How to File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy without an Attorney


Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not erase your debts, but rather it assesses your financial situation and restructures your debt in such a way that you can afford to make payments on time. Different from the most common form of bankruptcy filed under Chapter 7 that erases most debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing means you will still have to make payments to your creditors under new conditions negotiated for you. Though typically you should file Chapter 13 bankruptcy with legal assistance, you can also do it yourself. Follow these guidelines to do so.

  • Get the latest statements from all your creditors. Make a list of all your creditors and debts, taking care not to forget anything. Include statements about your car, mortgage and student loans, credit cards, tax statements and any other forms of credit you have.

  • The court will look not only at your debt but also at your income and assets. Attach bank statements to your file. They should go back at least three months. Also include your last income tax return to allow the bank to correctly asses your assets.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy will reorganize your debt according to your income. Gather your pay stubs from the past months and include them in your file to allow the court to evaluate your financial possibilities.
  • Get a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. You can find the form online or at most office supply stores. You can also find software online or at computer stores that generates Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions.
  • Fill in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition with accuracy. It is in your best interest to practice honesty, get a correct evaluation of your income and debts, and increase your chances of getting out from under your financial crisis. Also keep in mind that the court will consider lying in your bankruptcy petition or file a federal offense, which can result in severe consequences.
  • Go to the clerk’s office at the bankruptcy court in your area. You will have to pay a fee to file the petition as well as make several copies of your documents. The clerk will instruct you on this according to the specific requirements of each court. If you cannot pay the fee at once, you might have the option to pay in installments. Let the clerk know if you wish to pay in installments, and he will provide you with the form requesting a payment plan.
  • The clerk can help you with the procedure by making sure you have all the documents necessary but cannot offer legal advice. If you think you need legal advice, look for a bankruptcy attorney in your area. You can do this online on the website of the American Bar Association or by asking friends and family for references.
  • When you have all the documents and the copies ready, file the petition at the clerk’s office. You will receive a stamped and dated copy of the petition for your own records.
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Related posts:

  1. How to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  2. How to Stop Foreclosure through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  3. How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy as a Business
  4. How to Purchase a Car during Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  5. How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy without a Lawyer

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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