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Do I Have to Have a Lawyer to File Bankruptcy?

This is a question I often hear. The answer is no, you do not have to have a lawyer to file bankruptcy. But you might need one. There is no requirement that you have a lawyer, just as there is no requirement that you have a doctor to set your own broken leg or take out your own appendix. But you might need one to make sure the job is done right.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do you know how to complete Schedules A-J?

Do you know what exemptions you are entitled to in your state?

Do you know which bankruptcy is best for your circumstances?

Do you know how to complete the Statement of Financial Affairs?

Do you know how to calculate your Current Monthly Income (Means test)?

Do you know the difference between Current Monthly Income and Disposable Income?

Do you know whether a reaffirmation agreement is in your best interests?

If a creditor files a complaint to deny you a discharge, do you know how to respond?

If a creditor files a motion for relief from the automatic stay, do you know how to respond?

If the trustee or a creditor notices a debtor’s examination (2004 examination) do you know what to do?

Do you know what documents you will need at your 341 meeting (also called a First Meeting of Creditors)?

If you can answer “yes” honestly to each of these questions, you might not need a lawyer. Needing a lawyer and being required to have a lawyer are two different things.


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“Steve helped us through one of the most difficult times of our lives.”

Mitch and Lisa