My Bankruptcy attorney considered our professional relationship over with the dismissal of my Chapter 13, but did not notify me for another seven months. He never filed a motion to withdraw, and he never notified me verbally or in writing. I did not know the Ch. 13 had been dismissed because the same month I filed for divorce, my husband filed for a Ch. 13 / Ch. 7 conversion, without my knowledge. Soon after I left my husband, he changed the passwords to our bank accounts, therefore restricting my access to all things financial. Immediately, I called our BK attorney and asked for his advise. I wanted to know what my options were just in case my husband defaulted on the BK payments. Our attorney refused to talk with me stating that he would not discuss anything with me because he represented both of us. Then a few months later, he represented my husband alone, without me, in a conversion. Further, I have learned that all debt that was covered in the Ch. 13 will now devolve onto me, while my husband was granted a Ch. 7 discharge. Was the attorney required to notify me that he had withdrawn as my attorney?
There are 3 ways your BK lawyer can withdraw from representing you: (1) He files a motion to withdraw and you get written notice of his motion. If nobody objects, the court will grant the motion and will issue an order so stating. The motion and order are mailed to your last address on file in the case; (2) You sign a document agreeing to your attorney withdrawing from your case. (3) Your case is dismissed by the court for some reason and the case is closed. You attorney is automatically "released" from representing you. In your case option 3 was operative. If you were obligated on the discharged debt in your husband's case, you are likely to be hearing from all of those creditors. Get your own BK lawyer now to advise you on what are your options. Good luck.
You are not my client and I am not your attorney. This advice is given in the spirit of the AVVO platform and is based on general legal principles. You become a client when you enter into a formal retainer agreement with me.
Attorney Steingarber gave you an excellent answer. Legally, the attorney was released from further representation when your case was dismissed by the Court. As a matter of courtesy he should have advised you that he was no longer representing you.Also, from an ethical standpoint, he may have been precluded from representing both you and your husband once you filed for divorce. Now is the time to get a new bankruptcy attorney and start anew. Good luck to you.
You need to get your own attorney ASAP. Contact a local San Diego BK atty
First thing is to actually read you contract. It provides the terms of employment.
Second, I cannot say for sure, but I cannot fathom how any attorney would represent you by the original contract after your case was dismissed. Why would they? What would the terms of representation consist of? read it. My guess is it says to FILE a ch 13,,...not to represent you after the ch 13 plan is breached and thus dismissed.
Next, who cares really? I mean that not negatively but to make you realize: What you are about is what do you do about any debts you owe? Focus on that . That is the real issue. Even now issues and facts can still affect your case so I will point out some for you now.
You need and want to enjoy your fresh start also. But the most important thing is to meet with an attorney as you asking this question means you have not. You care about 2 goals: keeping everything you have equity in and discharging all your debts. If you don't have any of the exceptions to discharge you will obtain that goal; most exceptions are set forth in 11 USC. 523 (Google it) like child support, some income taxes, traffic (in a ch 7) and criminal fines , and presumption of student loans. But some debts are dischargeable in a ch 13 but NOT in a ch 7 so you want to make sure and your attorney will discuss any such types with you also!
Your exemptions depend on what state you have lived in in the last 2 years and thus if in your state, then your states exemptions will apply. Most persons filing keep everything they own but your attorney will confirm that with you when they learn everything you own and the equity thereof!
Some secured debts like homes, vehicles, other secured debts an attorney will discuss your options on also as you must list any debts; but that does not mean you will lose them unless you have too much equity or are in default on paying for them! Discuss those options if they apply with your attorney too.
But other issues can arise that can greatly harm your case. Just one example: If you paid back a relative $3,000 11 months ago and now file bankruptcy next week, the trustee can SUE that relative to retrieve that $3,000 (under what is called a preference) for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. As a result, most attorneys don't charge to meet with them the first meeting so meet with one no matter what.
Many great attorneys can be found right here on AVVO in your state so look, call, and meet one as soon as you can.
You should also want to know when to file: is there an advantage of waiting versus filing now and who should you pay between now and then! Good luck and enjoy your later fresh start. But your old attorney was paid to do work before. MONEY TALKS> SO if you want to employ a new attorney, offer to pay to possibly refile..Your attorney has most of the same information in his or her computer !
Excellent answers from Stuart Steinbarger and others. I agree.
Possible breach of duty owed to you when attorney represented H in converting from C13 to C7. Others may not agree.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline