In a recent post, I wrote about two of the main benefits a bankruptcy case can provide. One of those benefits was the “automatic stay” that provides protection from your creditors. Let’s take a closer look at the “automatic stay” and how it helps you. When you file a bankruptcy case, you are protected by law from a vast array of debt collection tactics and efforts. This legal protection becomes available to you immediately upon the filing of your case. With very limited exceptions that an experienced debt relief lawyer can easily handle, you don’t have to ask for it…Read   More

Quite often I reassure clients that come to our office to meet with an attorney regarding financial issues: “I have NEVER had anyone sit down in my office and say, ‘Wow! I am so glad to finally be here because about five years ago I woke up one morning and thought-wouldn’t it be great to be filing for bankruptcy in a few years!’” Certainly that may sound somewhat sarcastic, however, hopefully the humor in that impractical notion can ease the tension and help someone realize that most people would never consider a bankruptcy filing a “good financial plan” for their…Read   More

Just because you need to file for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that your spouse will need to file as well.  There are many reasons why only one spouse would have the need to file for bankruptcy protection.  Maybe your spouse does not have any significant debt to warrant filing for bankruptcy, or your spouse has good credit and does not want to have a bankruptcy on his or her credit report, or maybe he or she does not qualify to receive a bankruptcy discharge because of a recent filing.  The bottom line is that no matter the reason, your…Read   More

There but for the grace of God go I. We have all heard these words.  It is believed that they come from a sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford who stated “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford”.  He made the statement with regard to a group of prisoners who were being led to execution.  The statement is often an expression of humility.  In using it, a speaker acknowledges that factors outside his control (God’s grace) have impacted the fact that he has avoided a particular misfortune in life. Having practiced as a bankruptcy attorney for almost thirty…Read   More

Pitfalls of Being a Co-Signer

Posted on July 10th, 2015 by Joshua Lawhorn

It is nearly impossible to keep a job without some form of transportation. Since many Americans cannot afford to purchase a car outright, they must resort to financing. If they have a bad or non-existing credit history, a co-signer is sometimes needed. This is often a parent, other family member, or even a friend. In a perfect world, the primary borrower would timely make all of the payments. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Whether it is due to a general lack of funds, loss of job, or some other outside factor, once a person falls behind on a…Read   More

Beware of Scams!

Posted on July 10th, 2015 by Gail Donaldson

Recently, a man called my home phone number proclaiming to be a deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office telling me that I had missed jury duty.  Of course, I knew that I had not received any such notice and asked what address any notice was mailed to informing me of the date I was to report to the courthouse.  He only stated the first four digits of my address and stopped.  I told him I appreciated his call but I would follow up with the court myself about why no notice was sent and he hung up. Later that…Read   More

Student Loan Repayment Plans

Posted on July 8th, 2015 by Carla M. Handy

I have been writing a series of blogs addressing issues with student loan debt.  As previously mentioned, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in this country and is second only to mortgage debt.  It is a problem that is not going away anytime soon.  The federal government continues to seek solutions for the repayment of this debt load and, by executive order, the options for repayment are ever evolving.  There is a wonderful article addressing repayment of federally guaranteed student loan debt in the latest issue of the Consumer Bankruptcy Journal which is published by NACBA, the national…Read   More

Declare Your Independence from Debt

Posted on July 6th, 2015 by Ed Woods

Almost 239 years ago, our country declared its independence from Great Britain.  Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence setting forth the reasons for our separation from the British Empire. If you remember from your high school history class (or your own reading of the Declaration), you will recall that the American colonists were basically sick of George III and his government’s ill treatment and oppression of them. They were being treated as second class citizens and George III was interested only in what the colonies could do for England and not vice versa. So, the American colonists decided they’d…Read   More

Stopping a potential foreclosure of your home is one of the primary benefits of filing for bankruptcy relief.  As discussed by my colleagues in other posts, filing bankruptcy puts in place the Automatic Stay. This stay stops all creditors from making any attempts to collect debts from you (including foreclosures) while your bankruptcy case is ongoing. “In Foreclosure” and “Foreclosed” Differences Many people are also confused by the difference between “in foreclosure” and “foreclosed.”  In normal conversation, a creditor may tell you your home will go “in foreclosure” on a particular date as a result of missed mortgage payments.  Typically,…Read   More

Has the Foreclosure Crisis Ended?

Posted on June 26th, 2015 by Amy Tanner

A recent CNBC article reports that the number of delinquent mortgages is falling, however, the foreclosure crisis does not appear to be over. Banks are becoming more aggressive with their collection efforts on delinquent mortgages and are pushing hardworking homeowners into foreclosure at a rapid rate instead of offering modification programs. Although, private banks, mortgage services and the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program have offered in excess of 1.8 billion loan modifications that reduce principal indebtedness and sometimes mortgage debt forgiveness, many of the recipients of this good fortune have fallen on hard times again and have defaulted on their…Read   More