Corporations and partnerships must have an attorney to file a bankruptcy case. Individuals, however, may represent themselves in bankruptcy court.
While individuals can file a bankruptcy case without an attorney or "pro se," it can be difficult. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended because many bankruptcy issues can be very complicated and it can be difficult to prepare the required paperwork. It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly because a misstep may affect a debtor's rights. More information from uscourts.gov website
Individual debtors are generally required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 180 days before filing a case, and to file a statement of compliance and a certificate of credit counseling furnished by the provider. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the case. See Before You File for more information.
Legal Advice & Resources
The Bankruptcy Clerk's Office is not permitted to provide you with legal advice. Your local library has law books that may be of assistance to you. Links to some Bankruptcy Resources are available on this web site. Additionally, helpful filing information is contained under this Filing Without an Attorney tab, the General Information tab and the Attorney information tab.
The Pro Se Assistance Project (PAP) offers a Pro Se Assistance Center staffed by volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and law students. - Read More
Protecting Your Social Security Number
Individuals filing bankruptcy should place only the last four digits of their Social Security Number on the bankruptcy petition and other documents filed with the Court. Individuals are required to file, with the bankruptcy petition, a separate Statement of Social Security Number(s), Official Form B 121, in which their full Social Security Number is given. This Statement of Social Security Number(s) is not part of the public record and is not available to the public.
Retaining Your Records
You should keep copies of all documents in your case. You may obtain copies of documents from the Bankruptcy Clerk's Office for a fee.
Debtor Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing (DeBN) is a free service that allows individual debtors the opportunity to request delivery of court notices and orders via email, instead of U.S. mail.