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David C. Hoskins, Attorney at Law

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In this series of articles, Mr. Hoskins describes chapter 13 bankruptcy and related issues, as well as how much a chapter 13 bankruptcy will cost in Colorado.

How Much Will I Pay for a Chapter 13?

Posted by jsantaga on January 9, 2013

Costa_Rica_323.pngHow much will I have to pay an attorney for a Colorado Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Attorney fees in Chapter 13 cases are paid in two ways. First, an attorney will usually collect some amount before the case is filed. Second, after the court has approved a chapter 13 plan, the attorney must apply to the court to get paid for the balance of the services necessary to file the case and get a plan approved.

Many attorneys will charge an amount up front that's sufficient to pay for the pre-filing services (it's a down payment). That amount will vary in the marketplace from nothing to a few thousand dollars, depending upon the same factors that apply in a Chapter 7 case. (See my article regarding Chapter 7 attorney fees). When an attorney requires less of a down payment, that attorney is anticipating that a sufficient fee will be paid through the Chapter 13 Plan, and that the client will successfully perform the plan. The more difficult a case is, the more the attorney will require as a down payment, because the attorney does not want to risk his fee on the client's success in the plan.

In the District of Colorado, the court has established a presumptively reasonable attorney's fee for Chapter 13 cases. That fee is presently $3,600. The court has also established certain basic services that an attorney must perform in a Chapter 13 case. If an attorney is satisfied with that presumptive fee for those basic services, the total fee, whether collected before or after the case is filed, will be no more than $3,600.

However, since October 2005, the bankruptcy process has become very technical, driven by strict time limits and other requirements that are very time consuming. Many experienced and competent bankruptcy attorneys have found that it is not feasible to provide the court's mandated services for $3,600. Those attorneys must file a detailed application with the court to be paid any amount in excess of the presumptive fee. That application may be subjected to objections by the debtor, any creditor and, especially, the Chapter 13 Trustee.

 

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DISCLAIMER
The statements of law made here are general statements of law, effective at the time published and subject to change from time to time. These statements are not intended, nor may they be construed, to be applicable to any particular set of factual circumstances nor to any particular person. I recommend that all readers seek the assistance and advice of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer for guidance in their particular circumstances.

© Copyright 2013 David C. Hoskins, licensed Colorado lawyer