Legal Question in Bankruptcy in Indiana

Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

My husband and I are in a Chapter 13 plan right now and the payments are starting to get harder to make. They made our payments incredibly tight and we have four kids, so things come up quite often that don't fit in the plan. When we filed last year our attorney told us we had to file a 13 or we would lose our house. Our house was appraised last year at 178,000 and we owe 164,000. At that time if the creditors tried to take our house, it would have cost them more to list it with a realtor and try to sell it. We also don't have much in the area of personal property. (My car is only worth about $2,000). Could we have filed a Chapter 7? I don't want to end up owing all of my family members money from borrowing through our plan for the next couple of years. My husband is afraid if we tried to switch to a Chapter 7, we would lose our house. I can't contact our attorney because he has not answered any of my questions and is rude to me. He gave us NO information on filing a chapter 13 and we had no idea what to expect. (It's very different than what we were told!) I know it's kind of late in the game, but can we get a new attorney?

Asked on 4/03/03, 9:17 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Samuel Hasler Samuel Hasler

Re: Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

The details I need to answer your questions about Chapter 13 vs. 7 you do not provide and would need looking at your bankruptcy petition. Your attorney ought to be talking to you but since he is not, you really need to have someone go over the details of your finances. Most mortgage companies do not want to reaffirm on a house unless the debt is current and I am assuming that you are in arrears on the house and that was why you filed Chapter 13. Find an attorney who will talk to you, and be sure to show him your bankruptcy petition and any changes to either your income or expenses since filing.

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Answered on 4/03/03, 6:10 pm

John Bator Bator Redman & Shive

Re: Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

Your attorney probably advised that you file a chapter 13 because you were in arrrears on your mortgage. How long have you been in the 13? Has it been long enough to catch up on the mortgage arrearage? If not, if you convert to a chapter 7, you will have to bring your mortgage current or face losing the home. If you are current or can get there soon, or can borrow from someone what it would take to get caught up, then you can convert to a chapter 7.

If you are unhappy with your current counsel, you may terminate your relationship and hire new counsel. Most experienced bankruptcy counsel offer free initial consultations.

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Answered on 4/06/03, 2:24 pm
Dorene Philpot Philpot Law Office

Re: Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

If you are current on the mortgage, have less than $15,000 equity in your home and have no chapter 7 case that is more recent than six years, then you can do a chapter 7.

You could convert your 13 to a 7 if there are no other factors that would make it unwise for you to do that.

You always have the right to hire new counsel if you are unhappy with the performance of your attorney.

To learn more about chapter 7 bankruptcy, see my website

Best of luck with your case.

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Answered on 4/04/03, 8:22 am

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