The Role Of The Appointed Trustee In The Bankruptcy Process

Interviewer: Who is the appointed trustee and how does that person get selected?

Michael Golub: It depends upon the case and it probably depends upon your jurisdiction. In the Middle District in the Orlando Division, there is one trustee, her name is Laurie Weatherford and she basically handles all of the chapter 13 cases in the Orlando Division. For chapter 7 cases, there are about 12 different trustees. If you're in a 13, it's only going to be sent to one person and if you're in a 7, basically the court's office then assigns the case to one of those 12 trustees. It's just pretty much a random assignment.

People Typically Try to File a Chapter 7 but Will Do a Chapter 13 if it's Inevitable

Interviewer: What sort of person would prefer chapter 13 bankruptcy or chapter 7? What sort of financial standing should they have at the current time?

Michael Golub: Normally, people try to do a 7 if you can because it's a lot easier and it's less expensive and you're in and out of it in a few months. A chapter 13, you're only going to really do if you have to. One of the main things we do on a chapter 13 is if a person is behind on a mortgage, we'll file a chapter 13 to save them from losing their house or just save them from getting their car repossessed or something of that nature. In other words, if they're $20,000 behind on their mortgage and they don't have that amount to get it caught up but they can afford to make payments on it, then they're going to file a chapter 13. One of the other things that we can do is, we can also do mortgage modifications in those cases as well. In it, basically we do a motion and it gets referred to mediation and then, basically we negotiate with the bank and try to modify the mortgage or try to get a lower payment if we can.

If Creditors Take any Steps to Collect After a Bankruptcy has Been Filed, they Can be Sanctioned by Court

Interviewer: How does chapter 13 protect a debtor? Could I still be sued for all my wages garnished while the plan is in effect?

Michael Golub: It's same way that any form of bankruptcy does. The automatic stay goes into effect from the bankruptcy court and it doesn't matter what chapter you're filing, as soon as we file the case, that goes into effect and all of that stuff has to stop. They cannot take any measures to try to collect on those debts. If they do, then they can be sanctioned by the federal court.