So you have made your decision to file bankruptcy – probably because there is no other viable option that you are aware of and you have heard stories from some of your friends who have had to file. The big question now is whether to hire an attorney to help you or to attempt to do it yourself. After all, how hard can it be filling out the Petition, Schedules and Statements required? And on top of that, you have already admitted that need to file bankruptcy which means money is really tight, so how can you possibly afford to pay for an attorney?
At this point, let me recommend that you pause, take a deep breath before proceeding, and consider a few preliminary steps.. First, you should at least consult with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney. There might be non-bankruptcy solutions you were unaware of. Or you might find out that you cannot or should not file (perhaps because you filed before, or you have non-exempt equity in a valuable asset). This consultation could also provide valuable advice even if you do proceed to file on your own.
Second, before proceeding on your own, please review a new video prepared by a former bankruptcy judge. Judge Case just retired after being on the bench since 1994. He has seen innumerable cases come through his court room, and the pitfalls that ensnare those who do not understand or have experience with the bankruptcy rules and statutes. The video is on the Arizona Bankruptcy website. Is just over three minutes long and can be accessed by clicking this link.
Third, keep in mind the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, hiring an attorney may end up paying for itself many times over. A capable bankruptcy attorney can help you choose the best time to file, advise you in advance of potential problems, and counsel you as to the best chapter of the bankruptcy code to file under. He/she can also advise you on what not to do before filing bankruptcy that gets so many people in trouble.
After reviewing the aforementioned video and after consulting with an attorney, if you choose to represent yourself, at least you will do so with some additional insight and understanding of how complicated the process can be. But without legal training and experience, you still will not fully appreciate the process until you are in it, and maybe when it is too late to do anything about
Or, after taking the steps listed above, maybe you will consider hiring an attorney to assist you, not so much as a necessary evil or expense, but as a wise investment in helping you get your fresh start. This view sees your attorney as a valuable ally who will walk through the process with you and maximize the relief you obtain.
After considering the above-listed recommendations, if you are still considering filing for bankruptcy, contact our office for a free no-obligation consultation to take advantage of our experience. We look forward to the opportunity to partner with you in identifying the best solution for you.