A Chapter 7 Discharge is the culmination point of measuring success in almost all Chapter 7 cases. A Discharge is the court order approving a person's release from most kinds of debts.
Mistakes Often Made When Filing Without a Lawyer
Common problems in self-represented debtors' cases include: the failure to file required documents, resulting in dismissal; filing a chapter which may not be correct for the debtor's circumstances; choosing incorrect property exemptions; unnecessarily filing bankruptcy in the first place; not filing the required credit counseling or financial management certificate; being unable to answer or adequately defend an action seeking to deny discharge; and not understanding the significance of certain motions or adversary actions. Self-represented creditors are often harmed by not filing a proof of claim in time, by missing the deadline to file a dischargeability action, and having difficulty filing an objection to a claim.
About 39% of Chapter 7 cases Filed Without a Lawyer Will Not Have a Discharge
A chapter 7 bankruptcy--generally, the easiest type of bankruptcy available--should result in a discharge of debts. Using this basic measure of success, a self-represented debtor in chapter 7 in the Central District of California will obtain a discharge of debt only approximately 61 percent of the time in this district, compared to the much more favorable 95 percent discharge rate of attorney-represented chapter 7 cases.
The odds for success are very poor when filing bankruptcy without a lawyer. Persons who hope to be released from debts and gain a fresh start don't have a very good chance unless they file with a lawyer.
The Central District of California is huge, covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino. Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.