The short answers are yes, yes, and hell no! These, however, are not the best answers (except for the hell no).
Technically, yes, you can certainly file on your own. However, in life, we can pretty much do anything on our own. The real questions to ask are: Do you want to? Do you have the time to? Are you sure you’ll get it right? Trust me, and it doesn’t have to be me you hire, but you’ll definitely want to enlist the aid of an attorney when it comes to filing for bankruptcy protection.
I oftentimes make the analogy with folks that bankruptcy (which happens to be the case with most legal matters) is like getting a tattoo. If you’re going to do it, pay to have it done right. It’s a forever kinda thing. This is not the time to cut corners.
Much of the value you reap in hiring an attorney comes in the form of bankruptcy planning – helping you best strategize going forward. I will compile your bankruptcy in the manner most advantageous to you. This is not by cheating or doing anything illegal, this is by knowing the law and understanding how it applies to your specific set of circumstances.
Lastly, please do not believe the petition preparers out there who advertise that they’ll file for you for $499. They won’t, I promise. And if they do, you can expect to pay more in the form of both time and money undoing what was done wrong. The old “bait and switch” runs rampant with these preparers.
Many clients tell me that they were reluctant to turn to help because they believed that they didn’t have the funds necessary to retain a lawyer. This again comes back to finding the right person to work with. I offer a sliding scale fee structure specifically based on your particular situation.
In sum, I strongly advise that you call me first to talk about that dolphin tattoo you’re thinking of getting before self-inking your body with marine mammal regret. Call me, you won’t be disappointed!