According to the United States Courts (2018), "Filing bankruptcy can help a person by discarding debt or making a plan to repay debts. A bankruptcy case normally begins when the debtor files the petition with the bankruptcy court." Bankruptcy can be filed by an individual, by both spouses together, or by a business or corporation.
Bankruptcy does have long-term financial and legal consequences; it's crucial that you seek the advice of a qualified, trusted lawyer to assist you with filing. Bankruptcy judges and court employees are not adequate substitutes for a lawyer, as they are legally barred from acting as such and offering legal advice. You do have the option of filing without a lawyer present - also known as filing pro se - but it's not recommended.
Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for filing bankruptcy; there are certain rules one has to abide by first. This set of guidelines is known as the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or the "Bankruptcy Rules". They, combined with the Bankruptcy Code, serve as the governing regulations when formally setting forth the legal procedures involved in filing bankruptcy. This is another reason why filing with a lawyer is so important - they'll be able to fully and more efficiently decipher these guidelines and prevent any mistakes. Proper pre-bankruptcy planning is key to determining if bankruptcy is or can be a viable solution for you.