The average debt in the U.S. has increased 11% over the past ten years to a staggering $134,643. It is no surprise that many people feel like they need assistance when overcoming these financial burdens. A good debt lawyer can help guide you down the right path.
It is important to know what traits to look for when seeking an attorney to help you with your finances. Once you understand what to look for you can make an educated decision and find someone that is perfect for you and your situation.
Let’s dive in and look at the top 10 traits you should consider the next time you want to hire a debt lawyer.
10. They Understand the Law
While it is unreasonable to except every attorney to know every law off the top of their head, it’s not unreasonable to expect your lawyer to have legal knowledge. Your potential attorney should have the ability to tell you whether they are taking any legal classes or courses.
A good debt lawyer — well, any lawyer in general — will continue to take classes and learn more about the law as they progress in their career. The additional knowledge only makes them more valuable.
If you start asking them legal questions and they seem confused or flustered, it may be time to move on to someone with more experience.
9. They Won’t Leave You in the Dark
When we say “leave you in the dark,” we simply mean that they are transparent with you throughout the entire legal process. As you guys work together to resolve your financial issues, you should know what he or she is doing to help you.
Don’t settle for vague or nonsensical answers. You deserve to have an attorney who will shoot straight with you and tell you exactly what they are doing to help you.
Much like the legal questions, make sure to ask your potential attorney basic questions. They should have easy to understand answers that don’t leave you with more questions than you had when you started.
8. They Have Experience
It might seem simple, but many people don’t check on the experience of the lawyer they are going to hire. Regardless of who you are hiring, you want to make sure that they know what they are doing. Why wouldn’t you do the same with an attorney?
This point is especially true if you want a debt lawyer to help you alleviate your financial issues. Your pick should know what they are doing when it comes to minimizing debt. Plus, you need to make sure the attorney in question has experience in debt law as opposed to marriage law.
7. They Offer Documentation
Another good trait to look for is someone who documents EVERYTHING. They should have a file with your name on it, and they should allow you access to anything you need — within legal limits.
The ability to keep and hold documents is an important one. When your attorney is working with companies to bring down your debt, they need to be able to quickly access the files that you gave them, as well as their own notes.
On the flip side, if you need to provide documentation to a company you should be able to easily get this information from a receptionist at the law firm.
6. They Have Time for You
You often hear people say that time equals money. Your lawyer is in the business of making money, but he needs to be able to slow down sometimes and give you and your case personal attention.
If he or she is talking fast and seems to want to push through your meeting so they can move on with their day, this isn’t a good sign. You need someone who is going to take the time to work on your case and get to know you personally.
Another rule of thumb is if you set up multiple meetings and they are not able to meet your availability it may be time to move on.
5. They are Reasonably Priced
Obviously, if you need a debt lawyer, you are having an issue paying credit cards, student loans, mortgages, etc. Adding another monthly fee can seem daunting at first.
However, your attorney is reasonably priced and effective their price is going to be well worth it. Think of it this way. If you go from paying 1200 dollars a month in debt, down to 500 a month including legal fees — you’re doing okay.
Saving over half the cost, you would normally pay? Now that’s reasonable.
4. They are Approachable
You may want to make the jump on the first lawyer you find. While that seems practical, it might help to have a meeting with them first and hold an actual conversation. The point of this interaction is to find out if they are approachable.
It’s important that your potential debt lawyer is approachable because you are going to be talking to him or her about personal information. If you have no connection, or the lawyer seems stern and uncaring, it’s challenging to relay information, especially information that is so sensitive.
3. They are Passionate
We have all talked to someone who used to feel passion for what they do and at some point, it was lost. You do not need an attorney who is lifelessly going through the motions.
In other words, you want someone who is EAGER to help people solve their issues. When you are explaining your situation to the attorney he or she should make eye contact, talk to you, explain that they are here to help and have a serious desire to help resolve your debt problems.
2. They are Certified
You should make it a point to ask any potential lawyer a couple of questions. Find out where they went to school, how long their firm has been open, and where they keep their formal certification mounted.
This information is vital because you want to make sure that you are working with a reputable law firm. If they are uneasy about telling you about their certification or where they went to school — proceed with caution.
1. They Have a Good Record
Finally, look at their website or ask around. Speak with people who have experience with this lawyer and see if they have a good record. They should have positive reviews where people have had success with them as individuals, and with their cases.
Reviews can tell you a lot. If you are unsure whether or not someone is up to your standards get online and see what other people are saying. if there seems to be a positive trend the chances are that this debt lawyer is the real deal!
Get a Debt Lawyer Today
Are you sick and tired of wading through bills and debt and don’t know where to turn? Maybe a debt attorney can help you resolve your issues and help you lead a happier, more productive life.
Take the next step and contact us today so we can help you. You have nothing to lose but unwanted piles of debts and countless calls from bill collectors. We look forward to hearing from you!
Taxes may be one of life’s certainties, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. We do have to pay them, however. The IRS isn’t something you want to mess around with.
So, what happens when you don’t, or can’t pay them? You can look forward to phone calls, letters, and eventually wage garnishments. Maybe you didn’t mean to let it get this far. Your hours might have been cut, you could have fallen ill, there may have been an accident, or maybe there was a layoff.
Either way, the taxes have piled up, and now the IRS is taking their money out of your paycheck. If you’re looking for ways to stop IRS garnishment of your wages, this guide will help you sort through the options you might have available.
Why It’s So Important
Any lost wages are going to make things hard for you, obviously. In a lot of cases, if you could afford to make tax payments, you probably wouldn’t be facing a garnishment to begin with.
Most garnishments can still be worked around, even though things will be very tight. That’s because there are laws regulating how much most creditors can garnish from your wages. This prevents them from leaving you unable to live off of your wages.
The IRS, on the other hand, doesn’t follow those laws, using their own guidelines instead. While they make allotments for basic living expenses and base it on the number of deductions you have, it’s still possible that they can take upwards of 70% of your pay.
This often leaves you unable to pay even your most essential bills, and that’s why it’s imperative to stop IRS garnishment actions as soon as you can.
Ways You Can Stop IRS Garnishment Actions
While it is possible to stop IRS garnishment actions, it’s not going to be an easy task. Some of these options might also seem less than ideal to you, but when you think about the alternative, which is really better?
Pay It Off
From all of the options available, this is the choice that’s most ideal. It’s also the one that’s probably the most unrealistic, depending on your financial situation.
You probably don’t want to create more debt by selling off assets or finding a loan from someone. However, if your tax debt is small enough, it’s wiser to pay it off in one chunk if you can. You’ll likely end up paying less in interest and penalties in the long run if you can go this route.
Make Payment Arrangements
This is your next ideal choice, financially. Sure, you’ll still be paying money out of your paycheck, there’s no getting around that. This option gives you a choice of how much that is.
There are two very good reasons why this choice is your best bet. For one, you’ll be showing the IRS and other financial institutions that you’re willing to pay your debts and work with them to take care of things. For two, you’ll be paying on your own terms, not theirs. It might still be rough, but it should more manageable.
Make a Compromise Settlement Offer
If your debt can’t be paid off in the time allotted on a payment schedule, or the payments will still be too much of a hardship, you can try this option.
They’ll likely be reluctant to take this offer at first, but that’s the whole point of a compromise. You’ll work together with the IRS to find an amount that you can pay, and they’ll accept, that will cover your debt. They’re still getting their money in the end, and that’s what matters to them.
Have Yourself Declared Financially Uncollectable
In certain cases, this could be used as an option to stop IRS garnishment actions.
If you can prove that any kind of collection would put you in an unfair financial hardship, this can temporarily stop any garnishments or collections from the IRS. It is only temporary though, as they will re-assess your situation periodically. They’ll pick back up as soon as they determine you can afford it, whether you can or not.
If you get this reprieve, use it to work as hard as you can to fix your tax situation before they do a re-assessment. Otherwise, you’ll be right back in the same boat.
Try The Bankruptcy Route
This option is less than ideal in this case, and should not be your preferred or first choice when it comes to tax debt.
The truth is bankruptcy often does not dispel tax debts, even if it does shed other financial obligations. At most, it usually just stalls the IRS until the process is complete, and then they come right back after you.
Not only that, but it has a huge impact on your credit and other aspects of your financial future. If you’ve got other debt that’s making life difficult on top of the taxes, then this may be the way to go for now. If not, then save this as a last resort.
Go Job Hopping
Essentially, this amounts to either switching jobs, or quitting a job temporarily and then being rehired later.
The reason why this is considered an option is that a garnishment is filed for that specific employer, at that specific time. If you switch jobs or quit, then the garnishment is no longer valid.
The problem is, it will only give you a couple month’s reprieve at a time. Yes, there will be a period where you won’t have to deal with any wages being taken away. As soon as the garnishments start back up, however, you’ll have to repeat the process all over again, if you’re not taking any other steps to fix the problem.
In the end, this will more than likely make things even more financially unstable than the garnishments will. It should only be used as an absolute, bottom of the barrel, no other options available kind of solution. A temporary one, at that.
Get The Right Help On Your Side
No matter what route you take to stop IRS garnishment actions, you’re absolutely going to need professional help at your side.
Without an attorney on your side, the IRS will try to pressure you into deals and payments that you can’t afford to make. They also won’t even consider some of the options presented, unless you have someone helping you make the right offers and decisions.
If you need help, we’re here for you. Schedule a free consultation today, and together we’ll find the course of action that works best for your situation.
Unfortunately, many South Carolinians are experiencing either foreclosure or periods where they are falling behind on their mortgage payments. For many of these homeowners, finding solutions to their mortgage issues is paramount. Some possible solutions vary between loan modifications, refinancing, borrowing money from family members to catch up, and short-term forbearance agreements. For some people, these solutions fix the problems and they move on. For others, they cannot refinance due to their credit scores and loan modifications are either denied or stalled. In these cases, bankruptcy may be the homeowners only alternative to save their home.
How does bankruptcy help someone who is in foreclosure and in danger of losing their home? The bankruptcy code has provisions that creates an “automatic stay” from creditors seeking to
Article written by Columbia, SC attorney Daniel Stone One of the toughest decisions a debtor is forced to make is rather to file a Chaptee 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While there are many benefits to a Chapter
Florence article written by Florence bankruptcy attorney Daniel Stone
Florence bankruptcy article written by attorney Daniel Stone
Credit Card debt and bankruptcy
If you currently live in Florence, SC and are experiencing debt issues such as foreclosure, repossessions, credit card debts, medical bills, IRS tax debts, finance loans, or other types of debts, please feel free to set up a free consultation at the Florence or Columbia office. We also offer free phone consultations. The following is some information on the debts listed above that the Stone Law Firm may be able to assist you with:
1. Foreclosure. Foreclosure can be a scary ordeal for anyone. Thankfully, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help debtors save their homes if other efforts such as loan modification, refinancing, or other debt relief avenues have not worked. In addition, debtors can still work with their mortgage lender in Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pursue a loan modification. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process and allow the debtor to draft a Chapter 13 plan to pay back the arrearage over a 3-5 year time period. In addition, as I just wrote, the Debtor can continue his or her loan modification at a slower pace in the Chapter 13 due to the protections bankruptcy offers debtors.
2. IRS Tax debt. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy offer debtors ways to cure or discharge IRS tax debts in ways that other debt solution avenues cannot. For example, bankruptcy can discharge or eliminate personal income tax debt if it is older than three years old and meets other requirements such as the tax return being filed. This is a huge benefit that even tax attorneys or accountants usually cannot negotiate with the IRS. To learn more about IRS tax options or the full three part test to eliminate stale income tax debt, please call to set up a free consultations.
3. Credit card and medical bills. We all have incurred credit card or medical debt at some point. Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help discharge or eliminate credit card debt. In addition, if you for some reason you do not want to file for bankruptcy protection, I can offer solutions on dealing with credit card debt outside bankruptcy.
Facing a foreclosure or home repossession can be a terrifying experience. You may feel a complete loss of control and a sense of helplessness. Luckily, with the help of a reliable defense lawyer, you may be able to stop home repossession.
If you’re going through a foreclosure, you’re not alone. There are currently over half a million properties in the United States that are in some stage of foreclosure.
It’s understandable that you may want to simply hide your head in the sand and pretend your foreclosure issue isn’t happening. However, taking the time to understand your rights may help stop the repossession process, or at least protect your credit and financial health. Here’s what you need to know.
Foreclosure occurs when a mortgage lender takes back possession of a home for the purpose of repaying an outstanding debt. The process varies depending on state laws. In South Carolina, the following steps must occur:
The lender must serve the homeowner with foreclosure papers
The homeowner legally has 30 days to respond to the complaint
Following the 30 days, the equity court sets a date for the home sale
A notice must be placed in the newspaper a few weeks before the sale
Most foreclosures sales in the state of South Carolina take place on the first Monday of each month. If your goal is to stop home repossession, it’s important to stay in close contact with your foreclosure attorney so you don’t miss any important dates.
Legal Ways to Stop Home Repossession
There are several legal ways you and your attorney can work together to stop home repossession. If the foreclosure procedure wasn’t followed properly or there was an issue with the terms of the loan agreement, you may have a legal defense.
In other cases, you may be able to catch back up on your mortgage payments through a loan modification. When other options have failed, a bankruptcy filing may be the best way to stop home repossession.
Technical defenses may apply in circumstances where sufficient notice wasn’t given to the homeowner or other steps weren’t completed correctly. This usually doesn’t stop foreclosure, because the lender can simply fix the problem and start the procedures over again.
Substantive defenses are arguments made regarding the loan itself. Examples may include:
The loan is not truly in default because all payments have been made according to the agreement
Fraud has been committed in the process of obtaining the mortgage
The mortgage loan and all foreclosure costs are paid in full by the property owner
If you believe you have a legal reason for stopping your foreclosure, you should seek legal help. Your attorney will help you decide whether you have grounds for filing an objection to the sale with the courts.
Loan modification may be an option if you still have the means to repay a portion of your mortgage loan. This involves requesting that the lender restructure your loan to make your payments more manageable. Upon approval of the modification, the foreclosure will be permanently stopped as long as you make the payments as agreed.
It’s important to note that starting a loan modification does not automatically stop the foreclosure procedures. In fact, it’s possible for your home to be sold in foreclosure while you are in the midst of negotiations. Working with an attorney during the process will help you avoid unpleasant surprises
When you file for bankruptcy, a judge automatically issues an order for creditors to cease all efforts at collecting your outstanding debts. This includes foreclosure proceedings on your home. Once you file for bankruptcy, the foreclosure can’t continue until the bankruptcy has been settled.
An exception may occur if the lender files a motion to lift the stay. This is essentially a request to the bankruptcy court to allow for a continuation of the foreclosure proceedings. If approved, the foreclosure will continue as planned.
When considering bankruptcy to save your home, you must understand the distinct differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is difficult to qualify for, and it’s not likely to help you achieve your goals. Filing Chapter 7 will get you out of debt, but you’ll most likely still lose your home.
The problem is that although Chapter 7 bankruptcy cancels all debts including your home mortgage and equity lines, it doesn’t cancel the lien on your property. Your mortgage contract is an agreement to use your home as collateral if you fail to make payments. Therefore, once your debts are canceled, the lender will probably continue with foreclosure proceedings.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you a chance to rearrange your debts and come up with a repayment plan you can afford to pay. You’ll have to pay both your past due amount and your current payments, but as long as you follow the approved plan, you’ll be able to stop foreclosure and keep your home.
This strategy may also help if you have second or third mortgages on your property. These loans are often recategorized as unsecured debt that doesn’t have to be repaid.
Bankruptcy is a complex legal procedure that can have serious consequences. You should never attempt to file without the help of an attorney who is well-versed in bankruptcy procedures.
Need to Stop Home Repossession? Contact Us Today!
At Stone Law Firm, we understand how stressful a home repossession can be. When you’re faced with financial troubles, the last thing you need is to take more time off from work. That’s why we offer flexible appointment times and competitive, sliding-scale fees based on your ability to pay.
We believe everyone deserves legal representation in their time of need. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If it has, you might have considered the possibility of filing for bankruptcy to gain back your piece of ming and get your life back.
However, bankruptcy is not the best solution for everyone. Believe it or not, there are other things a lawyer can help you with to avoid bankruptcy.
Read on to learn about the other way out.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy happens when you go forth a legal process to relieve you of your debt. The purpose of filing for bankruptcy is to give individuals and companies a fresh start.
When someone files for bankruptcy it removes the excessive debts that have been weighing them down.
