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How a Lien on Property Can Effect Your Bankruptcy

A question that comes up frequently during a bankruptcy process is: “How does a judgment lien taken against me before a bankruptcy case is filed affect me after my case has been discharged?” This question usually arises because a person … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Cheap and Good Are Not Synonymous

There is an old saying that goes something like this: The most expensive lawyer you will ever hire is the cheapest one. This especially applies to someone wanting to hire a lawyer for a bankruptcy case. I have seen too … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Sometimes the right decision is to “LET IT GO”

Recently, I was spending time with my five year old great-niece, Bayleigh, and she began to sing along with the tune on the radio.  The song was “Let It Go” from her favorite movie, Frozen (a Disney movie).  If you … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do You Owe Debt That Has Been Charged Off?

When I am meeting with clients, I often get asked the following question “Do I still owe the debt on my credit report that is listed as charged off?” Unfortunately, the answer is “Yes” you still owe old charged off … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt |

Can You Get Fired for Filing Bankruptcy?

It goes without saying that people in need of bankruptcy protection are usually living on a very tight budget. They are barely making enough money to pay their day to day living expenses. Many, in fact, are not able to … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Making a Household Budget and Sticking With It

In order to have a successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must make sure you are on time with your Trustee payments.  If you have a house, you must also make sure you stay current with your mortgage payments.  Of course, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is There a Chance the Court Will Reject Your Bankruptcy?

I get this question quite often and it is a valid question for someone that is not familiar with the bankruptcy process. The best answer to the question is: “Not with proper representation.” In a Chapter 13 personal reorganization, it … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Teaching Our Children Healthy Financial Responsibilities is a Must

Through my years of practice, I have had the pleasure of helping many families with their financial problems.  I have noticed that many times after meeting with a client that I am able to help, I receive referrals to their … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice, has been sentenced to federal prison for bankruptcy fraud

Teresa Guidice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey was charged with bankruptcy fraud in federal court in 2013.    On March 4, 2014, she and her husband, Joe, pled guilty to four criminal counts in Federal District Court in Newark, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Famous Bankruptcy |

Older Americans Are Struggling with Student Loan Debt

A recent government audit performed by the government accountability office (GAO) and reported by Huffington Post found many senior Americans are being driven into poverty due to the demands for payment by the education department on defaulted student loans. The … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Student Loan Problems |

Bond & Botes Attorneys Announce Financial Hardship Scholarship Winner

The 2014 Bond & Botes Financial Hardship Scholarship has been awarded to Niya McCray, who will be attending the Vanderbilt University Law School this fall. The $2,000 award will help defray her tuition costs, but it was the road Niya traveled … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Alabama is at the Top of the List for Predatory Lending

A recent article published by the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Alabama has more title loan lenders than any other state per capita. According to the SPLC article, there are four times as many payday lenders in Alabama than … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Collection Harassment, Consumer Law |

Do You Need to Notify the Bankruptcy Court of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Yes, if you filing a bankruptcy or currently in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must disclose in your schedules that you have a personal injury claim or lawsuit or you may be prohibited from bring your personal injury lawsuit in … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Happens If You Get Sick And Don’t Have Health Insurance

It happens.  People lose their jobs.  People change jobs.  A young adult becomes too old to be included on her parent’s health insurance policy.  A divorce can results in the party that was relying upon her spouse for insurance no … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I Have to Disclose My Spouse’s Income in My Bankruptcy?

Yes. Even if your spouse is not filing with you, their income has to be disclosed to the bankruptcy court. The court requires that all household income be disclosed. This can affect you in several different ways depending on whether … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy Can Free You From Payday Loans

The simple answer to this question is yes and you must include payday loans in your bankruptcy filing if you have them.  A debtor signs his or her bankruptcy petition under penalty of perjury which is a verification that those … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is Your Pride Keeping You From Seeing a Bankruptcy Attorney?

Potential bankruptcy clients often come to see me after something bad has happened. Just this morning, a nice lady came in and told me that her car had been repossessed yesterday.  Had she come to see me earlier, we might … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

Do You Have a Debt in Collection? You May Not Be Alone

Recent studies show an alarming number of Americans have debts that have been turned over to collection agencies. CNN Money recently reported on a study conducted by the Urban Institute finding that one in three adults (roughly 77 million people) in … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Collection Harassment |

FDCPA in Bankruptcy Court

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decides affirmatively that filing a claim in Bankruptcy on a time-barred debt is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. On July 10, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Collection Harassment |

Can an Alabama Bankruptcy Lawyer Send Letters to a Prospective Client Seeking Professional Employment

The answer to this question is yes – in certain circumstances – and if strict rules are followed.  Rule 7.3(a) of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct sets forth the general prohibition against such solicitations and provides in, pertinent part, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can You File Bankruptcy on Overpayment of State Benefits?

