The recent rejection of Natalie Suleman’s bankruptcy petition illustrates the importance of having counsel when filing for bankruptcy. Suleman’s petition filed in April only included the first five pages of a normal petition and a mailing list of her creditors that failed to indicate their priority.
A typical bankruptcy petition is between forty and fifty pages. Many of the pages missing were those that outline the income, expenses, assets and liabilities of the debtor. A general summary of some of these items is featured on the first page of the petition, but since the other sections were omitted, it is impossible to really know what Miss. Suleman owed, owned or if she even qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Taking into account that she did not hire an attorney, failed to file proper paperwork and appears to have filled out the petition on a type-writer (which is uncharacteristic of modern petitions), I have serious doubts about the legitimacy of her intent to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. This may have been a cry out to energize the public’s interest in her to restore the celebrity status she once enjoyed. Although filing a sham petition to make money appears to fall in line with the intentions of the bankruptcy system as it helps someone who can’t pay their bills, it is an unorthodox and reproachable method.
When someone files for bankruptcy without an attorney, they risk the seizure of assets that would otherwise be exempt. They also risk, as Miss Suleman did, rejection of their petition and dismissal of their case for failure to file the proper paperwork. There is an age old phrase which reads: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and would like assistance of counsel, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney or call us at (904) 685-1200 for a free consultation.