Our Cross-District Bankruptcy Practice in Buffalo and Rochester gives our law firm a unique advantage
While most bankruptcy lawyers may practice in just one division, we have filed cases in all five divisions of the Western and Northern districts of New York (though we currently only accept cases in the Buffalo and Rochester divisions), and we have become very familiar with the local practices of the judges, trustees, creditors and other participants in the bankruptcy process in each of these divisions.
Most people would be amazed at the significant differences in the interpretation of the bankruptcy laws from one court to the next. Our experience in so many different courts offers us a unique insight that few other attorneys can claim. We are familiar with the strategies that work in front of the different courts and trustees, and we constantly seek to apply the newest and most effective strategies from one division to the next. The bottom line is that we know what works and what doesn’t work in each court where we practice.
Chapter 13 cases are handled differently in the Buffalo and Rochester divisions and sometimes differently before judges in the same division
There are important ways in which different judges handle Chapter 13 cases assigned to them. Here are a few examples:
1. The term of the plan will often depend upon the judge assigned to the case. While a judge in one case may be satisfied with a plan lasting three years, a judge handling the same set of facts in another case may only approve a five year plan.
2. In some courts, you can continue to pay your vehicle loan payments directly to the lender while in Chapter 13. In other courts, your vehicle loan will be included in your chapter 13 plan. In either case, the vehicle can be retained, but the amount that you end up paying for the vehicle and the amount you pay to the other creditors can vary significantly before different judges.
3. Problems that arise after your case is confirmed are handled differently in different bankruptcy courts. For example, if you fall behind on your Chapter 13 plan payments in a Buffalo case, the default can generally be cured informally by increasing your payments for the remainder of the plan. In Rochester cases, a default in your plan payments must generally be handled with a formal modificatino, and this will subject your case to significantly more scrutiny.
The bankruptcy courts in the Western District of New York State are divided by county as follows:
Buffalo Division: Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Allegany, Wyoming
Rochester Division: Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Livingston, Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler.
If you live in Erie County, your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case will be randomly assigned to one of the bankruptcy judges. In any other county, we know which judge will be assigned to your case. In the Rochester Division, there is only one bankruptcy judge