Chapter 7Bankruptcy Discharges Unsecured Debt; Including Lawyer Fees
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of your unsecured debts are discharged. This includes any fees you owe your bankruptcy attorney. Any creditor that pursues you after the debt has been discharged is violating the bankruptcy discharge order. This includes your bankruptcy attorney.
Taking Post Dated Checks
I practice in the Northern District of Georgia. There are some attorneys who will take post-dated checks and file Chapter 7 cases. In my humble opinion, cashing a post-dated check for attorney fees is a discharge violation. In addition, mailing a collection letter for attorney fees that were discharged in a bankruptcy case is also a discharge violation.
If you would like to read a case where a judge penalized a large law firm for taking post dated checks, click here. If you would like to read about how this same firm got into trouble for doing the same thing again, click here.
Do You Want to Hire an Attorney Who Cuts Corners?
When you choose a bankruptcy attorney, you need to ask yourself this question, “Do you really want to hire a bankruptcy attorney that is willing to cut corners?”
When your bankruptcy case is filed with the court, your neck is on the line. When you sign the papers, you do so under oath. Everything in that petition has to be accurate and in compliance with the law. For this reason, you must have a bankruptcy attorney that you can trust.
I don’t know any small firms in my local area that will take post-dated checks to file a bankruptcy case. I’ve heard rumors that some large filers in the Atlanta area continue the practice.
Refusing to Pay After the Discharge
In theory, could you trick some large law firm into filing your bankruptcy case and then refuse pay any more money after the discharge order is entered? You could do this but why in the world would you want to place your own bankruptcy attorney in a position that is against you? What if some issues arises from your case after the discharge and you need them?
I imagine that the conversation could go something like this, “Dear bankruptcy attorney, I have an important question about my case that you filed for me.”
Response: “I will tell you the answer to your question once you finish paying me the attorney fees.”
What a nightmare!
If you are going to file a Chapter 7 case, pay your attorney fees upfront and find a bankruptcy attorney that you can trust.