I have had some health issues and called upon a friend to help me file Ch. 7. He is an attorney, and I thought he knew what he was doing. Unfortunately, he submitted paperwork that contained numerous errors and incorrect statements. I paid the fees to him for the court, but he never paid the court. I am just now realizing that his name appears nowhere in my petition or any other documents. Now, I am losing my house and everything is falling apart. What recourse do I have? How can I get this entire case dismissed? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Apparently the lawyer acted as a Petition preparer and not as your lawyer. Although Petition Preparer must be listed along with his/her fees. Suggest you look for a lawyer on this site.
You need to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney NOW. There may be ways to save things.
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Please, please call an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Do not handle this on your own. Too complex.
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As complex as you may feel this is (and it is), it can be easily remedied by an experienced bankruptcy practitioner. Any attorney that you hire will need to enter and appearance in the case, file amended documents and will likely have to appear at a hearing set by the judge to determine what has happened in the case. If things are egregious enough the judge may even refer the prior attorney for discipline but this is unlikely.
Definitely don't handle this yourself and talk to your friend the attorney about getting your money back to pay your new attorney. If he is truly your friend or understands his obligations to you he will comply quickly.
If the court's filing fees were not paid, the court will eventually dismiss the case. However, if you plan to file again, this creates problems. Speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney--most offer free consultations.
This response does not indicate any attorney/client relationship. Only a signed retainer agreement does that.
If he did not pay the fee the case is most likely dismissed or about to be. You can go after him and request a refund of the fees within a new filing if you like. You can also report the conduct to the U.S. Trustee's office and they will investigate as well. Please give me a call if you would like to discuss further. We are located in the Metro Atlanta area and offer free consultations. If the case was dismissed we may be able to file a motion to reopen and amend your schedules.
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You need to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer ASAP to see what can or cannot be fixed. Do not let the case be dismissed for non-payment of court costs while you are seeking counsel. Once you get counsel, report your "friend" to the U.S. Trustee and Georgia State Bar for discipline and attempt to get a refund of your fees. He may need to be disbarred. But make your first priority getting a lawyer to fix the case (don't assume dismissal is smart - it may be a disaster).
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