What to do if we need to declare bankruptcy but we cannot get the money saved to pay a lawyer?

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What to do if we need to declare bankruptcy but we cannot get the money saved to pay a lawyer?

Asked on July 2, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Many debtors are unable to afford attorney fees when filing for bankruptcy (since you didn't give any specifics of your situation, I will assume that you will be filing for Chapter 7). First of all, many attorneys offer payment plans (although they will not file your case until all fees are paid in full). You can also contact your local legal aid society to find out whether it offers assistance or see if there is a law school near you that runs a free/low cost legal clinic that will handle your case. You can check to see if your state/county bar association may have an attorney referral service to find attorneys who provide pro bono (free) services for people in your position. Finally, you could file for bankruptcy on your own. The bankruptcy court has forms online and if you qualify, you may be able to have some filings fees waived. Additionally, some bankruptcy courts run free seminars which instruct debtors on how they can file on their own. However, filing on your own can be confusing and time-consuming but it is still an option.

What you may want to do now is to at least make an appointment to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. Even if you don't hire them to handle your case, for just an hour or so of their time (and whatever they charge for that time), you can at least go over the details of your situation and have them recommend the best course of action for you.


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