In most cases, yes, you can file bankruptcy on overpayment of certain State benefits. There are two instances where we see this most often. One is with State Department of Labor Unemployment Overcompensation and the other is Department of Human … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Are You Trying to do a Loan Forbearance or Loan Modification While in Foreclosure?

Beware of deceptive practices by your mortgage company while you are going through a foreclosure.  Mortgage foreclosure is a duel-track system. The first track is managed by the loss mitigation department at the mortgage servicer and the second is managed … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Do You Budget for a New Baby in Your Family?

As new parents, the one main concern my husband and I had prior to our daughter’s arrival was how could we afford a new baby.  For years, our friends and family would tell us that if you wait until you … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can You File Bankruptcy on a Timeshare?

Getting twisted into a timeshare can be a real life lesson. Sometimes, that is what will drive people to look at bankruptcy in the first place. The simple answer as to whether or not you can file bankruptcy on a … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

A Medical Bankruptcy?

The United States Congress, the governing body for Bankruptcy law in the US, will be considering changes to the current Bankruptcy Code with the introduction of a bill last week from Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).  The … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy is Our Financial First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a very important thing to have around and we should all have one in our home, workplace and in our vehicles. What are some of the things you might expect to find in a first … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is the Millennial Generation Drowning in Debt?

Millennials, also referred to as generation Y, appear to be carrying a heavy load of debt. Millennials are the generation of young people who matured into young adults around the year 2000. CNN money recently reported that 4 in 10 … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Brad Botes Recognized as Top Lawyer by Birmingham Magazine

The March 2014 edition of Birmingham Magazine listed my law partner of over twenty (20) years, Brad Botes, in its Top Attorneys 2014 poll in the “Bankruptcy Law” category.  I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor to … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is Your Home State Allowing Debt Collectors to Leave you in Poverty?

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has recently surveyed the exemption laws of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. What NCLC found is that NOT EVEN ONE jurisdiction’s exemption laws meet basic standards of … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Can I Afford to Pay My Bankruptcy Attorney If I Am Broke?

How can I pay my bankruptcy attorney?         This is a question that I am often asked.  After all, people say, if a person can’t pay his or her creditors; how can they afford to pay their bankruptcy attorney.  As with … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Ronald C. Sykstus Recognized as a 2014 Super Lawyer

Super Lawyers Magazine annually publishes a list of the top attorneys in Alabama. Super Lawyers rates outstanding attorneys from seventy or more practice areas based on peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and the lawyers are … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What are My Options on a Garnishment?

A garnishment is a serious situation. Ignoring a garnishment can hurt you.  Generally speaking, a garnishment is a type of legal proceeding that allows someone you owe to seize your non-exempt property to satisfy a debt. In Mississippi, the usual … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Which is Better, Debt Settlement or Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can often be a far better option than a debt settlement program. It is a process that has a defined beginning and end with protection from collection efforts from your creditors while you are in that process.     … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt |

Can You Work Out Your Debts on Your Own?

Yes, you can. There is no law that says you must seek any formal, legal debt relief.  For example, you can contact your creditors at any time and inform them that you’re having a hard time making ends meet and … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy Filing Fees Will Increase June 1, 2014

The Judicial Conference of the United States approved two amendments to the Miscellaneous Fee Schedule in its March 2014 session that impact bankruptcy filings.  The filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy will increase from $306.00 to $335.00 and the … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can’t I Just Work Out My Debts On My Own?

Yes, you can. There is no law that says you must seek any formal, legal debt relief.  For example, you can contact your creditors at any time and inform them that you’re having a hard time making ends meet and … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis

For some Alabamians, the American dream of owning a home has become a nightmare. One in sixty Alabama homeowners is projected to experience foreclosure on their home as a result of a high-cost loan. In Alabama, foreclosure proceedings can be … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Are You Responsible for a Family Member’s Debt When They Die

I am often asked this question by clients and the bottom line is this:  You do not inherit debt under Alabama law.  If you co-signed on a loan with them, then you would be liable for the remainder of that … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Do You Disclose Assets When Filing for Bankruptcy?