A successful bankruptcy order will prohibit the creditor from continuing to attempt collecting debts.
As wonderful as getting all of your excessive debts forgiven sounds, filing for bankruptcy does have some negative effects on your credit.
When you file for bankruptcy, your credit score will drop to the lowest point, which will make it difficult to bring up. Not to mention, the bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for many years making it difficult to get a fresh start.
However, it’s not impossible to rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy.
Also, depending on the situation (every case is different), you might lose some of your property. Of course, this depends on the type of bankruptcy you file and the laws particular to the state.
If you’re not comfortable dealing with the aftermath, you can always try to avoid bankruptcy altogether.
Which Debts Cannot Be Consolidated?
You might be tempted to throw in the towel and file for bankruptcy to get a fresh start. However, you must know not all debts go away when you file for bankruptcy.
This is the case for student loans, which affect over 40 million of American college graduates. Unless you show an extreme case of hardship, such as a permanent disability, your student loan debt will not get dismissed.
If you owe any type of debt to the government, it will not get dismissed by filing bankruptcy. This includes any money that you owe on taxes.
Secured debts won’t get dismissed in bankruptcy court which can include, an auto loan, mortgage, or another expensive purchase you financed. Your option with this is to either continue making the payments or give it back to the lender.
You also cannot get rid of any domestic debt such as child support. Debts created due to malicious conduct such as fraud, embezzlement, or forgery of documents also don’t get dismissed.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Bankruptcy
Now that you know a little bit more about why you should avoid bankruptcy, it’s time you learn what a lawyer can do for you.
Consolidate Your Debt
In order to consolidate your debt, first, you need to know how much you owe. If you go see a lawyer about debt consolidating options make sure you bring all of your debt statements with you to have your lawyer analyze it.
They will help you figure out what the best options are for you. Whether it be applying for a debt consolidation loan and paying off the majority of your debt and only keeping one single payment, to transferring your high-interest balances into your lower balances accounts.
An expert can take a closer look to determine which option is best for you based on your types of debt.
Transfer Your Credit Card Balances
In 2017, the total credit card debt for Americans was about $905 billion dollars. This number is at an all-time high from previous years.
If credit card interest is eating you out and you can’t keep up with the high-interest rates you might be tempted to file for bankruptcy to free yourself of this burden.
However, a lawyer can help you avoid bankruptcy by helping you work out your credit card debt. By looking closely at your credit card statements, a lawyer can help you figure out a way to transfer your balances to lower interest cards so you can pay the debt faster.
Negotiate your Debt
If one of the reasons why you can’t pay your debt is due to the escalated interest rates, a lawyer can help you solve this.
You might be intimidated by your creditors and not know the law or your rights, but a lawyer does. They can negotiate with your creditors to lower your interest or your payments.
Lowering your payments will make it more manageable for you to manage the debt and avoid bankruptcy.
Settle your Debt
In case your debt is out of control and most of your debt has gone into collection, a lawyer can help you settle this debt.
No matter what, collection agencies want to get paid. If they see there’s not a possibility of them getting their money back in full, they will be willing to negotiate.
Your lawyer will be able to negotiate with them a lower lump sum amount of cash in exchange for the full debt to be forgiven.
However, this is only a good idea if you have a lump sum of cash to offer.
What You Can Do
A lawyer can help you avoid bankruptcy by taking care of your large debts and negotiating with creditors, but what can you do?
Restructure Your Life
If living above your means got you into debt, it’s time you take a look at your lifestyle and cut out services and expenses that weight down your finances.
Sell Extra Stuff
It’s not a bad idea to take a look around and see if you can sell big ticket items to help put towards your debt such as electronics, jewelry, and others.
The last thing you want is to borrow more money, but if you can borrow money interest-free from a friend or family member to put towards a high-interest debt, you should consider the possibility.
Avoid Bankruptcy Today
When you’re drowning in debt, filing for bankruptcy might seem like the easiest way out. However, there are other solutions that are not as taxing and won’t have such a negative impact on your credit score.
If you’re tired of living in debt and you’re ready to do something about it, contact us to schedule a consultation.
Repossession is an act that occurs when someone has defaulted on their payments.
To many Americans, the idea of the repo man can be equated to a real-life boogie-man.
