Thursday, July 28, 2016
Having more bills than money every month is a problem that will quickly catch up with you and cause your finances to spiral out of control. And, not only will your finances take a hit, but your physical and emotional health can be damaged as well. The stress caused by being under financial pressure can result in loss of appetite or sleep and these things can turn into health problems that impact every area of your life. In order to take back some control and get a breath of fresh air it is crucial that you find ways to effectively manage your debt. One of the things you can do is to find out more about bankruptcy, and how it will help you and your family.
Three ways bankruptcy can help you are:
● All collection efforts must stop immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy case. This means that you will no longer have to be afraid to open a piece of mail from a lender or avoid phone calls because you fear a collector is on the other end of the line. This type of relief will help to alleviate the stress you are feeling from being unable to pay all of your bills on time and give you the chance to come up with a budget that works.
● If your wages are being garnished this must also stop, which puts more of your hard earned money back in your pocket.
● Depending on the type of case you file you may be able to pay less than what is due on the loan for some of your property. We all know that some things lose a significant amount of value as soon as they are bought, like a car, and in bankruptcy you are able to pay what something is worth rather than what the seller made you pay.
Bankruptcy has proven to be a life saver for thousands of consumer debtors and it can help you too. We are experienced in preparing and filing cases and look forward to speaking with you to learn your needs and come up with solutions that fit.
For more information about how bankruptcy can help you, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you soon.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Most times money problems and divorce go hand in hand. After all, they say that money is the number one cause of divorce. This is true whether a couple is struggling or has a sizable estate. The bottom line is that money causes as many problems as it solves and for some couples the burden added to their marriage by having to deal with money issues is too much to take. In most divorce cases there is a financial settlement that one side feels is unfair or is unable to handle on their own. When someone is suddenly single again and left holding the bag for most if not all of the marital debt the answer can be to file for bankruptcy. If you are divorced or going through a divorce and also considering filing for bankruptcy, there are some special concerns to take into consideration:
A bankruptcy case filed by a consumer is done by an individual or by a married couple. If you are divorced and have filed for bankruptcy or if your ex-spouse is filing bankruptcy, be sure to watch for these things:
• Not all of the debts you were ordered to pay in the divorce are debts you can eliminate through bankruptcy. For instance, child support payments must still be made even if you file bankruptcy.
• Your ex-spouse will be considered one of your creditors when you file bankruptcy if you were ordered to make payments to them directly in your divorce. This means anything you owe your ex can be challenged by them in your bankruptcy case.
Perhaps one of the most important ways divorce and bankruptcy interact is that if you are not the one to file bankruptcy, you will be the only one left the creditors can call for repayment. If you have joint debt it will not matter to the lender that your spouse was ordered to repay it in the divorce if your ex files for bankruptcy. The lender is not a party to your divorce proceeding and any order about who is responsible for repayment of debt does not impact the creditor. In the eyes of the bank both parties are still just as responsible for the debt after the divorce as they were the day the loan papers were signed. So when your ex files bankruptcy and joint debt remains unpaid, the lender can come after you to collect. There are solutions to this problem, and to find out what you can do in this type of situation, call us for help.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Most people don’t go to Court every day, so if you are summoned to the Courthouse it is only natural to be a little apprehensive or wonder what to expect. This is especially true if you have filed bankruptcy and are already nervous about not being able to pay your bills. In our experience most everyone that seeks the protection of bankruptcy is a good person who has just come upon hard times, and this makes it all the more difficult to go to Court and face a Judge or the bankruptcy Trustee to have your finances examined. The fewer times you have to appear in Court, the better as far as most litigants are concerned
The number of times you will have to go to Court if you file bankruptcy depends on the specific facts of your case, but everyone who takes advantage of the bankruptcy laws is required to show up for what is called a 341 meeting and can expect at least the following at that time:
● Be prepared to provide proof of identity.
● Have at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of paystubs with you as well as copies of at least the last 3 years tax returns.
● Expect that at least your auto or home lender will be present and ask you what your intent is with regard to your loan with them, meaning you will need to advise the lender if you are going to surrender the car or vacate the home, or will be keeping those things and reaffirming the debt.
● Your attorney will ask you questions about why you filed bankruptcy and whether any of the debt you have was acquired with the intention to never repay it but to file bankruptcy instead.
