Picking up where we left off yesterday, we continue our discussion of common bankruptcy questions by discussing the concept of pro se bankruptcy filings. What pro se means in common English is filing a case by yourself. The question is, then, whether someone can get the bankruptcy forms themselves and file their own case. While this is always an option for anyone, I would highly recommend that you do not do so. Bankruptcy is a highly complex, difficult area to navigate. Dealing with so many different forms and requirements under the amended Bankruptcy Code is difficult and can be an arduous task for anyone. That is why it is important to consult a bankruptcy attorney - for vital personal matters involving finances, it is best to use an expert.
Another common question is what happens with cosigned debts. Specifically, the question involves a cosigner who was not filing bankruptcy. For instance, if you had cosigned on a credit card and filed bankruptcy, but the other person did not, what happens? Will it adversely effect the nonfiling person's credit? Will the creditor attempt to collect on them? Regarding the credit, the debt will show on the person's credit report as having been included in a bankruptcy. Extending from there, then, the creditor still has the right to attempt to collect from the nonfiling debtor but may decide that ultimately it is not worth it. It depends on the debt and the situation.
Finally, those inquiring about bankruptcy often wonder if they'll have to attend court. We've discussed this issue before on this blog, but for the most part, debtors do not have to attend a court hearing. In every bankruptcy a 341 Meeting of Creditors is required, and in Chapter 7 bankruptcies especially, that is it as far as hearings go. If there does happen to be a court date scheduled, it would usually be the attorney who would appear on behalf of the debtor. Thus, for the majority of consumer bankruptcies the debtor will not be required to appear in open court.