There seem to be debtors everywhere who think they can file bankruptcy without an attorney. Of course, in many, many cases, debtors only end up causing themselves greater problems. A case out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania proves my point.
The debtor in that case got his case dismissed because he did not received the requisite credit counseling. The case was filed on Valentines Day of this year, and along with his petition, the debtor filed a statement of “Exigent Circumstances” to excuse his failure to comply with the credit counseling requirement. The debtor represented that he was facing a foreclosure sale.
On February 20, the court ordered him to file by the 29th a Supplement to the Certification to enable the court to determine whether the requirements of Section 109(h)(3) had been satisfied. Debtor didn’t. Instead, the debtor filed his Certificate of Credit Counseling on the 28th. The case was dismissed. Debtor filed a motion for reconsideration.
Bankruptcy Code Section 109(h)(3) has at least requirements for establishing that there are Exigent Circumstances justifying a failure to obtain prepetition credit counseling. First, there must be some emergency compelling the filing before the counseling was obtained. Second, the debtor has to have tried to obtain credit counseling before filing the case but was unable to get it within the 5 day period prior to filing. The pro se debtor did not provide any information on this second requirement.
The case got dismissed. Hopefully, when the debtor again files bankruptcy (since he was facing foreclosure, I am assuming he did or will), he will have a lawyer. One of the first things he’ll have to do is seek an extension of the automatic stay because he will then be a repeat filer.
In re Kaufman, No. 08-11087 (Bankr.E.D.Pa.)
You might have missed:
- Pro Se Perils
- Pro Se Perils: When a Case Gets Dismissed
- No Ticket? No Discharge: The Ticket Out of Bankruptcy
- No Ticket? No Bankruptcy
- A Warning for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure