Saturday, August 13, 2011
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Payment Plans
The key with payment plans for Chapter 7 cases are that all fees and costs must be paid before the case is filed. At first glance, this may disappoint you, but for 99-plus percent of people it's not a problem. There are a couple of factors to keep in mind.
- First, this is the only legal way to offer a Chapter 7 payment plan. If an attorney extends a payment plan into the period after a Chapter 7 is filed, he or she is breaking the law. This is because unpaid, pre-filing fees cannot be collected after a Chapter 7 case is filed due to the automatic stay. Any bankruptcy lawyer who would consider offering an illegal payment plan is either ignorant about basic bankruptcy law or is playing fast and loose with the rules. You do not want this. In general, the Court will not excuse you from the law just because you were following the advice of an unethical lawyer.
- Second--and this is key--the payment plan period usually overlaps with the pre-filing process. In other words, you and your lawyer need time to prepare your case for a successful filing. This work is done along side the payment plan. Once the payments are made and the work is completed, the case is filed. One extra thing we provide is a service to handle creditor phone calls while you are in the pre-filing process. This makes the payment plan process comfortable by giving you some breathing room. Ask about this if you decide to call us.