When you seek relief through Chapter 13 personal reorganization or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to disclose your income and your assets. Disclosing your income is usually quite simple. For most people, you simply provide copies of your pay … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Beware of Solicitation Letters Received in the Mail after Filing Bankruptcy

When filing for bankruptcy, you may occasionally receive letters from various companies offering their services because of your bankruptcy filing.  Some of those letters relate to the personal financial management course that you are required to complete to receive you … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

Is It Time for You to Consider Filing For Bankruptcy?

Many people are unable to pay their bills as they become due but clearly not all of them are candidates for bankruptcy.  So when should an individual consider filing for bankruptcy?  The truth is that there is no bright line … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can You File Bankruptcy on Debts from a Divorce?

Most divorce decrees and marital settlements will address the debts that exist at the time the parties separate. There is usually some type of division of the debt. Most couples have debt that turns out to be his, mine and … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can you be taxed for debts discharged in bankruptcy and what to do if you received a 1099 issued to the IRS for debt?

Many of our clients present us with these questions, especially during tax season. The simple answer to these questions is… maybe… This area of questions is actually quite complicated.  If you find yourself presented with these types of questions, we … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Tax Issues and Problems |

Insurance Coverage Requirements in Bankruptcy

I recently wrote a blog on how creditors can seek to excuse themselves from the protection of the Automatic Stay in bankruptcy by filing a Motion for Relief from Stay.  One of the ways a creditor can be excused from … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can Your Auto Creditor Disable Your Automobile?

The short answer to this question is NO. Once you file any form of bankruptcy, the automatic stay takes effect. It is a clear violation of the automatic stay for a creditor to activate a car shut off device after … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Should You File a Tax Return If You Owe the IRS Money and Can’t Afford to Pay

YES, it is extremely important that you file a tax return on time to avoid having penalties assessed against you.  If you cannot afford to pay the IRS in one lump sum, pay as much as you can with the … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Can You Improve Your credit After Filing For Bankruptcy?

This is a question that we often get asked when someone is contemplating filing for bankruptcy. First of all, if someone has perfect credit, meaning that they have never been behind on any debts, then filing for bankruptcy will hurt … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Report Disputes and Errors |

Can You Purchase a Car During or After Filing Bankruptcy?

A common question that our clients ask us is whether they can purchase a vehicle either during or after their bankruptcy and, if so, who can they contact to do so? Several lenders and car companies advertise the ability to … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

Can Bad Credit Prevent You From Getting a Job?

As the law currently stands, a bad credit rating can prevent potential employment with some jobs. Whether credit rating is a factor completely depends on the employer. A recent survey shows that nearly fifty percent of employers check an applicant’s … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt |

Use Your Tax Refund to Eliminate Debt

In a few short weeks, many households will start receiving their tax refunds and wonder how they should spend those refunds.  At Bond & Botes, we would like to offer two suggestions: Use Your Tax Refund to Eliminate or Reduce … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

How Can You Avoid a Foreclosure on Your Home?

If you are behind on your house payments and worried about a foreclosure, there are a few steps that you can take in order to avoid a foreclosure. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has recently put new rules in … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can You File Bankruptcy and Keep Your House and Car?

As an attorney that has been helping people obtain bankruptcy protection for over 25 year, I am still amazed at some of the misconceptions people have about bankruptcy.  Whether at my kid’s school, at church or elsewhere in the community; … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

A Suggested New Year’s Resolution

Do you make resolutions about this time each year? If so, I have a suggestion for you or, if not, why not take a moment to consider the upcoming year. If 2013 was a financially tough year for you, you’re … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Who To Contact If You Need to Purchase a Vehicle During or After Bankruptcy?

A common question that our clients ask us is whether they can purchase a vehicle either during or after their bankruptcy and, if so, who can they contact to do so? Several lenders and car companies advertise the ability to … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 |

How to Create a Household Budget

As we approach a new year, it is a perfect time for you to develop a household budget to help manage your spending.  A household budget is an important tool to help you track and control where you are spending … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7, Credit Card Debt |

Thankful to Practice Bankruptcy Law

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the many good things that we have in our lives.  As a Christian, I call these good things blessings.  Although it may sound strange to some, I am thankful … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Secure and Unsecured Debts: What’s the Difference?

A frequent topic of discussion in the initial consultation is the difference between secured and unsecured debt. While the difference is fairly easy to understand, the way in which they are treated can be complex. On its most basic level, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Hardest Hit Alabama Program May Be Able to Assist with Mortgage Payment, Loan Modification, or Short Sale Assistance

Starting in 2007, America experienced a major housing crisis due to people losing their jobs and home prices declining.  Alabama was one of 18 states who were the hardest hit by the housing crises.  To assist homeowners in these 18 … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7, Collection Harassment, Consumer Law |

When Filing Bankruptcy Does the State You Live In Make a Difference?

