Copyright © 2018 Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell. LLC

 

 

Chapter 7

 

1.  What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how does it work?

 

A chapter 7 bankruptcy case is a proceeding under federal law in which the debtor seeks relief under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy  Code.  A person who files a chapter 7 case is called a debtor. The debtor receives a chapter 7 discharge, if he or she pays the filing fee, is eligible for the discharge, and obeys the orders and rules of the bankruptcy court. In the vast majority of cases the person who files bankruptcy gets to keep all of his or her property.

 

2.  What is a Chapter 7 discharge?

 

It is a court order releasing a debtor from all of his or her dischargeable  debts and ordering the creditors not to attempt to collect them from the debtor. A debt that is discharged is a debt that the debtor is released from and does not have to pay.

 

3.  How does a person obtain a chapter 7 discharge?

 

A chapter 7 discharge is obtained by filing and maintaining a chapter 7 bankruptcy case and being eligible for a chapter 7 discharge. However, not all debts are discharged by a chapter 7 discharge. Certain types of debts are by law not dischargeable under chapter 7 and debts of this type will not be discharged even if the debtor receives a chapter 7 discharge.

 

4.  Who is permitted to file and maintain a chapter 7 case?

 

Any person who resides in, does business in, or has property in the United States is permitted to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case except a person who has intentionally dismissed a prior bankruptcy case within the last 180 days. To be permitted to maintain a  hapter 7 bankruptcy case a person must qualify for chapter 7 relief under a process called means testing.

 

5.  What is means testing?

 

Means testing is a method of determining a person's eligibility to maintain a chapter 7 case. Under means testing,  a person whose current monthly income from all sources multiplied by 12 exceeds the median annual income, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau,  for the person's state and family size, must show that he or she is not able to pay a minimum of $109.58 per month for 60 months  to his or her unsecured creditors from his or her disposable monthly income in order to be eligible to maintain a chapter 7 case.   isposable monthly income is a person's current monthly income from all sources less the person's permitted current monthly expenses.  The chapter 7 case of a person whose disposable monthly income is such that he or she is deemed to be able to pay $109.53 per month or more to unsecured creditors for 60 months will be dismissed or converted to chapter 13 unless special circumstances exist.

 

6. How is means testing carried out?

 

Every person who files a chapter 7 case must file a document called Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation. This document, when completed and filed, shows the person's current monthly income and the current monthly expenses that the person is a!lowed to claim. The person may also be questioned about his or her income and expenses at the meeting of creditors. From these sources a person's current monthly disposable, income, is calculated. This figure is then used to determine the amount of the monthly payment that the person can afford to make to his or her unsecured creditors. If the; amount of this monthly payment is above a certain figure (usually $109.58), the person will almost always be disqualified 'from maintaining a chapter 7 case and the case will be dismissed or, with the person's consent, converted to chapter 13.

 

7.  How is it decided whether a person is ineligible for chapter 7 under means testing?

 

The Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation filed by the person will initially show whether the person is able to make monthly payments to unsecured creditors in the amount required for ineligibility. If so, the clerk of the bankruptcy court will send a notice to all creditors that a presumption of abuse has arisen in the case. The United States trustee then has until 10 days after the meeting of creditors to file a statement as to whether a presumption of abuse exists in the case. Then the nited States trustee; or any creditor can move to dismiss the case. The bankruptcy judge will ultimately decide whether the case should be dismissed.

 

8.  What is a presumption of abuse and how does it affect the case?

 

When a chapter 7 case is filed by an ineligible person, under bankruptcy terminology that person is said to have abused the chapter 7 laws. When a person whose current monthly disposable income is such that he or she can afford to make monthly payments to unsecured creditors in the required amount, a presumption of abuse is said to arise in the case. If a presumption of abuse arises in a case, the case will be dismissed or converted to chapter 13 unless the person filing the case can prove the existence of special circumstances, such as a serious medical condition.

 

9.  Who is eligible for a chapter 7 discharge?

 

Any person who is qualified to file and maintain a chapter 7 case is eligible for a chapter 7 discharge except the following:

 

(1)   A person who has been granted a discharge in a chapter 7 close that was filed within the last 8 years.

 

(2)   A person who has been granted a discharge in a chapter 13 case that was filed within the last 6 years, unless 70 percent or more of the debtor's unsecured claims were paid off in the chapter 13 case.

 

(3)   A person who files and obtains court approval of a written waiver of discharge in the chapter 7 case.

 

(4)   A person who conceals, transfers, or destroys his or her properly with the intent to defraud his or her creditors or the trustee in the chapter 7 case.

 

(5)   A  person who conceals, destroys, or falsifies records of his or her financial condition or business transactions.

 

(6)   A  person who makes false statements or claims in the chapter 7 case,  or who withholds recorded information from the trustee.

 

(7)   A  person who fails to satisfactorily explain any loss or deficiency of his or her assets.

 

(8)   A  person who refuses to answer questions or obey orders of the bankruptcy court, either in his or her bankruptcy case or in the bankruptcy case of a relative, business associate, or corporation with which he or she is associated.

 

(9)   A person who, after filing the case, fails to complete an instructional course on personal financial management.

 

(10) A person who has been convicted of bankruptcy fraud or who owes a debt arising from a securities law violation.

 

10.  What types of debts are not dischargeable in a chapter 7 case?

 

All debts of any type or amount, including out-of-state debts, are dischargeable in a chapter 7 case except for the types of debts that are by law nondischargeable in a chapter 7 case. The following is a list of the most common types of debts that are not dischargeable in a chapter 7 case:

 

(1) Most tax debts and debts that were incurred to pay nondischargeabie federal tax debts.

 

(2) Debts for obtaining money, property, services, or credit by means of false pretenses, fraud, or a false financial statement,  if the creditor files  a complaint in the bankruptcy case,

 

(3) Debts not listed on the debtor's chapter 7 forms, unless the creditor knew of the bankruptcy case in time to file a claim.

 

(4) Debts for fraud, embezzlement, or larceny,  if the creditor files a complaint in the bankruptcy case.

 

(5) Debts for domestic support obligations, which include debts for alimony, maintenance, or support,  and certain other divorce-related debts, including property settlement debts.

 

(6) Debts for intentional or malicious injury to the person or property of another, if the creditor files a complaint in the bankruptcy case.

