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Filing for bankruptcy is not without costs

When a Mississippi resident is facing overwhelming debt, options start to dwindle. Financial problems may have a single cause, such as an illness or job loss, or might be the result of several years of financial bad luck or mismanagement. However, the associated costs of bankruptcy may prove burdensome for a debtor and may even make filing for bankruptcy protection difficult.

Financial counselors indicate there are three categories of costs an individual filing for bankruptcy must consider: court filing fees, mandatory education classes and attorney fees. The minimum total for these is a little under $1500 while the maximum can be closer to $4000, depending primarily on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is involved. It is possible to have fees on filing and classes waived based on income as compared to federal poverty guidelines, in consideration of family size and state of residence.

Legal representation is not a guaranteed right, and it is possible to represent oneself in a bankruptcy proceeding. There are legal clinics that do not offer representation but can be of assistance with filling out the appropriate paperwork and legal forms. The question becomes whether it is worth the risk to file in pro per, that is, acting as one's own counsel. Statistically, it is extremely difficult to successfully discharge debt through self-representation as compared to the success rate when represented by legal counsel.

Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, and procedures must be followed precisely. A consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer might be helpful in determining if either Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 reorganization is appropriate under the specific circumstances of the case.

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