1) Is there any reason why I would be likely to need my attorney to continue to represent me in my bankruptcy case?
That is tough to call because with 3 to 5 years left in your Chapter 13 Plan, you may or may not need additional representation. If your Plan was confirmed, then theoretically you do not need your attorney any more. But, if a creditor files a Motion for Relief from Stay or something during the case, you may need a lawyer. Or, if your lawyer has not yet reviewed the claims in your case, you may still need a lawyer to do so. Also, there are motions which need to be filed in some cases, and I do not know if they have been filed yet in yours (or if they are even needed in your case), such a Motion to Avoid Judicial Lien, Motion to Avoid Wholly Unsecured Mortgage, local stays in lawsuits, etc. Also, if something changes during the Plan life, such as a decrease or increase in your income or expenses, a car that is being paid through the Plan gets totaled, etc, then you may need a lawyer to help you file the appropriate amendments.
But, technically, if the Plan is confirmed and you do not expect any surprises, then you may not need a lawyer in the future. And, even if you do need a lawyer, you do not necessarily need the same
lawyer if you burn this bridge.2) Is it typical for an attorney to complete a case in which the attorneys fees are part of the case settlement and then six weeks s later ask the court to award additional fees to the attorney and therefore have those fees added to the total case Settlement?
No, it is not typical but it is not unheard of. Sometimes if there is a considerable amount of legal work required in a case that was not envisioned initially, then it happens from time to time. For example, if your attorney had to file motions due to lawsuits that were not known at the time the case was filed (or when fees were quoted), additional hearings defending unexpected objections, excessive amendments that needed to be filed, etc.
However, going from $4,000 to $11,000 is quite a stretch. But, that's why the court has to review these requests, to be sure the amount requested is legitimate and fair.3) The amount of Bankruptcy that I now have to pay as a settlement was x % of the total debts (including attorney fees) that I owed. If the additional attorney fees are added to my total debts will the same x% be used to determine my final settlement?
Maybe. The way Chapter 13 works is that you have to pay in as much as you can afford for the 3 to 5 years of your Chapter 13 Plan. The courts don't really care if what you pay in pays 5% or 95% of your unsecured debt, only that the amount represents your best, good faith effort to pay as much as you can over the Plan life. Whatever debts are unpaid at the end of the Plan are discharged and canceled. The amount you pay in also has to be sufficient to cover secured items you elected to keep, such as car loans, etc.
So, sometimes when there is an additional expense that pops up that needs to be paid through the Plan, including additional attorneys fees, it may or may not affect the amount you have to pay in to the court. If you are paying in enough to cover the fees, then the result might be that your payment stays the same but unsecured creditors get a smaller percentage of their debts paid back. If however there is not enough money in the Plan to cover the additional fees, then the payment might have to go up.
For example, say you are paying $200/month for 60 months in to the Chapter 13 Plan, which totals $12,000. Let's say $4,000 of that is attorney fees, $500 is trustee
fees, $2,500 is paying off your car, and the balance ($5,000) will go to the unsecured creditors (i.e. medical bills, credit cards, deficiency balances owed on repossessed cars, old utility bills, personal loans, etc). Let's also say the total amount of your unsecured debt was $20,000. So, as it stands, the unsecured creditors will receive $5,000 toward their $20,000 in claims, and the remaining $15,000 you owe them will be discharged. The unsecured creditors will thus receive 25% of their claims, with the other 75% being discharged.
Let's then say your attorney files an additional fee claim for $4,000. In this case, the Plan payment would not
have to change, since the $4,000 could come out of the $5,000 the unsecured creditors were going
to get. If the fee claim is approved by the court, the lawyer would get $8,000 and the unsecured creditors would now only get $1,000. So, the unsecured creditors' percentage of recovery would drop from 25% down to 5%, while your payment stayed the same (if that makes sense).
Instead, let's say the lawyer files an additional claim for $10,000. Even if all of the money set aside for unsecured creditors goes to the lawyer, the Plan would still be short $5,000, so the Plan payment would have to go up to cover the additional fee claim.
However, since you were already paying in as much as you could afford, raising the payment is not possible, so the fee claim would either be denied or something would have to give (such as a car would have to be surrendered to free up money, etc).4) In Bankruptcy Cases, do judges typically side in favor of attorneys who file an “Application for Compensation By Attorney For Debtor”?
No. In my experience, judges listen to everything and then make their decision fairly. I have seen fee claims granted and denied. 5) Other than having a larger settlement to pay, are there any possible negative consequences that I might have to accept if the Court over rules my objection to the “Application for Compensation by Attorney for Debtor”.
Not that I can think of, other than having an irritated attorney, but you should still do what you think is fair and not worry about that. The attorney evidently wasn't worried about having an irritated client.6) Should I have an attorney represent me in filing and managing my Objection to the additional Compensation to my attorney? To put it simply: Could there be any negative consequence to me filing an Objection?
YES - you should have a lawyer help you. I would suggest you first call your original attorney and see why the additional claim was filed, and if it will impact your Plan payment to the court. If you are satisfied and comfortable with what you are told, you can leave it at that. If you are not, you should absolutely have another attorney review the fee claim and help you decide if an objection is appropriate.
I hope this helps!
JoeLEGAL NOTICE: I am only licensed to practice law in certain state(s) and I cannot give legal advice to someone who does not reside in a state in which I am licensed, nor shall anything I say in the above answer or elsewhere on this site be deemed legal advice, even to someone who resides in a state in which I am licensed. Funds I receive from JustAnswer.com are gratuities paid to me for taking the time to respond to questions, not for legal advice. This forum is designed to provide general information only, and information herein is not warranted to be correct or applicable in any way since laws may have been misinterpreted herein, since laws change from time to time, and since the impact of those laws on any particular situation varies. The information presented in this site shall not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Persons accessing this response are encouraged to seek independent legal counsel in their jurisdiction for guidance regarding their individual circumstances. Do not take any action or inaction based on information presented herein since it is informational and may not be accurate or applicable to you; it merely attempts to give you a basis of knowledge to help you formulate questions to ask a legal or other professional in a face-to-face meeting in your jurisdiction. JoeLawyer is an attorney but does not hold himself out to be a specialist or expert in any area, regardless of assertions made by any third party, and any implication of being an expert or specialist herein is made in error. I hope the information presented above is useful to you. Answer above is (c) JoeLawyer. All rights reserved.