High anxiety and fear, day in and day out. Thought Chap. 7 filing would be new start and now I am in the pit of hell. My attorney doesn't answer my questions and is borderline abusive, but that is another story. What are they looking for? Can they just say any money I spent over the last 4 years are stolen assets and need to be paid back to creditor? Can my attorney negotiate or is it just theirs to take? How long do I have to pay back whatever they charge me? What if we become a one income house hold with no extra money to pay back? Should I revoke the Chap7 and look at a 13 or just revoke it and live with bad credit, annoying phone calls and law suits? Can they go into my kids accounts and take their college loan money or what little money I gave them to live on while at college.
Family Law Attorney
You need to have a sit-down meeting with your attorney. He/she knows the facts better than any AVVO attorney. Good luck.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
The worst case scenario? Jail, fines, denial of discharge. But if you want a realistic assessment, you have to look at your reality. If you gave away money or property rather than pay your debts, or were caught hiding assets, you could have problems. So could the folks you gave things to, since the trustee can sue them to recover what you gave them. You can ask to convert your case to a chapter 13 or to have it dismissed, but neither of those options a right, nor are they likely if you were acting in bad faith. That is really what the trustee is looking for - indications that you are trying to pull one over on the system. As long as you have a plausible explanation for anything that is questioned, the worst case in not likely. If the trustee thinks (s)he may have a case against you, then (s)he may be open to a settlement negotiation. If you have lost faith in your attorney, you need to have an open discussion and ultimately ask for a referral to (or seek yourself) someone better.
It looks like the trustee is trying to determine if you made any transfers in the last four years in order to avoid paying your creditors. If the trustee believes you made such transfers, he or she can petition the court to pay back some money, avoid or "undo" some of the transfers you made, object to you receiving a bankruptcy discharge, or refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office to see if criminal charges are warranted. If the trustee determines that you should pay back some of the money, he or she will typically give you one year to pay it back in a chapter 7.
If you are having difficulty reaching your attorney by telephone, make an appointment for him or her to meet with you in person to go over your activity in the last few years.
If you didn't pull/try any fancy moves, then you have nothing to worry about. If you did do some things that were less than honest, in most cases it will be simply worked out monetarily where you will be asked to pay something back. Most of the time people are just forced into a CH 13 that is not uncommon.
The Trustee must suspect that there might be preferences or fraudulent transfers. (Inappropriate payments to others or attempts to hide assets) You will have difficulty pulling out of 7 without converting to another chapter. You cannot just "revoke" a 7, especially now that you have the Trustee's attention. If the kids have prepaid college funds most likely are safe. There are no quick answers to your situation but you are certainly allowed to pay your basic bills to live. A conversion to 13 may be premature. You would likely be allowed to modify the 13 plan payment with court approval if income is substantially reduced. Law suits will eventually result in garnishment efforts so" battening down the hatches" is probably your worst plan. You should have an idea of what the Trustee's issues are from questions and comments by the Trustee at the 341. You need to talk to your attorney, quietly and calmly and be sure he/she understands your concerns and any failure of communicating on your part before turning to other sources.
None of this response should be taken as legal advice as there is not enough information available to give legal advice. nor is this an appropriate forum to provide confidential legal advice. The answer provided is only intended to alleviate some of your fears so you can sleep and move forward.