 

(7) Debts for certain fines or penalties.

 

(8) Debts for most educational benefits and student loans, unless a court finds that not discharging the debt would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and his or her dependents.

 

(9) Debts for persona! injury or death caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while intoxicated.

 

(10) Debts that were or could have been listed in a previous bankruptcy case of the debtor in which the debtor did not receive a discharge.

 

11. Who should not file a Chapter 7 case?

 

A person who is not eligible for a chapter 7 discharge should not file a chapter 7 case.  Also, in most instances a person who has substantial debts that are not dischargeabie under chapter 7 should not file a chapter 7 case.  In addition, it is not usually advisable for a person with disposable income sufficient to make the required minimum payments to unsecured creditors to file a chapter 7 case, because a presumption of abuse will arise and the case will probably be dismissed or converted to chapter 13.

 

12.  Is there anything that a person must do before a chapter 7 case can be filed?

 

Yes.  A person is not permitted to file a chapter 7 case unless he or she has, during the I80-day period prior to filing, received from an approved nonprofit, budget and credit counseling agency an individual or group briefing that outlined the opportunities or available credit counseling and assisted the person in performing a budget analysis. This briefing may be conducted by telephone or on the internet,  if desired,  and must be paid for by the person. When the chapter 7 case is filed, a certificate from the agency describing the services provided to the person must be tiled with the court. A copy of any debt repayment plan prepared for the person by the agency must also be filed with the court. In emergency situations, the required credit counseling ay be conducted after the case in filed.

 

13. How much is the filing fee in a chapter 7 case and when must it be paid?

 

The filing fee is $306.00 for either a single or a joint case. The filing fee is payable when the case is filed. However, if the erson filing can show that his or her income is less than 150 percent of the official poverty line and that he or she is unable to pay the filing fee,  the court can waive payment of the filing fee. If the person filing is unable to pay the entire filing fee when the case is filed, it may be paid in up to four installments, with the final installment due within 120 days. The period for payment may later be extended to 180 days by the court, if there is a valid reason for doing so. Unless payment is waived by the ourt, the entire filing fee must ultimately be paid or the case will be dismissed and no debts will be discharged.

 

14. Where should a chapter 7 case be filed?

 

A chapter 7 case is filed in the office of the clerk of the bankruptcy court in the district where the debtor has resided or maintained a principal place of business for the greater portion of the last 180 days. The bankruptcy court is a federal court and s a unit of the United States district court.

 

15. May a husband and wife file jointly under chapter 7?

 

Yes.  A husband and wife may file a joint case under chapter 7. If a joint chapter 7 case is filed, only one set of bankruptcy orms is needed and only one filing fee is charged.  However, both husband and wife must receive the required credit counseling before the case is filed and both must complete the required financial management course after the case is filed.

 

16. Under what circumstances should a joint chapter 7 case be filed?

A  husband and wife should file a joint chapter 7 case if both of them are liable for one or more significant dischargeable debts.   If both spouses are liable for a substantial debt and only one spouse files under chapter 7, the creditor may later attempt to collect the debt from the non-filing spouse,  even if he or she has no income or assets. In community property states it may not be necessary for both spouses to file if all substantial dischargeable debts are community debts. The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico. Texas, and Washington.

 

17.  When is  the best time to file a chapter 7 case?

 

The answer depends on the status of the person's dischargeable debts, the nature and status of the person's nonexempt assets, and the actions taken or threatened to be taken by creditors, the following rules should be followed:

 

(1)  Don't file the case until all anticipated debts have been incurred, because only debts that have been incurred when the case is filed and dischargeable and it will be another eight years before the person is again eligible for a chapter 7 discharge. For example, a person who has incurred substantial medical expenses should not file a chapter 7 case until the illness or injury has been either cured or covered by insurance as it will do little good to discharge,  say, $100,000 of medical debts now and then incur another $100,000 in medical debts after the case has been filed.

 

(2) Don't file the case until the person filing has received all nonexempt assets to which he or she may be entitled. If the person is entitled to receive an income tax refund or a similar nonexempt asset in the near future,  the case should not be filed until after the refund or asset has been received and disposed of. Otherwise,  the refund or asset will have to be turned over to the trustee.

 

(3)  Don't file the case if the person filing expects to acquire nonexempt property through inheritance, life insurance or divorce in the next 180 days,  because the property may have to be turned over to the trustee.

 

(4)  If an aggressive creditor has threatened to attach or garnishee a person's assets or income,  the case should be filed immediately to take advantage of the automatic stay that accompanies the filing of a chapter 7 case (see Question 18, below), if a creditor has threatened to attach or garnishee the person's wages or if a foreclosure action has been filed against his or her home, it may be necessary to file the case immediately in order to protect. the person's interest in the property.

 

18.  How does the filing of a chapter 7 case by a person affect collection and other legal proceedings that have been filed against that person in other courts?

 

The filing of a chapter 7 case by a person automatically suspends virtually all collection and other legal proceedings against that person.  A  few days after a chapter 7 is filed, the court will mail a notice to all creditors ordering them to refrain from ny further action against the person. This court-ordered suspension of creditor activity the person filing is called the automatic stay.  If necessary,  notice of the automatic stay may be served on a creditor earlier by the person or the person's attorney.   Any creditor who intentionally violates the automatic stay may be held in contempt of court and may be liable in damages to the person filing. Criminal proceedings and actions to collect Domestic support obligations from exempt property or property acquired by the person after the chapter 7 case was filed are not affected by the automatic stay. The automatic stay also does not protect cosigners and guarantors of the person filing, and a creditor may continue to collect debts from those persons lter the case is filed. Persons who have had a bankruptcy case dismissed within the past year may be denied the protection of the automatic stay.

 

19. How does filing a chapter 7 case affect a person's credit rating?

 

It will usually worsen it,  if that is possible.   However, some financial institutions openly solicit business from persons who have recently filed under chapter 7,  apparently because it will be at least 8 years before they can file another chapter 7 case.  If there are compelling reasons for filing a chapter 7 case that are not within the person's control (such as an illness or an njury), some credit rating agencies may take that into account  in rating the person's credit after filing,

 

20. Are the names of persons who file chapter 7 cases published?

 

When a chapter 7 case is filed, it becomes public record and the names of the persons filing may be published by some credit-reporting agencies. However, newspapers do not usually report or publish the names of consumers who file chapter 7 cases.

