In every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Georgia, you must pay all of the attorney fees and costs upfront before the case is filed. If you don’t, any money that you owe the attorney who filed your case is discharged along with every other debt in your case. Making payments toward a bankruptcy case is no problem as long as they are all made before filing.
I’ve had some potential bankruptcy clients tell me that they want to post-date checks to me so I can file their case now. My office has never filed cases this way and we never will because its not legal. In my opinion, any bankruptcy attorney who files Chapter 7 cases this way is going to end up getting sanctioned by the Court in Georgia (sidenote – Just because you post date a check in Georgia does not bar your bank from clearing it today. For this reason, no one should ever post-date a check for any reason).
I’ve heard from some potential bankruptcy clients that another attorney told them that he would filed their case in this fashion. I told them that any amount of money they owe an attorney for filing their case is wiped out along all of their other debts. In addition, if an attorney were to make any effort to collect any pre-bankruptcy attorney fees, this action could potentially be a violation of the discharge order.
If you would like to read a Sixth Circuit case where a large bankruptcy filer was ordered to refund money it collected post-petition, click here. For further entertainment, click here to see where the same court spanked the same law firm a second time for ignoring the first spanking.
Hypothetically, if you could find a bankruptcy attorney that was willing to be shady, do you really want that person to represent you in court? Do you really trust them to do a good job for you?
In contrast to Chapter 7, all of your attorney fees can be included in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. For this reason, its much cheaper upfront to file a Chapter 13 and get protection from your creditors. As a result, most people who are facing foreclosure, garnishments, or repossessions will try to file a Chapter 13 case.
However, while Chapter 13 may be cheaper upfront, the attorney fees are generally more because of the increased amount of work involved as opposed to a Chapter 7 case.