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The Dangers of Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney in Florida

Bankruptcy provides a means of getting one’s financial situation under control. However, due to the complexity of both the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing processes, it can be risky to attempt to do so without the assistance of an attorney. Below are some common mistakes made by debtors when attempting to file for bankruptcy alone.

  1. Filing under the wrong chapter – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the two types of bankruptcy most commonly filed for by individual debtors. However, it can be difficult to determine which type of bankruptcy to choose, and debtors often make the mistake of filing under a chapter that is inappropriate under the circumstances.
  2. Failing to complete financial education requirements – Courts requires debtors to take debtor education and credit counseling courses In order to file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge. Debtors occasionally fail to follow through with these commitments, thereby jeopardizing the opportunity to have their debts discharged.
  3. Failing to adhere to the local rules of bankruptcy – Debtors must follow all local bankruptcy laws, and these requirements differ depending on location. However, without the assistance of an attorney, it can be difficult to navigate all local bankruptcy rules and regulations.
  4. Failing to file the appropriate forms – Several forms are required to be completed when filing for bankruptcy, including a statement of financial affairs and petition. Omitting or filing incorrect forms can impede the bankruptcy process.
  5. Failing to attend the meeting of creditors – After filing for bankruptcy, debtors must attend the meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors provides a forum for the bankruptcy trustee and any attending creditors to ask the debtor questions about the bankruptcy.
  6. Using bankruptcy exemptions improperly – Exemptions permit debtors to keep qualifying property and can result in a reduction of the amount owed to creditors. However, due to the complicated nature of bankruptcy exemptions, it is advisable that legal counsel is sought prior to filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  7. Failing to file a Chapter 13 repayment plan that is considered feasible by the court – Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor may pay back some of his or her outstanding debts via a repayment plan. However, the debtor is responsible proposing the terms of the same, and the court may either approve or reject the plan following a thorough review. If the court doesn’t consider the plan to be feasible, then the creditors or trustee may object to its confirmation.

Florida Legal Representation

If your personal debt has gotten out of control, please contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A., to discuss your situation. Our experienced Florida Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys will ensure that you understand all of your debt relief options. Please contact us for a free consultation.