That is a fair question, and we would like to give you a fair, and straightforward answer. You should hire a knowledgeable attorney to represent you through the bankruptcy process because even though it is possible to represent yourself in a bankruptcy, the chances of you doing something wrong – not on purpose, but simply because you don’t know any better – are very, very high, and that can in turn lead to a dismissal of your bankruptcy, loss of property that could have been protected with some pre-bankruptcy planning, the denial of your discharge, and well… lots of things that won’t really make your life easier can happen when something gets messed up.
It is true, our system was set up so that no one needs an attorney – everyone has the right to represent themselves in court. However, it is also true that this system was created back in the day when a breach of contract action was one guys saying ‘He sold me broken goods and here are my witnesses’ and the other guy says ‘nu-uh… here is the product, it’s not broken’ and so on. Somewhere in between that time, and the current time, Congress drafted a bankruptcy code that is not only overly long, but also includes sentences like this:
“Property listed in this paragraph is (A) subject to subsections (o) and (p), any property that is exempt under Federal law, other than subsection (d) of this section, or State or local law that is applicable on the date of the filing of the petition at the place in which the debtor’s domicile has been located for the 730 days immediately preceding the date of the filing of the petition or if the debtor’s domicile has not been located at a single State for such 730-day period, the place in which the debtor’s domicile was located for 180 days immediately preceding the 730-day period or for a longer portion of such 180-day period than in any other place;” 11 U.S.C. § 522(a)(3).
And believe it or not, understanding this particular section can make the difference between being able to keep that house you own free and clear, or not…
So, between Congress employing a writing style that can only be described as convoluted, and the Courts all making their own interpretations of what it really means, filing for bankruptcy has become quite complicated. There are constantly new opinions issued by the court in order to ‘clarify’ the code, and lay out the rules for us mere mortals, and this is exactly why having a competent, knowledgeable attorney on your side is more important than ever.
As far as your hard-earned money is concerned…. well, just keep in mind that we too have to earn our money, and always remember that the money, assets, stress, trouble, worries, and frustrations that we will be able to save you will in the end be worth it.