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It’s difficult to file bankruptcy online, but let’s cover how it may work.

Can You File a Bankruptcy Online?

Most bankruptcy courts throughout the United States have online filing systems. Bankruptcy petitions and related documents are filed through an online bankruptcy system. However, bankruptcy cases may be filed in person at the bankruptcy court or through the mail. 

In most bankruptcy jurisdictions, you must be a bankruptcy lawyer to file bankruptcy online. There is a process that attorneys must go through to become registered users of the bankruptcy system. Therefore, if you file your bankruptcy case without an attorney, you probably cannot file bankruptcy online.

What’s the next best thing?

You may want to find an attorney who can handle much of the work remotely and do as much online as possible. Estimate whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or estimate your Chapter 13 plan payment and compare local attorney options.

Beware of Bankruptcy Online Services

Several companies advertise you can file bankruptcy online without a bankruptcy attorney. These services are not law firms. They do not file the bankruptcy case for you. They may allow you to complete your bankruptcy forms online through their system. However, you will need to print the bankruptcy forms and file the forms with the bankruptcy court in person or by mailing the forms to the bankruptcy court. 

While you do not need an attorney to file bankruptcy, you may want to discuss your debt and problem with a bankruptcy lawyer. A lawyer gives you advice regarding the pros and cons of bankruptcy and whether you might be at risk of losing assets through bankruptcy. The attorney also advises you whether you meet the income qualifications for Chapter 7 or if you need to file Chapter 13 to protect assets.

Debt Relief Options to Get You Out of Debt Now

Bankruptcy is just one debt relief option to consider. There could be other ways of dealing with your debt that does not involve filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Examples of debt relief options include, but are not limited to:

  • Debt Consolidation Loans — Debt consolidation loans involve borrowing money to pay off debts so that you can consolidate the debts into one monthly payment. Unfortunately, most creditors require collateral for debt consolidation loans. Therefore, you risk losing the property if you default on the loan.
  • Debt Management Companies — A debt consolidation company works with your creditors to lower the amount you owe or your monthly payments. You pay the debt consolidation company, and it pays the creditors based on agreements with the creditors. However, the creditors are not required to work with the company. Creditors can also continue debt collection efforts even if they agree to accept the payments. 
  • Home Equity Loans — Using your home equity to pay debts has the same risks as borrowing money to consolidate debts. You risk losing your home if you default on the loan payments.
  • Using Retirement or Savings — Some individuals use retirement or savings to repay debts. The risk of choosing this debt relief option is you might not have sufficient time or income to replace the funds. 
  • Debt Settlement — Debt settlement requires negotiations with your creditors to accept less money for the debts than you actually owe. This option could save thousands of dollars in debt repayment. The debt that is discharged by the creditor must be reported as income on your tax return, which could increase your tax debt. Additional Reading: Ultimate Guide to Debt Settlement

Things to Consider

Ignoring debts that you cannot pay is never a good option. Creditors can take several steps to collect a debt, such as wage garnishments, debt collection lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions, and levies. The actions a creditor might take to collect a debt depends on the type of debt owed and the debt collection laws in your state.

Each debt relief option has various pros and cons. A careful analysis of each option is required to determine which option is best for you. In some cases, bankruptcy might be the best way to get rid of debt. However, if you only have a few debts and you can negotiate with your creditors for lower payments or reduced settlements, that option might be the best way to eliminate those debts. 

Are You Ready to Explore Debt Relief Options?

Ascend can help. We offer a variety of services to consumers that help them explore ways to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Compare ways to get out of debt and discover successful techniques for improving your financial wellbeing. Find out now whether Ascend is right for you.

Post Author: Ben Tejes

Ben Tejes is a co-founder and CEO of Ascend Finance. Before Ascend, Ben held various executive roles at personal finance companies. Ben specializes in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Debt Settlement, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and debt payoff methods. In his free time, Ben enjoys spending time going on adventures with his wife and three young daughters.

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