What do I need to bring to my initial consultation and what is the fee for the initial consultation?
Usually when you come in for your first appointment, we do an analysis of your specific situation, give you our recommendation and educate you on the bankruptcy process. You do not need any documentation; just a general understanding of your financial situation will allow us to give you our recommendation. There is absolutely no cost for the consultation with the attorney.
What do I need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and how long will it take to file my case?
Last years tax return, pay stubs from the past 60 days, evidence of income the prior six months, certificate of credit counseling, list of all creditors, both secured and unsecured and the amount owing to all creditors. You do not need a detailed list of creditors; we just need to know who they are, their address and a ballpark amount owed to the creditors. If you do not have some of these items, come anyway and we can normally work around missing documents. Our staff can inform you how to obtain free credit reports from the three reporting agencies if you need help obtaining a list of your creditors. An attorney will meet with you in person and fill out all schedules for you so that when you leave our office your case is ready to file. Usually we file cases on Thursdays, but for an emergency filing or to stop a foreclosure we can usually do a same day filing.
Does the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case stop a foreclosure on my home?
Absolutely Yes. However, your case must be filed prior to the sale of your home by the foreclosing creditor. You will set up a Ch. 13 repayment Plan or debt consolidation Plan and be able to pay back the arrearage on the home over a period of three to five years. Most clients prefer a 60 month Plan to make their monthly payments cheaper.
How are vehicle payments paid in a Chapter 13 Plan?
The lien of the vehicle is paid over three to five years at the Court’s rate of interest. The Court’s rate is usually 5% to 6%, normally saving clients interest paid to the creditor. However, you can cram down a creditor for vehicles and just pay the fair market value of the vehicle instead of the loan amount if you have had the current loan for 2.5 years. Usually, because you can stretch the lien over a 5 year period, pay the Court’s interest rate and possibly cram down the vehicle allows our clients to reduce their vehicle payments.
What will it cost to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Once you have retained the firm, you can direct all creditors to our office. The retainer fee is not an additional fee and is applied toward your initial attorney fees. We will file your case for an attorney fee of $600, plus the filing fee with the Court that is $310. So, the total fee to file a Ch. 13 that will impose an automatic stay and stop all collection efforts by creditors including lawsuits, harassing phone calls, garnishments, etc. is $910. If you come to the office with $910 we will file your case immediately. We will discuss payment options for the remaining Post-Petition attorney fees due after filling. The a fore mentioned fees are for a standard consumer bankruptcy. If you own a business or have a complex case the fees may vary based upon the facts. Our fees are very competitive and we realize you are currently in a difficult financial situation. Even with our clients who rely solely on Social Security or fixed income, we can work out payment arrangements to suit your budget.
Do I pay unsecured creditors in a Chapter 13 case?
The answer depends on many factors including but not limited to your income and non-exempt equity in assets. However, a majority of cases are filed as 0% Plans in which case there is not a distribution to unsecured creditors. Your attorney will evaluate your individual case during your free consult and explain if your case requires a distribution to unsecured creditors.
How many months will I have to make payments under the Plan?
The minimum time period for a pay plan is 36 months, however, most of our clients prefer 60 month plans to reduce their monthly payment amount.
What is the credit counseling certificate required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
The new bankruptcy law enacted in 2005 added a few minor steps to the process of filing a bankruptcy case under Ch. 13 of the bankruptcy code. This is one of the added steps. However, it is not very burdensome. Generally, it includes filing out a list of assets and debts and submitting the documents to an approved agency. Once the agency has the documentation a counselor needs to speak to you for approximately 10 minutes. You can either do the consultation in person, by phone, or using the internet. The Courts have approved hundreds of approved agencies for this service, we feel you should be receive the debt counseling where you feel most comfortable. Our Staff can give you the exact details in your free consultation.