INFORMATION - Do I need an Attorney?
Although a person is allowed to represent themselves personally in a Chapter 13 case, (the legal term for representing one's self is "Pro Se"), the Chapter 13 Trustee strongly advocates that individuals not attempt to file their own case without an attorney, or represent themselves before the United States Bankruptcy Court. You can afford an attorney -Chapter 13 allows for your attorneys' fees to be paid through your chapter 13 plan.
A Chapter 13 Trustee is prohibited from giving individual legal advice to either debtors or creditors in a Chapter 13 plan. Therefore, a individual who chooses to represent themselves Pro Se in a bankruptcy case does so at their own peril. Often times people representing themselves Pro Se complete the bankruptcy documents incorrectly, fail to respond to motions and fail to appear at required hearings; and therefore, creditors can easily seek appropriate court action to dismiss the case or seek relief from the Bankruptcy Court to continue collection and foreclosure actions against the debtor's income and property.
The Trustee strongly urges all individuals considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to contact an Attorney. There are many well qualified and excellent bankruptcy attorneys in the area.
The first plan payment is due within 30 days from the filing date of the petition and every 30 days thereafter unless that date is changed. 11 U.S.C. §1326. This is the DUE DATE. Yourfirst chapter 13 payment is due within 30 days of the case filing. U.S.C. §1326. It is imperative that you begin making your chapter 13 plan payments within the 30 days and prior to the first meeting of creditors. Your Chapter 13 plan payments can be made via mail to the Trustee's Lock Box, via wage deduction, via electronic means through TFSBillPay.com, or in person at the Trustee's office.
The trustee strongly recommends you consider with your clients filing a pre-confirmation wage motion. This is best manner to ensure your payments are made and will help move the case to confirmation and the payment of your attorneys’ fees. While it is in everyone's best interest that all debtors who are employed make their Chapter 13 plan payments by payroll deduction, there are debtors who have income other than wages who cannot have a wage order in their case. The Trustee is asking all Debtors who must make direct plan payments to use the online payment option which is available www.TFSBillPay.com. Please note that when debtors mail payments that sometimes the payments are not received timely. This can cause issues in the case and from counsel's standpoint it can result in a delay in processing attorney fees. If payments are received late counsel will not receive those payments for an additional 30 or 60 days. The online payment option updates nightly and is posted to the case the next day.
341 MEETINGS AND DOCUMENTATION.
Chapter 13, the debtor must provide the Trustee at least seven days before the date first set for the Section 341 meeting of creditors a copy of the Federal income tax return (or transcript of the tax return) filed for the most recent tax year. See 11 U.S.C. §521(e)(2)(A)(i). The Trustee would recommend that the Debtors in the Baltimore Bankruptcy Court comply with this statutory requirement by providing the tax return to the Trustee immediately upon the filing of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. The Trustee would also recommend that you provide your paystubs/pay advices or any documentation demonstrative of their income for the 60 days prior to the filing. If you have a non-filing spouse please also provide proof of their income. This will help speed up the Trustee’s review and help move the case to confirmation. If the debtor fails to comply, the Trustee may seek dismissal of the case pursuant to §521(e)(2)(B).
341 MEETINGS OF CREDITORS.
A. The § 341 Meeting of Creditors is set by the bankruptcy court and conducted by the Trustee’s office as appointed by the United States Trustee. The Debtor(s) must appear at each 341 meeting.
B. All documents must be provided to the Trustee’s office at least seven (7) days prior to the 341 meeting. Any documents received less than seven (7) days prior to the 341 meeting may not be reviewed and may cause the 341 meeting of creditors to be held and continued in order to give the Trustee’s office adequate time to review the documentation.
C. At each 341 Meeting Debtor(s) must bring the following:
- Original Social Security Card, medical insurance card, pay stub, W-2 form, IRS form 1099, or a Social Security Administration (SSA) Statement; and
- Government issued photo identification.
Failure to bring the above items may result in the 341 meeting being continued.
