Where can I find the most comprehensive information about filing my own bankruptcy? 23 Answers as of December 27, 2011

I am not able to retain counsel for my chapter 7 and by the time my situation is reviewed by a pro bono attorney, two of my creditors will have taken my to court and file a judgement against me. I do appreciate that it is usually not advised that people try to be the own counsel, but I want to do this before I am taken to court by these creditors, I don't have a choice.

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Law Offices of David H. Relkin
Law Offices of David H. Relkin | David H. Relkin
The answers to your questions can be found on the Southern District Bankruptcy Court website if you are in the five boroughs or Westchester. Otherwise, try the Eastern District Bankruptcy Court. You can find them easily on the Web. As to your immediate problem of stopping these creditors from attaching any assets. Go to the Bankruptcy Court in your district and simply file a petition. You will need a credit card since they will not take a personal check or cash. Once the petition is filed, notify the creditors of the Case No. and the Bankruptcy Court and they are required to cease all collection activities.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/27/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Judgments are dischargeable. If you don't own real property you can allow judgements to be entered against you. You just have to watch for wage garnishments (and you get 10 days notice) and bank levies. Don't keep money in the bank. So you probably have time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/15/2011
Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
Bankruptcy is a federal law governed by legal rules of evidence and procedures. The most comprehensive information about bankruptcy is to go to law school. Don't be cheap - be smart and hire an attorney. Discover the secrets of bankruptcy and eliminate your debt.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 11/14/2011
Greifendorff Law Office
Greifendorff Law Office | John Greifendorff
Nolo Press ... http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy;jsessionid=C89176FF72C197565AF1E2C35BAB8590 ... you have choices that you don't perceive. Worth a free short consult with a bk lawyer to get a better viewpoint.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/14/2011
Law Office of Harry L Styron
Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
Nolo Press publishes paperback books on How to do your own Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If your local book seller doesn't have it you can order it from nolo.com or amazon.com. Amazon will get it to you in 2 or 3 days if you request that service.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/11/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    The best selfhelp chapter 7 bankruptcy guide is published by Nolo Press. If you have a very simple bankruptcy, it will help, but the problem is knowing whether or not you have a simple bankruptcy. I have had many clients that I thought had a simple bankruptcy, only to find out during the 2-3 hour appointment to prepare the bankruptcy, that the case was more difficult than first appeared. I have been contacted by at least three dozen debtors in the past 29 years that have used selfhelp guides and low cost bankrupty petition preparers to prepare their bankruptcy for advice on how to correct problems with their bankruptcies. Most of the time the damage is done and I can't help them. In Colorado, I have sued several low cost non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers for multiple violations of the bankruptcy code and helped get one banned from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law by the Colorado Supreme Court (unfortunately he is still operating under his son's name). For a truly simple chapter 7 bankruptcy I charge $799 in attorney's fees, which is only slightly highter than the fees charged by the non-attorney bankrupty petition preparers.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Charles R. Nettles - Attorney at Law
    Charles R. Nettles - Attorney at Law | Charles R. Nettles
    Everybody has the right to file for themselves but as far as where to go for the information I really can't help you because I don't ever have to go read up on that kind of information since I've been doing this professionally for 27 years. There is a lot of information out there but I've never really looked at it.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Weber Law Firm, P.C.
    Weber Law Firm, P.C. | William Weber
    It is always a terrible idea to try and file a bankruptcy petition without the advice of an attorney. If it must be done, you need to attempt to learn about it with the information available on the internet.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Being your own attorney involves risks. At the minimum you should take your papers to an attorney to review prior to filing. Judgments or lawsuits must be listed. It is more important to seek legal advice than it is to worry about whether a lawsuit will go to judgment before filing bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Offices of Robert P. Taylor
    Law Offices of Robert P. Taylor | Robert P. Taylor
    I'd recommend "Chapter 7 Bankruptcy," by Nolo Press. I believe you should hire an attorney but if you want to do it yourself, Nolo Press generally produces the best self-help books.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    The best book out there is also cheap. It's "The attorney's Handbook On Consumer Bankruptcy and Chapter 13" by Harvey J Williamson. Be certain to buy only the latest edition, the 35th edition. It's on Amazon for about $30 and you can get it used also. I've used it for over 30 years. This is a paperback that pretends to be and 'attorneys handbook.' Many attorneys (like me) do use it as a handy cheat sheet, but it is really a great set of DIY instructions for civilians. It has step by step instructions and filled in forms. It also has each state's list of exemptions. And no, it is is not a good substitute for an attorney. You can really hurt yourself in Bankruptcy Court
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Office of Marissa L. Vandersluys | Marissa Vandersluys
    Depending on the District Court in California that you are filing your bankruptcy in, you can find self-help information on each of the District Court's website. If you are in Northern California and qualify as low-income, you can contact the Voluntary Legal Services of Northern California. VLSP of Northern California runs a free bankruptcy clinic where you they can also answer your specific questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    There is no real web site or source I can send you to for this. You might try your local law library.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC | Margaret L. Evans
    Try the South Carolina bankruptcy court website; I honestly don't know where else to tell you to look as I'm not familiar with where people can find "self help" materials. You can still "lien strip" a judgment creditor in MOST cases; be sure to ask an attorney that question so you can get some guidance on what type of creditors are threatening legal action and what recourse they have in BKY.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    Go to www.utb.utcourts.gov Click on link "Forms" and under that link is a link for "Unrepresented Debtors". On that page you will find a packet for filing your own case. REMEMBER to also file your fee waiver form to have the $306 fee waived if possible.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You might look at buying a book that explains the process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    The most comprehensive information on filing bankruptcy can be found in a law library or in a review of the statute books in the reference seciton at your local library. You need to pay close attention to Title 11 of the United States Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptrcy Procedure, the local Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure effective in your District, and the applicable state laws regarding exempt property.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Buff & Chronister
    Buff & Chronister | G. Scott Buff
    It is not very expensive to hire an attorney to handle a basic Chapter 7. You should hire competent counsel. It will ultimately save you money. It is more time consuming and costly for me to fix a pro se case than to handle the case from the beginning.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Law Office of Stephen P. Dempsey
    Law Office of Stephen P. Dempsey | Stephen P. Dempsey
    Check the bankruptcy court website.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Siegel & Siegel, P.C. | Sharon M. Siegel
    The court clerk in each courthouse has a pro se clerk to help. But, if you do not know this, you are really out of your league on this one, and risk screwing the whole thing up. I don't know how to change the oil in my car, but I know where the gas station is, and I recognize I need a mechanic.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/10/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Nolo Press in Berkeley (do a Google search) has a pretty good book on Chapter 7 that you can buy for about $40 I think. You should not file without at least getting that book and reading all the relevant Chapters. There are other similar books on the market that you can get or borrow at a library but you need to be fully informed of what you are going to do before filing the case. You already know you should not file without a lawyer but getting a book and learning the basics of bankruptcy law and procedures is the next option if you cannot definitely afford a lawyer and cannot wait for free legal assistance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/10/2011
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