Can I File for Bankruptcy Online or Over the Phone?
Are you considering filing for Chapter 7 or 13 but aren't sure how to go about it? You're not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves in a similar situation each year.
Many people think that you can file for bankruptcy online or over the phone. However, in most locations, only licensed attorneys are permitted to submit filings electronically. Still, while you cannot apply electronically or over the phone, you can connect with a knowledgeable lawyer using either of these methods of contact.
How To File for Bankruptcy Online
A small selection of U.S. bankruptcy courts nationwide allows individuals to apply for Chapter 7 using electronic Self-Representation (eSR) software. This free software also allows individuals who are representing themselves to file Chapter 7 on the court’s website. It does not allow you to apply over the phone.
However, the vast majority of courts do not permit the use of electronic Self-Representation (eSR) software. You also cannot file Chapter 13 bankruptcy online without an attorney.
Although you cannot directly apply for bankruptcy online, there are many parts of the process that can be completed electronically. For example, every individual who files for Chapter 7 or 13 must take credit counseling and debtor education classes, both of which are typically available to take online. You can also receive notices about your case over email.
Additionally, the forms you need to file will be available on your local court’s website. Just keep in mind that, if you are not represented by a lawyer, you will likely need to print those forms and submit paper copies in person.
What Not To Do When Filing for Bankruptcy Online
In general, individuals cannot file for Chapter 7 or 13 via the internet or over the phone. Nonetheless, if you are represented by a licensed attorney, they can submit your documentation for you electronically, and you will not need to print and file paper forms.
When filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, it is essential that you provide your lawyer with complete and accurate details about your financial situation. Any lies or omissions will only complicate the process, so it’s vital that you give your attorney all of the information they need.
Difference Between Filing for Bankruptcy Online and Offline
One of the many advantages of working with an experienced attorney is that your lawyer can immediately file your bankruptcy forms online using the U.S. Courts’ electronic filing system. This is the case for both Chapter 7 and 13.
With rare exceptions, electronic filing is only available to lawyers, so if you choose to apply without an attorney, you will need to submit paper copies of every required document in person at the court. If you work with a lawyer, they will handle completing and submitting the forms on your behalf, and you will not need to print paper forms or travel to the courthouse to file them.
Typically, you cannot apply online or over the phone. But if you partner with an experienced lawyer, they will be able to submit all the required documents electronically.
If you want to take advantage of the internet submission options for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 that are only available to attorneys, contact DebtStoppers today to schedule a free debt analysis. You can also reach us by phone at 844-546-7300.