If you have been researching the possibility and process of filing for bankruptcy, you have probably realised by now that it is no longer, since changes to the law in 2005, a simple matter. However, given that you are already in a dire financial situation, it is probably very tempting to attempt to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, as the last thing you probably need is a hefty legal bill!
However, it simply is no longer feasible to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. In 2005, following extensive lobbying by credit companies, Congress passed a number of changes to the laws ascertaining to bankruptcy and this essentially meant that the process was much more complicated. Prior to this, it was common to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. However, going it alone is simply too complicated. The changes to the law have actually been considered complicated even for lawyers, who struggle at times to keep up with evolving developments. The reason such changes were made is that they were intended as further obstacles, ensuring that only those serious about needing to file were filing.
One such change was the introduction of a means test. This test was put in place to establish whether or not you really need to declare yourself bankrupt. If you salary is lower than the median salary for the state in which you are filing, then you will be exempt from the means test. However, if it is higher, you will be required to submit extensive and detailed financial documentation to assist in establishing whether you need bankruptcy, given your relatively high income.
It is not uncommon to hear of people who successfully file bankruptcy without a lawyer. However, this has almost never happened since the reforms of 2005. So regardless of the cost, you would be well advised to hire a lawyer and simply consider it a necessary expense.
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