The 341 meeting takes place in front of the Trustee assigned to your case, and you will not see a bankruptcy judge at this time. The process usually takes about 30 minutes and we will prepare you well in advance of your hearing. As long as you come to the Courthouse with the documents needed you should not have any hiccups at your 341 meeting. In addition to the documents showing you are who you say you are, and your financial information it is also advisable to bring copies of your car titles and house papers. Our office will make sure you know exactly what to bring and where to be, so you feel confident and prepared for this hearing.
For more information about going to Court during your bankruptcy case, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com.
In today’s economy it is possible to receive a raise or bonus but still have problems making ends meet. Right now, the economic and political climates are such that even if you have more money at your disposal you can struggle to pay all of your bills on time. In order to reverse this problem it is necessary to cut expenses and come up with a budget that is more in line with your take home pay. This can be a hard thing to do, but if you are successful in identifying areas where you can eliminate expenses you will be able to not only pay your bills but might also have some left over to save for a rainy day. The feeling of financial security that is created when you are able to come up with and stick to a budget that works is immeasurable. But, most people need a little help when it comes to developing a budget, and sometimes calling on the assistance of a trained professional is your best shot at getting to a bottom line that makes sense.
One way to have some extra money to pay for the things you rely on the most to get to and from work, like your cars, is to eliminate payments on credit cards. When you don’t have to make high monthly payments that are only going towards interest anyway, you are able to save that money and pay for your car or even house. But if you don’t make enough money to pay off your credit cards each month and the payments are really dragging you down, bankruptcy is an option. Once you have eliminated unsecured debt like credit cards and signature loans, you can rework your budget into something that is manageable. Three tips to developing a budget you can stick to include:
● Eliminating unnecessary expenses like land lines for your phone, or cutting back on the number of movie channels included in your television package.
● Taking your lunch to work instead of eating out, even if you only make this change a few days a week.
● Shopping around for the best rates on car and house insurance. You would be surprised at how quickly your money adds up when you pay less every month for insurance, and you don’t have to compromise the level of coverage or quality of service to find lower rates. The insurance industry is a competitive market, with options for nearly every budget.
When you combine these things with taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws, put in place to help distressed borrowers, the result is powerful. For help taking control of your life and your money, call us today.
For more information bankruptcy and budgets, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.
Are you being called by creditors on a regular basis? Is your mailbox overflowing with past due notices? Do you go about your day trying to avoid being served with a collection lawsuit? If these are some of the things that you have to face on a daily basis you might be wondering if there is anything you can do to put a stop to the acts. The answer is yes, and it includes filing for the protections offered by the bankruptcy laws. One of the most beneficial aspects of filing a bankruptcy case is a legal mechanism referred to as the automatic stay.
The way the automatic stay works when you file for bankruptcy is like this:
● All bankruptcy cases include a list of your creditors, and each of these creditors is sent a notice that you have filed a case.
● The filing of a bankruptcy case automatically stops any collection or repossession efforts that are underway. This means that your lenders can no longer call you or file a lawsuit to collect money or to repossess your property.
● If you receive a call or letter after you file bankruptcy you should advise the creditor you have filed and provide the case number for their reference. This gives the lender an opportunity to locate the filing information online prior to receiving the notice that you are now in bankruptcy through the mail. If the creditor continues to call or maintain a lawsuit, you have the ability to sue that particular lender within your bankruptcy case.
Most people that file bankruptcy find that the automatic stay is the part of their case that gives them instant relief. Think about how nice it would be to stop dodging phone calls or trying to stay out of the process server’s path so you are not served with legal papers. This is just the type of protection the automatic stay offers. The purpose behind this powerful legal theory is that when you file bankruptcy you are entitled to have some time to gather yourself so you can work out financial arrangements that fit your budget. Bankruptcy was designed to give the honest, but unfortunate debtor, a fresh start with their finances. We can help you by reviewing the facts of your case and letting you know what type of case to file and how that case will help you reach your money goals.
For more information about how the automatic stay will help you when you file bankruptcy, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.