 

21.  Are employers notified of chapter 7 cases?

 

Employers are not usually notified when a chapter 7 case is filed.  However, the trustee in a chapter 7 case often contacts an employer seeking information as to the status of the person's wages or salary at the time the case was filed or to verify a erson's current monthly income. If there are compelling reasons tor not informing an employer in a particular case, the trustee should be so informed and he or she may be willing to make other arrangements to obtain the necessary information.

 

22. Does a person lose any legal or civil rights by filing a chapter 7 case?

 

No. Filing a chapter 7 case is not a criminal proceeding, and a person does not  lose any civil or constitutional rights by filing.

 

23. May employers or governmental agencies discriminate against persons who file chapter 7 cases?

 

No, It is illegal for either private or governmental employers to discriminate against a person as to employment because that person has filed a chapter 7 case. It is also illegal for local, state,  or federal governmental agencies to discriminate against a person as to the granting of licenses (including, a driver's license), permits, student loans, and similar grants because that person has filed a chapter 7 case.

 

24.  Will a person lose all of his or her property if he or she files a chapter 7 case?

 

Usually not. Certain properly is exempt and may not be taken by creditors unless it is encumbered by a valid mortgage or lien.  A person is usually allowed to retain his or her unencumbered exempt properly in a chapter 7 case.  A person may also be allowed to retain certain encumbered exempt

 

25.  What is exempt property?

 

Exempt property is property that is protected by law from the claims of creditors.  However, if exempt property has been pledged to secure a debt or is otherwise encumbered by a valid lien or mortgage, the lien or mortgage holder may claim the exempt property by foreclosing upon or otherwise enforcing the creditor's lien or mortgage, In bankruptcy cases property may be exempt under either state or federal law.  Exempt property typically includes all or a portion of a person's unpaid wages, home equity,  household furniture, and personal effects. Your attorney can inform you as  to the property that is exempt in your case.

 

26.  When must a person appear in court in a chapter 76 case and what happens there?

 

The first court appearance is for a hearing called the "meeting of creditors," which is usually held about a month after the case is filed. The person filing the case must bring photo identification and his or her social security card.   At this hearing the person is put under oath and questioned about his or her debts, assets, income and expenses by the hearing officer or trustee. In most chapter 7 consumer cases no creditors appear in court; but any creditor that does appear is usually allowed to question the person.  For most persons this will be the only court appearance, but if the bankruptcy court  decides not to grant the person a ischarge or if the person wishes to reaffirm a debt, there may be another hearing about three months later which the person will ave to attend.

 

27. What happens after the meeting of creditors?

 

After the meeting of creditors, the trustee may contact the person filing regarding his or her property and the court may issue ertain orders to the person. These orders are sent by mail and may require the person to turn certain property over to the rustee, or provide the trustee with certain information.  If the person fails to comply with these orders the case may be dismissed, in which case his or her debts will not be discharged. The person must also attend and complete an instructional course on personal financial management and file a statement with the court showing completion of the course.

 

28.  What is a trustee in a chapter 7 case and what does he or she do?

 

The trustee is a person appointed by the United States trustee to examine the person who filed the case, collect the person's nonexempt  property, and pay the expenses of the estate and the claims of creditors. In addition, the trustee has certain administrative duties in a chapter 7 case and is responsible for seeing to it that the person filing performs the required duties in the case.   A trustee is appointed in a chapter 7 case, even if the person filing has no nonexempt property.

 

29.  What are the responsibilities to the trustee of the person filing the case?

 

The law requires the person filing to cooperate with the trustee in the administration of a chapter 7 case,  including the ollection by the trustee of the person's nonexempt property.  If the person does not cooperate with the trustee, the chapter 7 case may be dismissed and the person's debts will not be discharged.  At least 7 days before the meeting of creditors the person filing must give the trustee and any requesting creditors copies of his or her most recent Federal income tax returns.

 

30.  What happens to property that is turned over to the trustee?

 

It is usually converted to cash, which is used to pay the fees and expenses of the trustee, to pay the claims of priority reditors, and, if there is any left,  to pay the claims of unsecured creditors.

 

31.  What if a person has non-exempt property for the trustee to collect?

 

If, from the bankruptcy forms filed, it appears that the person filing has no non-exempt property, a notice will be sent to the creditors advising them that there are no assets from which to pay creditors, that it is unnecessary for them to file claims, and that if assets are later discovered they will then be given an opportunity to file claims. This type of case is referred to as a o-asset case.  Most chapter 7 cases that are filed by consumers are no-asset cases.

 

32.  How are secured creditors dealt with in a chapter 7 case?

 

Secured creditors are creditors with valid mortgages or liens against property of the person filing . Property that is encumbered by a valid mortgage or lien is called secured property.  A secured creditor is usually permitted to repossess or foreclose on its secured property, unless the value of the secured properly greatly exceeds the amount owed to the creditor. The claim of a secured

creditor is called a secured claim and secured claims are collected from or enforced against encumbered property. Secured claims are not paid by the trustee.  A secured creditor must prove the validity of its mortgage or lien and must usually obtain a court order before repossessing or foreclosing on encumbered property.  Encumbered  property should not he turned over to a  secured creditor until a court order to do so has been obtained. unless the property is encumbered only to finance its purchase. The debtor may be permitted to retain certain types of encumbered personal property (see Question 34. below).

 

33.  How are unsecured creditors dealt with in a chapter 7 case?

 

An unsecured creditor is a creditor without a valid lien or mortgage against property of the person  filing.  If the person filing has nonexempt assets, unsecured creditors may file claims with the court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. The trustee will examine the claims and file objections to those deemed improper. When the trustee has collected all of this person's nonexempt property and converted it to cash, and when me court has ruled on the trustee's objections to improper claims, the trustee will distribute the funds in the form of dividends to the unsecured creditors according to the priorities set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.  Domestic support obligations, administrative expenses, claims for wages, salaries, and contributions to employees benefit plans, claims for the refund of certain deposits and tax claims, are given priority. In that order, in the payment of dividends by the trustee. If there are funds remaining after the payment of these priority claims, they are distributed pro rata to the remaining unsecured creditors. In chapter 7 cases filed by consumers, unsecured creditors usually get nothing.

