How do I file bankruptcy when I have no money for an attorney? 23 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I need to file bankruptcy as I am out of work, no income due to illness and I can not afford a lawyer and I already have lawsuits suing me that have already gone through the courts. I can not afford a lawyer so what can I do? I desperately need help.

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Check out local legal aid clinics for pro bono services.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/2/2013
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
It is problematic to file bankruptcy when you have no money for an attorney or for court filing fees. If you are out of work you should wait until you return to work. Lawsuits reduced to judgments can be discharged in bankruptcy. When you aren't working there is no possibility of wage garnishment. This means you are noncollectable or what is called "judgment proof." If you become employed but still can't afford an attorney you might want to consider filing on your own. There are self-help books, such as the ones published by Nolo Press of Berkeley, California. You might be able to get a free consultation to review papers that you have prepared on your own. Sometimes there are pro bono clinics who can help you for free. Also, most bar associations have a referral service where you can get a low cost consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/1/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Most people save up money to pay the bankruptcy attorney and fees. If you are having trouble saving money to do this and can't wait it out because of lawsuits/garnishments, you should consider Chapter 13. Many attorneys will prepare and file a Chapter 13 petition and plan for no money down on attorney fees for qualified people and situations. The court charges $281 just to file the case in Chapter 13 and this cost is unavoidable to be able to file and get protection from the bankruptcy court.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 12/1/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Unfortunately lawyers have to pay the overhead to keep the office open.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/30/2011
Charles R. Nettles - Attorney at Law
Charles R. Nettles - Attorney at Law | Charles R. Nettles
Some cities have legal assistance programs for the poor. You always have the option of trying to do it yourself and the Court does offer a program to pay the filing fee in installments. There is also a program that allows for waiver of the filing fee completely upon application to the Court and a showing of an inability to afford the fee.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/30/2011
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Go on the website for your local federal court district and find "pro se" filing. This is when you represent your self. There are also companies that will help you prepare a bankruptcy petition that are relatively inexpensive.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C.
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C. | Frances Ruiz
    The bankruptcy court has a self help office in the Court itself. They could guide you to filing the bankruptcy by yourself.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates | Mazyar Malek Hedayat
    Not every debtor that files for bankruptcy has no money at all. For most, their expenses and/or liabilities just exceed income and/or expenses. Even if a debtor has no income from work they often have social security or unemployment compensation on which to rely, and can take measures to save money in the short run like living temporarily with family. Finally, monthly expenses can be pushed back for a short period (less than 30 days) until filing. Between these "hidden" sources of income and savings, anybody should be able to retain a bankruptcy attorney. If all else fails, non-attorney petition preparation services are available as well. But be warned: such services are no substitute for attorney representation and can leave you worse off than you started. I recommend finding qualified bankruptcy counsel in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    You should contact the New Hampshire Bar Association's Pro Bono Program. If you qualify, they will be able to put you in touch with an attorney that will represent you without charging your legal fees.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Given how badly pro se cases go, you will do better saving until you can afford counsel than you will do filing without counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    The Stone Law Firm
    The Stone Law Firm | Shawn L. Stone
    Qualified and experienced bankruptcy attorneys are not cheap. Most qualified and experienced bankruptcy attorneys in the Phoenix area offer consultations for FREE. You will be amazed at what you can learn from a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    You can probably relax a little. Your creditors can waste all the money they want suing you. There will still be no money to pay them. Creditiors cannot put you in jail simply for owing money in a civil court. Yes, that includes the payday loan loan outfits. They lie a lot. You can safely ignore your creditors and they can't hurt you. So, ignore them for now. The only thing you MUST respond to is a Debtors Examination. If you get such a notice, you must appear at the time and place specified and tell your creditor how broke you are and what your assets are. Then go home and ignore them again. Finally, it would be helpful to your job search if your credit record showed that you had handled this beehive of creditors in a responsible way, such as filing a bankruptcy. No one wants to hire a new employee that is going to getting calls at work from creditors and garnishments too. Unfortunately, there's practically no way for an attorney to file bankruptcies for free. It costs real cash to prepare a bankruptcy. Paralegals have to be paid and office rent too. Not too mention the court filing fees of $306.00. The good news is that a lot of attorneys will give you an initial consultation at no cost. We are used to dealing with broke people and we are patient about waiting for fees until the client can finally get the fees and court costs together. Clients often borrow from relatives, when they can. Many attorneys will set up payment plans to suit your needs, but in the end, we all have to collect fees in order to eat. We are painfully aware of the burden that fees impose and we try very hard to deliver excellent service and value for your hard earned money. Filing a bankruptcy by yourself is really tough and dangerous. You can find the forms on the Bankruptcy Court's web site. Take a look at the form If that doesn't convince that the services of an attorney are needed nothing else will. Then go to talk to an attorney. It costs you nothing and you may get a lot of questions answered.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/30/2011
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    You will find one that is affordable. It is not recommended you do so by your self.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    I can't make money appear in your pocket but maybe you could try to do your BK through an paralegal. Paralegals can only charge you $125. If they charge you more they are breaking the law. Sounds good but as a result it is very hard to find a knowledgeable one for this price. The other alternative is to do it your self. Go to the bankruptcy court website in your district and view the self help info.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
    You will probably have to wait until you have some money until you file. You will probably need in the neighborhood of $1200.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Marco Sanchez Attorney at Law | Marco Sanchez
    You can seek pro-bono assistance or you can do it yourself. You do not need an attorney to file bankruptcy, but you will need to pay for the filing fees. The Bankruptcy court requires you to file through their efiling system, so an account will need to be set up in order to accomplish that. It is always advisable to seek legal counsel when attempting to maneuver through the legal system.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    This is a big problem these days. I don't have a whole lot of help, but here are my thoughts: 1. Contact Legal Aid. If you have very little income, they may be able to help you. 2. I have a policy of doing one half price BK a month. I suspect many sole practicioners do so as well. 3. Borrow money from family. 4. If you are really completely broke, you are judgment proof. That means if your creditors get judgment, they will not hve anything to garnish or attach. 5. Most attorneys will let you make payments, however, the fee must be paid in full before filing.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    Contact your local legal aid to see if you qualify. If not, you will have to file pro se.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    On a computer connected to the internet, go to and select bankruptcy from the Legal Topics.You will see Bankruptcy Topics, which should help you understand the process and also their list of books. I presume you will want "How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy from how you describe your situation. You can probably find a copy of it at your local library, and many bookstores carry some or all of the Nolo Press books. Or you can order it on line.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Hermiz Law | Madana Hermiz
    Bankruptcy is a very technical area of practice and I don't think any attorney can consciously recommend you go it alone. The failure to abide by the technical requirements and rules of bankruptcy could result in some severe consequences. Attorneys out there have payment plans available. In addition, you are responsible for a $309 filing fee to the court, whether or not you retain an attorney. Hope this helps, best of luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/29/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    You should go to legal aid.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/29/2011
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