If you have to decide between paying your credit cards and paying the grocery bill, we need to talk. If you can’t answer your phone because your creditors won’t leave you alone, we need to talk. No one wants to file bankruptcy. People that come to our office often are embarrassed, scared, and under a lot of stress. In our free consultation, we will help you prepare a plan of action for dealing with your debt.
Chris Huether will spend approximately an hour with you, free of charge, to review your current situation and determine whether bankruptcy is the best option for you. If you decide to file, we will walk you through every step of the process. We normally charge a flat fee for bankruptcy filings, the fee may vary depending on how complicated it is.
For more information on our fees and the process, please view our Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions.
Please complete our Free Initial Review form on the right or give us a call to set up a time.
Annual Credit Report – you are entitled to one free credit report from each credit agency per year; you can create an account print or save the reports from this site.
U.S. Bankruptcy Courts’ “Bankruptcy Basics” – general information from the US Bankruptcy Court about the bankruptcy process.
Minnesota Bankruptcy Court – the website has local forms and rules and information on our bankruptcy judges in Minnesota.
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys – Chris is a member of this group, which provides resources for consumers, as well as training and information for attorneys.
Bankruptcy Law Network – good general information on bankruptcy for a variety of attorneys around the country
Cricket Debt Relief – a credit counseling company we use for the government-mandated pre-filing counseling.
Solid Start – a credit counseling company we use for the government mandated post-filing counseling.
Chris is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $1,900 – $1,534 flat legal fee, $306 for a filing fee, and $60 for credit counseling required before and after filing. A typical Chapter 13 bankruptcy costs $2,400 – $2,066 flat legal fee, $274 filing fee, and $60 for credit counseling. We find it is easier for the client to pay the filing and counseling fees to our office than directly to the bankruptcy court and counseling companies.
Q: When do I have to pay?
A: In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we require that the entire $1,900 is paid before we file. You can certainly make monthly payments to our office, but realize it will delay the filing of your case until the funds are paid. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we require at least $834 up front – $500 for legal fees, $274 filing fee, and $60 counseling fees.
Q: What information do I need?
A: We have our clients gather some documents and fill out a packet, which you can download here, to provide us with important information about you financial situation. While we understand gathering this information can be time-consuming, it is very important for us to give you accurate advice that we know all the information. This will help us determine whether you should file for bankruptcy at all, and if so, whether it should be a Chapter 7 or 13.
Q: How long will it take until I can file?
A: Our goal is to have your petition ready within 2-4 weeks from the time we get the required information and required funds. If there is a reason to file faster, such as to stop a foreclosure, garnishment, or lawsuit, we will move quickly. Keep in mind, though, that we still need the funds, information, and you must complete your pre-filing counseling.
Q: Do you do emergency filings or partial filings?
A: Normally not. While the bankruptcy code allows partial filings, we will not do this, because it presents a large risk to the debtor if a case is filed and issues come up after the partial filing. We will only do them in very limited cases, and only after a significant consultation about why one is needed.
Q: Do I have to meet with a judge?
A: Normally, no. The only meeting most people have to attend is what is called the meeting of creditors. This is normally held 25-45 days after filing your case. For Chapter 7 cases, the meeting will be held in Fergus Falls or St. Cloud. For Chapter 13 cases, it is held in Detroit Lakes.
Q: What happens at the meeting of creditors?
A: A person, known as the bankruptcy trustee, will ask you questions. The trustee’s job is to administer your case. They look at whether you have non-exempt assets, make sure the information you listed in your bankruptcy is correct, and nothing has changed since we filed your case. You can download a list of the questions that are normally asked here. Most times, no creditors show up to the meeting of creditors. If they do, all they can do is ask you questions, just like the trustee.
Q: What happens after the meeting of creditors?
A: If the trustee has asked for any documents, we need to provide them. In a Chapter 7, the meeting of creditors is normally the last step before getting your discharge. Your order for discharge from the bankruptcy court normally comes 60 days after the meeting of creditors. If you filed a Chapter 13, a hearing will be held to confirm your plan, which you normally do not have to show up for. When you plan is confirmed, you simply make you plan payments and submit your tax returns yearly to the trustee.
Q: I don’t live in Alexandria, can I still hire you?
A: Yes, I am happy to meet with clients after-hours and on weekends. I’ll also meet you at some midway point, often we can meet in a courthouse conference room for privacy. Also, I only need to meet with most clients face-to-face one time, to review your petition and sign some paperwork. You can do the credit counseling on the internet or phone. We can gather the information by email, fax, or regular mail. Of course, I’m always happy to meet in person more, if needed, to explain issues or just make you more comfortable with everything.
Q: So now that you’ve told me all this, why do I still need an attorney?
A: Because we know the system. Think of it this way, would you ever give yourself a root canal? Of course not (at least we hope not!) So why would you handle a legal matter involving all of your assets by yourself? Chris’s practice focuses on bankruptcy, it is 50%-60% of what he does. This means he keeps up with current issues. He also works with the trustees all the time, so we know what might raise red flags in their mind. We can work with you to plan for your upcoming bankruptcy, to maximize the amount of assets you get to keep. In short, we have the expertise to help you. Chris is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, which allows him access to additional information and training.