 

34.  What encumbered property may a person retain in a chapter 7 case?

 

A person may retain (or redeem) certain encumbered personal and household property, such as household furniture, appliances and goods, wearing apparel, and tools of trade, without payment to the secured creditor, if the property is exempt and if the mortgage or lien against the property was not incurred to finance the purchase of the properly. A person may also retain without payment to the secured creditor any encumbered property that is both exempt and subject only to a judgment lien that is not divorce-related.  Finally, a person may retain certain encumbered exempt personal, family, or household property by paying to the secured creditor an amount equal to the replacement value of the property regardless of how much is owed to the creditor.

 

35.  How may a person minimize the amount of money or property that must be turned over to the  trustee in a chapter 7 case?

 

In a chapter 7 case the person filing is required to turn over to the trustee only the nonexempt money or property that he or she possessed at the time the case was filed. Many nonexempt assets are liquid in nature and tend to vary in size or amount from day to day. It is wise, therefore, to engage in some estate planning so as to minimize the value or amount of these liquid assets on the day and hour that the chapter 7 case is filed. The most common nonexempt liquid assets, and the assets that the trustee will be most likely to look for, include the following:

 

(1) Cash

(2) bank accounts,                                   -

(3) prepaid rent,

(4) landlord and utility deposits,

(5) accrued earnings and benefits

(6) tax refunds, and

(7) sporting goods.

 

36. May a utility company refuse to provide service to a person if the company's utility bill is discharged under chapter 7?

 

If, within 20 days after a chapter 7 case is filed, the person filing furnishes a utility company with a deposit or other security to insure the payment of future utility services, it is illegal for a utility company to refuse to provide utility service to the person after the ease is filed, or to otherwise discriminate against the person, if its bill for past utility services is discharged in the person's chapter 7 case.

 

37.  What should a person do if he or she moves before the chapter 7 case is completed?

 

The person should  immediately notify the bankruptcy court in writing of the new address. Because most communications  between the person filing and the bankruptcy court are by mail, it is important that the bankruptcy court always have the person's current address. Otherwise, the person may fail to receive important notices and the chapter 7 case may be dismissed. Many courts have change-of-address forms for persons to use when they move, and one of these forms should be obtained if a move is planned.

 

38.  How is a person notified when his or her discharge has been granted?

 

The prson is usually notified by mail. Most courts send a form called "Discharge of Debtor" to the person filing to all creditors. This form is a copy  of the court order discharging the person from his or her dischargeable debts,  and it serves as notice that the discharge has been granted and that creditors are forbidden from attempting to collect debts. It is usually mailed about four months after a chapter 7 case is filed.

 

39. What if a person wishes to repay a dischargeable debt?

 

A person may repay as many dischargeable debts as desired after filing a chapter 7 case.  By repaying one debt, a person does not become legally obligated to re-pay any other debts. The only dischargeable debt that a person is legally obligated to repay is one for which the person and the creditor have signed what is called a "reaffirmation agreement."  If the person was not represented by an attorney in negotiating the reaffirmation agreement with the creditor,  the  reaffirmation agreement must be approved by the court to be valid.  If the person was represented by an attorney in negotiating the reaffirmation agreement,  the attorney must file the agreement and other required documents with the court in order for the agreement to be valid.  If a dischargeable debt is not covered by a reaffirmation agreement the person filing is not legally obligated to repay the debt, even if the person has made a payment on the debt since filing the chapter 7 case, has agreed in writing to repay the debt, or has waived the discharge of the debt in a waiver that was not approved by the bankruptcy court.

 

40.  How long does a chapter 7 case last?

 

A successful chapter 7 case begins with the filing of the bankruptcy forms and ends with the closing of the case by the court, if there no nonexempt  assets for the trustee to collect, the case will most likely be closed shortly after the person filing receives his or her discharge, which is usually about four months after the case is filed. If there are nonexempt assets for the trustee to collect,  the length of the case will depend on how long it takes the trustee to collect the assets and perform his or her other duties in the case. Most chapter 7 consumer cases with assets last about six months, but some last considerably longer.

 

41.  What should a person do if a creditor later attempts to collect a debt that was discharged in his or her chapter 7 case?

 

When a chapter 7 discharge is granted, the court enters an order prohibiting creditors from later attempting to collect any discharged debt from the person filing.  Any creditor who violates this court order may be held in contempt of court and may be liable to the person for damages. If a creditor later attempts to collect a discharged debt from the person, the person should give the creditor a copy of his or her chapter 7 discharge and inform the creditor in writing that the debt was discharged in the chapter 7 case.  If the creditor persists, the person should contact an attorney. If a creditor files a lawsuit on a discharged debt, it is important to inform the court in which the lawsuit is filed that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy. The lawsuit should not be ignored because even though a judgment entered on a discharged debt can later be voided, voiding the judgment may require the services of an attorney, which could be costly.

 

42.  How does a chapter 7 discharge affect the liability of cosigners and other parties who may be liable to a creditor on a discharged debt?

 

A chapter 7 discharge releases only the person or persons who filed the chapter 7 case. The liability of any other party on a debt is not affected by a chapter 7 discharge. Therefore, a person who has co-signed or guaranteed a debt for the person filing is still liable for the debt even if the person filing receives a chapter 7 discharge with respect to the debt. The only exception to this rule is in community property states where the spouse of the person filing is released from certain community debts by the chapter 7 discharge.

 

43.  What is the role of the attorney for the person filing a chapter 7 case?

 

The attorney for the person filing performs the following functions in a typical chapter 7 consumer case:

 

(1) Analyze the amount and nature of the debts owed by the person  filing and  determine the best remedy for the person's financial problems.

 

(2) Advise the person filing of the relief available under chapter 7 and the other chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, and of the advisability of proceeding under each chapter.

 

(3) Assist the person in obtaining the required pre-bankruptcy budget and credit counseling briefing.

 

(4) Assemble the information and data necessary to prepare the chapter 7 forms for filing.

 

(5) Prepare the petitions, schedules, statements and other chapter 7 forms for filing with the bankruptcy court.

 

(6) Assist the person filing in arranging his or her assets so as to enable the person to retain as many of the assets as possible after the chapter 7 case.

 

(7) Filing the chapter 7 petitions, schedules, statements and other forms with the bankruptcy court, and, if necessary, notifying certain creditors of the commencement of the case.

