Before You File Pro Se
The information contained within the Iowa Northern Pro Se Information Center is accurate as of the date of publication, but it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. This information is provided solely as an overview to the bankruptcy process, and should not be used as a substitute for reference to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or to local rules or standing orders of this court. Finally, the information contained within this site should not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk's staff is not permitted to prepare documents for you and cannot provide any legal advice. You must comply with the U.S Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures. Additional information may be available at your local library.
Be sure to read the following before deciding to proceed without an attorney (Pro Se)
Attachment A: Notice to All Debtors Before Filing a Case
Attachment B: General Warning to All Parties Proceeding Without an Attorney (Proceeding Pro Se)
Attachment C: Special Warning to a Debtor Thinking of Filing a Bankruptcy Petition
Attachment D: Warning to Debtors Who Are Pro Se (Without an Attorney) Regarding the Difficulties They May Encounter Once They File a Bankruptcy Case
This Information Center may assist you in finding some of the answers you may need, however bankruptcy can be complicated, and you may find it is in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you.
STEP ONE: Know your options.
STEP TWO: Understand your Duties as a Debtor. Throughout the course of your case, you will need to meet some very important deadlines, and fulfill several duties and responsibilities. Some of these deadlines must be met before you even file. Review the Case Time Lines on the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 pages to get a general overview of case progress in these chapters. REMEMBER - this is only a guideline. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for meeting the deadlines in your case. Missing some deadlines could cause your bankruptcy case to be dismissed. To view a listing of the Top Five Causes for Dismissal Pertaining to Debtor Responsibilities/Deadlines in a Bankruptcy Case, click here. Although the different bankruptcy chapters are available for your protection and to provide you with a fresh financial start, you share in this responsibility for your own protection and the protection of sensitive information. Click here to view how to treat sensitive information in your bankruptcy case, according to the E-Government Act of 2002.
STEP THREE: Get Organized. Designate a notebook or a folder to hold all of your court records and forms and to record all of the activities related to the case. Keep all of your legal papers and case related documents organized in one place. Keep track of all dates for which you will need to appear (at your meeting of creditors, or in court). You may find a calendar helpful for tracking this.