Bankruptcy: Update Your Contact Information!

Bankruptcy LawWhen I am retained by a bankruptcy client I get as many telephone numbers and email addresses from them as possible.  The reason is that it is very important that I be able to contact my client.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases last three to five years.  It is very possible that at some time during that period the debtor’s contact information will change.  When that happens I hope that the first thing my client does is to contact their bankruptcy lawyer (me) and give me their new contact information.

Bad things can happen when an attorney can’t get in touch with his client.  Unless a debtor is watching their case very closely then they may not know that some issue needs to be addressed.  For example, if they accidently forget to pay their car payment one month then the lender may file a motion for relief from the automatic stay.  If that motion is granted then the stay is lifted and the creditor can seize the vehicle.  If the debtor has moved then they are not getting mail from the court or from other parties in interest.  They may not even know that their bankruptcy case or property is in danger because they aren’t getting mail about their case and their attorney can’t get in touch with them.  The first time they find out there is an issue may be after their car is repossessed.  Once that happens there may be no way for their attorney to get the vehicle back.

Not getting mail can also result in having a case dismissed.  A trustee or some other party may file a motion to dismiss the case.  If the debtor’s attorney can contact their client then they may be able to oppose the motion and prevent the case from being dismissed.  However, if the attorney can’t talk to their client then the case is almost certainly going to be dismissed.