When Filing Bankruptcy Does the State You Live In Make a Difference?       The laws pertaining to bankruptcy in the United States are governed by the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4) which authorizes Congress to enact “uniform … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is a Chapter 13 Plan?

The chapter 13 plan is a document prepared by your attorney and filed with the court that outlines how you will repay your debts over the life of your plan.  In other words, it is a repayment plan.  The chapter 13 … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I Have to Tell my Bankruptcy Lawyer about My Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The simple and emphatic answer to this is Yes!  At the time that you file your bankruptcy petition, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must list any pending lawsuits or potential claims that you may have stemming from any … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can I File Bankruptcy If I Am Unemployed?

The short answer is, yes. While your monthly income may have an effect on what type of bankruptcy case you file, unemployment itself will usually not prevent you from doing so. If you seek relief under Chapter 7, not having … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

The Payday Loan Treadmill

In recent years, many areas have seen a proliferation of title and payday loan stores.  These businesses typically make small short term loans to consumers who don’t think other options exist.  The stores are everywhere and the loans are easy … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I Have To Pay My Vehicle Loan and My Signature Loan To Keep My Vehicle?

A cross collateralized loan is when one item of collateral stands as collateral for all loans with that bank or credit union.  This means that a vehicle can be collateral on both the vehicle loan and a signature loan.  In … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Should I File Bankruptcy If I Do Not Have Health Insurance?

Health Insurance       After having represented consumers with financial problems for over twenty five (25) years, I can state conclusively that medical bills are one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy.  The relationship between bankruptcy and health care … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Part 2: Little Known & Dangerous Provision of the Bankruptcy Code

In Part 1 of “A little known and potentially dangerous provision of the Bankruptcy Code”, I explained derivatives and qualified derivative counter parties and the special treatment they are afforded under the United States Bankruptcy Code.  In Part 2, I … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is the Bankruptcy 90 Day Rule?

17. What’s the bankruptcy 90 day rule       If you have transferred property or money to a creditor within 90 days or an insider (i.e., relative or friend) within a year of your bankruptcy filing, you should be … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Recognition – and an Attorney – That We are Proud of!

The 2013 Montgomery Advertiser’s Readers Choice Awards  recently named Bond, Botes, Shinn & Donaldson, P.C. as one of the top three law firms in Montgomery, Alabama. This was a tremendous honor – especially since the selection was made by a … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is the Best Interest in Bankruptcy?

Best Interest is one of the factors that must be met in order to have a chapter 13 plan confirmed or approved by the Bankruptcy Judge.  Best Interest test or liquidity test is found at 11 U.S.C. §1325(a)(4).  This section … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What If I Win the Lottery Before, During, or After My Bankruptcy?

The odds of actually winning the lottery are, unfortunately, pretty slim!  The chances, however, are greater that,  after seeking bankruptcy protection, you may find yourself the recipient of some type of  “windfall”.  This can come in the form of an … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

A Little Known and Potentially Dangerous Provision of the Bankruptcy Code – Part 1

In April 2005, the United States Congress (the governing body responsible for the United States Bankruptcy Code) overhauled and updated the Bankruptcy Code with the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, more commonly referred to as … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Are Co-Debtors Protected If I File For Bankruptcy?

When someone incurs debt, it is very common to have a co-signor, or co-debtor, on that loan. If the person paying the loan defaults, the creditor can seek the balance from the primary debtor or the co-debtor. If one of … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can a School Withhold My Transcripts if I Included my School Tuition in My Bankruptcy?

NO, not if you filed in the Middle District of Alabama. On March 18, 2013, the Honorable Dwight H. Williams, Jr., held that Troy University willfully violated the automatic stay in a chapter 13 when they refused to release an … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Five Myths about Bankruptcy

Myth #1: I can never get credit again Filing a bankruptcy is on your credit report for 10 years, however just because a bankruptcy is being reported on your credit report doesn’t mean you can never get credit.  Usually as soon … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Student Loan Debt and The Fairness for Struggling Students Act

Student loan debt is a growing problem that many Americans, young and older, are currently facing.  In fact, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in our country.  With the rising costs of tuition nationwide, young people are finishing … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Student Loan Problems |

An Opportunity to Update the Real and Personal Property Exemptions Under Alabama State Law

It seems fitting to write about the potential to improve the exemptions laws of the State of Alabama on the day we celebrate one of the finest hours in our great country’s history, Independence Day.  No matter how often we … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Medical Debts and Bankruptcy

Should I file bankruptcy due to medical bills?       Recently, NerdWallet Health published an article that estimates that 56 million Americans under the age of 65 will struggle with medical debts in the year 2013. Astonishingly, NerdWallet stated … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

When Can I File For Bankruptcy Again?

