Filing Bankruptcy Without An Attorney
A Pro Se Debtor is someone who represents himself in a legal procedure without an attorney. It is an established tenet that you have the right to represent yourself in a court of law, however, many people do not understand that choosing to represent yourself means that the Court will expect you to follow the same rules and procedures that an attorney must follow.
Court staff may assist you with procedures only and very often there is a fine line between procedural information and legal advice. Staff cannot give legal advice. Procedural information includes such matters as where to obtain forms for some procedures, how to file a petition, answer requirements, service requirements on common procedures, how to get a default, how to file a motion, how to get a hearing, etc.
A Pro Se Debtor is responsible for all of the legal proceedings in his/her case. Failure to comply with the Bankruptcy Code, Rules of Procedure, or with court orders may cause dismissal of the Debtor's case. It is highly recommended that all debtors seek the advice of an attorney before attempting to file their own case.
At the Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas we are here to discuss your debt relief options and recommend the best solution for you, facilitate and file your bankruptcy petition, handle your creditor communications and make sure that your petition is filed accurately. However, we also recognize that some people cannot afford to pay an attorney or simply wish to take care of legal matters themselves. Although we stress that filing bankruptcy has many potential consequences for mistakes or oversights and we highly recommend that you should hire an attorney to handle this matter for you (whether it's our firm or another attorney), we are also committed to helping pro se filers as much as we can in order to minimize the potential consequences.
We strongly encourage you to read all the sections of this web site and carefully study all of the links we provide for the pro-se filer. We have tried to consolidate as much as possible in this section and on our resource links page. You should find all the forms, rules of procedure, bankruptcy law and information that you need to file your own petition.
If you do choose to represent yourself as a pro se filer and go through the bankruptcy case without a lawyer, you must follow all federal and local court laws and requirements and use the federal and local required forms that are available from the clerk's office or the court's web site for filing documents.
If there is anything that you need and cannot find on these pages, please send us an email and we'll try our best to direct you to the proper place for the answer you need. We'll also add your question to our web site so others can benefit in the future. Please note that we can only provide this service through email and cannot respond to telephone calls asking pro-se questions. Please email us and we'll do our best to respond within a reasonable time.
Start with the Pro Se Home Page of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Southern District of Florida. From there you will find valuable general information for Pro Se filers, Pro Se Debtor Information, Pro Se Creditor Information and a link to the web site of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Southern District.
On the home page of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Southern District, be sure to read all the information on filing and fee information, local rules of court, judges information, and most importantly - the rules, forms and guidelines.
Below you will find all the links you need to get the required information to apply the means test as well as information on approved agencies that provide mandatory pre-petition and post-petition counseling.
Links to PDF Documents:
- Pro Se Filing Instructions
- Pro Se Filing Requirements
- Pro Se Clerk's Instructions for Preparing, Submitting and Obtaining Service Matrices
- Pro Se Filing Requirements - Chapter 13
Pro Se Links:
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Southern District of Florida - Pro Se Center Home Page
- U.S. Trustee - Southern District of Florida
- U.S. Courts - Bankruptcy Basics
- Free Bankruptcy Forms
- Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- Federal Rules of Evidence
- Florida State Statutes - Chapter 222 is what you want to read for exemptions
- Approved Credit Counseling Agencies - Choose Florida Southern District Agencies
- Approved Personal Finance Management Courses
- State Median Family Income - U.S. Census Bureau
- Value Your Car - What is your car worth? with kbb and nada
- IRS standards for allowable expenses:
The Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas handles bankruptcy cases in Miami, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Dania, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale, Hollywood, Inverrary, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderhill, Margate, Lighthouse Point, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pembroke Park, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, Pompano, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Delray and South Florida.