell them, whereas high 90% of people that files with our office. In fact, all the two and 15 years, have received a discharge, accepting the two that didn’t tell me the information that was important.

They didn’t answer my questions, honestly. Everyone else has received a discharge of the debts and moved on with successful lives. Chapter 13 is much more complicated. Being able to propose a, a chapter 13 payment plan that puts you in the driver’s seat and makes all of your creditors sit on their hands is extremely complicated and less than 2%, two and a hundred, of people that file without an attorney, even get their plans confirmed. That’s just getting the court to agree to let you try it. Everybody else, the other 98%, 98 out of a hundred people, they file a case which they can do, and they propose a plan and the court says no, and the case gets dismissed and you’re back to square one. But now, because you’ve had a previous case, if you try to file again, maybe you decide maybe, you know, an attorney’s a good idea, and I’m going to go hire an attorney.

Now, the court is only going to protect you and your stuff for 30 days instead of the entire life of your case. And your attorney’s going to have to do a lot more work to get the court, to agree, to give you more time, to resolve everything and to make your payments so less than half of people, that file a chapter seven on their own succeed. And even those that succeed may lose significant assets, their house, their car, the things that they wanted to keep chapter 13, less than two and a hundred, even get to try, because they’re not able to get that first payment plan approved by the court. Whereas around half of chapter 13, clients that file with an attorney do succeed through the whole five-year payment plan, and our office is all north of that. So, filing with an attorney is definitely in your interest.