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Chpt 13 - I think I started with a bad attorney?

New Member

Chpt 13 - I think I started with a bad attorney?

So I've been lurking and I have a ton of questions but I guess maybe I'm posting here just because I'm scared to death and need just the reassurance/advice I've been seeing in this forum.  So I thought I did my research and found a good lawyer to file bankruptcy.  Looked at the Google reviews, tried to look up ratings on different websites.  Read the comments from people.  The real pressure to file bk was because I was being garnished, had 1 day per pay period mandatory furlough and was almost 2 months behind on car payment.  So here is the timeline with the attorney I met with:

01/05 - Initial consultation at which time I brought all my financial paperwork required to file

01/10 - Lawyer working on my files, requests additional information on taxes which I provide that day

01/11 - 2nd consultation lawyer wanting to push chapter 7.  I told him I had to keep my car since that was my only transportation, my only way to get my disabled son to his doctors appointments, and because of my credit history (a repo before) and the relatively new status of this car I wouldn't be able to find financing for another vehicle.  Asked for advice if choosing between making the double car payment to cure default or catching up utilities which should I do and was adviced to catch up on utilities because car arrearage was being used to help me qualify for chapter 7

01/12 - Provided signed contract with lawyer (legal fees were in a payment plan to pay $200/mo for 1 year) and asked him to file in order to get automatic stay in place

01/16 - Lawyer emailed me stating that he would be putting together all my documents for filing (week of 01/17-01/19)

01/19 - Emailed lawyer payroll fax number to stop garnishment and told him that was the due date to cure default on auto

01/24 - Lawyer emailed stating that he had deadlines for other clients but would be working on my file for Friday (01/26) to file

01/28 - Lawyer emailed saying would be working on case and said I needed to complete credit counseling - I referred him to the certificate I had emailed him on 01/03 and provided at our 01/05 meeting

02/02 - Called lawyer stating I was very concerned about car being repoed and needed bk protection.  Lawyer said well they would probably take the car anyway (not the point, I would have had options and I needed to be able to pursue those) and that I probably still had another week before they came and got car

02/08 - Car repoed @ 12:30 am

02/08 - I got a ride to lawyers office and told receptionist I would wait until he showed up.  He was in court all morning.  I told her I would wait.  He called from court and said he would call around 1.  At 5 pm that day he called and said he would be working on my case and I could "go ahead and shop around for another car"


I guess I'm wondering if it was wrong of me to expect this lawyer to file my bk fast enough to help me from getting my car repoed and having time to catch up the arrearage?  I feel like his delay of 34 days before he even decided to look at my paperwork, his telling me he was going to file and then never doing it, and his advice on how to handle car payment in order to meet bk requirements has forced me into a worse situation than before, if that is even possible. 


I did go to another attorney that same day.  I was so embarrased because I didn't even have money to put into the meter and I was driving a borrowed car to get there.  This lawyer met with me and said he would file either that day (Friday) or today and that he can get my car back.  He said he would file as a Chpt 13 (other lawyer said I had to go Chpt 7).  All I have is my car, recent tax debt, the garnishment, and 2 other lawsuits waiting in line to garnish my check.  He did a quick calculation of my payments and they were slightly less than what was being garnished.  He said he could renegotiate my interest rate on car (I'm at 24%) and the taxes would be paid.  His assistant emailed me with some questions so they are about to file.  I'm just really worried - should I have just gone with the chpt 7?  I would still need a vehicle and with 2 repo and a bk on my file and no money to put down no way I'd get financed. I'd still have tax debt. 

Also, I'm scared I'll file chpt 13 and the lender, Santander, will refuse to give the car back.  They were requiring full payment of the loan in order to get the car back when I called.  I know its still in the state, so that is a plus.  I really need my car in the next few days to get son to dr. 

I'm just really mad at first lawyer and wish I could have/could do something about how much he has hurt me.  He didn't get me to the point of needing to file bk but I really needed help and it just got worse.  Everything I read on internet says how horrible chpt 13 is but I don't have cc and I've always had to live without a lot of stuff.


Anyway, sorry this is too long.


Message 1 of 2
Valued Contributor

Re: Chpt 13 - I think I started with a bad attorney?

Chapter 13's aren't bad, but the reasons to file them are either because you don't qualify for a 7 or want to keep assets you aren't able to in a 7.


If assets aren't a consideration and you qualify for a 7, you should absolutely be going with a 7.


You should not be jumping through hoops to keep this car with a 24% interest rate. You can get another crappy loan like this if you absolutely have to. But what you really need to do is get rides from friends/family, uber, take a bus, whatever it takes, while you save up $1500 for a cash car.

Ch 7 Discharge May 2015
Discover/Target/NFCU CLOC/NFCU Cash Rewards/PenFed Power Cash Rewards/PenFed Pathfinder AMEX - $60k total revolving
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