What is the best way to handle our chapter 13? 18 Answers as of June 20, 2013

We have missed 3 payments to the trustee due to my husband's salary being less than it was 2 years ago when we filed. When we call to set up an appointment or to speak to our attorney, we get the paralegal who isn't really listening to us. How do we get through to our attorney or should we retain someone else?

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Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
Consider talking to an experienced chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Please understand that chapter 13 bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step. Please take time to educate yourself about bankruptcy and to determine which attorney is the best to assist you in the process. Don't assume the attorney is being completely honest about their experience and capabilities. Check them out. Avoid the attorneys who advertise on TV or profess a 100% success rate in their Internet ads. It costs hundreds or thousands of dollars for these ads and someone has to pay for them - the clients. These attorneys mass produce the work and do not offer the client the hands on assistance that is necessary in a well-planned bankruptcy. Normally these firms assign all or most of the work to paralegals and the client rarely talks to an attorney. When interviewing the attorney ask them how long they have practiced bankruptcy law. Ask what percentage of their practice is focused on consumer work. Ask whether they are experienced in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases. Ask the attorney for references. Ask about their policy of returning phone calls. They should be committed to answering specific questions about your situation and help you understand your options. If, after talking with them you are still confused about the issues you raised, find another attorney. Check them out with the various ranking sources: such as www.AVVO.com, and the State Bar. An attorney is should be your guide through this process. They should educate you, be there to assist you in how to avoid pitfalls and help you plan for your future after bankruptcy. There are hundreds of "bankruptcy" attorneys in Arizona. Of those just a few will fit the criteria set forth above. Again, bankruptcy is a very complicated process and you want to use an attorney who will be there when you need them.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/20/2013
McMahan Law Firm
McMahan Law Firm | Van D. McMahan
Write him a letter first. Hopefully, he will respond to something in writing. You may threaten to contact the bar association if he won't respond. If he does not respond after the letter, find another attorney.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 6/18/2013
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
You need a motion to modify. If the lawyer can't do it, hire someone else.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/18/2013
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
You are asking the attorney to perform additional work and not saying that you intend to pay. Ask the paralegal to schedule you with an appointment to meet with the attorney.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/18/2013
Charles Schneider, P.C.
Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
Sit in his office and demand to be spoken to or hire another attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/18/2013
    Law Offices of David A. Tilem | Michael Avanesian
    You have to understand my answer is biased because I am a different attorney. First of all, a firm like the one I work for, our paralegals are strictly forbidden to give any legal advice and our clients have our direct line (all of mine have my cell as well). We also don't hire people to go to meetings for us and the attorney that does most of your work is the one that guides you through the whole process and goes to all the hearings etc. The sad news is that many firms are exactly as you describe. The paralegal does most of the work and the attorney can hardly be bothered with telephone calls. Especially from people who have already paid and are in a plan. It's a very terrible situation. I would suggest that you 1. consider filing an ethics report www.calbar.ca.gov because your attorney is required to communicate with you. You can try suggesting to the paralegal that this is what you're considering and maybe the attorney will pay attention to you. 2. I would reach out to a different firm to represent you. Depending on the actual facts, you may be able to do a motion to modify your plan which can put you back in the green again. This is not always possible but the better attorneys can tell you with much more confidence than a cheap attorney. For example, our law firm has a former Chapter 13 trustee staff attorney, so she knows exactly what she's doing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If he does not return your calls you can complain to the bar association or get a new attorney who will be more responsive.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Before hiring a new attorney, demand that you speak to the attorney. If the attorney is too busy to speak to you, find one that will speak with you directly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Law Office of Barry R. Levine | Barry R. Levine, Esq.
    You should consider retaining the services of a new more responsive attorney. Given your husband's reduction in income, you want someone to analyze whether or not you should remain in a chapter 13, have it dismissed or convert it to a chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Depending on the duration of the reduced salary you may want to amend your plan.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
    I would send a letter to your attorney and tell him or her you will discharge him/her if you do not get a response. I would also send a copy to the trustee and to the court.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Stuart P Gelberg
    Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
    Make an appointment with your atty. if you can't get an appt, get a new atty
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Stittleburg Law Office
    Stittleburg Law Office | Bernd Stittleburg
    Go sit in his waiting room until he sees you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    Consult with another attorney soon about your plan
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    You may want to call the Trustee directly. If it is a 3 year plan, you may be able to get an extension. If nothing else, they can put a fire under your attorney. Make sure you are making payments that you can afford, do not just let a month pass with paying nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You can retain a new counsel, who would most likely just charge you by the hour at this point. Depending on the district you're in, you may have to dismiss your current attorney. In any case, the new counsel will tell you whether that is necessary. The new counsel can then amend the current monthly income in order to adjust changes in your income, and proposed a modified plan. In any case, if your disposable income is now $0, you may need an affidavit of support in order to continue the case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/18/2013
    Jeffrey A. Cogan, Esq., Ltd.
    Jeffrey A. Cogan, Esq., Ltd. | Jeffrey A. Cogan
    You have to retain someone else if you can't meet the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/18/2013
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