 

(8) If necessary, assisting the person filing in reaffirming certain debts, redeeming personal properly, setting aside mortgages or liens against exempt property, and otherwise carrying out the matters set forth in the statement of intention.

 

(9) Attending the meeting of creditors with the person and appearing with the person at any other hearings that may be held in the case.

 

(10)  Assist  the debtor in attending and completing the required instructional course on personal financial management.

 

(11)  If necessary, preparing and  filing amended  schedules, statements,  and  other  documents with  the bankruptcy court in order to protect the rights of the person.

 

(12)  If necessary, assisting the person in overcoming obstacles that may arise to the granting of a chapter 7 discharge.  The fee paid, or agreed to be paid, to an attorney representing the person filing in a chapter 7 case must be disclosed to and approved by the bankruptcy court.  The court will allow the attorney to charge and collect only a reasonable fee. Most attorneys collect all or most of their fee before the case is filed.  Debt can later be voided.  Voiding the judgment may require the services of an attorney,  which could be costly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services  performed by other lawyers. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

 

Copyright 2018 Bouloukos, Oglesby & Mitchell, LLC

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Alabama

 

 

 

1.  What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy and how does it work?

 

 A chapter 13 bankruptcy case is a proceeding  under federal  Jaw in which  the debtor seeks relief under chapter  I 3 of  the Bankruptcy Code.   Chapter 13 is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code which  allows a person to repay all or a portion of his or her  debts under the supervision and protection of the bankruptcy court.  The Bankruptcy Code is the federal  law that deals with bankruptcy.   A person who files a  chapter 13 case is called a debtor.  In a chapter 13 case,  the debtor must submit to the court a plan for the repayment of all or  a portion of his or her debts.  The plan must be approved by the court to become effective.  If the court approves the debtor's plan, most creditors will be prohibited from collecting  their claims from the debtor.  The debtor must make regular payments to a person called the chapter 13 trustee, who  collects the money paid by the debtor and disburses it to creditors in the manner called for in the plan. Upon completion of the payments called for in the plan, the debtor is released from liability for the remainder of his or her dischargeable debts.

 

2.   How does a chapter 13 case differ from a chapter 7 case?

 

The basic difference between a chapter 7 case and a chapter 13 case is that in a chapter 7 case the debtor's nonexempt property (if any exists) is liquidated  to pay as much as possible of the debtor's debts, while in chapter 13 cases a portion of the debtor's, future income is used to pay as much of the debtor's debts as is feasible under the debtor's circumstances.  As a practical matter,  in a chapter 7 case the debtor loses all or most  of his or her nonexempt property and receives a chapter 7 discharge, which releases the debtor from liability for most debts.  In a chapter 13 case,  the debtor usually retains his or her nonexempt property, but must pay off as much of his or her  debts as the court deems feasible and receives a chapter 13 discharge,  which is slightly broader than a chapter 7 discharge and releases the debtor from liability for a few types of debts that  are not dischargeable under chapter 7.  However,  a chapter 13 case normally lasts much longer than a chapter 7 case and is usually more expensive for the debtor.

 

 3.  When is a chapter 13 case preferable to a chapter 7 case?

 

Chapter 13 is usually preferable for a person who -

 

(l) wishes to repay all or most of his or her unsecured debts and has the income with which to do so within a reasonable time,

 

(2) has valuable nonexempt property,  or has valuable exempt properly securing debts, either of which would be lost in a chapter 7 case,

 

(3) is not eligible under means testing to maintain a chapter 7 case,

 

(4) is not eligible for a chapter 7 discharge,

 

(5) has one or more substantial debts that are dischargeable under chapter 13 but not under chapter 7, or

 

(6) has sufficient assets with which to repay most of his or her debts, but needs temporary relief from creditors in order to do so.

 

4.   How does a chapter 13 case differ from a private debt consolidation service?

 

In a chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy court can provide relief to the debtor that a private debt consolidation service cannot provide.

 

For example, the court has the authority to prohibit creditors from attaching or foreclosing on the debtor's property, to force unsecured creditors to accept a chapter 13 plan that pays only a portion of their claims, and to discharge a debtor from unpaid portions of debts.  Private debt consolidation services have none of these powers.

 

5. What is a chapter 13 discharge?

 

It is a court order releasing a debtor from all of his or her dischargeable debts and ordering creditors not to collect them from the debtor. A debt that  is discharged is one that the debtor is released from and does not have to pay. There are two types of chapter 13 discharges:

 

(I) a full or successful plan discharge, which is granted to a debtor who completes all payments called for in the plan, and

 

(2) a partial or unsuccessful plan discharge, which is granted to a debtor who is unable to complete the payments called for in the plan due to circumstances for which the debtor should not be held accountable. A full chapter 13 discharge discharges a few more debts than a chapter 7 discharge, while a partial chapter 13 discharge is similar to a chapter 7 discharge.

 

6. What types of debts are not dischargeable in chapter 13 cases?

 

A full chapter 13 discharge granted upon the completion of all payments required in the plan discharges a debtor from all debts

except:

 

(l) debts that were paid outside of the plan and not covered in the plan,

 

(2) debts for domestic support obligations, which includes debts for child support and alimony,

 

(3) debts for death or personal injury caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while intoxicated,

 

(4) most tax debts,

 

(5) debts :for restitution or criminal fines included in a sentence imposed on the debtor for conviction of,a crime,

 

(6) debts for fraud, embezzlement or larceny,

 

(7) debts for student loans or educational obligations unless a court rules that not discharging the debt would impose an undue  hardship on the debtor and his or her dependents,

 

(8) debts for damages caused by willful or malicious conduct by the debtor,

 

(9) installment debts whose last payment is due after the completion of the plan,

 

(10) debts incurred while the plan was in effect that were not paid under the plan,

 

(11) debts owed to creditors who did not receive notice of the chapter I 3 case, and

 

(12) long-term debts upon which payments were made under the plan.

 

A partial chapter 13 discharge, which is granted when a debtor is unable to complete the payments under a plan due to circumstances for which he or she should not be held accountable, discharges the debtor from all debts except:

 

(l) secured debts (i.e., debts secured by mortgages or liens),

 

(2) debts that were paid outside of the plan and not covered in the plan,

 

(3) installment debts whose last payment is due after the completion of the plan,

 

(4) debts incurred while the plan was in effect that were not paid under the plan,

 

(5) debts owed to creditors who did not receive notice of the chapter 13 case,

 

(6) debts that are not dischargeable in a chapter 7 case, and

 

(7) long-term debts upon which payments were made under the plan.