D. All 341 meetings will be conducted in English, unless a translator is requested seven days prior to the 341 meeting. The translator will be provided free of charge. Failure to notify the Trustee may result in a delay of the 341 Meeting of Creditors.
341 MEETING OF CREDITORS LOCATIONS FOR TRUSTEE THOMAS.
Meeting of Creditors for Trustee Robert S. Thomas II -take place at the Courthouse in Baltimore and in Salisbury. Please do not come to the Trustee's office for the Meeting of Creditors.
Garmatz Federal Courthouse
101 West Lombard Street
2nd floor - Room 2650
Baltimore, MD 21201
129 East Main Street
Salisbury, MD 21801
DEBTOR ASSISTANCE PROJECT.
The Debtor Assistance Project ("DAP") is a legal clinic that is a partnership between the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland and various members of the Maryland legal community. This program provides debtors with an opportunity to meet, one-on-one, with a volunteer bankruptcy attorney for a free half-hour consultation. The DAP provides legal advice to individuals without an attorney by answering their questions about bankruptcy, including how bankruptcy may be used to help prevent foreclosure. The DAP cannot provide an attorney to complete your paperwork for you or represent you.
DAP appointments are available in the following locations:
Baltimore Federal Courthouse - 101 W. Lombard Street, 1st Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201
Easton - Office of Midshore Pro Bono - 8 S. West Street, Easton, MD 21601
To schedule your appointment in Easton, please call 410-690-8128
Greenbelt Federal Courthouse - 6500 Cherrywood Lane, 1st Floor, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Schedule your appointment below for Baltimore or Greenbelt: Please note, appointments are limited. If you do not find an available appointment, please check the website at a later date. Appointments for each month are made available the last week of the previous month.
FIND AN ATTORNEY (SOMETIMES FOR FREE) AND LEGAL INFORMATION.
Only an attorney is qualified to give you legal advice. The Clerk's Office cannot give legal advice or recommend an attorney for you, but limited filing assistance and reference materials are available through the Clerk's Office.
Please note that so called "petition preparers"or "document preparers" are not authorized to give debtors or other parties legal advice regarding what documents are appropriate or what information legally is appropriate to include in the documents. A preparer's role is solely that of a typing service transcribing for a minimal fee the information the client provides. Given the availability of online forms, there is little or no reason for a debtor to pay a non-attorney "petition preparer" to obtain the necessary forms.
Pro se clinics are programs in place to assist individuals filing without an attorney in completing their filing forms properly. These programs will typically not complete your forms for you or make a court appearance on your behalf. Most pro se clinics serve Chapter 7 filers only, require registrants to meet low income eligibility guidelines, and require registration in advance. For more information on the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service (MVLS) The Legal Aid Bureau offices for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Prince George's County also offer self-help classes. ,
Debtor Assistance Project (DAP) - A clinic, available at the U.S. Courthouses in Maryland, that provides debtors with an opportunity to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a free half-hour consultation.
Free Foreclosure Mediation - HOPE LoanPort - HOPE LoanPort® is a web-based tool that streamlines home retention applications on behalf of homeowners at risk of foreclosure, allowing housing counselors to efficiently transmit completed applications to mortgage companies.
Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. - Provides legal assistance to low income individuals throughout Maryland. Pro se clinics are currently operated in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Metropolitan Maryland (Prince George’s County). Contact your local office for additional information.
- Anne Arundel County - 410-263-8330 (Annapolis), 410-269-0846 (Baltimore), 301-261-1956 (Washington), 1-800-666-8330
- Main Office (Baltimore City) - 410-951-7777, 1-800-999-8904
- Cherry Hill Neighborhood Center - 410-355-4223
- Baltimore County - 410-296-6705
- Lower Eastern Shore (Wicomico, Dorchester, Worcester, and Somerset) - 410-546-5511, 1-800-444-4099
- Metropolitan Maryland (Prince George's) - 301-560-2100, 1-888-215-5316
- Metropolitan Maryland (Montgomery) - 240-314-0373, 1-888-215-5316
- Metropolitan Maryland (Howard) - 410-480-1057
- Midwestern Maryland (Frederick, Carroll, and Washington) - 301-694-7414, 1-800-679-8813
- Northeastern Maryland (Harford, Cecil) - 410-836-8202 (Harford), 410-879-3755 (Baltimore), 1-800-444-9529
- Southern Maryland (Charles, St. Mary's, and Calvert) - 301-932-6661 (Charles), 301-884-5935 (St. Mary's), 410-535-3278 (Calvert), 301-843-5850 (D.C.)
