Don’t Hide From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer!

13 Dec Don’t Hide From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer!

The other day, I overhead a telephone conversation between a current client and my paralegal. I gathered from the gist of the conversation that my client was having a difficult time making his chapter 13 payment.

The client was really dreading making this phone call to see if something could be worked out about his current financial difficulties. My paralegal reassured him and said, “don’t ever fret over calling us. That is why we are here. And don’t hide from us–we can’t help you if you don’t communicate with us.”

Very true and wise words.

A sad fact of the debt collection process is that people often “hide” from their creditors. Sometimes, even after the bankruptcy is filed, because in chapter 13 cases, on-going payments have to be made, when the debtors feel that they are having trouble making the payment, sometimes they revert back to prior behaviors–that is–hiding–trying to avoid pain.

Unfortunately, “hiding” from your bankruptcy is a bad idea. As my paralegal told our client, “we can’t help you unless you communicate with us.” Sometimes, we can come up with a solution to the problem. But, until we know of the problem, “we can’t help you.”

So, what are some of the problems? For instance, if a debtor is having trouble making their chapter 13 payment. Instead of skipping the payment, we can sometimes get a “waiver” of a month’s payment. If the payment is skipped and a few months later, another payment is skipped, we can often negotiate a resolution with the trustee but the terms will be much tougher. Possibly, even your case could be dismissed! If a debtor is struggling making the payments, often we can help in budgeting–bring a pair of fresh eyes to the problem. But, again, “we can’t help you unless you communicate with us.” Or, the debtor could owe taxes for a year after he filed bankruptcy–how to handle that?

While your bankruptcy case is proceeding, just remember, “Don’t Hide From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer.” We’re your best friend.

 

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Adrian Lapas, Esq.

I've been practicing bankruptcy law in North Carolina since 1993, and am certified as a specialist in consumer bankruptcy law by the North Carolina State Bar.
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