Filing a pro-se Chapter 13 without an attorney – not a good idea, but if you have to do it here is how.

Filing a pro-se bankruptcy petition going to the court house yourself.  Photo courtesy of Ebyabe.

I do not recommend doing this because there are many traps.  But if you are eligible for Chapter 13, have had the required pre-filing credit counseling, it is a way you can usually stop a foreclosure and cure the arrears in your mortgage over five years.  Repeat filers may only have a 30 day stay or no stay at all so it may not stop a foreclosure in those cases.  Note that I am not representing you and you should definitely hire an attorney.

If you have to the form for the petition for filing Chapter 13 without a bankruptcy attorney and the instructions on how to file Chapter 13 without a bankruptcy attorney can be downloaded.  There are other requirements and deadlines coming up which only an attorney can properly understand, and cases missing certain supplemental filings not discussed in this post will be automatically dismissed.  You cannot just file a petition and think you need to do nothing else.  It is only appropriate to do to stop the foreclosure so that you have time to hire a bankruptcy attorney.  It would of course be much better to hire the attorney before you need to file so he or she can do it up to professional standards.

You do need to file a printed or sometimes electronic list of names and addresses of all your creditors, requirements vary by district, and you must have gone through pre-bankruptcy counseling as it is virtually impossible to get an exemption and if you do not have it before you file your case will be dismissed.  The Chapter 13 filing fee may be paid in installments by some debtors who are unable to pay the filing fee.  Note that some people who have been prohibited from filing a new case can be subject to imprisonment and fines through contempt of court if they file.  Again, I do not recommend this but I realize there are some people who are out of options and need more time to hire an attorney.

Photo courtesy of Ebyabe.

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