The thought that someone sneaking around in the night (or day) can legally come and take your beloved items away flies in the face of the American dream of prosperity.
Luckily, for those who file bankruptcy online, repossession doesn’t have to mean permanent loss. Here’s how you can get your items returned by filing for bankruptcy online today.
Repo Problems? File Bankruptcy Online
Those who have experienced repossession feel violated. It’s like getting kicked when you are already down on your luck. Here are some things to keep in mind to decide if you should file bankruptcy online and get your items back.
Timing is everything when it comes to repossession and your ability to get your items back when you file bankruptcy online.
The sooner you contact a lawyer about the repossession, the better off you are.
That’s because the window to get your things back through foreclosure closes quickly. You have 90 days to file from the day your items were repossessed.
A lawyer can help you navigate the nuances of filing to ensure you get your items returned.
Some items, like cars, won’t be issued back to the original property owner if they have already gone to auction. In many cases, the time period between repossession and auction is as little as 10 days.
Don’t wait to speak to someone about how you can file bankruptcy online.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
There are two types of bankruptcies that individuals can file. These are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 is sometimes known as “wage earner” bankruptcy.
Under Chapter 13, individuals can file bankruptcy online before repossession occurs, as soon as they learn they are at risk.
This can help people avoid repossession by offering a payment plan where back payments and new payments are made concurrently. But what about people who are already suffering the stress of repossession?
That’s Where Chapter 7 Comes In
Similarly to Chapter 13, if you have not yet experienced repossession but you are at risk, Chapter 7 offers an automatic stay that prohibits debt collectors from repossessing your property or attempting to collect on any debt.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of it. Because pesky debt collectors who are eager to repossess your property can move that the court allow them to do it anyway.
Those motions are typically granted unless the person filing for bankruptcy has a lawyer or knows their legal rights.
With the assistance of a lawyer, individuals will protect their assets against debt collectors by invoking one of two options.
Redeeming property is a right that is invoked when an individual who has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy buys back an item from a lender for a mutually agreed upon sum.
Usually, it’s less than what they owe.
Reaffirming property means that the individual who filed for bankruptcy and the lender have come to new terms on their agreement.
This could mean packaging missed payments to the end of the loan or a completely new monthly payment amount.
But buyer beware, reaffirming debt does not waive liability for the remaining balance. Should the individual default again and the item, let’s say a car, is repossessed they will likely be responsible for paying.
Conversely, if you allow the car to be repossessed under the terms of your initial Chapter 7 bankruptcy without reaffirming debt you are not usually liable for payments on the repossessed vehicle.
Chapter 7 and Getting Your Stuff Back
If acting quickly and using the help of a lawyer, it’s possible to get items back when you file bankruptcy online.
In most cases, it will require a court order. That can be obtained when a lawyer motions that a payment has been made within the previous 90 days to a lender, offering the premise of illegal preference.
The preference to pay a creditor within 90 days prior to bankruptcy is not something that gets to be decided by creditors and therefore attempts to collect are considered illegal.
Getting an item, like a car, back means you will now be faced with redeeming or reaffirming the debt.
Other Ways to Get Your Items Back
Some creditors will work with you outside of bankruptcy courts, offering other ways to get items back.
These could include:
Right to reinstate the contract
Lump sum payment of defaulted loan
Returning of loose personal items in the repossessed item
Negotiate with the creditor
Buy it at auction
Always contact a lawyer if you think you are at risk for repossession or have had an item repossessed. The right attorney will advise you on the best way to get your items back, if possible.
Timing is important so there’s no time to waste. If you are facing repossession, follow these steps:
Contact a lawyer.
Try to negotiate with creditors for better terms.
Pay extra on your regular payments when you can to build up a safety net.
Claim all benefits intended to protect consumers, like homesteading a property to reduce mortgage payments.
Seek professional advice before turning over your property.
If you do these steps, you may not be able to prevent repossession but you can rest assured you are doing everything to get your important purchases back where they belong.
File bankruptcy online or call us today to set up a consultation.
In 2016, over 800,000 people filed for bankruptcy. If you are dealing with the devastating aftermath of bankruptcy after divorce, you might feel defeated or overwhelmed.
