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Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

First let me say that it has been a huge help to be able to read the insights in this community to get a better understanding of the bankruptcy process and rebuild.


I decided to file pro se as I do not have the funds for an atty and installment payments were not allowed by them. I have a no asset case, passed the means test and used Nolo's website for clarification on some of the forms.


My Timeline:


Printed and completed forms  - roughly 2-3 weeks due to reasearch, completing the first debt course and triple checking my math on the schedules.


11/27 - Filed at my local bankruptcy office and paid 1 installment of the filing fee. Clerk made sure I had all of my forms, gave me a copy of my petition and the date of my 341 meeting


11/29 - Bk hit Equifax - score was 504, dropped to 456. As of 12/7 it's back at 504

              Bk hit Transunion - score was 520, dropped to 489. As of 1/3 it's at 500

              Bk hit Experian - score was 495, dropped to 481. As of 1/6 it's 554


December - Gathered all supporting docs that the Trustee needed and submitted them via email. The only real asset I have is a financed 2017 car that I'm already upside down on due to interest. Monthly payments were $538 so I'm hoping by no reaffirming that I can lose it and hope for a better rate elsewhere. I also had to submit docs like my tax returns, pay stubs, bank account statements, etc. I had a sole proprietor cleaning business in fall 2016 and ended it early 2017 due to no business so I needed to also provide an income statement and balance sheet.


A flood of car dealership offers came in the mail, some from different states. I plan to research further after my 341 meeting.


I also got 2 letters from Discover encouraging me to see if I prequalified for a card. I went on the site and it looks like I was qualified for a secured card for $200 but didn't act on it....yet.


Sent my bk petition to telecheck, chexsystems and EWS for removal of negative items. Telecheck and chexsystems was removed in 24-48 hrs. Still waiting on EWS.


1/10 (today) - 341 Meeting. I was so nervous for the simple fact that I was the only one on the docket that day filing pro se (you can view the docket for cases on the same day as your 341 meeting on Pacer). But I knew I had all my ducks in a row, unless he was going to same about my math did not add correctly. Like others have said, I was in a medium sized room with seating for those waiting and a large table in the front for the trustee, his assistant, the debtor and atty. I tried to give people their privacy but I could overhear a few and one person had to come back due to schedules not being filed (they had an atty). The trustee gave them a date to come back and moved forward. The questioning really is straightforward, yes/no. The assistant spoke up a few times to clarify items for multiple properties or additional income but not overbearing. The only creditors that showed seemed to be a landlord and maybe one for a bank but they did not have any questions.

For me, I was ready with ID and SS card, answered the standard yes/no questions and was asked about 3 different times if I had help preparing my schedules, especially schedule C (exempt property). On that form, I only claimed my engagement ring which was well under both state and federal limits. He additionally asked if my tax returns would be the same as  the previous years and I said no since Iwould not be claiming losses on my business. He seemed surprised and flipped through some of my docs as if he forgot I disclosed the business, then he said he would like to see the return when I file and I assented that I would send them. After that I was excused to leave in less than 5 minutes.


I know some have said that the trustee told them if a discharge/no asset/no distribution would be entered or saw it later the same day on Pacer. My trustee did not mention it and I do not see it on Pacer and it's been about 5 hours after the meeting. I'm not sure if it's because it may take a day or 2 or if he's waiting on me to file my taxes before issuing a reccomendation. Either way, I'll file before my discharge date in March and I'll update once I get an answer.


The debt I included in my petition are:

Capital One

My car

A credit union

College tuition

Medical collections

Payday loans

Utility company

I also rolled in my student loans into my overall debt


Thanks again to this great community!


UPDATE 1/23/19:


The day following my creditor's meeting, I checked Pacer and it showed that my case was considered Asset and a notice of Assets was sent to my creditors. I emailed the trustee for clarification that my tax refund would be considered my asset and he confirmed. 3 creditors appeared on the claims register within Pacer as well.

On 1/19, I received my W2 and filed my tax return. I sent copies to the trustee via email and on 1/20, Pacer updated with a "Trustee's Report of No Distribution". The comments noted that the trustee requests to be discharged from futher trustee duties and that there is no property for distribution.


I am hopeful that from this point, I can just bide my time until the deadline to object discharge date in March. As of today my scores are:

Equifax - 504, Transunion - 519, Experian - 554. I'll continue to update with any changes Smiley Happy


UPDATE 3/5/19:


Just a quick update as I'm 1 week from discharge. Nothing new to report from Pacer, howver my scores are going up as accounts being to update: Equifax -  561, Transunion - 550, Experian - 554. I did accept an offer for a CreditOne Credit Card as it was mentioned in the 700 in 24 months thread. I'm letting 10% utilization report and then paying of the full balance before the due date. It has yet to report so once I discharge and see the cc report, I'll come back with an update!     


OFFICIALLY DISCHARGED! Date for objection was 3/11 and discharged was updated on PACER on 3/12. I was approved for Discover secured but it wouldn't accept my bank online (greendot) so I will need to call in to see if  there's an alternative. I opened an account with PenFed so I may need to use that account.

I let 10% of my Credit One credit card report and once I paid of the balance (for the first time) I was given an automatic CLI from $300 to $450. The new account has hit a few of my cc reports and here are my scores as of today compared to when I filed and after I filed:



Before File = 520

After File = 489

Discharge = 568


Before File = 504

After File = 456

Discharge = 590


Before File = 495

After File = 481

Discharge = 590


UPDATE 4/23/19:


Since discharge, I've acquired a new loan for a new-ish vehicle (my payments are actually less with a better interest rate and 1 year newer SUV than my previous car), joined and started a credit builder loan with a local credit union and funded my secured Discover card. This is my 2nd approval with Discover since they didn't accept my greendot banking info and I needed to wait and fund my new account at the credit union.

