Can I file for bankruptcy without an attorney? Should I?

The United States Courts website answers the blog headline question above by stating that, yes, individuals can file for bankruptcy without enlisting help from proven legal counsel (called a pro se filing).

And in the very next sentence, this official site of the U.S. government flatly advises against doing so, for a number of compelling reasons. They include the following:

· Bankruptcy law and relevant processes are complex, entailing "long-term financial and legal" implications

· Only a qualified attorney can provide legal advice during the bankruptcy process; so-called "non-attorney petition preparers," as well as bankruptcy judges and court employees, are barred from doing so

As the court website notes, a single error or misunderstanding of applicable law -- and an applicant representing himself or herself is presumed to fully understand the law and all relevant court rules -- can bring a materially adverse consequence.

An experienced debt-relief attorney alone can provide broad-based legal counsel concerning whether to file for bankruptcy, including input on what chapter makes the most sense; what assets are exempt versus non-exempt; what documentation must be filed, and when; and all other material aspects relating to the process.

In Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, the law firm of Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; Jacobus has bankruptcy attorneys who offer expert handling of Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and can specifically provide advice as to bankruptcy and its alternatives.

We represent many debtors and creditors in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Raton, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Roswell, Los Lunas, Placitas, Belen and the rest of New Mexico. Contact Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., at (505) 273-3720 to set up an appointment or visit the firm's website at giddenslaw.com. Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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