 

7. What is a chapter 13 plan?

 

It is a written plan presented to the bankruptcy court by a debtor that states how much money or property the debtor will pay to the chapter 13 trustee, how long the debtor's payments to the chapter 13 trustee will continue, how much will be paid to each of the debtor's creditors, and certain other matters.

 

8. What is a chapter 13 trustee?

 

A chapter 13 trustee is a person appointed by the United States trustee to collect payments from the debtor,  make payments to creditors in the manner set forth in the debtor's plan, and administer the debtor's chapter 13 case until closed. In some cases the chapter 13 trustee is required to perform certain other duties. The debtor is required to cooperate with the chapter 13 trustee.

 

9. What debts may be paid under a chapter 13 plan?

 

Any debts whatsoever, whether they are secured or unsecured.  Even debts that are nondischargeable,  such as debts for student loans or child support, may be paid under a chapter 13 plan.

 

10. Must all debts be paid in full under a chapter 13 plan?

 

No. While priority debts, such as debts for domestic support obligations and taxes, and fully secured debts must be paid in full

under a chapter 13 plan, only an amount that the debtor can reasonably afford must be paid on most debts. The unpaid balances of most debts that are not paid in full under a chapter 13 plan are discharged upon the completion or termination of the plan.

 

11.   Must all unsecured debts be treated alike under a chapter 13 plan?

 

No.  If there is a reasonable basis for doing so, unsecured debts (or claims) may be divided into separate classes and treated differently.  It may be possible, therefore, to pay certain unsecured debts in full, while paying significantly less on others.

 

12.  Is there a difference between a debt and a claim?

 

No, not in a practical sense. They are different terms for an obligation owed by the debtor to a creditor. A claim is the right of a creditor to the payment of an obligation by the debtor. A debt is a liability of a debtor on an obligation to a creditor. For example, if the debtor owes $1,000 to the bank, the $1,000 obligation is viewed as a debt by the debtor and as a claim by the bank.

 

13.    How much  of a debtor's income must be paid to the chapter 13 trustee under a chapter 13 plan?

 

Usually all of the disposable income of the debtor and the debtor's spouse for a 3 or 5 year period must be paid to the chapter 13 trustee. Disposable income is income received by the debtor and his or her spouse that is not deemed to be necessary for the support of the debtor and his or her independents.

 

14. When must the debtor begin making payments to the chapter 13 trustee and how are the payments made?

 

The debtor must begin making payments to the chapter 13 trustee within 30 days after the chapter 13 case is filed with the court. The payments must be made regularly, usually on a weekly, bi-weekly,  or monthly basis. If the debtor is employed, some courts require that the payments to be made directly to the chapter 13 trustee by the debtor's employer.

 

15.   How long does a chapter 13 plan last?

 

The required length of a chapter 13 plan depends on the debtor's income. If the debtor's annual income is less than the median family income for the debtor's state and family size, the length of the plan must be 3 years, unless the debtor can justify a longer period, which  may not exceed 5 years. If the debtor's annual income exceeds the median family income, the length of the plan must be 5 years unless all unsecured claims can be paid off in a shorter period. The debtor's annual income is his or her current monthly income multiplied by 12.

 

16.   Is it necessary for all creditors to approve a chapter 13 plan?

 

No. To become effective, a chapter 13 plan must be approved by the court, not by the creditors. The court, however, cannot approve a plan unless each secured creditor is dealt with in the manner described in the answer to Question 18 below.   Also, unsecured  reditors are permitted to file objections to the debtor's plan, and these objections must be ruled on by the court before it can approve the debtor's chapter 13 plan

 

17.  What is the difference between a secured creditor and an unsecured  creditor?

 

A  secured creditor is a creditor whose claim against the debtor is secured by a valid mortgage, lien, or other security interest against property that is owned by the debtor.  An unsecured creditor is a creditor whose claim against the debtor is not secured by a valid mortgage,  lien or  security interest against the debtor's property. In other words,  a secured creditor has collateral for its claim and an unsecured creditor does not.   The basic difference is that a secured creditor may collect all or a portion if its claim from its collateral, while an unsecured creditor may not.  It is common for the amount of a secured creditor's claim to exceed the value of its collateral.  This type of creditor is called a partially­ secured (or under-secured) creditor.   In chapter 13 cases the claims of most partially-secured  creditors are divided  into secured and unsecured portions.  For example, a partially-secured creditor with a $2,000 claim against the debtor that is secured by collateral that is worth $1,500 has a $1,500  secured claim and a $500 unsecured claim.   The only types of partially-secured creditors whose claim may not be treated in this manner are creditors secured by a mortgage on the debtor's home and certain creditors who advanced funds for the purchase of automobile or other personal property of the debtor.   It is important to differentiate between secured and unsecured  claims because they are treated quite differently in chapter 13 cases.  Secured claims must be paid in full with interest) while only amounts that the debtor can reasonably afford need  be paid  to the holders of unsecured claims (except priority claims- see Question  36).

 

18.  How are the claims of secured creditors dealt with in chapter 13 cases?

 

There are four methods of dealing with secured claims in chapter 13 cases:

 

(I) the creditor may accept the debtor's plan,

 

(2) the creditor may retain its lien and be paid the full amount of its secured claim in equal monthly payments under the plan,

 

(3) the  debtor may  surrender the collateral  to the creditor, or

 

(4) the creditor may be paid  or dealt with outside the plan.  It is important to understand that most partially-secured creditors

 

have a secured claim only to the extent of the value of their collateral. If the debtor is in default to a secured creditor, the

 

default must be cured  (made current)within a reasonable time.

 

19.  How are cosigned or guaranteed debts handled in chapter 13 cases?

 

A cosigned or guaranteed debt is a debt of the debtor that has been cosigned or guaranteed by another person.  If a cosigned or guaranteed consumer debt is being paid in full under a chapter 13 plan, the creditor may not collect the debt from the cosigner or guarantor.  However, if a consumer debt is not being paid in full under the plan, the creditor may collect the unpaid portion of the debt from the cosigner or guarantor.  A consumer debt is a nonbusiness debt. Creditors may collect business debts from cosigners or guarantors even if the debts are to be paid in full. under the debtor's plan.

