If you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the first thing that you will want to do is make your first regularly scheduled payment into your case. If you are being payroll deducted, look at the first paycheck you receive after you have filed and see if your employer has deducted your plan payment from it. If not, you will need to make that payment directly to the trustee. You may do so by cash payment at the trustee’s office, or via mail by money order or cashier’s check. If you elect to pay with a money order or cashier’s check, make sure to include your bankruptcy case number on it. These payments may be mailed to the Chapter 13 Trustee for the Northern District of Alabama, Western Division (C. David Cottingham) at the following address: C. David Cottingham, Chapter 13 Trustee, P.O. Drawer 020588, Tuscaloosa, AL 25402. Mr. Cottingham’s website with more information can be found at www.ch13tuscaloosa.com.
Once the payroll deduction has started, you will no longer need to make these direct payments to Mr. Cottingham. But until that deduction starts, it is very important that you make the payment directly so that you do not fall behind in your case, and possibly even have it dismissed without a discharge.
If you elect to directly pay your entire case and not be payroll deducted, the burden is placed directly on you to make sure your payments are received timely by the trustee. Paying directly lowers your chances of successfully completing a Chapter 13 case, and I almost never recommend doing so if you or your co-filing spouse have a job. In addition, paying an additional fee just to purchase a money order is not the wisest use of your money.