T. J. Mullin
Law Office

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Fees and How They May Be Paid

1. What are the fees?

Our fees include all Court costs and debtor education class fees.

Our fee for a standard Chapter 7 case is $1,200 for an individual, $1,400 for a married couple. Fees are $50 per person higher in the counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, and Warren.  Cases needing to be heard in Cape Girardeau or Hannibal are higher due to the travel time involved.

These fees do not apply to people who currently own, or have owned a business; such cases are obviously more complicated, require more time, and thus higher fees. The fees for these cases are determined individually at the first appointment.

2. How can I pay these fees?

You may pay by cashier’s check, money order, or cash. Due to the requirements of the law, we cannot take credit cards or personal checks and we do not accept debit cards.

3. Do I have to pay the whole amount before you see me?


4. Do I have to pay the whole amount before the case is filed?

Yes. Due to the requirements of the law, all fees must be paid before we can prepare your papers. You may make payments as you can, by bringing the payment to the office, or mailing a cashier’s check or money order.

What debts will my bankruptcy handle?

1. Do I have to list all of my creditors?

Yes, the bankruptcy law requires that you list all creditors. This includes the IRS, student loans, your car(s) and home loans, family members, your doctor and other people you want to pay despite filing bankruptcy. Failure to list them originally will result in your having to add them by an amendment, which will result in additional fees.

2. Can I keep my home and/or my vehicle(s)?

Yes. You may keep your home and/or auto, by reaffirming the debt. You continue to make the payments as you did before. As long as you do so (and keep the property insured), the lender will not be able to foreclose or repossess the property. Your lender does not want the house or auto. They want their payments.

3. Can I get rid of taxes due?

Most times, if the taxes owed are over 3 years old, and you filed them on time, they may be discharged. Some taxes are not covered. We will discuss this at your appointment.

4. Can I get rid of my student loans?

No. Congress gave ‘special status’ to student loan providers, and these loans cannot be wiped out in a bankruptcy.

5. Can I get rid of traffic tickets or other fines?

No. Such fines will still need to be paid or a bench warrant can be issued against you. You should not ignore such tickets or municipal violations.

6. Will this stop a garnishment?

Yes. Once your case is filed, we will notify the lawyer who has requested the garnishment. They will stop the garnishment. Money taken after the filing date will be returned to you. Money taken prior to filing will be retained by the creditor.

7. Will this stop a lawsuit?

Yes. Upon filing bankruptcy, all collection activity must stop and this includes pending lawsuits. We will advise the attorney who is suing you and he or she will discontinue such activity.

8. If I list my medical bills, will my doctor(s) still treat me?

First, you must list all your debts, including medical. Medical bills are a common reason for filing bankruptcy and they are no different than any other debt. A doctor has no obligation to treat anyone, so only your doctor can tell you whether or not he /she will continue to treat you. Our experience has found that most doctors are understanding if you explain your situation.

9. Can I get rid of Pay-Day loans?

Yes. They are no different than other creditors, so you must list them. During your first appointment, I will more fully explain how they are handled.

10. How do I find out all of my debts?

Organization is needed. Dedicate a place in your home where all bills are put for a few months. You will then see whom you owe. You can get some help with this by obtaining a credit report, although this is not foolproof.

11. Do you get my credit report?

No. You can get a credit report to help you prepare your list. You are entitled to one free credit report per year and you may access this information on the internet by going to the Federal Trade Commission’s website.