The internet is rife with unsolicited legal advice on how to file bankruptcy yourself. Often referred to as a DIY bankruptcy, there are over 34,000 YouTube results alone instructing individuals on “how to file bankruptcy without a bankruptcy lawyer”. The truth of the matter is that if you have anything to lose, you should hire a Dallas bankruptcy attorney for assistance in filing.
Pro Se Bankruptcy Figures
The legal term for filing bankruptcy without a lawyer is known as “pro se” and it is strongly discouraged by the United States Courts. We know what you’re thinking: of course, a bankruptcy attorney wants me to hire him so that he can collect a legal fee. While it’s true that bankruptcy attorneys depend on obtaining clients just like any other business, the real reason to hire a Dallas bankruptcy attorney can be driven home by looking at the success rate of pro se bankruptcy filers in the state of Texas and elsewhere. The fact is, when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without an attorney, your chances of successfully receiving a discharge are 61%. With a Texas bankruptcy attorney by your side? A 99% success rate. This is only referring to Chapter 7 bankruptcy though. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy without hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, you have around a 1% chance of success.
Filing Bankruptcy isn’t a Discharge
It’s important to draw a distinction between filing bankruptcy and receiving a bankruptcy discharge. The ultimate goal of a bankruptcy case is to discharge as much debt as allowed by courts, giving you a truly fresh start to establish strong personal finances. It may be very simple to go to the county clerk and file a bankruptcy case, but it’s a totally different matter in completing the bankruptcy and receiving a discharge. When you hire an attorney specializing in bankruptcy, they will be committed to seeing your case through until it’s successful completion.
If your Bankruptcy is Dismissed
A bankruptcy discharge describes the elimination of your legal obligation to pay debts back. This is what you want from a bankruptcy case. If your bankruptcy paperwork isn’t complete, you miss a meeting or don’t respond in a timely manner to correspondence from the Bankruptcy Court or the bankruptcy trustee, your bankruptcy case will be dismissed. This is what you don’t want. If your bankruptcy case is dismissed, you lose the bankruptcy filing fee and any other fees you paid, your automatic stay goes away, and you are left with the exact same amount of debt as you started (and maybe a little more).
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney for Free
Making an initial call to a bankruptcy attorney won’t cost you anything but may help you save thousands of dollars. Furthermore, most Texas bankruptcy lawyers will give you a 45-60 minute initial meeting at no cost to listen to your case and help you determine if bankruptcy is in your best interest. Legal fees during a typical bankruptcy case are nearly always lower than the amount of money saved through knowing the correct set of exemptions to apply and avoiding known pitfalls of the bankruptcy process. Notwithstanding, the best reason to hire a Dallas, TX bankruptcy attorney to represent you is the longstanding financial and personal implications of a bankruptcy case.