Category Archives: Bankruptcy

Do you have too much debt? Chapter 7 might be an option.

Many Americans simply have more debt than they can afford to repay.

Despite what you hear, it is rarely due to irresponsibility.  No one sets out to accumulate $7,000 in credit card debt, but a temporary job loss, sudden illness or other financial emergency can quickly drain savings and force people to charge normal living expenses.

When coupled with student loans, signature loans, payday loans and other unsecured loans, consumer debt in America tops $3 trillion. Since most people can expect negligible wage growth and have little savings, credit card debt can easily push a family over its own fiscal cliff.

Even if the debt was not your fault, the bills are still due and something must be done. If paying the bills is not an option, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the answer.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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In just a few short months, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can wipe out most unsecured debts including credit cards and medical bills. All that time, your creditors may not take any action against you unless they get special permission from the Bankruptcy Court. After the bankruptcy is over, you still get to keep your house, retirement account, and other valuable exempt assets.

Contact us to learn more about  debt-elimination programs.

Financial Emergencies that can be Solved by Filing Bankruptcy

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An important benefit of filing for bankruptcy protection is that the automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon the filing of your petition. The stay prevents creditors from continuing any collection efforts against you while your case is pending. Thus, all harassing telephone calls, demand letters and collection lawsuits against you must stop. For somebody who has been harassed by collectors for a long time, this can provide significant relief.

Below are a few of the types of emergencies that the automatic stay can help a debtor handle:

Foreclosure

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments and your lender is threatening a foreclosure action, filing a personal bankruptcy can immediately (but temporarily) halt the proceedings. At a minimum, it will buy you additional time to remain in your home. It will also allow you extra time to try to negotiate a settlement or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure with your mortgage lender. Finally, it permits us to help you avoid negative tax consequences.

Utilities

If you have missed payments on your electric, gas, telephone service, or other utilities, the automatic stay can prohibit your services from being disconnected for at least twenty (20) days. This may not seem very important, but when it is extremely hot or freezing cold outside, having electricity to run your air conditioner or heater is significant. While delinquent utility bills are not a sufficient reason to file for bankruptcy protection, they typically are a sign that you have other financial problems as well.

Garnishments

If a debt collector has obtained a judgment against you, it is likely that you have garnishments pending against your bank account and/or wages. The automatic stay stops all garnishments. Additionally, you may be able to eliminate or discharge the underlying debt linked to the garnishment action.

Evictions

If you rent your home and you have fallen behind on payments to your landlord, filing for bankruptcy can provide you some relief from an eviction action. However, if your landlord has already been awarded a judgment against you, the automatic stay will not halt the eviction process. However, if your landlord has not obtained a judgment, the bankruptcy filing will provide us time to negotiate with your landlord.

The above are only a few examples of the financial emergencies that a bankruptcy filing can assist you with. We can review your individual situation and help determine if filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best debt relief strategy for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing will impact your debt, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.

Can I file Bankruptcy if I am Unemployed?

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If you have recently lost your job or you have been unemployed for a while, you are probably delinquent on your bills and debt collectors are harassing you. If you have considered filing for bankruptcy protection but you are concerned that you won’t qualify if you don’t have a job, it is important to understand that now may be the ideal time for you to file a case.

Every individual’s situation is unique, so it is essential to have an experienced attorney review your circumstances to determine the best strategy for you to take. While you are unemployed, you may be “judgment proof.” This means that you do not have any non-exempt assets or funds that a creditor can attack in collecting the debt from you. As a result, your creditors may not be taking any collection actions against you.

However, while you do not have a job you will likely pass the means test and qualify for a Chapter 7 filing. The means test is a mathematical formula used by the bankruptcy court to ensure that you are not abusing the bankruptcy process in attempting to discharge your debt. The means test looks at your income from the prior six months to determine whether or not you have the ability to repay your creditors. If you have been unemployed for several months and show no income during that time, you may be eligible for a Chapter 7 filing when you otherwise would not qualify.

Your future income may be considered by the trustee even if you pass the means test. In other words, if the trustee thinks you are capable of paying your creditors, he or she has the ability to object to your discharge of debt. However, if you are not receiving any income, there is a very small likelihood that the trustee will file this type of objection.

