Having a competent, skilled, Stickney bankruptcy attorney is extremely important these days especially for Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Since the law changed on October 17, 2005, Chapter 13 has gotten more complicated. It is harder today to get a case confirmed than it ever was. There are more and more requirements and prerequisites placed upon the debtor. For example, prior to the law change, Chapter 13 trustees did not ask for federal tax returns after the case was filed. Under the new law, the Chapter 13 trustees have the right to ask for each subsequent year’s tax return to determine whether or not the plan payment needs to be increased and to determine whether or not there is a refund that’s going to be forthcoming to the debtor. In the Northern District of Illinois, there are three Chapter 13 standing trustees who administer Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. One of the bankruptcy Chapter 13 trustees allows the debtor to keep whatever the tax refund may be free and clear. A second trustee requires that anything over $1,200.00 of a tax refund be submitted to the Chapter 13 trustee to be part of the plan. Finally, a third trustee wants any amount of a refund to be paid towards the Chapter 13 plan payment. Thus, within the same district in the Northern District of Illinois, the three standing Chapter 13 trustees all treat tax returns differently.
The reason why I mention this point is that if you don’t have an experienced bankruptcy attorney, you are not going to understand what the trustees are looking for. I know right away under a particular trustee whether or not the case is going to run smoothly or whether or not the case is going to run more difficult. I also know which trustee is going to be more apt to recommend the case for confirmation and which trustee is going to be more apt to reject the case for confirmation. I also know which trustee and which judge is going to be most beneficial on behalf of the debtor who is claiming bankruptcy and I know which trustee and which judges are going to be more difficult on the debtor. By knowing this information in advance and by being a part of the bankruptcy community, I have an advantage that a rookie bankruptcy attorney or an attorney who doesn’t handle bankruptcy on a regular basis will have.
To help in making an educated decision on which bankruptcy lawyer to hire, contact your local bar association or search for prospects on the internet. Be sure to meet with several attorneys before making a final decision. Do not simply hire the first attorney or the cheapest attorney.