Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.s)
What does the process look like? How much does it cost?
Most cases take about 90 days, and we’ll need to meet either by phone or in person for about 30 minutes to get the information we need to understand your case. We’ll need some documents from you (paystubs, a tax return, and your bank statements) so we can prepare a petition to file. Generally, we do this same day. Once we’ve reviewed the petition together, and made sure all of your debts are listed and the rest of the information is accurate, we’ll file the case within a day or two. After filing, there is a short hearing (5-10 minutes) in four to six weeks. We will meet with you a week or so before the hearing to get you ready for that and prepare a couple of forms for your case trustee (about 20 minutes). Devon will call you the day before the hearing to go over everything again. It’s not a scary meeting and there won’t be any big surprises. It’s a bit more like meeting with your accountant than anything you’ve seen on Law & Order. After that, you’re just waiting for your discharge.
We charge a flat rate of $700, $800 if you’re filing a case with your spouse.
Call us at 720-515-9887 and we can walk you through the entire process in more detail. We don’t pressure anyone to do anything (most of our clients are under enough pressure as it is) but if you’d like to talk, it’s always free to consult with our office and we’ll go through your entire situation and weigh up the pros and cons, and all of your other options too.
Can you keep your car in bankruptcy?
About 99% of the time, you can keep your car when you file bankruptcy. Any debt on the car will be discharged, so if you ever decide to trade it in, or it breaks down, you can replace it without being stuck with the loan balance. To keep it, you just keep making your payments. Once you pay it off, it’s all yours. If your car is already paid off, you can keep it when you file bankruptcy.
If you want to buy a new car, get rid of your existing car, or you’re thinking about it, you can buy a car the day you file bankruptcy – and probably at a better rate than you qualified for before. You’ll have a lot of options after you file a case.
Why is your firm so much cheaper than other places I’ve called?
Well, we’re still practicing (sorry – bad lawyer joke). The truth is that most cases are actually pretty simple, and they should be affordable. A lot of firms dress up the process to make it seem more intimidating and complex than it is, which justifies charging a lot more.
They also file fewer cases (a lot fewer) than we do, and the costs of running a law firm force them to charge higher rates. We file more bankruptcy cases than anyone else in Colorado, and because of that we can afford to charge less to our clients.
Between Devon, Margaux, and Crystal, the legal team at Devon Barclay, PC has 33 years of combined experience and has worked on more than 9,000 cases. Some of us (Devon) have been on the client side of the desk before, so we know how important it is to make this an affordable option for the clients we serve. Nobody has ever called our office because they have extra money, and we try to make this an affordable investment in your future, better financial self. We’ll also be with you every step of the way, show up with you to court, take care of any issues with the trustee, and anything else that comes along in your case. We are a full representation law firm (and probably a little better than that). We just charge a price you can afford.
What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
The short answer? Five years and a couple thousand dollars. But that’s not the end of the story. Chapter 7 cases are short (about 90 days from start to finish) and your debts are resolved by a trustee who looks at the things you own, and gives your creditors anything that isn’t protected by one of the state exemptions. Most things you own – your car, your home, clothes, furniture, jewelry, retirement accounts, and your dog (if you have one) are safe – among other things. Luxury items, and sometimes tax refunds, aren’t protected, for the most part, in Colorado.
Chapter 13 involves a repayment to creditors over time, but most cases involve only paying a fraction of the debt (sometimes less than 1%). You can keep all your property, and even refinance things like your car payment or mortgage arrears. Sometimes you can pay off all your debt, and your car, for less than your current car payment.
In either a Chapter 7 or a 13, all of your debt is resolved at the end of the case. Call us and we can help you navigate your options and find the best option for you.
What should I know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
We’re proud to stand behind our flat-fee rates for legal representation, and we charge $700 for an individual bankruptcy case and $1,000 for joint filings. Period!
We do that because bankruptcy should be accessible for those who need it. We don’t tack on hidden charges or change the price after talking to a client. Unless the case is really crazy. For crazy cases we charge double. It’s still less than our competition, and we will warn you first.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Every client speaks to the attorney, and the first step is a phone consultation. From there, we set up an in-person consultation to go over the case in more detail. If the case is simple, we may be able to prepare the case and sign all the documents at this meeting.
After meeting, the case is filed, and we go to a short hearing (the 341, or Meeting of Creditors) with our client roughly a month later. Sixty days after that, the case concludes and is discharged.
Our attorney and staff deal with creditor phone calls, garnishments, planning, credit repair, and any other issues from start to finish – and, in the rare case where we are needed for something after the case is finished, we resolve those issues free of charge.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Devon Barclay is a licensed attorney in good standing in Colorado, with a Master’s degree in Humanities, and degrees in English, Political Science, and Philosophy. But you don’t hire a degree: you hire a person. Devon has worked on over 7,000 bankruptcy cases and has been a bankruptcy client himself. He’s started businesses that failed, been divorced, and been in foreclosure – it’s that background of experience that makes this firm unique. We understand the problems our clients struggle with and this firm knows how to help.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
In short? I filed for bankruptcy. I’d just shut down a floral business I took over when a friend died, was about two years out of my divorce, and was drowning in credit card and student debt. My house was a year behind on payments, and people were knocking at the door. I was terrified. I went for a walk, and ended up passing by a bankruptcy lawyer’s office. I didn’t know much about bankruptcy, but she had a client’s letter in her window. I read it. It was me. And they’d fixed it.
Needless to say, I filed as soon as I could pay her. Through the process we became friends and she took me on to help out on a couple of cases. When I decided to go to law school, she got me a job. I opened this practice to continue helping people get out from behind their problems and start fresh.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Everyone. There is no “one” bankruptcy client. Most bankruptcies happen by accident – a person loses their job, gets divorced, gets sick, gets hit by a car, or gets addicted to something. Suddenly their 780 score is a 078 score and they can’t pay on the debt – and they need to start over. It happens to lawyers, engineers, nurses, teachers, salespeople, servers, and even retired people. None of us are much more than a paycheck away from being on really hard times. The good news is, most of the time, it’s easy to fix.
Describe a recent case you are fond of. How long did it take?
I took on a case that had been botched by a previous firm: the client had a home, the trustee thought it was worth more than it was, and the firm had ignored about eight months of communications about all of this. Now it was heading to litigation, with the trustee trying to sell the house (and pick up about a year’s worth of appreciated value).
It wasn’t easy, but after finding legal and ethical problems with the way the house was handled (on both sides) – and researching two years of that trustee’s other cases – I was able to broker a deal and my client was able to keep her home.
What advice would you give a client looking to hire a bankruptcy lawyer?
Talk to three attorneys who sound good online, and go with the one who you feel like actually cares about you and your case. Even in a simple case, it makes a big difference when you’re dealing with someone you can tell relates to you and is going to have your back.
What questions should clients think through before talking to a bankruptcy lawyer?
Always ask about the things that aren’t included in the fee: this is an area that attracts unscrupulous lawyers, and people get ripped off all the time. Or just feel free to contact Devon with the form below.
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