FAQ: Chapter 13

In the greater Chicagoland area, most attorneys charge $4,000 for an entire Chapter 13 case. This is a flat fee approved by the court that covers you from filing through discharge for all ordinary Chapter 13 representation. Please, don't believe anyone advertising "low fee" Chapter 13 cases, as almost all attorneys use the court's flat fee agreement. Those who do not generally try and charge you more.

In most cases, the attorney's fee does not need to be paid in full upfront. At Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC. qualified individuals can file with no money down on the same day that they come in for a consultation. Even if the qualifications for no money down are not met, most people pay a only small portion of the fee upfront, in either a lump sum or installments, with the balance included in the Chapter 13 plan payment.

In addition to the legal fee, one must also pay the court a filing fee of $310, which is the same across the country by federal law, and certain expenses, typically under $100. The filing fee and expenses are usually paid upfront, but they can be included in the plan for qualified individuals.

How much is my monthly payment going to be?

How much is your mortgage payment? How far behind are you? How much do you owe on your car? Etc., etc., etc... Plan payments vary from case to case, depending on a number of factors such as the types and amount of your debt, the value of your assets, the length of the plan, and your income and expenses both before and after filing, etc. Because a lot of information and documents are needed in order to prepare a Chapter 13 plan, it is often impossible to tell during the initial interview exactly how much a plan payment will be, but a reasonable estimate will be provided.

The main purpose of the free consultation with our office is to determine if a Chapter 13 plan will work for you. Once we determine it will, our primary job is to ensure that your plan payment is as affordable as the law permits while protecting your assets and getting you to discharge as quickly as is feasible. This is why you meet with an experienced bankruptcy professional to prepare your plan.

Do I have to pay all of my debt?

Most people who file Chapter 13 do not have to pay off their debt. Usually, secured debt such as mortgage arrears and car loans must be paid in full in order for the debtor to retain the collateral (the house or car), while only a portion of the unsecured debt such as credit card debt and medical bills needs to be paid. The percentage of the unsecured debt to be repaid varies from case to case, depending on the facts of each case.

Can a plan be rejected?

Yes, and many filed with the court are. A Chapter 13 plan must satisfy a list of requirements. In addition, the debtor must fulfill certain duties, e.g., attending the meeting of creditors, making payment under the plan, and providing certain documents. Failure to do those things could be grounds for denial of confirmation and dismissal of the case.

Our job as your attorney is to help you comply with the law and make sure your plan gets confirmed. We will prepare a plan for you that can be confirmed, walk you through the process and do everything within our power to make your plan work. Remember, we almost always put most of our fees into the plan payments, so we won't file a plan that we do not believe will be successful.

What if my hours at work get cut, I lose my job, or I retire?

The bankruptcy law contemplates these situations in people's lives and often provides solutions. A plan sometimes can be modified in light of the change of circumstances; the payment may be reduced or the plan period may get extended. Other times it may be possible to convert the case to Chapter 7. We as your attorneys will help you analyze your situation, explain your options and recommend the best course of action.

Schedule Your Consultation To Learn More. Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC

Contact our offices online or call 312-574-3327 to speak with an experienced Illinois Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. We are ready to help.

Ledford, Wu & Borges, LLC has offices in Downtown Chicago, South Side Chicago, North Riverside/Berwyn, Northwest Side and Schaumburg.