Our most commonly asked questions have been answered below. Click on the question to reveal the answer.

  1. I recently filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge. How long must I wait before I can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    You may file a Chapter 13, if you want to, the day after you conclude a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  2. When will my case be filed?

    Absent unusual circumstances, I will file your case the same day that we meet and you sign your bankruptcy documents.

  3. May I leave current creditors out of my case?


  4. May I include a debt in my case that was incurred AFTER the filing of my Chapter 13?


  5. May I include debt owed when I filed my Chapter 13 but I forgot to list when I signed my paperwork?

    Yes, but you will need to pay the Court a $26 fee to add creditors you overlooked when your case was filed.

  6. Whom do I pay after my case is filed?

    You will pay the Trustee and the mortgage on your home, if you have a mortgage, after the filing of your Chapter 13. If you have a mortgage on a home, you pay your mortgage lender directly yourself each month beginning the first day your mortgage comes due after the filing of your case. If you owe current child support, you must continue to pay your current child support each month after the filing of your case. You must not make any other payments on any other debt that is owed on the filing date of your case.

  7. When will I know how much I will pay the Trustee?

    You will learn the amount of your proposed Trustee payment the same day that we meet and you sign your bankruptcy documents.

  8. When does my Trustee payment begin?

    The filing of your case begins the month-to-month cycle of paying the Trustee. You will receive a letter from the Trustee informing you that your payment due date is 30 days after the electronic filing of your case.

  9. How do I convey my payment to the Trustee?

    If you are employed, I will arrange for payments to be paid directly out of your payroll department. If you are not employed, each month you will mail a money order (never cash or a personal check) to the Trustee beginning 30 days after the filing of your case.

  10. The Trustee has sent me a letter telling me that my payment due date is 30 days after the filing of my case. Should I be worried about the status of my Trustee payment when I am at Court for my meeting of creditors?

    No. When you are being interviewed by the Trustee at your meeting of creditors, he does not know or care if you or your payroll has paid his office. I will review with you the status of your Trustee payment before you leave Court.

  11. I need to mail a money order to the Trustee. What address do I use?

    If you are paying the Trustee by money order, please make the money order payable to: “Trustee John LaBarge”, write your case number on the face of the money order and mail it to:

    Trustee John V. LaBarge, Jr.
    PO Box 430908
    St Louis, MO 63143

  12. May I courier or overnight my payment or send my payment by certified mail?

    No—your payment may be refused. When you pay the Trustee by mail, you must simply enclose your money order in a stamped envelope and deposit it in the mail box.

  13. Can I mail my Trustee payment to Firm 13?

    Please don’t- this will only delay the receipt of the payment by the Trustee.

  14. Can I deliver my Trustee payment to Firm 13?

    I want you to personally deliver your Trustee payment to me only when I ask you to do so and I can be on the lookout for your payment.

  15. How do I pay the future mortgage on my rental property?

    All future mortgage payments on rental property are included in your Trustee payment. Do NOT make separate mortgage payments on rental or investment property.

  16. Do I have to go to Court after my case is filed?

    Yes. You will appear at a meeting of creditors, on a Monday at 1:00 pm, approximately a month after the filing of your Chapter 13. You will be asked to appear 15 to 30 minutes early.

  17. Where is the Court?

    The Thomas Eagleton Federal Courthouse is located in downtown St. Louis at 10th and Walnut Streets. If you park on Market Street, you will find the Court by going south one block on Tenth Street.

  18. What do I bring with me when I go to Court?

    You should bring a driver’s license and a social security card. If you do not have a driver’s license, you may bring a state ID. If you don’t have a social security card, please bring a W-2 (not a tax return) from any year.

  19. What hearings do I attend after my meeting of creditors?

    If all goes well, you will not need to attend any other hearings after your meeting of creditors. While you are welcome to appear at any hearing in your case, you can assume that you need not attend any hearing after your meeting of creditors unless specifically requested to attend.

  20. I just filed my Chapter 13. When will a garnishment stop?

    Your garnishment is required to stop upon the electronic filing of your case. If you continue to be garnished after filing, please bring your pay stubs reflecting such garnishment to your meeting of creditors. I will then help you retrieve your money.

  21. I have creditors (pay day loans, vehicle loans, etc.) set up to be automatically paid out of my bank account or payroll department. What do I do about these payments?

