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. Before the bankruptcy is discharged, you must take an approved debtor education class.
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