- Upper Eastern Shore (Queen Anne's, Caroline, Kent, and Talbot) - 410-763-9676, 1-800-477-2543
- Western Maryland (Allegany and Garrett) - 301-777-7474, 866-389-5243
Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service (MVLS) - MVLS can provide free legal services, including pro se clinics, to eligible low income individuals. Please note MVLS does not serve Prince George’s, Montgomery, or Allegany County. Call 410-547-6537 (Baltimore) or 1-800-510-0050 (Outside Baltimore) Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for more information. For additional information on MVLS' Self-Help Bankruptcy Classes, please click here
American Bar Association - Provides a web service called the Consumer’s Guide for Legal Help in Maryland, which can assist individuals in finding an attorney, self-help, free legal help, and other legal information.
Civil Justice - Provides free client referral service to low and moderate income clients throughout Maryland. Clients are referred to local solo and small firm lawyers who have agreed to provide legal services at reduced fees in most cases. Call 410-706-0174, ext. 1 for a referral.
Fort Detrick Legal Assistance Office - Officers legal assistance and attorney referrals to active duty and retired military members and their dependents. Call 301-619-2221 for assistance. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each week, with the exception of Thursdays when hours are limited to 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc. (HPRP) - Provides in-house and pro bono legal services to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. HPRP will only take in-house bankruptcy cases if they are listed under the Project’s case priorities. Pro bono services are located at HPRP’s outreach sites. Call 1-800-773-4340, ext. 10 for more information.
Bankruptcy Pro Bono Resource Locator - provides information and referrals to pro bono legal assistance throughout Maryland.
Martindale-Hubbell® Lawyers.com - A service offered by Lexis Nexis that provides information on local bankruptcy attorneys.
Just Advice - The Just Advice® Initiative is run by the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The program is designed to increase community access to legal counsel and give individuals an opportunity to discuss a legal issue with an attorney for thirty to forty minutes for only $10 (with a fee waiver option for persons unable to pay $10). The program is based in Baltimore City but has periodic operations in other areas, such as the Eastern Shore. This program seeks to expand access to legal advice so people can figure out the "next steps" required to tackle their legal issues, whether that means proceeding pro se or engaging an attorney referred by the program.
Glossary of Chapter 13 Terms - Glossary of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy terms...
341 Meeting Dates - 341 Meeting Dates for 2017....
341 Meeting Continuance - 341 Meeting Continuance Form....
341 Information Form - To be filled out at the 341 meeting
Required Debtor Documentation - Documentation to be provided by all Chapter 13 debtors.
Business Questionnaire - Business owners, please complete the entire business questionnaire for each business.
Website Access Agreement - Website Agreement for Bankruptcy Link Website Access
Domestic Support Obligations (DSO) -Information & Certification Regarding Domestic Support Obligations
BAPCPA Affidavit Prior to Discharge - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.
Chapter 13 Plan - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.
Debtors Motion for Pre-confirmation Wage Order - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.
Secured Loan Modification Request - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.
Form Q - Form available directly from the Bankruptcy Court's website.
Home Affordable Modification Program - The Making Home Affordable Program is a critical part of the government’s effort to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The Making Home Affordable Program provides an opportunity for eligible homeowners in bankruptcy to modify their mortgage to make their payments more affordable through the Home Affordable Program.
Obtaining Continuances - This link provides Pro Se debtors and attorneys with our Request for Continuance policies.
HAMP Information is Available - New information concerning the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)