file bankruptcy on your own

Clear Lake Iowa

Clear Lake Iowa

file bankruptcy on your own

  • Schedule Your Free Bankruptcy Consultation

File your own bankruptcy.  File your Chapter 341 documents, reaffirmation agreements, filing fee and attend your own Chapter 341 meeting.  How Hard Can it Be?  Avoid Attorney fees and file it on your own.  Warning – it will take a lot of time.  Great for disabled, unemployed or low income filers with uncomplicated cases.  Chapter 13 is practically impossible to do properly on your own, but can be done.  Usually people start it on their own and add an attorney later.

Ever wondered how to file a bankruptcy on your own? Well wonder no more, here is the quick 5 minute course on how to do it!

1. Fill Out the Required Bankruptcy Forms – Link to Official Bankruptcy Forms!
2. Take your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course at least one calendar day prior to your filing – Link to an Example of Court Approved Credit Counseling Agency!
3. File your bankruptcy by going to the Federal Clerk of Court in your district – Link to Information about Where to File!
4. Submit your Chapter 341 Documents within 14 days to the bankruptcy – Link to Information on how to submit your 341 documents!
5. Attend your 341 Meeting
6. Wait for your Discharge Order!
7. Need Help – Contact the Bankruptcy Assistance Desk – Link to the Help Desk!

8.  Link to “Guide for Individuals filing without an Attorney”, by United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

That’s it.  How hard can it be?  Avoid attorney fees and file it on your own.

So what’s the catch? Why do people use attorneys in probably 95% of all cases:

• What do you fill-in the forms?
• How do I reaffirm a debt, such as to keep my car or home?
• How do I fill out the means test?  It’s worse than doing my taxes!
• What do I say and do at my 341 Meeting of the Creditors?
• Should I be using a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for my higher income and/or need to save my home?
• What is a motion for relief from stay?
• Why has the trustee filed a motion to dismiss?

Bottom line – filing on your own is a good option when you have a lot of time on your hands and can go to the bankruptcy assistance desk to help along the way to confirm your filings are done right. This is great for people who have racked up a lot of debt say $60,000 in credit card debt are now unemployed, getting harassed by creditors and will not likely be re-employed for at least one year. This is true of people in the construction business and other long cycle industries. Another good application for filing on your own is when you have made a lot of money in the past, have lots of debt and then suffer a disability which becomes permanent leaving you with an income that is often only 20% of your former income. In this case you won’t be taking on more debt in the future and you are really in no danger of a lawsuit or garnishment, but you simply want to clean up and get rid of all of the old debt so that you can focus on your new life. Many times these folks will do best using legal aid associations providing pro-Bono – free bankruptcies. One large organization that is used in Cook County is: Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.

For a free 1/2 hour bankruptcy consultation to learn whether you qualify for debt relief under bankruptcy or should even consider filing on your own, please call 877-GO-GO-NLO (877-464-6656) or email your request for a consultation to us at

bankruptcy checklist

bankruptcy checklist

Although never recommended, sometimes people have to file a bankruptcy on their own.  Primarily these bankruptcies are Chapter 7.  Chapter 13 Bankruptcies, which are highly complex and risk being dismissed if not handled properly, are filed only by people with working incomes and therefore nearly always can afford an attorney.

When filing your bankruptcy, you can get forms and schedules at the bankruptcy court’s website.  For the Northern District of Illinois, please visit  National forms can be found at, and Local forms can be found

When you file your own bankruptcy, you are known as a “pro se filer.’  A pro se filer can file their documents in the Courthouse Manually by going to:  219 S. Dearborn, Room 713; Chicago, IL 60604.  For a Chapter 7, bring all of your schedules for filing, four sets of copies and a certified check made payable to Clerk of Court in the amount of $299.  (As of November 1, 2011, the filing fee increased to $306.)

After you have filed, you must submit the following documents to the bankruptcy trustee for your case.  Usually these documents are mailed, emailed or brought to the meeting.  You should call the bankruptcy trustee to ask how they want these documents delivered.  All documents are due 14 calendar days after you file your bankruptcy.  If you do not file these documents on time, your bankruptcy will be dismissed.  Hypothetically, if someone filed pro se July of 2011, he/she would need:

1)  Last Four Years of Tax Returns (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
2)  Last Six Month of Paystubs (June, May, April, March, February, January)
3)  Last Twelve Months of Bank Statements for Each of your bank accounts

Don’t be fooled – this is a laborious and time consuming process that must be completed with out error.  And don’t forget to take the Federally required credit counseling courses.  Abacus is one of many pre-filing and pre-discharge credit counseling providers.

To get Bankruptcy Trustee information, simply review the 341 Meeting notice you will receive in the mail approximately one week after filing or ask the clerk when you file.

If you need assistance with filing your bankruptcy, there is a bankruptcy help desk at the courthouse: 219 South Dearborn; 6th floor, Chicago, IL;  starting at 9:30am for approximately 2 hours.

Many times, a pro se filer will file their bankruptcy successfully but make a mistake or get an objection to their bankruptcy that they cannot handle.  Our law firm will represent you in your filed bankruptcy if you need assistance.  For more information call:  877-GO-GO-NLO (877-464-6656) or email:

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. CALL 877-GO-GO-NLO (877-464-6656) FOR A FREE BANKRUPTCY CONSULTATION TODAY! SATURDAY APPOINTMENTS ARE AVAILABLE.