Can I File for Bankruptcy Without Attorney Representation?

A question we get asked all the time by clients who walk through our door is, “Can I file for bankruptcy by myself?” Technically, the answer is yes, but we advise generally against it. The State of Arizona allows individuals to represent themselves in Bankruptcy Court, but here’s the thing – when your pipes explode, or your car breaks down, you don’t attempt to make the repairs yourself: you call a professional.

Bankruptcy is the legal equivalent of brain surgery, which may sound dramatic, but it’s true. First of all, bankruptcy is made up of not just federal rules, but state rules too. That means that the laws of the Bankruptcy Court change from state to state. Say you lived in the state of Washington in 2014 and 2015, and then moved to Arizona in 2016 and want to file a bankruptcy petition in Arizona in 2016. This makes preparing a bankruptcy petition much more complicated, as you are juggling federal statutes alongside the statutes of two other states!

The importance of hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney cannot be emphasized enough. Most people believe that they have a very simple case, but in all honesty, over the years, our office has filed just a small handful of cases that were truly simple. The thing is, when filing for bankruptcy, your entire financial history is an open book and it is impossible to predict what could potentially become a problem. Issues that seem small now can develop into huge headaches, which can lead to more paperwork and more complications. Without having the legal know-how to effectively manage any nasty surprises, individuals who represent themselves are not just in a for a nuisance – they could potentially have their case dismissed. A skilled attorney knows the laws of the bankruptcy court and will be able to identify any potential risks or problems. They can offer insight into bankruptcy law that no website or pamphlet can adequately provide.

Another reason why it is much better to hire a bankruptcy attorney is that, plainly speaking, we have more resources. Stone Law Group goes above and beyond other bankruptcy law firms in terms of what we offer our clients. We dedicate time and energy into helping our clients rebuild their lives and their credit after bankruptcy. Stone Law Group devotes resources to determine whether or not our clients have any recourse against a creditor that violates the US Bankruptcy Code or debt collectors that violate the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. There are very strict regulations as to how and when debt collectors may contact a consumer and if a debt collector is found in breach of these regulations they are subject to penalties. We can walk you through this process, and potentially even put some extra money in your pocket!

Stone Law Group has skilled attorneys that support our clients and their families through the stressful and overwhelming bankruptcy process by dealing with aggressive creditors and debt collectors. Call us at 602-265-3000 and schedule a consultation today!