If I try to file bankruptcy on my own right now, could I redo it later with an attorney? 26 Answers as of July 12, 2013

If I try to file bankruptcy on my own right now, could I redo it later with an attorney?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Mistakes that you make in a bankruptcy filing now can not always be fixed later. You errors could lead to the dismissal of your case with a bar to refilling, the loss of your home and / or personal property, the denial of your discharge or even (in extreme cases) criminal prosecution for bankruptcy fraud. At the very least, get a free consultation with a certified specialist in bankruptcy law to help you identify the relevant issues and problems.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy
Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy | David Leibowitz
You could but it would be like trying have a mechanic fix your car after you messed up the repair yourself.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/17/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Short answer yes, as long as you don't get a discharge. But why would you do that? I charge more to fix a case that has been done incorrectly. Also, the decision to file can involve sensitive timing issues. Once you blow them, there is no fixing it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
Ursula G. Barrios Law
Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
Sure, but it doesn't make much sense to do it twice.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/16/2011
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
If you can find an attorney who enjoys fixing messes, perhaps. Why not hire an attorney and do it right the first time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/16/2011
    Financial Relief Law Center
    Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
    You cant 'redo' a bankruptcy unless it is dismissed. Its best to get it right the first time you submit it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    To answer your question I will recount a time when I tried to redo a client's bankruptcy after they screwed everything up. I will never take part in that type of debacle again. If you file your own bankruptcy without an attorney you are taking your life into your own hands. Bankruptcy is perhaps the most complex and difficult area of law one may encounter. If you are not an experienced bankruptcy attorney fully aware of the continuously changing forms, laws, and state and federal exemptions, you should not be dabbling in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    Many lawyers are reticent to pick up a case after someone has made a mess of things. But there is nothing to prevent you from seeking assistance at any time.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Only if it's dismissed or you need to convert to a different chapter. And it would cost you twice as much as doing it correctly with a bankruptcy attorney in the first place. There are too many dangers in filing for yourself, and I see it happen all the time when I go with my clients for their meetings with trustees.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    Yes, you can amend a filing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If you file bankruptcy on your own you are stuck with the result. You can substitute an attorney into the case. However, it makes more sense to start the case and finish the case with a qualified attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    Yes, but there are limitations and complications if you repeat-file: it's not a clean slate. And the damage of a poor filing may not be undoable. See: http://www.bankonitsd.com/Bankruptcy_FAQ_general_second.html
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    I will not take your case. I do not clean up the messes made by pro se debtors who go it alone without counsel and then want my help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    If you file on your own and screw it up, you might be able to refile with an attorney (or you might not depending on the circumstances), but depending on how bad the first case gets screwed up, some of your rights and protections in the second case may be jeopardized. I would recommend getting an attorney at the onset and doing the first case right.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    It depends, if you file your bankruptcy now and make serious mistakes you can be prevented from filing later.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    No. If you file Bankruptcy and are granted a discharge then you will not be able to re-file for either 4 or 8 years depending on whether the discharge was for a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7. If the case is dismissed without discharge you may be able to re-file sooner. If you are thinking about filing with an attorney, file with the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    This is a frequent issue that tends to come up all the time. Some attorneys might do this. My office usually won't accept these cases because your case essentially becomes more difficult after the paper work is filed incorrectly by someone else I say do it once do it right. Don't take a chance on something as important as your new fresh start in life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    redo it? I don't understand what you mean. Do you mean can you file another bankruptcy case later if the one file gets dismissed? Or are you asking if you can hire a bankruptcy attorney to take over the case you filed and try to fix it? The answer is yes to both, but there are potentially serious consequences to either path, and both are far more expensive to deal with than if you simply hired an attorney to do it correctly in the first place. It's sort of like asking if you can perform brain surgery on yourself, but if you mess up can you hire a brain surgeon to fix it. Well, sure you can, but depending on the amount of damage you've done, it may or may not be fixable and it isn't going to be cheap!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    You may file bankruptcy on your own and amend your petition later if you make an error. I strongly recommend getting an attorney from the get go in order to make sure things go smoothly and there are no problems. You may have a hard time finding an attorney who is willing to fix your errors after the fact.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
    An attorney might be able to clean up the mess if indeed you create one, but if you are going to hire an attorney after filing why not save the hassle and let the attorney handle it start to finish. It's what we do. You would not try to stitch up a deep wound your leg. You risk infection, scarring, and other issues. That's what doctors are for. This is analogous as to why you hire an attorney. I do 4-5 bankruptcies every day. It's what I do. Why would you risk not hiring an attorney? It doesn't make sense. If you have car trouble, you hire a mechanic. If you file bankruptcy, you hire a lawyer. Hire me or one of my colleagues if you are in Oregon, but do hire someone.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Saedi Law Group
    Saedi Law Group | Lorena Saedi
    If you file a case pro se (by yourself) and you later realize that you need an attorney to assist you (which 99.9% of people do) you may be able to find an attorney who can step in and finish your case correctly.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Once you file a bankruptcy, you can't "redo" it if you get it wrong. For example, if you have non-exempt assets and you file for Chapter 7 relief, those assets will be seized and liquidated and hiring an attorney after the fact to try and clean up the mess will not stop the liquidation, and you can't "cancel" your bankruptcy just because you got something wrong. This is why it is always strongly advisable to seek bankruptcy counsel before filing.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    If your case is dismissed you might be able to file with a lawyer again but the automatic stay might only be in effect for 30 days unless a motion is filed when the case is re-filed in order to extend it. That will increase the cost of the attorney's fees. You cannot dismiss a Chapter 7 case without court permission. Therefore, if the Trustee feels that there is property that can be taken from you to pay the creditors then the trustee will object to dismissal of your case so that he or she can take your property. There are other risks that you would be taking that could not be fully explained in this forum. It is very dangerous to file without a lawyer. At the very least you should have a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before filing so that you can understand the risks involved and make an intelligent decision.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Probably, but you may spend more on fixing the mistakes, than if you simply hired an attorney to begin with. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Only an attorney desperate for business would pick up a pro se filed bankruptcy. It would be like a contractor taking over after you start construction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Nothing could be more foolish that a pro se bankruptcy. Missteps could cause you to be denied a discharge, and can even land you in jail. There are NO do-overs. If a case is dismissed, the court can issue an order denying you the right to refile, or they can delay a refiling so creditors can feed on your money, and even if you can refile you may have no automatic stay the second time, meaning creditors could pursue you even after you refile. Do NOT think of trying. It almost always is a disaster.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
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