A person’s home truly is their castle; it is the place you go to at the end of a hard day to recharge your batteries and is where your friends and family gather at the holidays or on special occasions. Owning a home has long been referred to as the “American Dream” and is something most people aspire to every day. So when the chance you might lose your house comes up it can be a hard pill to swallow. This country has seen more foreclosures in the past years than ever before and the problem has reached epidemic proportions. How to stop a foreclosure became such a hot topic that even the government stepped in; first by bailing out the banks and then second by implementing programs designed to keep people in their homes. Some of those programs allow a mortgage lender to rewrite their own loan, which generally includes reducing the interest rate or reducing the amount due from an inflated sum to something more in line with what the property is worth. In either case the borrower benefits because the monthly payment goes down. The problem with this plan is that not all lenders participate and for those that do the hurdles faced by the homeowner can be insurmountable. This leaves many residents with only the option of bankruptcy in order to save their home from foreclosure.
Bankruptcy will help stop a foreclosure in these ways:
● When a bankruptcy case is filed all collection efforts, on all debts, has to immediately cease. This includes any pending foreclosure matter. So, the minute you file a bankruptcy case, any foreclosure action by the lender has to stop.
● If you file a Chapter 13 case you will be allowed to spread out the payments of any back due amounts by paying them through the Chapter 13 Plan. This will allow you to focus on making the regular payment while getting caught up over a period of time rather than all at once as required by most lenders.
● If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you are able to get rid of your high interest rate unsecured debt and the monthly payments that go along with that debt and this can free up your money to put towards your house payment.
We understand how important it is to save your house from foreclosure. Being forced to move out and find a new place to live is no one’s idea of fun, and we will help you make sure that doesn’t happen to your family. Bankruptcy is a very real option for thousands of homeowners a year and is a solution that works.
For more information about how bankruptcy can save your house from foreclosure, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you today.
Monday, July 25, 2016
No one likes receiving collection letters or calls but if you are behind on your payments, that is just the type of action most lenders will take. Some creditors will limit the calls to the home or cell number they have on file for you but there are those lenders out there that are not shy about calling you at work or resorting to calling the references you listed on your loan application. If that is happening to you it is time to call a professional for help. A bankruptcy attorney can help you put an end to the calls and letters, and can also help you come up with long term solutions for your finances.
Three good reasons to hire a bankruptcy attorney if you are not able to make payments on your bills are:
• A bankruptcy attorney can do more than just file bankruptcy for you; they can also negotiate with your creditors for more favorable repayment terms that are more in line with your monthly budget and financial ability.
• A bankruptcy attorney is able to identify if the calls and letters you are receiving violate any type of collection laws, and if so can take the appropriate action against the creditor. Many lenders will stop harassing you when an attorney steps in and points out the mistakes the lender has made in their collection efforts and this could result in loan modifications or other debt management solutions that are favorable to you.
• A bankruptcy attorney can file bankruptcy for you, which puts a stop to the calls and letters right away.
One of the most important features of bankruptcy is that the instant your case is filed all of your lenders are prohibited from contacting you. If any lender persists in their attempts to get you to pay, you can hold them liable for any damages you suffer as a result of the prohibited contact. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney will know what to look for when lenders break the rules and will also make sure the case you file is done properly. Bankruptcy court is full of rules and procedures that have to be followed to the letter, and if they are not your case can be thrown out of Court. In order to avoid that harsh result the best decision you can make is to partner with a skilled bankruptcy attorney.
Friday, July 22, 2016
In 2005 banks and other lenders lobbied Congress in the hopes of having different bankruptcy laws written. Unfortunately Congress listened and the entire bankruptcy structure in place was overhauled. One of the most significant changes to the bankruptcy system was to implement a complex mathematical formula into the first step required for filing a case. Distressed borrowers were no longer free to decide if they wanted to file a Chapter 7 case or a Chapter 13 but instead had to put their finances through a legal formula that fails to take into account certain personal issues a borrower faces. That test is called the means test and it has a big impact on what type of bankruptcy case you are eligible to file.
The means test requires a potential bankruptcy filer to enter data about their debts and their income. Here’s the short story on how the means test will impact you:
• All of your income has to be accounted for when performing the test and this will include any bonus or overtime pay you have recently received.
• Your secured debt is factored in to the computation to come up with a figure that compares what you bring in versus what you pay out in secured debts each month.
• The figure that results from the test determines if you have enough disposable income left over after paying all of your secured debts to pay any portion of your hard earned money to your unsecured debts each month. If you do have money left over that can go towards credit cards or other unsecured debts like signature loans or medical bills you will be required to file a Chapter 13 case rather than a Chapter 7.
