Thanks to the Internet boom, almost everything can be done online. Now, the question is, can you file bankruptcy online?
The honest answer is, you can file bankruptcy online. But it is far more complex than ordering food online. Plus, it’s quite expensive too especially if you give the wrong information.
There is yet another burning problem you need to understand. The U.S court developed software for online bankruptcy filing in a few states. For instance, this software is available in California. The electronic self-representation (ESR) software was launched in California back in 2014. But in other states, it is expected that the software won’t be launched before 2020. So, you need to consult an attorney.
Another question that may pop in your mind is, ‘Can you file bankruptcy online for free?’ The answer is no. In the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to pay an online fee of total $335. The Chapter 7 filing fee is $245. The administrative fee is $75. The trustee fee is $15. Be prepared to pay another $260 if you’re re-opening a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
If you want to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy online, you have to pay $310 fee. The Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee is $235. The administrative fee is $75 and the fee for reopening a closed Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $235.
You can file bankruptcy electronically on your own. But it is best to not walk on that path. You should consult a bankruptcy attorney and get his legal device. I’m explaining to you why.
Bankruptcy is a complex legal process. There are so many laws you need to know. Plus, there are too many bankruptcy forms that you have to use. How will you know which form you need to use? How will you know which exemptions to use in your state? Do you have any idea of how to fill out the bankruptcy form? Do you know that one mistake is enough to disqualify you from bankruptcy?
It’s extremely important to have an attorney when you’re filing bankruptcy online. The attorney can help to prepare your bankruptcy petition even when the court is not open. He can work 24*7.
Of course, there are bankruptcy petition preparers who can help you to complete the paperwork. Usually, they charge between $50 and $200. But these people can’t give you any legal advice simply because they don’t have any such knowledge. If any bankruptcy petition preparer promises to give you legal advice in exchange for extra money, then he is breaking the law. It’s illegal.
In fact, judges and court employees are not allowed to give you any legal advice. If you need legal advice on bankruptcy, then you can get it from the American Bar Association, Legal Services Corporation, and OVLG’s attorney hub.
Apart from helping you in filing bankruptcy online, a bankruptcy attorney can help you in many other ways. Some of them are given below:
Last but not least, you have to remember one more important point. Not everything can be done online. There are a few things you have to do offline. For instance, you have to be physically present at the 341 meeting with creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. There is no way to avoid it. If you do skip the meeting, then your bankruptcy case will be dismissed.
A lawyer can help you attend this meeting smartly. He will give you a list of probable questions and also the answers to save yourself from the onslaughts of creditors.