Despite what most people think, considering the current economy, bankruptcy filings are actually down nationwide. One would think that with the high rate of foreclosures, job losses, sequestration and cut backs that more people would have a need to file … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can Filing for Bankruptcy Affect the Auto Shut Off Device On My Car?

An auto shut off device is a device installed on a vehicle by a car dealer that is usually a buy here, pay here type auto dealer.  If you do not make your payments to the dealership timely, the device … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can I Be Denied a Bankruptcy Discharge of my Debts?

Yes, you can be denied a bankruptcy discharge but this is a rare occurrence. The most common occurrence is when a Debtor has committed a fairly serious fraud against his creditors. A more common occurrence, but still rare, is being … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 |

Can I Transfer or Give Away Any Property Before I File For Bankruptcy?

A common question that we often get asked is whether someone can give away or transfer over property in order to avoid their creditors if they are going to file for bankruptcy. The very short and quick answer is no. … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Will I Have To Pay More in a Chapter 13 If I Get a Pay Raise in the Future?

This question really depends on where you have filed your chapter 13 petition since the local rules of each court governs how income changes will affect a chapter 13 plan.  In some district, the change will not matter but it … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 |

Cancer Patients More Likely To Seek Bankruptcy Protection

A recent study led by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington concluded that cancer patients in Washington State were twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as people without cancer. The study drew information from … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Should I Go About Surrendering My House in Bankruptcy?

If you are giving up or “surrendering” your house in bankruptcy, our initial advice to our clients is to stay in the house until the foreclosure sale date. As a general rule, it takes quite a while for most mortgage … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Will Bankruptcy Hurt My Credit Score?

What will bankruptcy do to my credit       One of the most frequent questions I receive from clients involves a fear that bankruptcy will hurt their credit. While it is no secret that a bankruptcy filing will show … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Am I Required to Have Credit Counseling Before I Can File Bankruptcy?

Each person who files for consumer bankruptcy protection, either chapter 7 or chapter 13, is required to complete a pre-petition credit counseling course. Most  bankruptcy attorneys should be willing to, and most likely have a protocol in place, to assist … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Judgments and Judicial Liens in the State of Alabama

In Alabama, if a judgment is entered against you, the creditor who got the judgment can do several things as far as trying to collect on the judgment. The creditor can garnish wages and bank accounts; it can force the … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Sequestration: Much Ado About Nothing? – Part Two

In part one of “Sequestration: Much Ado About Nothing?”, I discussed what sequestration was and how the current debate surrounding it came to be.  Here is a link to Part One. So, what does this mean and is it important?  … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is a Judgement Lien and How Can I Get Rid of This Lien If I Live in Alabama?

In Alabama, if someone wins a monetary judgment against you, they can record the judgment in the probate office where you live to place a “judgment lien” against property (real or personal) that you may now own or own in … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Can I Help My Bankruptcy Attorney Help Me Achieve Financial Freedom?

There are many things you can do to help your Bankruptcy attorney assist you in achieving a successful case. First and foremost, answer all of your attorney’s questions honestly. If you are not forthright with your attorney they cannot help … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Good Can Be Accomplished by Filing Bankruptcy?

When most people think of bankruptcy, negative thoughts often come to mind. And no doubt about it, bankruptcy does have some bad consequences.  It should by no means be a first choice.  But if all other options have been exhausted, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I Owe Enough to File for Bankruptcy? (Or too much?!)

Do I owe enough to file for bankruptcy is a question that I and my colleagues hear quite often. My initial response is the amount of debt you owe is relative to your financial situation. Many people feel overwhelmed by … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Can You Include Child Support in Bankruptcy?

Child support, and domestic support obligations in general, are non-dischargeable. However, that does not mean that there is no relief to be had if you are experiencing financial difficulty. Child support obligations can be made easier to manage through a … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What are Exemptions in Bankruptcy?

What are bankruptcy exemptions         Schedule C in a debtor’s bankruptcy petition is what I lovingly refer to as the legal mumbo jumbo page to my clients who are filing for protection under the Bankruptcy Code.  All … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is a 341 Meeting of Creditors?

