A person can declare bankruptcy by filing a petition identifying all assets and debts with a bankruptcy court, according to the U.S. Courts. Filing a petition without an attorney is possible, but the process is more difficult without legal assistance.
A person who files without the assistance of an attorney stands the risk of having the case dismissed by the court, notes the U.S. Courts. Debtors who choose an attorney must pay legal fees, but they may qualify for free counseling from law schools.
Debtors who do not show documentation of credit counseling completion stand the risk of losing their case, explains the U.S. Courts. Petitioners are usually required to go through credit counseling within 180 days before a case is filed with the court.
Debtors are required to pay a fee in order to file, but the amount depends on the bankruptcy type, reports the U.S. Courts. For example, the cost is $335 for debtors who plan to file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as of 2014. The fee requirement for Chapter 13 is $310, as of 2014.
Filers must choose the chapter that applies to their financial circumstances, reports HowStuffWorks. Chapter 7 is reserved for those who wish to start over financially and have all of their debts wiped clean. Chapter 13 is for debtors who desire to set up a payment plan with their creditors with the help of a trustee who is assigned by the court.