Court Costs/Small Claims and More

Sorry folks for being so late with this week’s article. I understand from my internet service provider that a series of sunspot created significant interference was blocking my internet connection. I have been down for 4 days.

All right then to work. Once again I am not a lawyer, I am a paralegal. Also when a layer or a paralegal becomes involved you problem becomes an issue.

Picking up from last week, in small claims court, the court clerk can help you with services of process. For a fee. They will send your opponent a certified letter of your complaint for $15. In some county’s you might even be able to get the county sheriff to make service of process or hand deliver your complaint for $80.

SIDE-NOTE: Service of Process is the methods used by the courts and lawyers to notify someone they are being sued. If you mess up notifying your opponent, your case will be terminated or to but it simply ‘thrown out on its ass’. I will get deeper into that in future posts.

Now there are ‘people’ who get to be sue happy in the small claims court system. You see technically you can file as many court cases as you like. Using the county of Los Angles small Claims rules and regulations. For example, let’s say you file up to 2 complaints asking for $2500 in each case during the same calendar year. Each case costing you $50 dollars in filing fees. However if you file a 3rd, 4th or 5th case during the same calendar year each case will cost you a whole lot more in filing fees. You see each additional case you file will cost you $100 per case. Additionally the amount you can ask for in damages reduces. In the first two cases you filed you asked for the $2500 and if you file a 3rd one you can only ask for $1500. Additionally you can only claim the standard $30 filing fee as part of your damages even though you paid $100 in a filing fee.

SIDE-NOTE: Damages is supposed to mean how much money it will take to repair or fix your problem (issue) and make you ‘whole’. Your Lawyer’s fees, court costs and filing fees do count as damages. Just remember if you file more than 2 small claims court cases in the same calendar year you cannot claim the more expensive filing fees you have been charged as damages. You can only claim the slandered filing fee

Again please forgive me for being late. I will try to make sure tech didn’t become a future issue. Next week’s article will touch on probate and court costs.

Court Costs/ Bankruptcy 2

As before I am not a Lawyer I am a Paralegal. Also when a Lawyer or a Paralegal becomes involved your problem becomes an issue.

WARNING! When you make your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or last filing fee payment make damn sure that check will clear. If it bounces, it is a $53 fine. Plus, neither Trustee nor your Lawyer is gonna be happy with you if it bounces. So if you run into trouble talk to your lawyer or with the bankruptcy court clerk. If you keep them in the loop, the clerk or your lawyer may be able to get a payment rescheduled. Just remember the entire fee must be paid in full 180 days after you started your Bankruptcy. Also remember, if you get into serious trouble and can’t make your payments, talk to your lawyer you may now qualify for the full fee waiver.

Now this is a piece of friendly not legal advice. If you decide to go down this road make damn sure you got every single debt you owe listed and turned over to your Lawyer. There have been cases of Clients who kept certain debts back from their lawyers because they thought could manage this debt on the sly. Unfortunately everything crashes after they receive their discharge and their lawyer is forced to go back into their bankruptcy filing and add this debt. This costs the client another $245 in court costs. Not to mention what their lawyer charges for getting the right forms filled out and convincing the Trustee that their client isn’t playing games.

Seriously amending or adding debt to a Bankruptcy Discharge is meant for unforeseeable financial emergencies. For example if you suddenly find yourself hit with several thousand in unexpected medical bills after receiving your discharge; you can get them added to your bankruptcy.

All right than moving on to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A Chap. 13, basically means, ‘ I messed up give some time to get my shit together.’ The cost of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy breaks down as follows, $235 filing fee plus a $46 miscellaneous administrative fee. Don’t worry you will have the same options to get the filing fee paid as is in a Chapter. 7. Except for the fee waiver, the waiver is for souls with absolutely no income.
The way a Chapter 13 works is once again you list all your debts and assets. Plus how much you can reasonably pay, not comfortably pay, reasonably pay. What happens is your payments are given to the Trustee and she/he will give your debtors a portion of that money. You also will have given the Trustee a workable plan to get your finances back to where they needs to be so you can handle your debt.
Side-Note: A reasonable payment is how much you can give the Trustee and still keep your family fed and housed. Plus enough for a dinner and a movie every now and then. A comfortable payment lets you go out partying every weekend.
More about the Costs of Captor 13 next week.