In the age of do it yourself everything a common question I get is do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. The answer to the question depends on your patience and ability to meet the requirements of the court. While the Court allows you to file without an attorney there are certain hurdles you need to be aware of.
Which Chapter of Bankruptcy
First and foremost you’ve got to decide which chapter of bankruptcy you’ll be filing. Generally this is a determination limited to either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each of the two has certain requirements and limitations that you must meet. The primary difference for which one you qualify for is your income. If you make above the median family income you’ll be filling a chapter 13. If on the other-hand you make below the median family income you might be filing a chapter 7.
Where in Oklahoma do I File
To file a bankruptcy in Oklahoma you must have lived in the State at least 6 months. Where in the State you file your bankruptcy case depends on where you live. Oklahoma bankruptcy cases are filed in Federal bankruptcy court. They include the Northern district, the Eastern district and the Western district. The Northern and Western District Courts in include Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The Eastern District includes the southern and Eastern parts of the State and is located in Muskogee. The courts require that you have lived in a given county the greater part of the last six months before your case is filed.
Oklahoma Bankruptcy Forms
While all the forms required for filing can be found on the websites of the Bankruptcy court it can be extremely difficult to successfully complete your case. This is because a bankruptcy case is extremely complex and technical. When Filing, a simple mistake may affect your rights. An example is that a mistake like the failure to file credit counseling or financial management counseling certificates in a timely manner may lead to the dismissal of your case. Although filing credit counseling is a very basic requirement, like other more complex requirements, the consequences are huge. A dismissal may affect your right to file a subsequent case or shorten the automatic stay protection period during your subsequent case.
Although the clerk’s office at the bankruptcy Court in your jurisdiction may be able to provide you with the necessary forms, they are prohibited from providing anyone with legal advice. This restriction also applies to paralegals or typist that help fill out forms.
Since bankruptcy has serious long term financial and legal consequences, it is strongly recommended that you hire a competent Bankruptcy attorney. Answering the question Do I Need a Lawyer To File Bankruptcy is that its probably better if you have one. Even if you can’t afford to pay an attorney, you may be able to qualify for free legal services. For information about hiring an attorney, or about free (also known as “pro bono”) legal services, contact your state or local bar association.