Going broke is not free. The Bankruptcy Court charges a fee of $355 or more to file your case. Bankruptcy cases involve a lot of paperwork, statutes, rules, deadlines, and legal jargon. If you can afford to hire a reputable lawyer to help you, that is generally the best option. If you can’t, there are some alternatives that could be right for you.
There are many self-help websites that are just a Google search away. Noll Press, for example, has been publishing do-it-yourself legal guides since 1971. They cover a range of topics from debt management, bankruptcy planning, costs, whether you need a lawyer, the types of bankruptcy cases, and how to file them. They have books, forms, and free on-line articles. They also have a referral service. Nolo Press
The American Bankruptcy Institute also offers self-help resources. The ABI is an organization dedicated to research and education on bankruptcy matters. Their materials are free! They have a more academic tone, so you might find them a little less user-friendly than Nolo Press. ABI Bankruptcy Resources
If the idea of a DIY bankruptcy is daunting , you can also find help at free legal societies and legal clinics, or a pro bono attorney might take your case free of charge. Justia.com lists a number of legal aid societies in the Los Angeles area, including the Legal Aid Foundation, Public Counsel, Bet Tzedek, and others. Justia.com
Outside the Los Angeles area, try a Google search like “free bankruptcy resources Chicago” to locate similar legal clinics.
Mette H. Kurth