What is a 341 meeting?       A meeting of creditors is a mandatory hearing that is held approximately 30 days after the filing of any consumer bankruptcy case. It is commonly referred to at the §341 meeting of … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Do I Know If I Need To File For Bankruptcy or Not?

Take an honest look at your current situation. Write down all of your living expenses such as rent, food, clothing, medicine, insurance premiums, utility bills, vehicle related expenses (such as maintenance and gas), recreation, and all of your other ongoing … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Sequestration: Much Ado About Nothing?

A few weeks back, a Chapter 13 client from the Bond, Botes, & Lawson PC office in Knoxville, TN called to ask how the sequestration would affect her bankruptcy.  She works at one of the government plants in Oak Ridge, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy Saves Twinkies

Many members of my generation were distressed in January of 2011 when Hostess Brands Inc; the creator of such childhood favorites as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Famous Bankruptcy |

Is HARP Finally Starting to Work?

In March of 2009, the Federal Government working through the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), established HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program.  The program was created in the wake of the housing/financial crisis of 2008 with its primary purpose being … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Are My Options If I am Being Sued for a Debt?

Being sued for debt can be very stressful; but, don’t panic! There is hope and you have options. But, be aware that lawsuits have deadlines that you must meet. Usually, you must file a written response to a lawsuit. Failure … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

What role does the bankruptcy trustee play       Every consumer bankruptcy case that is filed, both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7, is assigned to a Trustee. The Trustee is in charge of the administration of the bankruptcy estate.  … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Long Can I Stay in My House If I Am Giving It Up in Bankruptcy?

Many of our clients have this particular question with if they are filing bankruptcy and they are giving up or “surrendering” their house in bankruptcy. Our advice to our clients is to stay in the house until the foreclosure sale … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is Debt to an Ex-Spouse Discharged in Bankruptcy?

There are two kinds of debts owed to former spouses, spouses or a child of the debtor. A domestic support obligation is a debt owed to the “formers spouse, spouse or child of the debtor or a child support authority; … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

The Most Important Rules of Consumer Bankruptcy

The rules governing the filing of a bankruptcy petition under Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 are complex.  That is why it is a good idea to hire a qualified attorney that has experience in filing consumer bankruptcy cases to help … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is a Judicial Lien and Can I Resolve a Judicial Lien by Filing Bankruptcy?

When you have a debt that has been reduced to a judgment amount within a state court proceeding, that judgment can be filed with the probate court of the county in which you reside. The result of this filing is … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Are Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) Protected When You File Bankruptcy?

Most of the time an IRA or Roth-IRA is protected or exempt by both Federal and State Exemption Laws.   The Tennessee exemption law is found at T.C.A. §26-2-105 and provides that as long as the retirement plan is qualified by … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Why am I receiving a 1099 on a debt that was included in my bankruptcy?

The IRS requires lenders to report cancelled debts.  When a lender cancels a debt, the amount cancelled is deemed income to the individual taxpayer who received the benefit of the cancellation.  Thus, an individual taxpayer would have to pay taxes … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act

Alabama has a good consumer law for any consumer to use if he or she has been wronged by a business. Alabama statute section 8-19-1 provides for the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act. This law states, as its legislative intent … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Can a Consumer or Small Business Learn from The Jefferson County Alabama Bankruptcy Proceedings

Jefferson County, named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, was established on December 13, 1819, by the Alabama Legislature.  It currently has more residents than any other county in the State of Alabama.  At the time the 2010 census was conducted, the … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Happens at a Meeting with a Bankruptcy Attorney?

For some reason, although it may be in their best interest to do so, people avoid meeting with bankruptcy attorneys.  Folks that do come in to see us often tell us that they put off doing so for days,weeks or … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Impact Does Filing For Bankruptcy Have on my Back Taxes?

I owe back taxes, should I file for bankruptcy?   First of all, if you are contemplating filing any form of bankruptcy it is imperative that you are up to date with filing all of your federal tax returns with … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Beware of Companies Offering Free Mortgage Loan Modification Help

Since the housing market crash began in 2008, we have seen the rise of mortgage loan modifications as a tool to help troubled homeowners stay in their homes.  If a homeowner qualifies, the loan modification can be a great way … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Will I be able to get a loan or credit card again if I file bankruptcy?

The answer to this question really depends on you. One of the biggest fears for most individuals who have filed bankruptcy is that they will never be able to buy a house or car in the future. After someone obtains … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is it better to file for Bankruptcy before or after a divorce?

Is it better to file bankruptcy before or after a divorce?       This is truly not a yes or no question! Everyone’s circumstances do vary, but there are a few scenarios that we see on a regular basis. … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

I Recently Received a Bankruptcy Discharge But Have Fallen Behind on My House Payments and Am Facing Foreclosure, Is There Anything I Can Do?

