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Filing Without an Attorney

A person, married couple, or entity that has filed a bankruptcy petition is called a “debtor” or “debtors”.

A person or entity to whom the debtor owes money is called a “creditor”.

All debtors, creditors, and interested parties, whether or not represented by an attorney, must comply with all applicable judge’s procedures, Local Rules, Federal Rules, and Code provisions.

An individual, or a married couple filing jointly, may file a bankruptcy without being represented by an attorney. This is called filing “pro se”.

A corporate entity or partnership may not appear in bankruptcy court without being represented by an attorney. If a corporate entity or partnership files a bankruptcy case without an attorney, then the case may be dismissed.

A proof of claim may be filed by any creditor, including corporate entities or partnerships, with or without counsel.

While individuals may file a bankruptcy case pro se, it is highly recommended that anyone considering filing bankruptcy obtain professional advice from a competent bankruptcy attorney to determine whether filing bankruptcy is in their best interest. The decision to file bankruptcy is an important financial decision with long-term financial and legal effects. It is important to note that only licensed attorneys in good standing with the State Bar of Arizona or the bar of another state are eligible to practice before this court and provide legal advice. Judges, court employees, trustees, legal assistants, paralegals, document preparers, and notary publics may not provide legal advice.

The following is a list of ways that a competent bankruptcy attorney may assist you.

  • Advise you as to whether to file a bankruptcy petition.
  • Advise you as to which chapter to file.
  • Advise you as to whether your debts may be discharged.
  • Advise you as to whether you may be able to keep your home, car, or other property after you file.
  • Advise you of the tax consequences of filing.
  • Advise you as to whether you should continue to pay creditors.
  • Explain bankruptcy law and procedures to you.
  • Help you complete and file forms.
  • Assist you with most aspects of your bankruptcy case.

The court is not allowed to recommend attorneys. The court’s Self-Help Centers may provide information and forms. Additionally, you may make an appointment through a Self-Help Center to speak with a volunteer attorney by telephone or meet with a volunteer attorney in person.

It is highly recommended that anyone who is considering filing bankruptcy or anyone who has filed bankruptcy view the court’s Bankruptcy Basics videos and review the general information and glossary of terms. The Bankruptcy Basics videos, available in English and Spanish on the court’s YouTube channel, provide short explanations of bankruptcy concepts and processes. General information and a glossary of terms may be reviewed at the Administrative Office of the United States Courts’ website.