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Does a CH 7 bankruptcy erase attorney bills outstanding?

Long Beach, CA |

I lost my job twice in less than a year and am currently unemployed with $40k in unpaid legal bills. Does a CH 7 bankruptcy erase these or do I have to sell my car ( a VW I need to find a job and care for my toddler)?

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Attorney answers 5


Most kinds of debts can be eliminated in Chapter 7. Attorney fees relating to ex-spouse may be an exception but would depend on the exact terminology used by the court. Otherwise attorney fees can be eliminated. Hope this perspective helps!


I agree with Dorothy. Get an experienced bankruptcy attorney to look at your affairs. These things really need to be done right and the last thing you want to do is to file a bankruptcy against an attorney that contain any mistakes.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here. Please visit my web site: for more information about my services.


If you owe the attorney that represented you, those fees would most likely be discharged in a Ch7 BK. If you owe the other party's attorney in a non-family law setting, those, too, would most likely be discharged. Whether fees owed to your (ex)spouse's attorney would be discharged depends on the characterization of those fees in the family court order.
Keep in mind that any otherwise dischargeable fees may be deemed non-dischargeable if the creditor files an Adversary Proceeding and proves that you defrauded them.


There are a number of exemptions that allow bankryptcy debtors to keep at least their primary vehicle. You need to speak with an attorney about those exemptions and about whether your attorney bill can be discharged in bankruptcy.


"$40k in unpaid legal bills."

Wow, that's a lot.....
Any related entities? (might complicate the picture)
You get exemptions, and there are two sets of these which are largely dictated as to whether you have a house or not.

Call if you want to explore. If I do someone's bankruptcy, I'm a debt relief agency. I am also curious if you have taxes to discharge.....

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Curt Harrington
Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Electrical-Chemical-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney
(562) 594-9784
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Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.

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