If you are unemployed and read to obtain relief from your overwhelming debt, let us help. We can review your individual finances and determine whether or not a bankruptcy filing or other form of debt relief would benefit you.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Filing Bankruptcy

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Before you jump into a personal bankruptcy filing, it is important to carefully weigh all of your debt relief options. There are pros and cons to filing a bankruptcy and you must understand both the good and the bad consequences of your decision to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Although each bankruptcy case is unique and you should have one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys review your individual finances, the following are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of a personal bankruptcy:

Pros:

A personal bankruptcy is the most comprehensive means for dealing with your debt. All of your creditors must be included in your filing, so when you receive your discharge order, it truly provides you with a fresh financial start. Additional benefits include:

  • The majority (if not all) of your debts will be eliminated and you are no longer legally obligated to pay them.
  • The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed, which means that all collection activity against you will stop.
  • In many cases and depending on which chapter you file under, you probably will be able to keep possession of all of your assets.
  • If you file a Chapter 13 and you must repay all or a portion of your creditors, you can create a manageable repayment plan and spread out your payments over three to five years.
  • You may qualify to remove inferior mortgage liens from your home. This means that the inferior mortgage will be treated as an unsecured debt which is typically paid mere pennies on the dollar owed.
  • As soon as you obtain your discharge of debt, you can immediately begin working to rebuild positive credit.

Cons:

Nobody wants to have to file for bankruptcy protection. However, due to our economy and the vast number of people that have had to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, it is not as embarrassing as it once was. Other negatives regarding bankruptcy include:

  • Your credit score will be negatively impacted. For many debtors who have already damaged their credit rating with late payments, collection lawsuits, garnishments, foreclosures or asset seizures, the effect on their score is not significant.
  • Having a bankruptcy notation on your credit report can make it harder for you to qualify for a mortgage loan until your credit score improves
  • Depending on what type of bankruptcy case you file and your individual situation, there may be a small risk that some of your assets will be used to pay creditors
  • In order to take advantage of your fresh start, you must live on a budget and change any irresponsible spending behaviors
  • Once you have filed a bankruptcy and received a discharge, you cannot file for bankruptcy relief again for several years

To learn more about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy protection, contact Faro & Crowder to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.

Understanding the Benefits of the Automatic Stay

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If you are tired of being harassed by relentless debt collectors and you are wondering how filing for bankruptcy can help, the answer is a protection afforded to debtors called the “automatic stay.” As soon as you file your personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition, the stay immediately goes into effect and prohibits further collection activity against you. This means that all telephone calls, demand letters, lawsuits, garnishments and other similar forms of collection tactics must immediately stop.

There are some exceptions to the automatic stay, so it is important to confer with a bankruptcy attorney regarding what matters will not be halted by your filing. Some of the more common examples of matters that can continue even though you filed for bankruptcy include certain family court matters, criminal court proceedings, and tax audits.

If you have a creditor that has a secured debt (a loan where you pledged an asset as collateral for the lender), it is important to understand that the creditor has the right to file a motion and ask the court to lift the stay as it applies to that lender’s specific debt. There are certain requirements that must be met for the court to grant this type of motion. If the court grants the creditor’s motion, the stay is lifted as to that creditor and the debt at issue. This means that the creditor can proceed with certain actions against you and/or the asset pledged as collateral. For example, if you fail to pay your car loan and you do not have insurance coverage on it, the bankruptcy court may permit your lender to repossess the vehicle.

Although the bankruptcy laws were designed to primarily protect debtors, they also set forth many safeguards for creditors as well. If you are concerned with how the automatic stay will apply to your debt and the collection actions being taken against you, contact us today.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

 

Protecting your Privacy in Bankruptcy

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Identity theft is a very real problem in our country and it is crucial that you take every precaution to protect your private information. This is true even when you are filing for debt relief. When you seek financial protection in bankruptcy, the court requires to make full financial disclosure. Thus, your disclosures could provide an unscrupulous party with all the information they need to steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life. Fortunately, there are many protections in place that prevent this from happening.

Pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9037, debtors can protect their personal information by redacting or editing their filings to prevent disclosure of confidential data. Bankruptcy Rule 9037 provides:

Unless the court orders otherwise, in an electronic or paper filing made with the court that contains an individual’s social-security number, taxpayer-identification number, or birth date, the name of an individual, other than the debtor, known to be and identified as a minor, or a financial-account number, a party or nonparty making the filing may include only:

(1) the last four digits of the social-security number and taxpayer-identification number;

(2) the year of the individual’s birth;

(3) the minor’s initials; and

(4) the last four digits of the financial-account number.

If you fail to redact your private information or you otherwise do not comply with Rule 9037, the court will deem that you waived your right to the protections it affords. Additionally, all of your creditors should make reasonable efforts to safeguard your privacy. If one of your creditors wrongfully discloses a debtor’s confidential information, the debtor should take immediate action and demand that the creditor correct the error. If your private information has been disclosed, we can request that the court seal the document in order to protect your identifying data.

If you are concerned about identity theft and your bankruptcy filing, contact us to learn more. As seasoned bankruptcy lawyers, we will take every precaution available to ensure that your private information is protected.

The legal team at Faro & Crowder is ready to help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.

 

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