 

20.   Who is eligible to file a chapter 13 case?

 

Any individual (i.e., natural person) is eligible to file a chapter 13 case if he or she

 

(1) resides in, does business in, or owns property in the United States,

 

(2) has regular income,

 

(3) has unsecured debts of less than $336,900,

 

(4) Has secured debts of less than $I ,010,650,

 

(5) is not a stockbroker or a commodity broker,

 

(6) has not intentionally  dismissed another bankruptcy case within the last 180 days, and

 

(7) has received a briefing from an approved credit counseling agency within the last I 80 days (unless this requirement is not in effect in the local bankruptcy court). Corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and other business entities are not eligible to file a chapter 13 case.

 

21.   May a husband and wife file a joint chapter 13 case?

 

A husband and wife may file a joint chapter 13 case if each of them meets the requirements listed in the answer to Question 19 above, except that only one of them need have regular income and their combined debts must meet the debt limitations described in the answer to Question 20 above.

 

22.    When should a husband and wife file a joint chapter 13 case?

 

If both spouses are liable for any significant debts, they should file a joint chapter 13 case,  even if only one of them has income.Also, if both of them have regular income, they should file a joint case.

 

23.  May a self-employed  person file a chapter 13 case?

 

Yes.  A self-employed person meeting the eligibility requirements listed in the answer to Question 20 above may continue to operate the business during his or her chapter 13 case.

 

24.  May a chapter 7 case be converted  to a chapter 13 case?

 

Yes.  An existing chapter 7 case may be converted to a chapter 13 case at any time at the request of the debtor if the case has not previously been converted from chapter 13 to chapter 7.

 

25.  Where is a chapter 13 case filed?

 

A chapter 13 case is filed in IJre office of the clerk of tire bankruptcy court in the district where the debtor has lived or maintained a principal place of business for the greatest portion of the last !80 days.  The bankruptcy court is a federal court and is a unit of the United States district court.

 

26.   What fees are charged in a chapter 13 case?

 

There is a $274 fee charged when the case is filed, which may be paid in installments if necessary.   In addition, the chapter 13 trustee assesses a fee of 10 percent on all payments made by the debtor under the plan.  Thus, if a debtor pays a total of $5,000 under a chapter 13 plan, the total amount of fees charged in the case will be $774 (a $500 trustee's fee, plus the $274 filing fee).  These fees are in addition to the fee charged by the debtor's attorney.

 

27.   Will a person lose any property if he or she files a chapter 13 case?

 

Usually not. In a chapter 13 case, creditors are usually paid out of the debtor's income and not from the debtor's property.  However, if a debtor has valuable nonexempt properly and has insufficient income to pay enough to creditors to satisfy the court, some other debtor's property may have to be used to pay creditors.

 

28.  How does the filing of a chapter 13 case affect collection proceedings and foreclosures that are filed against the debtor?

 

The filing of  a chapter 13 case automatically stays (stops) all  lawsuits,  attachments,  garnishments,  foreclosures, and other actions by creditors against the debtor or the debtor's property.  This stay is called the automatic stay.  A few days after the case is filed, the court will mail a notice to all creditors advising them of the automatic stay. Certain creditors may be notified sooner, if necessary. Most creditors  are prohibited  from  proceeding  against the  debtor during the entire course of the chapter 13 case. If the debtor is later granted a chapter 13 discharge,  the  creditors will then be prohibited from collecting the discharged debts from the debtor after the case is closed.  If the debtor has had a prior  bankruptcy case dismissed within the past year, he or she may be denied the protection of the automatic stay.

 

29.  May a person whose debts are being administered by a financial counselor file a chapter 13 case?

 

Yes.   A  financial  counselor  has no  legal  authority to prevent  a person  from filing any type of bankruptcy  case,  including a chapter 13 case.

 

30.    How does filing a chapter 13 case affect a person's credit rating?

 

It may worsen it, at least temporarily.   However,  if most of a person's debts are ultimately paid off under a chapter 13 plan,  that fact may  be taken into account by credit reporting agencies.  If very little is paid  on most debts, the effect of a a chapter 13 case on a person's credit rating may be similar to that of a chapter 7 case.

 

31.    Are the names of persons who file chapter 13 cases published?

 

When  a  chapter  13 case is filed,  it becomes  a public  record  and the name of the debtor may be published by some credit reporting agencies.  However, newspapers do not usually publish the names of persons who file chapter 13 cases.

 

32. Is a person's employer notified when he or she files a chapter 13 case?

 

In most cases, yes. Many courts require a debtor's employer to make payments to the chapter 13 trustee on the debtor's behalf.  Also, the chapter 13 trustee may contact an employer to verify the debtor's income. However, if there are compelling reasons for not informing an employer in a particular case, it may be possible to make other arrangements for the required information and

payments.

 

33. Does a person lose any legal rights by filing a chapter 13 case?

 

No. A chapter 13 case is a civil proceeding and not a criminal proceeding. Therefore, a person does not lose any legal or constitutional rights by filing a chapter 13 case.

 

34. May employers or government agencies discriminate against persons who file chapter 13 cases?

 

No. It is illegal for either private or governmental employers to discriminate against a person as to employment because that person has filed a chapter 13 case. It is also illegal for local, state, or federal governmental agencies to discriminate against a person as to the granting of licenses, permits, student loans, and similar grants because that person has filed a chapter 13 case.

 

35. What is required for court approval of a chapter 13 plan?

 

The court will approve and confirm a chapter 13 plan if it finds that:

 

(l) all required fees, charges and deposits have been paid,

 

(2) all priority claims will be paid in full under the plan,

 

(3) if the plan creates different classes of claims, it provides the same treatment for each claim within a particular class,

 

(4) the plan was proposed in good faith,

 

(5) each unsecured creditor will receive under the plan at least as much as it would have received had the debtor filed a chapter

 

7 case,

 

(6) the debtor will be able to make the required payments and comply with the plan, and

 

(7) each secured creditor is dealt with in one of the four methods described in the answer to Question 18 above.

 

36. What is a priority claim?

 

A priority claim is an unsecured claim that is given priority of payment under the Bankruptcy Code.  It is a claim that must be paid before other unsecured claims are paid.  Examples of priority claims are tax claims, wage claims, and claims for alimony, maintenance or support.  Claims for administrative fees, such as the chapter 13 trustee's fee)  the filing fee, and the fee of the debtor's attorney, are also priority claims in chapter 13 cases.

