New York Bankruptcy Lawyer Explains How Recent Bankruptcy Amendments Affect Filers

It's no surprise that the downturned economy is responsible for an increase in consumer debt that often leads to filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New York. One New York attorney says that filing for bankruptcy is now more complex, more time-consuming and more expensive due to bankruptcy law amendments from the Bush Administration and that it is not something to attempt without experienced counsel.

Complex, time consuming & expensive

Elliot Schlissel, a New York bankruptcy attorney, says that the purpose of the amendments to the bankruptcy statute was to prevent bankruptcy abuse, but the reality of the situation was that the statute was written by the banking industry for the purpose of preventing or making it more difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy. It was basically an anti-consumer statute. It makes the process more complex, more time-consuming and more expensive than it used to be. He explained:

The basic changes were that before filing bankruptcy, one must take a course – which can be done on the Internet. After they file, they must take the second part of a course. The filing requirements are a little more complicated and more detailed as well. For instance, one must have filed tax returns for the last two years in order to file a New York bankruptcy. The record keeping and bookkeeping circumstances of the filings are also more detailed.

In addition, if individuals have a high income or high expenses, there are detailed requirements that sometimes prevent those individuals from filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy – and they're forced to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.

Is it possible for someone to adequately represent themselves in a bankruptcy?

It is possible to file a bankruptcy on your own, according to Schlissel, although he says that the problem is that, even if you can fill out the paperwork, generally speaking you’ll need an attorney to deal with the court proceedings – and therefore, something he never recommends. He explained:

I've seen many instances where people have filed bankruptcies in New York on their own. Later, they'll come to me and they’re filed so incorrectly that it takes more effort to straighten them out than it’s worth. What we usually do is have the bankruptcy dismissed, pay a second filing fee and start all over again. It’s just a complicated, detailed statute – and if you make any mistakes, your case can be dismissed.

If you would like to obtain additional information about filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced bankruptcy law attorney to discuss your situation free of charge.