    You must go to your payroll department or bank and stop these automatic payments yourself. Remember, you are not permitted to make separate payments on debt included in your Chapter 13 other than your future mortgage payments on your home.

  22. What should I do about post-dated checks after my case is filed?

    After filing, you should stop payment on post-dated checks or close your bank account to prevent your creditor from invading your bank account and removing your funds.

  23. I have a checking or savings account with a credit union to whom I owe a debt. What happens to my money on deposit when I list my credit union as a creditor and file my case?

    After your case is filed, your deposits will be frozen and applied against the balance owed to the credit union. To avoid this result, you should close your account with the credit union before filing.

  24. Should I tell my creditors that I have filed a Chapter 13?

    You can, but you don’t have to. About a week after filing, the Court will notify all your creditors in writing that your case has been filed. I will be responsible to stop the foreclosure on your home, levy on a bank account, and garnishment of your wages.

  25. My gas or electric company is threatening to terminate my service. How do I keep my service on?

    Tell me about this threat so that I can file a motion to maintain your utility service.  The Court may, however, require you to pay a security deposit to the utility over a six month period.

  26. The Court just sent me a notice telling me that I need to complete a personal financial management course. Didn’t I already do that?

    Probably not. You already have done credit counseling in order to be eligible to file your case. The Court’s notice, however, refers to the second course than must be taken from an approved credit counseling agency. Generally, the non-profit agency which provided you your pre-filing counseling will be able to offer you the post-filing financial management course.

  27. I’m in a Chapter 13. When must I complete a course on personal financial management?

    About two to three months after the filing of your case, the Court will send you a reminder that you must complete your second counseling course before the completion of your Chapter 13. The Court’s reference to the 45-day deadline for a Chapter 7 filer is not relevant to you if you have filed a Chapter 13. I will remind you to take your second course before the end of your case.

  28. What insurance must I have on my vehicle after I file a Chapter 13?

    If you owe a vehicle loan , the Court requires that you maintain full, comprehensive vehicle insurance with the deductible being no higher than $500.

  29. Can I take on credit after the filing of my case?

    You cannot take on credit after the filing of your case without Court approval. Generally, the Court will not be inclined to approve signature loans, or credit card or charge accounts. Please call the office in advance of attempting to qualify for a vehicle loan.

  30. Must I get Court approval to sign a vehicle loan after the filing of my case?

    Yes. To file a motion for approval for you to sign a vehicle loan, I need you to provide me a written offer from an auto dealership which identifies the year, make and model of the vehicle, the proposed loan amount, interest rate and monthly payment on the loan. If you must make a down payment, you must tell me where you have obtained the funds for the down payment. While you are free to contact any auto dealership you wish, I can refer you to dealerships that are familiar with the bankruptcy process and have offered vehicle loans to Firm 13 clients.

  31. I have filed a Chapter 13. Am I eligible for a loan modification?

    You may seek a loan modification after the filing of your Chapter 13. Your mortgage lender will, however, want my signature to allow it to talk to you about a loan modification. Please provide the name of your lender and a fax number at which I will provide permission to explore a loan mod. Thereafter, all communications regarding a loan mod will take place directly between you and your mortgage lender. However, if a final loan modification is offered, the Bankruptcy Court must approve the terms of a loan mod before signing.

  32. What duty do I have to turnover my tax refund to the Bankruptcy Court?

    Please contact the appropriate office in regards to this question.

  33. May the tax authorities withhold my future tax refunds after the filing of a Chapter 13?

    The Internal Revenue Service and Missouri Department of Revenue are permitted by law to withhold future tax refunds and credit such funds to past due taxes included in your Chapter 13.

  34. I am receiving legal documents from the Bankruptcy Court or from the Trustee nearly every week. What do I do about all these legal documents?

    Other than reading your documents, you are not required to respond to the documents since all of these documents are already being received by me. You will receive a specific request from me in the event that your help is needed on any of the legal documents that you receive in the mail.

  35. I just received a “Notice of Lack of Feasibility” from the Trustee. What does that mean?

    First, the Trustee’s “notice” is not a motion to dismiss your case but instead is a notice to you that there will be a shortfall owed to the Trustee as of your last scheduled payment.  The general practice of the Trustee is to allow your existing monthly payment to continue without change.  The shortfall to the Trustee typically occurs when the legal documents filed by creditors in  a Chapter 13, or proof of claims, exceed the balances listed in the bankruptcy schedules by the person filing.  A lack of feasibility may be cured by a successful objection to a proof of claim, an increase in the monthly Trustee payment or the turnover to the Trustee of a lump sum such as a tax refund.

