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Asked in Calabasas, CA Jun. 06, 2015 ,  10 answers Visitors: 194
I am about to file chapter 13 with no lawyer. Do I have to do the filing in person? or can I send someone else to do it for me?
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10 Answers

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 09, 2015 19:19:20

As you can see by the consistent comments here, filing a chapter 13 on your own is not a smart decision. When (not if, but when) your case gets dismissed, it will then cost you even more money to hire an attorney to represent you because you will have to file a Motion to Continue the Automatic Stay in your new case or you will lose nearly all bankruptcy protection 30 days after you file.

You may not know this, but in the Central District of California and in most districts around the country, there is a set fee chart called a RARA (Rights and Responsibilities Agreement) where the fee to file a chapter 13 under that agreement is the same no matter where you go in our district. So, it makes very little sense to try to find the cheapest attorney. What you want to find is an attorney with a very high confirmation rate and a very high discharge rate. What good does it to hire an attorney who does not have the experience to get your case confirmed and to see it all the way to discharge. Discharge and dismissal rates are very low in the Central District because of two things: (1) pro se filings and (2) filing with an inexperienced attorney.

Interview several prospective attorneys, ask for discharge and confirmation rates (get proof), ask the chapter 13 trustees. The attorney who charges very little upfront fees knows your case will probably not be around past the 341 First Meeting of Creditors. So, why even hire that attorney? Hire an attorney who will see your case through to the end.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 18:52:31

While you do have the right to represent yourself in chapter 13, I strongly urge to get assistance from a local chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 13 is a complex procedure and it is not a do it yourself project. Most pro-per chapter 13 cases are getting dismissed for deficiencies. At least start by getting a free consultation from a local chapter 13 bankruptcy. Most attorneys provide some type of a free initial limited free consultation.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 18:33:29

Anyone can deliver for you. But so many other possible issues and tricks you should never do yourself..and costs more later to hire attorney..and if taxes owed...see an attorney no matter what !!!

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 18:05:40

If cost of legal representation is your concern, why not take a few consultations with lawyers and see who is willing to work woth you on paying a greater portion of attorney fees through your chapter -3 plan. As everyone else has told you, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not (at all) advisable for a pro se filer.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:52:48

It's likely that in posting your question you are going to receive a number responses from attorneys like myself who are going to strongly suggest that you reconsider your decision to file chapter 13 without an attorney.

If your decision to go it on your own is based upon the belief that you cannot afford an attorney. Keep in mind that chapter 13 is designed to allow the debtor to incorporate of a substantial portion of their attorney's fees into the plan.

In this way, your payment for an attorney can be divided up into as many as 60 monthly installments. over the course of your chapter 13 plan.

Depending upon your individual financial circumstances and in particular the amount of your monthly disposable income, The minimum required monthly plan payments including attorneys fees could be the same amount of money that you would be required to pay without an attorney, the only difference being that your unsecured creditors would get more of a dividend if you do not include attorneys fees.

At minimum, if you haven't already done so, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to find out what representation would really cost you in terms of your monthly plan payment, before you give up on the idea of hiring counsel.

In response to your question about whether or not you can send someone els on your behalf to file for you, I am unclear as to exactly what you are asking.

If you are referring to the idea of taking all of the completed schedules and forms along a certified check or money order for the filing fee and handing it to another person to physically bring to the court and file for you, As long as all of your schedules and forms have been properly completed and signed by you, then, You certainly can do that.

Alternatively, if you are asking whether or not another person can proceed on your behalf and accomplish certain tasks like attending a creditors meeting, that is clearly not acceptable. You must personally participate in all aspects of the completion of schedules and attendance at the creditor's meeting,

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:47:51

You probably should read this paragraph from a 2011 report from the United State Courts website:

Chapter 13 is typically considered the chapter of choice for those wage-earners seeking to catch up on missed car or house payments and avoid repossession of a vehicle or foreclosure of a home. Confirmation of the chapter 13 plan that provides for payment of such arrearages over many months is necessary to begin the process of making up for missed payments. Completion of a chapter 13 plan through discharge can take 36 to 60 months, and is very difficult to achieve even in attorney-represented cases. Approximately 55 percent of attorney-represented cases reach confirmation. The number of self-represented debtors that manage to get to confirmation of a chapter 13 plan is 0.4 percent – clearly demonstrating that it is nearly impossible for this population to succeed in chapter 13.

Link below:

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:47:49

Unless you crave aggravation & drama, engage a lawyer. As stated we're all in business & you can find someone to work with you on a payment plan. Indeed, lawyers fees are usually paid monthly thru the chap. 13 plan.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:45:16

Filing a 13 w/o atty assistance? Big mistake. The US Trustee's office published statistics showing almost 95% of pro se debtors cases are dismissed. Why go up against odds like that. Get a lawyer. You'll be way ahead in the end.

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:24:33

You might want to rethink filing chapter 13 without a lawyer. A little research into "pro per" chapter 13 success rates may make you reconsider going it alone. Why risk a lot for a little? Especially when many lawyers will work most if not all of their fees into the plan so you don't have to pay up front.

I would advise you to file the case in person. The clerk may ask for ID (since people attempt all the time to file fraudulent bankruptcy cases), and there may also be errors in the paperwork that you can resolve on the spot rather than having the entire filing rejected. Also, if you're seriously going to represent yourself you might as well familiarize yourself with the court and the clerks office now because you're going to be spending some time there in the days to come.

Good luck!

Anonymous
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Posted on / Jun. 06, 2015 17:22:21

Honestly, you should retain an attorney to assist you. Just filing ANYTHING with clerks is a pain standing alone. If you don't know the ropes, then you won't be happy.

If you must file on your own, then go directly to the court and file it in person. Sorry but this is where your paperwork may not be acceptable, and sending someone else means they could end up coming back to you with nothing filed and some confusing directions.

I note that your chances of actually succeeding in a Ch. 13 representing yourself are close to slim and none. There are too many ways to mess up.

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