I know gambling debts are non dischargeable, so we can’t convert the Chapter 13.
So said debtor’s counsel whom I was trying to help with a troubled case.
I wanted to retort: point me to the code section that says that.
I tried gently to suggest it wasn’t so. Not sure the “suggestion” penetrated.
So we are back to where Bankruptcy Mastery started years ago: READ THE CODE.
It is the manual.
I swear that too many debtor’s counsel are still thrashing around, mucking with people’s lives, without having broken the cellophane on their copy of the Bankruptcy Code.
If you can’t tell the ballplayers without a program, you certainly can’t practice bankruptcy law without reading the code.
People of the Book
The beauty of this practice is that it is based in statutes. Nice, explicit, words on paper that lay out the rules.
You may encounter issues where state property law controls. Occasionally, federal common law is cited.
But most questions are answered by the Code, at least in the first instance.
Yet I see questions asked on list serves that shout that the poster has not done a lick of reading or thinking about the question. Why help someone too lazy to at least puzzle out the possibilities or find the ambiguities before asking for help?
Ferret out assumptions
Watch yourself analyze client situations.
Find those assumptions you make. Test them out.
Are gambling debts really dischargeable in Chapter 13 and not in Chapter 7?, as this attorney believed. Turns out it’s complicated. Dischargeable if a credit card advance. Maybe not if it’s a Nevada casino marker.
If a life unexamined isn’t worth living, a legal assumption untested is gambling with your client’s life.
Left over from a time here in Silicon Valley when computers actually came with a printed manual, RTFM is a tart directive to Read The F****ng Manual.
Image courtesy of Flickr and IceSabre.