Current Credit Scores with only the CreditOne card reporting so far:

Transunion: 595

Equifax: 594

Experian: 628

Message 1 of 10
Regular Contributor

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Thank you for posting your pro se experience to date... I have a freind who is considering filing pro se but is kind of scared to do so. She is over 60 has no assests, student loans, and medical debts she won't be able to pay off in her lifetime. We will be watch your posts. I think they might put her at ease.

Nov 2019 EX 780, TU 760 EQ 752, June 2019 EX 778, TU 788, EQ 790 April 2019 FICO EX 802, TU 790, EQ 804, Oct 2018 Fico'd EX 817, TU 811, EQ 798
June 2018 Fico's EX 830, TU 817, EQ 824
PenFed Power Cash Rewards $17K (Jan 2018), Discover IT $20.5k(Jan 2018), Capital One $7500 (Aug 2014), Chase Freedom (PC from FU Jan 2019) $4500 (Jan 2018), Sam's Club MC$10000 (Jan 2018), BBVA $25K (Apr 2018) ,WF Propel 15.5k(Jul 2018), USB Cash+ $14K(Jul 2018), Citi Best Buy Visa Platinum $12k(Sept 2018) Digital Federal Credit Union $15k (Nov 2018) BBVA Compass ClearPoints $8100 (June 2019) Williams Sonoma Visa Comenity $2300 (July 2019) Discover it 2 $4.5k (Nov 2019)

Campus USA CU Auto Loan 85k (Aug 2018) BBVA Compass Express Loan $15k (Nov 2018), PenFed personal Loan $27k
Rebuilder Cards: First Permier $1250 closed (6/11/18), FNBO $2600( Nov 2006)

AAoA 2.8 years UT 8%
Store Cards: HomeDepot $12000(May 1998), Saks $800(Oct 1978) Kohl's $2.5k (Nov 2018) AMZN Store Card $8.5K (Jan 2019) Target RedCard &2.5k (Apr 2019) Walmart MC $4k (Sept 2019)
Message 2 of 10
New Member

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Filed my bankruptcy on October 3, 2018 as PRO SE. Got my discharged notice last January 8, 2019, case closed on the same day.

I did a lot of reading, there's a lot of resources online NOLO Website is one of them. I have a car which i entered into a reaffirmation agreement as directed by my credit union (you have a right not to), i only have about a yr to pay on my auto loan and wanted to keep my car so i have agreed. I discharged about over $68k in credit debt. It was a huge relief. Checked my Experian today Fico score8 is 610 while Fico score 2 is 643, it didn't hurt my score that much as i was on time and never missed payments prior to BK. BK is the only derogatory comment on my credit report.  Things happened in life that ive decided to file bankruptcy an opt to a fresher and stress free life. Althought it will take a while to get back on my feet again, it's worth it, you get to sleep well at night, don't have to worry much. Life is way better.


Message 3 of 10
Super Contributor

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Congrats to both of you on your journey to a fresh start and welcome to the forum! Graet job folks!

Homeowner since Sept 2020. My posts are JMHO. My siggy is not to brag. Just sharing my experiences after BK from learning here from rebuild to recovery from the @ 540's.
Message 4 of 10

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

I understand the anxiety she has. Representing yourself is normally frowned upon and makes the stigma even worse. Diligence, honesty and attention to detail will work in anyone's favor Smiley Happy

Message 5 of 10

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Congrats on your successful filing! We need to hear more success stories of how Pro Se can be done correctly. I wanted a fresh start before getting married this year, even though my fiance only sees doom and gloom because of my decision. I'm hopeful that the rest of my case goes smoothly and I can prove him wrong Smiley Wink. I decided not to reaffirm my car, even though it's a 2017 model. I'm already upside down and the payments are ridiculous. I may explore one bankruptcy car offer I received in the mail and if they can't offer better then I'll see what I can work out with my current lien holder. I can't wait to get into the 600s!

Message 6 of 10

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Thanks, looking forward to moving onward and upward!

Message 7 of 10
Established Member

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

lpavelchak0204 It was super easy to do yourself!!! I went to my local library and picked up this book: "How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Cara O'Neill Atty & Albin Renauer J.D." IT was step by step instructions and it has an actual picture of each form you need in the book and how it should be filled out so that you can see it.


It was really helpful. I filed on September 5th and had my 341 Meeting on October 9th and was discharged in December. There were no hiccups in my situation thanks to this book. If your friend is serious about doing it themselves, have them look in their local library for that book. I'm sure you could buy it too but why since we not making it a habit of filing chapter 7 that often plus get the use of those good tax dollars at work.

Message 8 of 10

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

Officially discharged Smiley Happy

Message 9 of 10
Regular Contributor

Re: Chapter 7 Pro Se Journey

This is awesome to know that it CAN Abe done to file a Chapter 7 without an attorney.
Way to go on your fresh start!
Credit Obtained Since Discharge

Capital One Platinum MasterCard, $600 Credit Limit.

Indigo Platinum MasterCard, $300 Credit Limit

Chapter 7 Discharge: March 13, 2019

Home Loan: $120,000 30 YR Fixed VA Loan @ 3% APR
Home loan through Guild Mortgage
Message 10 of 10
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