What A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Can Do For You
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can provide guidance and support to their clients in helping them through a bankruptcy proceeding. Many middle and working class families have been helped through filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, achieving debt relief while saving their home and their vehicles. For many people, it is a great way to get out from under burdensome debt. But it can be a daunting process, and that’s why you need a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy to guide you through it to a successful resolution. The attorney will assess your case and advise you of your legal options and, if you choose to file Chapter 13, will manage your case through to conclusion.
Chapter 13 is referred to as a “reorganization bankruptcy.” It protects your property and repays a portion of your debt to creditors over a fixed period of time. Payments are made to the bankruptcy trustee. (The attorney will work with you to devise an appropriate repayment budget.) Any remaining unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills may be discharged and you are no longer required to pay back the debt.
What can a bankruptcy attorney do for you?
If you hire a lawyer who specializes in Chapter 13 you can expect solid legal advice and experienced guidance throughout what is often a complicated process. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney should have a thorough understanding of local court rules and filing procedures. Your attorney should make sure you have a clear understanding of what the Chapter 13 process is and advise you whether filing for bankruptcy would be in your best interest. He or she will explain to you:
- Which type of bankruptcy will help you achieve your financial goals
- What you can expect during the bankruptcy process, and
- If your case involves any particular difficulties or risks.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will prepare and file all court documents and generate other paperwork. At the onset there will be a packet of forms for you to complete. Most attorneys have special software they use to file the required paperwork with the court. You provide financial information (income, assets, debts) to the attorney. This information will be used to prepare the official forms. The lawyer will then go over the completed paperwork with you to ensure accuracy. There may be additional forms or documents required by the court or the bankruptcy trustee. Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney is responsible for providing this paperwork promptly because missing a deadline can cause unwelcome delays or dismissal of your case.
Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney should offer a thorough explanation of the process of filing bankruptcy. The nine common elements to know about in obtaining a discharge of your debt are:
- Attend a pre-filing credit counseling course at an approved credit counseling agency or online through software your attorney provides.
- Draft paperwork with the attorney’s guidance.
- Provide proof of income over the past six months (to determine eligibility).
- Determine which assets are safe in a bankruptcy.
- Provide paperwork to the attorney to be filed with the bankruptcy court.
- Attend a brief meeting with the United States Trustee.
- Make timely payments each month to the trustee.
- Attend a post-filing personal finance management class (often online through software your attorney provides).
- Receive a final discharge of debts from the bankruptcy court.
Some details may vary depending on your particular circumstances. The entire process takes on average four to six months. You will be expected to:
After Chapter 13 has been filed all debtors must attend a mandatory hearing called the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Depending on your particular case, you or your attorney may be required to attend additional hearings. In most cases, before you file your bankruptcy case, your attorney will be able to advise you about the hearings you can anticipate attending. Some common types of hearings you can expect your attorney to attend are Chapter 13 confirmation hearings and other motions or objection hearings filed either by you, your creditors or the trustee.
Not every Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is complicated, but they can be. It is the lawyer’s job to provide you with competent advice and representation in all aspects of your bankruptcy, including:
- The facts of the case
- The type of bankruptcy you file
- If it’s an “asset” or “no asset” case (in which the trustee might sell some or all of your property
- If you are an owner of a small business
- If litigation will be involved
If you have questions about any aspect of your case you should be able to depend on your attorney to respond to your calls or emails promptly.
Contact a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney today! The attorneys at Coons & Crump are supportive, knowledgeable and want all of our clients to experience the relief a Chapter 13 can provide. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your options. We can be reached at three locations in Kansas – Lawrence 785-856-8720; Overland Park 913-353-4044; Topeka 785-783-2360. Call Today!
“We will respond to your needs with honesty, integrity and respect. We will provide a high level of service in order to ensure the greatest chance of financial success after the bankruptcy process is completed. We will fight for and protect your rights, regardless of whether that puts us at odds with the United States Trustee or the bankruptcy court itself.”