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Petitioning for bankruptcy on your own: a good idea?

Doing something on your own, from building a backyard deck to working your way through school can be one of the greatest senses of achievement that a person can realize, even if it means overcoming hurdles and weathering adversity before the reaching the goal. Most any do-it-yourself person knows, though, that before getting started it is helpful if not necessary to ask questions meant to explore whether the endeavor is really something he or she can take all the way to a successful conclusion. If the answers to these questions are negative, there is nothing wrong with calling on professional assistance instead of risking an unwanted result.

This is as true with questions of going through bankruptcy on your own as it is with building an addition to your house. If you are not a carpenter, electrician, plumber, or roofer by trade, “learning-by-doing” can become a costly, frustrating and even dangerous activity. Likewise, if you are not already familiar with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and experienced with how the federal bankruptcy courts in Pennsylvania work, guinea-pigging yourself in a personal bankruptcy petition may have unintended and unpleasant consequences.

Can you represent yourself in a bankruptcy matter? Yes. Should you? That depends. As a starting point in asking yourself questions to decide, think about the many different areas in which you will need to acquire both familiarity and expertise. Do you have the time to learn them all? The inclination? Can you afford to learn from your mistakes in something this serious, with such long-term potential consequences not only for yourself but your loved ones as well?

Speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before making any final decision can help you to make a fully informed and carefully thought-out decision about both whether personal bankruptcy is right for you, and whether you should seek professional assistance if it is.

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