Both bankruptcy and divorce represent two incredibly emotional hurdles. Maybe you don’t know what your next should be, and that scares you.
While getting back on track towards financial security and stability isn’t easy, there is hope!
Read on to discover the top tips for starting over.
1. Educate Yourself on Bankruptcy After Divorce
After filing bankruptcy, you need to know exactly what that debt does and does not get eliminated.
For example, filing bankruptcy may not alleviate you of the following responsibilities:
Majority of tax debts
Majority of criminal fines and penalties
While you may receive some financial relief or excuses for these debts, you will need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to review your plan.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
People typically file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy when there is limited to no equity or assets and very little to no additional income.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after divorce, the process moves quickly and efficiently. You can eliminate most of your unsecured debts, such as credit card and medical debts.
In general, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is for low-income debtors with little to no assets. This is the bankruptcy most people associate with being able to provide a “fresh start.”
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
People typically file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they have equity in a property and generate regular income. With that said, despite the cash flow, they are unable to keep up with the scheduled payments for their debt.
With Chapter 13, you can keep your property. You’ll have a few years to play “catch-up” on your delinquent debt accounts in collaboration with your bankruptcy trustee.
You will pay a monthly payment for distribution, but you will not be in contact with creditors during that time.
2. Scrutinize and Assess Your Financial Plan
If you’re struggling with bankruptcy after divorce, it’s critical to assess your personal finances ASAP.
This can mean a variety of factors depending on the dynamics of your former marriage.
If your spouse was the primary breadwinner in the family, you may need to either obtain a job or obtain a higher-paying job.
If you have been out of the workforce or you need to suddenly bring in more income, this reality can be overwhelming.
With that said, job growth continues to rise, particularly in certain industries. Polish up your resume, get networking, and put yourself out there.
If you are already working full-time, you may need to add a second job or side hustle. Get creative with it! Many people do this to stay afloat with paying their bills and gaining a financial peace of mind.
Consider picking up a few extra shifts at work or adding part-time work. Remember, it will be hard to create a solid financial plan without a consistent flow of income.
Manage Your Finances
If you never managed the finances, you will need to learn how to track your spending and make a budget.
Bankruptcy is a serious decision, one that can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. While that’s a long time, that also gives you the invaluable opportunity to build your life back together and develop appropriate financial habits.
First things first, you need to see where your money is going. Download a free, user-friendly app such as Mint or Personal Capital. These apps provide live tracking, so you can see exactly how much you spend on various categories.
Once you know where your money is going, you need to create a strict budget. This means shedding the extra financial fat as much as possible (extra shopping, eating out, and cable).
Create an Emergency Fund
Experts recommend saving at least 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund. This will ideally protect you against job loss and other family emergencies.
If you just filed bankruptcy after divorce, this number may seem overwhelming. However, every penny helps. Protecting yourself from emergencies is responsible, and it’s crucial if you have children.
3. Rebuild Your Credit
After learning how to budget and manage your finances, you will also need to have a plan for taking on future debt.
In general, many lenders will perceive you as a bad risk since you’ve already proven that you did not pay certain debts.
This means that you may struggle to qualify for loans or credit cards. If you do qualify, you will notice higher interest rates and fees associated with approvals.
With that said, your goal is to avoid adding on debt as much as humanly possible. Do whatever you can to pay for things as you go- without owing a debt.
Make All Your Payments On Time
This is your chance to be a model financial citizen. Pay all your bills on time and in full. If you still have a credit card and you use it once in awhile to pay for your necessities, pay the bill off immediately.
New Credit Card
About six months after filing bankruptcy after divorce, it may be a good idea to apply for a secured credit card. These cards require you to put down an initial deposit as a form of collateral to the lender. After switching the card to an unsecured version, you will receive your initial deposit back.
The same rules will still apply: use the money only for expenses you can cover and aim to pay off your bills as soon as you can. This will help slowly repair your credit score.
Final Thoughts on Filing for Bankruptcy After Divorce
Both bankruptcy and divorce can be devastating for you and your family. Even though your emotional and financial situation may feel hopeless, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
You don’t have to go through these unnerving times on your own.
Stone Law Firm specializes in bankruptcy and helping you through this tumultuous process. Contact Daniel Stone, our attorney, today. Let’s get your life back on track.
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