Several recent court rulings in the 11th Circuit (all Georgia bankruptcy courts are part of the 11th Federal Circuit) have disallowed payment plans that call for the use of post-dated checks. If you meet with a lawyer who offers to represent you and accepts payments using post dated checks that lawyer is acting improperly.
North Georgia bankruptcy attorney Brian Cahn offers an interesting take on the post-dated check controversy. For now, at least, post dated checks are not an acceptable way of paying for Chapter 7.
Unfortunately, we can no longer offer payment plans that provide for payment after your case is filed. Bankruptcy judges in several states have ruled that attorneys may not collect fees after the Chapter 7 case has been filed. If an attorney offers to accept post dated checks or some other payment plan that attorney is doing something that is improper and you should think twice about doing business with such a firm.
Please note that we do accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express as well as “checkcards.” The bankruptcy law will not allow you to charge something to a credit card, and within a few days, file a bankruptcy to erase that debt. As a result, if you wish to pay my fees with credit card, we can accept cards that belong to your relatives or friends. You can also split your credit card payments among several cards.
All attorney’s fees in Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia must be approved by the Bankruptcy Judge. The Judges in our district have issued a standing Court Order that explains the fee process. Previous Orders of this type established a “no look” fee of specific amounts – under the new Order, attorney’s fees must be “reasonable” given the complexity of the case.
Fees in Chapter 13 cases will range from $4,500 to $5,000 over the five year term of your Chapter 13 case. You will need at least $600 of this fee up front with the remaining balance payable by the Chapter 13 trustee from funds you pay into your plan. You will also need to pay the filing fee of $310, meaning that you will need $910.00 to start.
If you are self employed, if this is a second or third Chapter 13 filing or if your case involves unusual legal issues, I may ask for additional fees up front. At the same time, if your case is very simple, I will quote you a fee that is lower than my standard rate.
We are very aware that if you are filing bankruptcy you probably do not have a lot of spare cash and we will work with you in any way we can to create a fee agreement that works for you.