What should I do if I filed bankruptcy but am still being garnished? 16 Answers as of February 08, 2011

I gave an attorney $200 deposit for personnel bankruptcy for credit card debt and interest extending over 3 and one half years. Isn't the attorney obligated now to file bankruptcy because I was told that they can garnish my wages by February 28?

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Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
Send a copy of your Creditors meeting notice to the creditor garnishing you.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 2/8/2011
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
If you filed bankruptcy and your wages are still being garnished, you should serve your employer, the creditor, and any Sheriff or Marshall involved with a Notice of Automatic Stay, attaching proof of your bankruptcy filing. This proof would include your Case Number, type of bankruptcy filing, and date of filing. This should be done by your attorney as part of the work that you hired him for, for the same flat fee that you agreed to pay him.

I strongly suspect that you have not filed bankruptcy. Your statement of facts includes the following "I gave an attorney $200 deposit for personal bankruptcy . . . Isn't the attorney obligation now to file bankruptcy because I was told they can garnish my wages by February 28?"

Attorneys do not file Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases until they are paid in full. Even if your bankruptcy attorney was working for free, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $299.00. The payment that you made to your attorney is probably an initial deposit that obligates him to begin work on your matter, but not to file the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for you unless and until you pay his fee in full.

I handle all Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases on a flat fee basis. My fees for a Chapter 7 range from a minimum of $1,500.00 to a maximum of $5,000.00, depending on the complexity of the case. My median fee for a Chapter 7 is $2,000.00. My flat fee covers many things that paralegals cannot do, and other bankruptcy attorneys charge extra for. Half of the fee is due when you hire me, half is due immediately before filing of the bankruptcy petition. All costs are included except the Bankruptcy Court filling fee, which is $299.00 for a Chapter 7 and $274.00 for a Chapter 13. I typically charge $4,000.00 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case for debtors who work for a company, and $4,500.00 for debtors who are self-employed, though complicated cases may involve additional fees.

Adversary Proceedings and Motions are handled either on a flat fee basis or an hourly basis, according to the preference of the client. Chapter 11s are handled on an hourly basis. My hourly rate is $390.00/hour. The hourly rate for my Senior Associate Attorneys Georgeann Nicol and Michael Mahurin is $360.00/hour. The hourly rate for my Junior Associate Attorneys Sofya Davtyan, Julie Moradi-Lopes, Moran Glazer, Minha Rhee, Diana Kong, and Ori Blumenfeld is $250.00 hour. The hourly rate for my law clerks and paralegals is $200/hour. These rates are substantially less than those charged by other bankruptcy attorneys with similar experience.

Chapter 11 business reorganizations are billed hourly, with a typical retainer of $20,000.00 for an individual or small business Chapter 11. The filing fee for a Chapter 11 is $1,039.00. For an exact fee quote in writing for your matter, call me to discuss the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
You gave the lawyer a "deposit." That tells me you you still owe fees. The lawyer can not file your case until you pay in full, because he or she may not collect from you after the case is filed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
This is a question you should address with the attorney. It is unclear if you have filed bankruptcy yet or are planning on having this attorney prepare the bankruptcy petition.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
The filing fee is $300.00 so you must pay at least that much before the petition can be filed. Most lawyers will require $800.00 before its filed.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 2/7/2011
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A.
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A. | Robert S. Cohen
    It depends on what the bankruptcy retainer agreement states. Most bankruptcy attorneys require their attorneys fees and filing fee be paid prior to filing.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/7/2011
    DiManna Law Office, LLC.
    DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
    I don't understand your question - if you have filed bankruptcy and included this debt then there should be no garnishment. If you gave a bankruptcy attorney money to file, that is a different question. You should probably call an attorney to discuss you issue.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 2/7/2011
    Law Offices of Geoffrey Nwosu
    Law Offices of Geoffrey Nwosu | Geoffrey Nwosu
    The first step will be to call your bankruptcy attorney and find out if he actually filed your bankruptcy petition. It is quite possible that your $200.00 is just a deposit towards your bankruptcy fee since it is not even enough to cover the filing fee for Chapter 7 which $299.00 Most bankruptcy attorney's will only file your chapter 7 petition upon complete payment. Please consult with your lawyer or read your your contract with the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    No, the attorney is not obligated to file until you pay in full. That should have been made clear to you and probably is in the attorney-client agreement. If the attorney does the work and then files without getting paid then he is prohibited from charging you the balance which will be discharged like the credit card bills. You have to pay the attorney's fee in full before the case is filed for the work done before filing. The $200 you gave the attorney does not even cover the filing fee of $299 in Chapter 7 so don't expect that anything will be filed until you pay the attorney in full and the filing fee.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    The Pedigo Law Corporation
    The Pedigo Law Corporation | Brian T. Pedigo, Esq.
    The filing fee alone is about $300, so it is not likely your attorney has filed anything yet. Most attorneys require (or should require) 100% payment before filing because they become creditors after filing (specifically speaking about consumer chapter 7). You should speak with your attorney to find out what is happening with your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Most attorneys I know will not file a bankruptcy without first being their entire fees because they cannot collect after filing. If you want your case filed sooner, pay your attorney his fees first.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Your question has inapposite facts. Has your case been filed yet, or not? Giving your attorney a $200 deposit doesn't necessarily mean your case was filed. Your creditors can garnish and taken any other actions allowed under the laws of your state until the automatic stay goes into effect upon filing your bankruptcy case. Your attorney has whatever obligations there are pursuant to your retainer agreement with him/her. In a Chapter 7 case, that usually requires payment in full prior to filing (at least it does in my office).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You have to pay off all of your fees before the attorney will file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek | Steven A. Wolvek
    Depends on the agreement you have with the attorney. When the filing fee alone is $299 most offices will not file a case until all fees owed are paid regarding of potential garnishments, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Javia & Moore
    Javia & Moore | Marisa-Andrea Moore
    You really need to discuss this with your attorney and look over your retainer agreement. What your attorney is "obligated" to do in this particular case depends much upon what the two of you mutually agreed upon and contracted for. For example, some attorneys require a deposit in order to ensure that they will set aside time for your case, but will not file until they have been paid in full. Some attorneys will file before they have been paid in full, but may contract for a certain amount to be paid, including filing fees, before they will file. I do not know what is in your retainer agreement and what you and your attorney discussed. This is really something you should discuss with him or her as soon as possible.

    Just to give you a little piece of mind in the interim, the filing of a bankruptcy petition will create an automatic stay as soon as it is filed. This means with very few exceptions, creditors cannot take any type of collection action against you INCLUDING garnishing your wages. Creditors can face severe penalties by violating this stay. So even if your petition is filed on February 27, your creditor will not be able to garnish your wages. But please, talk to your attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
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