In many cases attorney fees in Oklahoma bankruptcy will be discharged. Lots of people experiencing financial hardship consider bankruptcy. They either file a Chapter 7 or chapter 13. When someone files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy they ultimately desire a discharge of their debts. A discharge is an order from the bankruptcy court that decrees you are no longer responsible for the debts. This is what bankruptcy attorneys in Tulsa refer to as a fresh start. With a fresh start the primary question is which debts are forgiven by the court’s bankruptcy decree. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the question can I include attorney fees in Oklahoma bankruptcy.
Discharged Attorney Fees in Oklahoma Bankruptcy
Generally speaking past attorney fees are treated the same as any other unsecured creditor. That means that a debtor will list the past due attorney fee in the bankruptcy and then they are discharged in the bankruptcy. Pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code, you must list all your creditors. By signing your bankruptcy pleadings you are swearing under oath that you have included all your financial information, including attorney fees you owe. Attorney fees for your bankruptcy attorney aren’t treated any differently.
That’s why most chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys require their clients to pay them in full before filing their bankruptcy case. If they don’t pay them, regardless of the agreement, the debtor can stop paying that attorney fee post bankruptcy and there’s nothing that can be done about it. In fact, if the attorney continues to attempt collecting the bankruptcy attorney fees he can face retribution form the bankruptcy court itself. . However, some attorney fees are not dischargeable.
Legal Fees Not Discharged in Bankruptcy
The Bankruptcy Code states that certain debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. For example alimony and child support will not be discharged in the bankruptcy court’s decree. Courts have also held that Attorney fees for obtaining alimony or child support are not discharged in bankruptcy. Attorney fees for all other aspects of divorce are still treated as unsecured, and therefore dischargeable as discussed above. Furthermore, if the attorney fees were charged for defending something that is not dischargeable, like breaching a fiduciary duty, intentional torts or criminal actions, those fees may also be safe from discharge.
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Therefore if a debtor owes attorney fees from a past divorce or other legal fees they must be included in the bankruptcy filing. Then to determine whether the fees are dischargeable you must consider what services were being provided to incur the attorney fees. If the fees are for obtaining alimony, child support or defending something that is not dischargeable the fees will likely be non-dischargeable. If you’d like a free attorney consultation from one of our Tulsa Oklahoma bankruptcy lawyer call us at 918.743.2233