  36. I just got a new job but it is paying less than what I was making when my Chapter 13 was filed. Can you lower my Trustee or mortgage payment because I am making less money?

    Unfortunately, it is very rare that the Court will allow the reduction of the Trustee payment after confirmation (or approval) of the case. I proposed at the outset of your case the lowest Trustee payment authorized by law. For that reason, it is difficult to lower a Trustee payment after filing unless you are is prepared to make the difficult decision of surrendering a home or vehicle. While lowering the Trustee payment is difficult, the Court will generally allow you several months to find new employment if you fall behind in your Trustee payment. Finally, a mortgage payment cannot be lowered unless you qualify for a loan modification or refinancing.

  37. I have been in a Chapter 13 for awhile and have been doing well. But I just lost my job. What do I do now about my payments?

    First, don’t panic. Second, seek out new employment or income. I will file the necessary documents to buy you several months to secure new employment even if you fall behind in your payment to the Trustee.

  38. The Trustee has filed a motion to dismiss my case because I have fallen behind two months behind in my payments. Now what do I do?

    Within 20 days after the filing of the motion, you should make some payment to the Trustee to the best of your ability. If you are unable to cure the entire arrears, the Trustee’s motion will be set for hearing about a month later. While you are not required to be at Court, you should mail some payment to the Trustee which will allow you another month to pay on the balance owed to the Trustee. If you are able to reduce the Trustee arrears each month (ie, pay more than one month’s payment), the Court will give you some months to catch up in your payment to the Trustee. You are not required to attend these hearings if you are able to tender your payment to the Trustee in sufficient time to allow your payment to post before the hearing date.

  39. My Chapter 13 was just dismissed because I had fallen behind in my Trustee payment. Can I save my case?

    You must immediately deliver payment directly to me which entirely cures your Trustee arrears and I can file a motion to reinstate your case.

  40. I have fallen behind in my mortgage payment after filing a Chapter 13. Now, my mortgage company has mailed me a motion. Can I still save my house?

    Yes, if you act promptly. If you receive a motion from your mortgage lender which complains that you have not paid your mortgage after the filing of your Chapter 13, you should immediately contact me. At that time, you will be asked to document your post-petition mortgage payments. If you are behind in your mortgage payments, the Court will allow you into a six-month workout if you tender funds on your mortgage arrears before the hearing date on the motion.. After the filing of such a motion, you should NOT mail any additional payments to your lender while the matter is pending. Instead, you should deliver mortgage payments in money order form directly to me. Thereafter, I will inform you in writing as to when you will resume making your mortgage payments directly to your lender.

  41. I just received a Notice of Breach or a Notice of Default from my mortgage company. What does this mean?

    Such a notice states that you have defaulted on your post-petition mortgage payments a SECOND time after the filing of your case. If true, you may only have days to get current on your mortgage and to avoid the entry of an Order permitting the foreclosure of your real estate.

  42. The Missouri Department of Revenue has filed a motion which seeks to dismiss my case because of unfiled tax returns. What do I do?

    To avoid dismissal of your case, you should immediately provide me copies of your Missouri tax returns for the years referenced in the motion that you have received. Please note that the pending motion concerns your Missouri tax return; your production of a federal tax return for the years in question DOES NOT satisfy your legal obligation in regard to this motion.
    If you discover that you have not filed a Missouri tax return for the years requested in the motion, please immediately file all such returns and provide my office with a copy of your tax return(s).  Do NOT pay any taxes when you file your return–any taxes owed will be paid through your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Finally, please contact my office if you were not required to file a Missouri tax return because you did not have sufficient income or did not work within the State of Missouri during any year requested in the motion.
  43. Can I move after I file a Chapter 13?

    Yes. Your only requirement to the Court is to provide an updated mailing address. Please provide that address to me.

  44. What do I do if I change my employment?

    Please inform me of the name and address of a new employer so that I might arrange to have your Trustee payments made out of your new payroll department.

  45. I am paying a vehicle loan in my Chapter 13. When can I expect to receive the title to my vehicle?

    At the end of your case.

Still have questions? Then email me your question here: [email protected]