Because of the ability to discharge unsecured debt in its entirety in a Chapter 7, that is the preferred type of case for most people who file bankruptcy. But a Chapter 13 has its benefits as well and you should not give up on the idea that bankruptcy can help you if the means test reveals you are only able to file a Chapter 13. It might sound discouraging to have to repay even a small amount of unsecured debt, but being able to reorganize your monthly obligations in such a way that allows you a little breathing room is a huge factor to consider. If you are having a hard time keeping current on your bills, call our office for help. We will walk you through the steps and explain the difficult means test computation to you in a way that makes sense.
For more information about the means test and how it impacts your case, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations for more convenient one on one office visits.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Many people today have more debt than they can pay on a regular basis. Being in this situation is stressful to your family and can cause anxiety that leads to more serious health and emotional issues. But there are options out there, and understanding how those options work can relieve some of the pressure you are under when faced with overwhelming debt. Every day thousands of people across the country file for bankruptcy in order to get out from under heavy financial burdens and you can too. When you file bankruptcy you have a choice about what type of case to file. Consumer cases are either Chapter 7 matters or are filed under Chapter 13.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a type of case that allows you to reorganize your debt in a similar way to doing a debt consolidation. With a Chapter 13 case, you take the following steps:
• Prepare a proposed plan of how you are going to repay your debt. The plan sets forth your proposed repayment amounts on secured debts like your house and car by outlining the amount you are willing to pay for the item. With your house you will likely have to repay what is owed on the note, but with a car you can pay the value rather than the full amount due. By reducing the amount you owe on a car loan to only paying what the car is worth, you save a lot of money. You can also propose a lower interest rate on autos and this will save money as well.
• The plan is filed and all of your creditors are given notice and an opportunity to accept the terms you propose, or object to the plan and seek a different repayment scheme.
• The Court will listen to what you have to say about how you intend to repay your debt, and what the creditor thinks they are entitled to receive. Once the Court hears both sides a final decision will be made and an order confirming a repayment plan will be entered.
• Once the order confirming plan is entered you will make one monthly payment, covering all of the debts in your plan, to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Trustee will then disburse the funds to your lenders so you don’t have to pay them directly. However if you make the decision to pay some lenders directly and then pay the rest of your total monthly debt payment as set forth in the Chapter 13 Plan to the Trustee, you may do so.
If this all sounds complicated just remember that a Chapter 13 is like consolidating your debt into one lump sum payment per month. Even a portion of your unsecured credit card debt is covered under a Chapter 13. We can help you gain a better understanding of how this works by looking at your debt and income and then developing a repayment plan that works for you.
For more information about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact us at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.
Monday, July 18, 2016
If you are behind on your bills you might be considering filing for bankruptcy, but have some questions about what that really means. Common concerns include wondering if your property will be taken away from you or if you get to keep your things without making the payments. Some people also worry about the potential damage filing bankruptcy has on their credit score and if that means they will never be able to take out a loan again. Rest assured that when you seek the protection bankruptcy has to offer your life is not over. You will be able to continue to conduct your financial affairs and you can start repairing your credit right away. It is also possible to keep your property when you file bankruptcy, but you do have to maintain regular payments on certain things. The pieces of collateral you continue to pay for depends on the choices you make when filing, one of those choices being what chapter of case you choose.
There are two main types of consumer bankruptcies, a Chapter 7 and a Chapter13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is best summarized as follows:
• Chapter 7 cases are like liquidations, meaning most of your debt is eliminated.
• There is no requirement that you continue to pay for your high interest rate credit cards or other unsecured debt in a Chapter 7 case.
• The things you want to keep, like your house and car, can be kept by agreeing to make the payments due on the loan. You can do this by signing a new agreement during your case, called a reaffirmation agreement.
Chapter 7 cases usually take about 90 to 120 days to complete. Once finished the debts that have been discharged are no longer due and the lender cannot ask you to pay. For debts that have been reaffirmed though, you do still owe the money and will be required to make the payments even after your case is finished. A Chapter 7 can help you get back on track with your finances and start fresh when thinking about how to budget your paycheck. Call us today to find out if this type of case is right for you.