While there are time limitations for receiving a second discharge, in bankruptcy there are other ways to protect your home under the bankruptcy code. Let’s address the time limitations first. If you received a discharge under Chapter 7, you will … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I Need an Attorney to File My Bankruptcy Petition?

You are not required to have an attorney to file bankruptcy and you are permitted to prepare your petition yourself or pay someone to prepare the documents for you. You should be very careful with trying to represent yourself or … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Is a debt settlement program better than filing for bankruptcy?

Most likely you have some familiarity with companies offering debt settlement programs as an alternative to filing for bankruptcy. You may have seen commercials on television offering to reduce your debt 50% or more and offering a plan to get … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What Information Do I Need to File for Bankruptcy?

One of the first things that a seasoned bankruptcy attorney said to me when I first began practice in the area of bankruptcy law is that bankruptcy is the most paperwork oriented area of the law! That is one reason … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Debunking Bankruptcy Myths: But Won’t Bankruptcy Ruin My Credit for Seven Years?

This question, or some form of it, is asked by virtually every person that comes in to see us to discuss their financial problems. The answer is usually fairly simple. By the time they have come in to see us, … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 |

Will I have to go to court after I file for bankruptcy?

Yes, you must attend at least one mandatory hearing called the Meeting of Creditors hearing. The hearing is usually held about 45 days after your bankruptcy petition is filed with the court. This hearing is designed to give your creditors … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy Reorganization for Individuals

We often hear about corporations filing for bankruptcy reorganization. American Airlines, General Motors, Chrysler and Lehman Brothers are just a sampling of those which have filed to restructure their debt through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Here in Alabama, we have … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 |

Can You Include Payday Loans in a Bankruptcy?

This is a question that I am asked quite often and the simple answer is yes! Unfortunately, many people get involved with pay day lenders just trying to make ends meet. They then get into a vicious cycle of paying … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How will bankruptcy affect my bank account?

The average person who is contemplating bankruptcy relief works hard every day to take care of their family and a disruption to their bank account can be devastating.  Generally speaking, the funds in a bank account can be protected but … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Debunking Bankruptcy Myths: Will I Lose Everything That I Own If I File Bankruptcy?

Many people that come to see us about bankruptcy are concerned about losing their property.  There is a misconception that, upon filing for bankruptcy protection from one’s creditors,  the court will take your home, car, and furniture.  The truth is … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Maintain Perspective Throughout the Process

When going through any sort of financially trying times, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. From large amounts of credit card debt, impending foreclosure, or expendable income slowly being eaten away, money-related stress is seemingly everywhere these days. Even … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt |

Can your ex-spouse escape his or her financial responsibilities under a divorce decree or other domestic support order by filing for bankruptcy relief?

After the emotional and financial turmoil of going through a divorce, there is nothing more frightening than being faced with the possibility that your ex-spouse may be able to avoid his or her financial responsibilities to you by seeking bankruptcy … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

What is the Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy?

Technically, the provision for the automatic stay that applies to every bankruptcy case that is filed is found in 11 USC §362. This is the Unites States Bankruptcy code. The practical effect, however, of the automatic stay is of utmost … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy Law in United States a Welcome Release for Some Companies

Bankruptcy code in the United States is different from any other country. In the US, when a company such as Kodak or Hostess files for chapter 11 bankruptcy, they are allowed to shed obligations and legal debts that they can’t … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

The Automatic Stay

In my opinion, no attorney can provide a consumer with more relief, more quickly, than a bankruptcy attorney. On the day a bankruptcy petition is filed, in fact at the very moment the petition is filed, the bankruptcy court enters … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Will Filing For Bankruptcy Affect My Security Clearance?

Many of our clients are active duty military or government employees or employees that work for defense contractors. As a result, many of these prospective clients will have either secret or top secret security clearances which are required for their … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Security Clearance |

Be Careful Where You Bank

There are undoubtedly countless things going through an individual’s head as they go through the bankruptcy process, such as: How did this happen? How can I get through this the easiest? How can I make sure things are different afterwards? … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Do I need my credit reports before I file for Bankruptcy?

This is a question that we get on a daily basis. We strongly urge and advise clients to obtain a copy of all three credit reports from the three main credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. You can obtain one … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Virtually every person that comes to see us to talk about a potential bankruptcy filing asks us this question in one form or another. They may have been told by a friend that bankruptcy will ruin their credit. Another has … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

If I’m considering Bankruptcy and I’m married, am I required to file Bankruptcy with my spouse?

