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Filing Without An Attorney

A person representing himself or herself without a lawyer in a bankruptcy case is a “pro se” debtor.  Only individuals (including married couples) can file a pro se case.  Other potential debtors including, but not limited to, corporate entities, partnerships, municipalities and/or those who wish to file a chapter 9 or chapter 15 case must retain legal counsel.

Pro se debtors must comply with the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Northern District of Florida (N.D. Fla. L.R.), Title 11 of the U.S. Code (11 U.S.C. or “the Bankruptcy Code”) and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Fed. R. Bankr. P.) just as if they were represented by an attorney.  Failure to do so can result in dismissal of the case or other sanctions.

If you wish to retain an attorney and would like more information about bankruptcy attorneys in your area, please visit the Florida Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (https://www.floridabar.org/divpgm/lronline.nsf/wreferral6?OpenForm). The Bankruptcy Pro Bono Resource Locator, a free service of the American Bankruptcy Institute, may help you locate pro bono (free) legal representation (http://bankruptcyresources.org/content/resources?state=FL). NOTE: The preceding link is incompatible when viewed from an iPod, iPhone, or iPad.
You may also qualify for assistance through the following non-profit organizations which provide free or reduced fee legal representation to qualified people in your area:

Legal Services of North Florida (www.lsnf.org):
Fort Walton Beach:
133 Staff Dr., Ste. B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
(850) 862-3279
Panama City:
211 E. 11th St.
Panama City, FL 32401-2938
(850) 769-3581
118 S. Baylen St.
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 432-8222
121 N. Jackson St.
Quincy, FL 32351
(850) 875-9881
2119 Delta Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 385-9007

Three Rivers Legal Services (www.trls.org)
901 NW 8th Ave., Ste. D-5
Gainesville, FL 32608
(352) 372-0519

Northern District of Florida Bankruptcy Pro Bono Initiative
(866) 570-6692

*NOTE:  The links and contact information provided here are subject to change without notice.
Assistance from these organizations may be based upon the availability of resources and/or your income.  We do not guaranty aid from or legal representation by them.
Employees of the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts are not permitted to recommend or refer you to an attorney nor are they permitted to provide legal advice, including how to complete the bankruptcy forms or which forms may be required in your bankruptcy case. Basic filing information is available on this website on the Filing Requirements page.

Before deciding to file anything with the Court, we recommend that you first review the Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney and Bankruptcy Basics pages of the U.S. Courts’ website.  The Bankruptcy Basics page contains specific information on each chapter as well as several short videos to prepare you for what to expect during the bankruptcy process.

We also suggest that you review the "Requirements for People Filing Without an Attorney” created by our office.  This document may be downloaded from this website or is available free of charge at both the Pensacola and Tallahassee locations of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Please note that, during the course of a bankruptcy case or proceeding, bankruptcy court notices are mailed by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) on behalf of the court. The BNC, which is operated by a private contractor, provides notice production and mailing services for the court, but the BNC is not the court and WILL NOT accept documents from pro se debtors.

Documents related to a bankruptcy case or proceeding should be sent directly to the court's official mailing address.

You may also find the following resources helpful:

Various links listed on this and other pages are maintained by other public and private organizations. These links and pointers are provided for the user's convenience. The U. S. Bankruptcy Court does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information; nor does it control or guarantee the on-going availability, maintenance, or security of these Internet sites. Further, the inclusion of links or pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.