The Importance of Skilled Legal Support When Filing Bankruptcy in Maryland
Even in its simplest form, a bankruptcy filing has many detailed requirements. Individuals can spend significant time and effort trying to handle the process themselves, but even a single mistake can be detrimental to a person’s case. Bankruptcy attorneys help clients properly prepare all records before filing, advise them in choosing the right form of bankruptcy for their circumstances and ensure that the process is executed efficiently and correctly.
Handling your own bankruptcy without an attorney is known as a pro se filing. Although you are permitted to represent yourself in bankruptcy court, you are held to the same strict standards as a lawyer would follow. The United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Maryland cites the Top 10 Filing Errors by Self-Represented Parties, which fall into the following categories:
- Filing all required forms — In addition to the required bankruptcy forms, also individuals often forget to include specific tax information, proof of credit counseling, proof of financial management course completion and many other documents.
- Legibility — Hand-written documents are permitted, but the bankruptcy court prefers typed documents and may reject forms that are not easy to read.
- Appropriate notation — If you re-submit any documents due to errors or to provide new information, even the failure to clearly mark them as “amended” is considered an error by the courts, which also require specific ways to complete amendments based on the subject matter.
- Fee payments — Of course, you must pay all appropriate bankruptcy fees. If you choose to set up an installment payment plan, you have to follow a specific procedure to apply.
Following the correct steps is only part of the complicated bankruptcy process. Just as important are the many decisions you must make along the way, such as selecting to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and determining your plan for presenting your case. The right bankruptcy attorney in Southern Maryland guides you through the entire ordeal and helps ensure a successful filing.