The issue for a lot of married people considering bankruptcy is whether to file a joint case with their spouse or an individual case. You are not required to file a joint bankruptcy petition just because you are married. In … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Arkansas Football Coach Announces Plan to File for Bankruptcy

When it comes to purchasing real estate, there is a certain mantra: “It’s always a good investment.” Unfortunately, though, as Arkansas coach John L. Smith learned, real estate can also be a horrible investment. In the aftermath of the housing … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Famous Bankruptcy |

Rebuilding After Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy process is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes the financial cloud of doom lingers over us for years before we finally take the steps necessary to be able to dig our way out and see blue skies again. So … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

When a Giant Falls in the Woods Does it Make a Sound?

Eastman Kodak Co. filed for bankruptcy a few months ago, something the photo giant would have never seen coming in its early beginnings. Now it’s come to the time for the selling off of imaging patents, which the company’s creditors … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Tribune Finding Its Way Out of Bankruptcy

Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles has been confirmed as the new owners of the Tribune Co. of Chicago. Once the judge’s order is set in motion, the Tribune could see an end to bankruptcy proceedings by the end of … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

When a City Files For Bankruptcy

While economists believe there are small signs of a recovering economy, there are currently 5 cities in our nation that would beg to differ as they’ve had to file for various forms of bankruptcy. A myriad of issues from ill-advised … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Foreclosures, Bankruptcies Down As Economy Improves

The number of Chattanoogans  defaulting on their mortgages or going broke fell below the year-ago level as the economy improved early in 2012.  Although these are good signs, foreclosure notices in the first quarter were still up from the fourth … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Jefferson County Officials Fear Nursing Home Challenge Will Cost County Millions

A new filing by HealthSouth Corp., according to Jefferson County officials, threatens to cost the county more than $11 million in instant revenues and millions more in expenses, both of which the bankrupt county can’t afford. HealthSouth filed a request … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012

In April, Representative Hansen Clarke discussed his plan to ease student loan debt with students from a Detroit classroom.  H.R. 4170 would forgive student loan debt for those who have paid 10 percent of their discretionary income toward their loans … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Judicial shortage could mean delays in bankruptcy cases

The nation’s bankruptcy courts are facing a substantial decrease in the number of judges available even as personal and corporate filings remain high, according to The Wall Street Journal. In order to combat the judicial shortage, lawmakers established a temporary … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Regional air carrier files for bankruptcy protection

Pinnacle, a regional airline serving northwest Alabama, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of increasingly high debt. The company has been forced to admit that its business model, in which it provided regional and commuter service to the … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

National real estate firm files for bankruptcy

Real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection. Most of the company’s assets will be sold to BGC Partners Inc. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company pointed to the decline in housing markets that began in 2007 … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Bond insurers secure larger payments from county in bankruptcy case

According to a Reuters report, the bond insurers involved in the record-setting Jefferson County bankruptcy case found themselves in dire straights as a result of the county’s shrinking payments on its $3.14 billion debt. Syncora Guarantee Inc. was forced to … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Uncertainty looms over state legislature as 2012 session begins

The Alabama state legislature’s 2012 session begins on Tuesday. The Jefferson County crisis, and particularly the ongoing struggle to create a plan to operate the sewer system, will be arguably the most urgent–and most intractable–problem lawmakers will address. A statement … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Lawmakers lack consensus on Jefferson County revenue

The 2012 regular session of the Alabama Legislature will begin on Tuesday, but there is still little agreement on a solution to the financial problems posed by Jefferson County’s record-breaking bankruptcy. The county will not be able to exit bankruptcy … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Secured credit cards: questions to ask and scams to avoid

Declaring bankruptcy can devastate your credit, and it will be important to rebuild your credit rating once you’ve completed the bankruptcy process. One of the most frequently-recommended methods of reestablishing credit is the secured credit card. Secured credit cards work … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt |

Young no longer on Jefferson County payroll

John S. Young, the court-appointed receiver once tasked with administering Jefferson County’s sewer system on behalf of bondholders, is no longer accruing billable hours. County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens and W. Patton Hahn, Young’s lawyer, both confirmed that Young is effectively … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |

Judge limits receiver’s authority in Jefferson County bankruptcy

Judge Thomas B. Bennett ruled on Friday that operating expenses for Jefferson County’s sewer system must be paid before receiver John S. Young can distribute revenues to bondholders. The ruling imposes new limits the power of the receiver, who had … Read More

Posted in Bankruptcy |