 

37. When does the debtor have to appear in court in a chapter 13 case?

 

Most debtors have to appear in court at least twice: once for a hearing called the meeting of creditors, and once for a hearing on the confirmation of the debtor's chapter 13 plan. The meeting of creditors is usually held about a month after the case is filed.  The confirmation hearing may be held on the same day as the meeting of creditors or at a later date, depending on the scheduling

practices in the local court. If difficulties or unusual circumstances arise during the course of a case, additional court appearances may be necessary.

 

38. What if the court does not approve a debtor's chapter 13 plan?

 

If the court will not approve the plan initially proposed by a debtor, the debtor may modify the plan and seek court approval of the modified plan.  If the court does not approve a plan, it will usually give its reasons for refusing to do so,  and the plan may then  be appropriately modified so as to become acceptable to the court.  A debtor who does not wish to modify a proposed plan may either convert the case to a chapter 7 case or dismiss the case.

 

39.  How are the claims of unsecured creditors handled in chapter 13 cases?

 

Unsecured creditors, including those with priority claims, must file their claims with the bankruptcy court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors in order for their claims to be allowed.   Unsecured  creditors who fail to file claims within  that period  are barred  from doing so, and upon completion  of the plan  their claims will  be discharged.  The debtor may file a claim on behalf of a creditor, if desired.  After the claims have been filed, the debtor objections to any claims that he or she disputes.  When the claims have been approved by the court, the chapter 13 trustee begins paying unsecured creditors in the manner and in the amounts provided for in the debtor's chapter 13 plan.  Payments  to  secured creditors,  priority creditors, and special classes of unsecured creditors may begin earlier. if desired.

 

40.   What if the debtor is temporarily unable to make the chapter 13 payments?

 

If the debtor is temporarily out of work, injured, or otherwise unable to make the payments required under a chapter 13 plan, the plan can usually be modified so as to enable the debtor to resume the payments when he or she is able to do so. If it appears that the debtor's inability to make the required payments will continue indefinitely or for an extended period, the case may be dismissed or converted to a chapter 7 case.

 

41.    What if the debtor incurs new debts or needs credit during a chapter 13 case?

 

Only two types of credit obligations or debts incurred after the filing of the case may be included in a chapter 13 plan. These are:

 

(l) debts for taxes that become payable while the case is pending, and

 

(2) consumer debts arising after the filing of the case that are for property or services necessary for the debtor's performance under the plan and that are approved in advance by the chapter 13 trustee. All other debts or credit obligations incurred after the case is filed must be paid by the debtor outside the plan. Some courts issue an order prohibiting the debtor from incurring

new debts during the case unless they are approved in advance by the chapter 13 trustee.  Therefore, the approval of the chapter 13 trustee should be obtained before incurring credit or new debts after the case has been filed. Incurred regular debts, such as debts for telephone service or utilities, do not require the trustee's approval.

 

42.   What should the debtor do if he or she moves while the case is pending?

 

The debtor should immediately notify the bankruptcy court and the chapter 13 trustee in writing  of the new  address. Most communications in a chapter 13 case are by mail, and if the debtor fails to receive an order of the court or a notice from the chapter 13 trustee because of an incorrect address,  the case may be dismissed.  Many courts have change-of-address forms that may be used  if the debtor moves.

 

43.   What if the debtor later decides to discontinue the chapter 13 case?

 

The debtor has the right to either dismiss a chapter 13 case or convert it to a chapter 7 case at any time for any rea­son. However, if the debtor simply stops making the required chapter 13 payments,  the court may compel the debtor or the debtor's employer to make the payments and to comply with the orders of the court.  Therefore, a debtor who wishes to discontinue a chapter 13 case should do so through his or her attorney.

 

44.  What happens if a debtor is unable to complete the chapter 13 payments?

 

A debtor who is unable to complete the chapter 13 payments has three options:

 

(l) dismiss the chapter 13 case,

 

(2) convert the chapter 13 case to a chapter 7 case, or

 

(3) if the debtor is unable to complete the payments due to circum­stances for which he or she should not be held accountable,  close the case and obtain a partial chapter 13 discharge as described in the answer to Question 6 above.

 

45.   What is the role of the debtor's attorney in a chapter 13 case?

 

The debtor's attorney performs the following functions in a typical chapter 13 case:

 

(1) Examining the debtor's financial situation and determining whether a chapter 13 case is a feasible alternative for the debtor, and if so, whether a single or a joint case should be filed.

 

(2) Assist the debtor in obtaining the required pre-bankruptcy briefing on budget and credit counseling.

 

(4) Examining the liens or security interests of secured creditors to ascertain their validity or avoidance,  and taking the legal steps necessary to protect the debtor's interest in such matters.

 

(5) Devising and implementing methods of dealing with secured creditors.

 

(6) Assisting the debtor in devising a chapter 13 plan that meets the needs of the debtor and is acceptable to the court.

 

(7) Preparing the necessary pleadings and chapter 13 forms.

 

(8) Filing the chapter 13 forms and pleadings with the court.

 

(9) Attending the meeting of creditors, the confirmation hearing, and any other court hearings required in the case.

 

(10) Assisting the debtor in obtaining court approval of a chapter 13 plan.

 

(11) Checking the claims filed in the case, filing objections to improper claims, and attending court hearings thereon.

 

(12)  Assisting the debtor in overcoming any legal obstacles that may arise during the course of the case.

 

(13) Assisting  the debtor in attending and  completing the required  instructional  course on personal financial management.

 

(14) Assisting the debtor in obtaining a discharge upon the completion or termination of the plan.

 

The fee charged by an attorney for representing a debtor in a chapter 13 case must be reviewed and approved by the bankruptcy court. This rule is followed whether the fee is paid to the attorney prior to or after die filing of the case, and whether it is paid to the attorney directly by the debtor or by the chapter 13 trustee. The court will not approve a fee unless it finds the fee to be reasonable.

 

 

 

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 Bankruptcy

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Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell, LLC, Attorneys at Law.

Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell, LLC, Attorneys at Law.

Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell, LLC, Attorneys at Law.

Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell, LLC, Attorneys at Law.