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The American Bankruptcy Institute ‘ABI’ released a report addressing the astronomically high failure rate of chapter 13 bankruptcy.  The findings are not surprising for those of us who work in this world, but are shocking for the rest of the consumer community.

It is likely that many bankruptcy judges have never had a successful chapter 13 pro se case.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy

According to the Report addressing pro se cases (filed without an attorney) Each year 25,000-40,000 debtors decide to file a chapter 13 case without an attorney.  In California, one-third of chapter 13 cases have been filed pro se, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all such cases nationwide.

Only about one in 45 pro se chapter 13 cases result in a completed bankruptcy plan.

Regardless of where the cases are filed, the data paints a fairly dismal picture of the consequences of a pro se filing.  More than half are dismissed within three months of filing, and more than 80 percent are gone with-in six months.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy – path to success or failure?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy[/caption]

Less than one in 200 pro se debtors who satisfy all three of these criteria below end up with a successfully completed repayment plan.

The pro se success rates are even worse for debtors with:
  • only one source of income (only one working debtor),
  • debtors with a prior filing and
  • debtors who do not pay their filing fees.

The moral is – you would not do your own open heart surgery, why would you do something as complicated as a chapter 13 without an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your corner?

About the Author:

Diane L. DrainDiane L. Drain is a well known and respected Arizona bankruptcy attorney. She is an expert in both consumer bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure. Since 1985 she has been a dedicated advocate for her clients and spokesperson for Arizona citizens. Diane is a retired professor of law teaching bankruptcy for more than 20 years. As a teacher she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about the Arizona bankruptcy laws. She is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.

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*Important Note from Diane: Nothing on this website should be construed as establishing a lawyer-client relationship between you, me, the author of any page or the website owner (me) who happens to be a lawyer.  Everything on this web site is available for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide legal advice nor create an attorney client relationship between you, me, or the author of any article.  You may pick up some information about bankruptcy, foreclosure or the practice of law written by myself or others.  Any information in this web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney familiar with your personal circumstances and licensed to practice law in your state.*