When federal law changed in 2005, anyone filing for bankruptcy had new requirements to fulfill. Now, even
before filing, you must complete a U.S. Trustee-approved pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session. If after taking the class you decide bankruptcy is the right option, you have 180 days after the session to file. A means test will determine whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. [link to FAQ that defines the difference] Before the bankruptcy is discharged, you must take an approved debtor education class, such as New Start.
Many people facing financial turmoil wonder if they really need to hire a lawyer to get them through the process. The law does not require that you hire an attorney, but bankruptcy is complicated and will have a long-term impact on your life, so seeking legal assistance is usually advised.
Below are some links with helpful information.
Before You File for Personal Bankruptcy:
Information About Credit Counseling and Debtor Education -- A Fact Sheet from the Federal Trade Commission
United States Bankruptcy Courts
This site includes:
Explains in detail the bankruptcy process. From the Public Information Series of the U.S. Courts Bankruptcy Judges Division
Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
- Bankruptcy Basics
U.S. Trustee Program
Oversees the administration of bankruptcy cases. Click on Bankruptcy Reform for information on the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
American Bankruptcy Institute Consumer Education Center
Includes FAQs about bankruptcy.