The Bankruptcy Alphabet: “B” is for the “Benefits of Chapter 13”

March 21, 2012

Potential clients often ask me why anyone would want to file a Chapter 13, if they are otherwise eligible to file a Chapter 7. There are many advantages in Chapter 13 that don’t exist in Chapter 7. While some people may not need those advantages, for others those advantages are essential to achieving a fresh start.

The following are some of the advantages of Chapter 13:

  • Debts which one was orderd to pay as part of the property settlement in a divorce can be discharged
  • A house can be saved from from foreclosure or a car saved from repossession
  • Penalties owed to taxing authorities can be discharged, even if the underlying tax is not dischargeable
  • Homeowners association dues can be discharged
  • Bankruptcy attorney’s fees can be paid over time
  • A tax sale can be stopped, and the tax can be repaid as part of the Chapter 13 plan
  • The loans on rental property, cars, boats and vacation homes can be modified, without the bank’s consent
  • In certain circumstances a second or third mortgage on a home can be removed
  • A debtor can continue to operate their business

There are also some clients who just want to try to repay what they can, but don’t want to be obligated to repay more than they can afford. For those people, Chapter 13 may also be a good choice.  Is Chapter 13 right for you?  Contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to find out.

See what lawyers around the country have to say on the letter “B”:

The Bankruptcy Alphabet: “A” is for attachment

March 19, 2012

This is my first article in the “Bankruptcy Alphabet” series. I have decided to begin the series discussing wage attachments. I frequently receive calls from potential clients after a creditor has attached his or her paycheck. This can be a devasating situation. Many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck these days, and every penny counts. The good news is that, in most cases, filing a bankruptcy petition will stop a wage attachment.

Once a bankruptcy petition is filed, the court issues an order which stops creditors from taking any further action to collect their debts. It is important to remember that a bankruptcy petition will not stop your wages from being attached to pay ongoing child support or alimony payments.

If you receive notification that your wages have been attached, you should contact a competent bankruptcy attorney right away. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can stop the wage attachment. It may even be possible for your attorney to recover any money your employer sent to the creditor before the bankruptcy petition was filed.

Read what other lawyers have to say about the letter “A”:

What is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

March 11, 2012

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization.  Only individuals (not corporations) can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  One of the common misconceptions about Chapter 13 is that all of the debt must be repaid.  This is not true.  In order to have the Chapter 13 plan confirmed (approved by the court), a certain amount of your debt must be repaid.  That amount may be determined by your budget, the nature of your debt, or the value of assets you would like to keep.  Replayment plans in Chapter 13 last anywhere from 36 to 60 months.

Do I really need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?

March 1, 2012

In this difficult economy gathering the funds to hire an attorney can be a tough thing to do.  However, trying to file your own bankruptcy is like trying to remove your own appendix.

Before you consider filing your own bankruptcy you should ask yourself the following questions:

  •  What exemption laws apply to me?
  • Do I understand my district’s document production requirements?
  • Am I familiar with the issues surrounding reaffirming debt?
  • What happens if I discover a mistake on my petition after my case is filed?
  • What will be expected of me at court?
  • Do I thoroughly understand the various chapters of bankruptcy and the relief that is available under each?
  • Do I understand the role of the trustee and the Office of the United States Trustee?

If you cannot answer each of the above questions with “Yes”, you should not even consider trying to represent yourself.

Each year I am contacted by people who thought they could handle this process themself.  Instead the mess they created costs them more to fix than if they had just paid an attorney to do it right the first time.  In some cases the mistakes cannot be fixed.  A mistake in bankruptcy can cost someone a home or a car that they had hoped to keep.