Bankruptcy Petition Questions and Answers

The following questions and answers were submitted to Victoria Ring either at a teleconference or by email during this past week. The best of the best were chosen to be published below.  The answers are provided by Victoria Ring who is not an attorney.  Therefore, the information provided in this material is for training purposes only and no whole or part should be regarded as legal advice.

DEAR VICTORIA:

If a lady is filing bankruptcy and she is pregnant at the time of filing, is the unborn child considered a dependent on Schedule I of the bankruptcy petition?

ANSWER:

No. An attorney explained it like this to a client one time who asked the same question: We do not know if your child will die at birth, be given up for adoption, raised by a family member or any other number of factors that could alter the dependent status of the unborn child.  Therefore, the child is not eligible to be a dependent until after the birth.

But, if the bankruptcy is still ongoing at the time the child is born and the child will be the dependent of the female filing bankruptcy, Schedule I and J would need to be Amended to allow for the dependent claim as well as the monthly expenses to care for the infant.

DEAR VICTORIA:

Am I to understand that I do not have to use a Certificate of Service when I initially file the bankruptcy petition?  That means I only need to use the Certificate of Service afterwards?

ANSWER:

You are correct.  The Creditors Matrix within the bankruptcy petition serves the place of the Certificate of Service.

DEAR VICTORIA:

If a bankruptcy case is closed, can it be reopened so the attorney can file an amendment?

ANSWER:

It depends on several factors.  How long has the case been closed? What are the reasons for reopening the case? Can the attorney prove to the Judge that there is good enough reason to reopen the case?  Was the case discharged or dismissed? (There is a big difference.)  Therefore, in order to sufficiently answer this question, you need to contact the Help Desk of your local bankruptcy court and obtain the rules for reopening a closed bankruptcy case so that your attorney can review them and make a decision whether to do so or not.

DEAR VICTORIA:

During an online search I found a motorcycle that was titled in the name of the debtor but the motorcycle was not reported on the client intake forms.  When I asked the debtors about it, the wife said it was repossessed and the husband said it was sitting in their garage.  Who should I believe?

ANSWER:

No one.  Your job as a non-attorney is not to make legal decisions. Make sure you document this problem and point it out to the attorney.  The attorney will need to determine the best way to handle the situation.

DEAR VICTORIA:

Do you really train attorneys?  I find that hard to understand.

ANSWER:

Why is it so hard to understand? Attorneys do not obtain training in how to prepare bankruptcy petitions and pleadings when they attend law school. They are trained in the legal aspects of the various chapters within bankruptcy; but they are not trained in the actual day-to-day operation of the bankruptcy law firm.  This is where I provide the service and it is one of the most fulfilling jobs I have.

DEAR VICTORIA:

I am interviewing a prospective attorney client whose full-service bankruptcy practice includes Chapters 7, 11, and 13, and creditor representation.  He is a solo practitioner (25 yrs in bankruptcy) and is done with the hassle of training staff.  Do you (at a fee, of course) provide any personalized training in Chapter 11 and creditor representation?

ANSWER:

I would never recommend that a Chapter 11 be done virtually.  You must be able to work in the law firm office.  Why?  In a Chapter 11 there is no trustee so the rules change considerably compared to a Chapter 7 and 13.  Additionally, a CPA is normally hired to maintain bookkeeping records and report to the bankruptcy court every month.  Finally, you also should have some working knowledge of corporate law to work with Chapter 11s.

As you know, I am solely dedicated to John Q public which is why I ONLY provide training in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Perhaps you have a Chapter 11 confused with a small business owned by a debtor.  Unless a debtor owes $1 million in Schedule F debts, the debtor still can file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for their sole proprietorship business.

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