Filing for bankruptcy online is not an actual deed that can be done. While you can download bankruptcy forms, use online software to help you fill out those forms or hire a paralegal or bankruptcy lawyer to fill out your bankruptcy forms online - you cannot actually file your paperwork with the court online.
No matter what type of bankruptcy form preparation you use online, you will still have to go to your local bankruptcy court to file the paperwork. Each court requires a different amount of copies to be filed in addition to your petition and courts vary on how you must submit a creditor matrix (a listing of all creditors you owe). In addition, a jurisdiction may have several courthouses within it and you will need to file at the courthouse your home address is zoned for.
Do It Yourself - If you choose to file your bankruptcy after filling out the forms yourself you will need to research and find the information applicable to your state and to the local courthouse you are zoned for. In addition you will need to acquire a list of exemptions for your state (every state is different) to use when filling out your bankruptcy forms.
You will also need to represent yourself at your 341 meeting if you file pro se (another way of saying yourself). This is obviously the cheapest method, but it also leaves the most room for errors and confusion. You can find more information about do it yourself bankruptcy here.
Hire An Attorney - Should you choose to hire an attorney, they will most likely look over your case, advise you on the best chapter for your situation (based on your income and assets) and then have one of their paralegals fill out your court forms for you after they have you fill out a questionnaire. The attorney will then most likely review the forms before having their office staff file them for you.
Your attorney will also most likely accompany you to your 341 meeting. While this method requires the least amount of work and aggravation on your part, it is often high on cost - and for those who can't pay basic expenses, paying for an attorney may not be possible.
Hire A Paralegal - Hiring a paralegal is also an
option. Your paralegal will send you intake forms that you will need to
fill out. You will provide all of the information - as you would with
an attorney or by doing it yourself, but the paralegal would input your
information into the forms. This helps to ensure accurate and correctly
filled out forms, minimizing the possibility of delays or having your
case completely dismissed due to missing information.
They will mail you your completed forms along with the information on the number of copies needed to file and the completed creditor matrix per your courthouse's requirements. In addition, they will also find out which courthouse is the one to which you are "assigned".
However, you will still be required to represent yourself at your 341 meeting. Paralegals do not "represent you" and when used as described above are simply hired to fill out the confusing paperwork required to file.
Hiring a paralegal allows you to "do it yourself", but with a bit more confidence that your paperwork is filled out accurately and in the proper format. It also is usually a lot less expensive than hiring an attorney.
We are not recommending any of the above methods specifically. In addition, different attorneys may have a different procedures for handling bankruptcy cases. The information above is meant as a general guideline - what your personal attorney or paralegal does may differ. Only you can look at your options and then make a decision in regards to which method is for you.