September 8, 2022
Common Bankruptcy Questions Answered
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process where a debtor, which can be an individual or business, that is unable to pay their debts can have their debt wiped out by asset liquidation. In exchange for having their debt cleared, the debtor may agree to a repayment plan. Declaring bankruptcy has several steep consequences, such as damage to your credit score, inability to take out certain loans, and foreclosure. The debtor may be able to use their liquidated assets to pay off a portion of their remaining debt.
How does bankruptcy affect your credit score?
Declaring bankruptcy is a difficult and risky decision that can impact the health of your finances in the years to come. However, it may be the only sensible option to getting a fresh financial start. Following bankruptcy, your credit score may take a hit by as much as several hundred points. Building back up your credit can be hard and will not be done immediately, but it can be done gradually over time through things like making on-time payments and using a credit card responsibly.
How can I improve my finances after bankruptcy is over?
Bankruptcy is something that no one expects to have to go through in their life. However, it is more common than you think and it is possible to recover after filing for bankruptcy. In fact, many people have been able to get into a better financial position after they have finished the bankruptcy process. Talk to a bankruptcy attorney who can help you learn more about how to improve your financial health.
What are debt relief alternatives?
There are many types of debt solutions out there that can be right for you. It can be hard to know which choice to make when you are trying to pay off your debt. Thankfully, there are several alternatives to bankruptcy that you can consider. Debt consolidation, debt settlement, and refinancing plans are just a few. The alternatives that are right for you depend on your situation and several factors, such as the type of debt you have and whether you are a homeowner.
Why should I hire a lawyer if I’m considering bankruptcy?
Skilled New Haven, CT bankruptcy attorneys like one at the Law Offices of Ronald I. Chorches are there to help you make the best decision that can allow you to arrive at the solutions that you are looking for. If you are struggling with debt and are unsure if you should file for bankruptcy, you can get help from our team and we will assess your situation. We understand how hard it is to make the right choice, especially when it comes to something like finances. There is no time to waste if you have debt that needs to be resolved. Our firm has helped many people with debt find practical and permanent solutions to their financial issues. Filing for bankruptcy has a stigma attached to it, but you’re not alone in your struggle. Contact an experienced and qualified bankruptcy attorney near you if you want to know what your options are.
September 8, 2022
Hartford’s Stilts Building Faces Foreclosure
The downtown area in Hartford, CT has long been a prime location for many businesses. However, market fluctuations that have been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic continue to impact buildings that generate a large amount of revenue. The Stilts Building currently is facing foreclosure, which would severely disrupt the commercial real estate market that has already taken a hit because of the pandemic. It is recognized as a Class A downtown office building. The foreclosure process was initiated by Wells Fargo Bank after several missed mortgage payments, but negotiations are currently in place to resolve the issue.
The building is owned by landlord Shelbourne Global Solutions and was purchased for $44.4 million. It has generated millions of dollars in real estate revenue since 2013, so if the building goes through foreclosure it would significantly reduce the total revenue of the downtown area. The building has a vacancy rate of roughly 20%. Many companies have been forced to downsize their office space due to pandemic-related expenses and a changing workforce. The potential foreclosure that Shelbourne Global Solutions is facing is just another example of how businesses are still trying to navigate the ups and downs of the real estate market well after the peak of the pandemic.
How Foreclosure Happens
Foreclosure is the process of a lender seizing or selling a home if the borrower is unable to meet their obligation to make payments. It can be triggered after certain circumstances, such as if a borrower loses their job. Once the foreclosure process has begun, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing more that a borrower can do. There are alternative options and strategies you can use to strike a deal with the lender.
If you are facing foreclosure, it is a stressful experience to go through. The prospect of losing your home is something no one should ever go through alone, so that is why it is important to seek the legal services of a qualified foreclosure lawyer.
Legal Services From a Foreclosure Lawyer
A Hartford, CT foreclosure lawyer like one at the Law Offices of Ronald I. Chorches can explain to you that you may still be able to consider several legal options if you are facing foreclosure, no matter how behind on payments you are. Their team has been successfully able to prevent the foreclosure process for many clients over the years they have been in practice. Foreclosure lawyers have the skills and years of experience to assist clients who are going through similar scenarios regarding foreclosure. They can advise you on what to do to navigate foreclosure, explain foreclosure and real estate laws, and help you fill out the necessary legal documents involved.
Contact a Qualified Lawyer
As reflected by the current challenges impacting the Stilts Building and other long-term businesses of the downtown area, even businesses that have long been in operation are not immune from the unpredictable nature of economic shifts that could lead to foreclosure. If you would like to know how you can avoid foreclosure and take the necessary precautions to resolve it, speaking to a lawyer can help you. Learn more by requesting a risk-free consultation with a foreclosure lawyer in your area now.
April 13, 2022
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Many people who have gone through or graduated any sort of education beyond government mandated schooling has more than likely had to take out some form of a loan to pay for it. A chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you with wage garnishment matters.
Wage garnishment is when an individual has defaulted, or not made payments, the holder or the loan will garnish an employee’s wages directly out of their paycheck. Bankruptcy lawyer Carolyn Secor, P.A. can explain that this means they will take a percentage, usually about 15%, to help pay off his or her defaulted loan. This means that the lender will communicate to the employer and let them know that they will be directly withdrawing a portion of the employee’s wages.
With some federal student loans as PLUS or Stafford loans, the lender does not need to possess a legal judgement against the loaner to garnish his or her wages. For other lenders, they will need to initiate legal action in order to start the progress. However, on the bright side, wage garnishment is considered a last resort action, and can be avoided. Before the lender submits or starts the process of intent to garnish, the company will send out many forms of notification, through both electronic and physical mail, likely over a period of months, before initiating the process.
There are some ways to prevent your wages being garnished, even after receiving notice of intent:
- Discuss acceptable repayment terms with the Department of Education (DoE). In addition, the person should also pay the DoE for the first installment within 30 days of the notice was sent to the individual.
- Request a hearing in writing. Must also be postmarked within the 30 days of the notice being sent. If the individual is trying to request copies of documents, he or she must request a hearing as well, as it will not delay the order of garnishment.
- Provide any proof to challenge or invalidate the order. This could include an incorrect amount, legitimacy of the debt, claiming responsibility, status of financial hardship, or even the existence of the debt itself.
- Initiate any and all legal action against an individual’s employer if there is any disciplinary retaliation against the individual based on the upcoming garnishment notice.
Furthermore, if you are already having to pay or are repaying due to student loans, there are still a few ways to help escape default status and end the wage garnishment:
- Consolidating loans. This is one of the quickest ways to get out of default, although it has a high risk as well. When you consolidate a loan, you essentially take out one large, single loan to pay off all of the defaulted loans. In doing so, your status is no longer in default, as it is a new loan. Using this option can make it easier to escape default status, however, depending on the consolidation loan itself, it may be more expensive in the long run due to the interest rate and if you are able to pay off that loan effectively.
- Rehabilitating loans. This process will have you commit to making a minimum of nine out of ten monthly payments. Afterwards, you will speak with a loan servicer to decide on a payment plan from there.
- Paying off the debt – completely. While this sounds impossible, it is one of the safest and possibly one of the quickest ways to get out of default.
If you have any questions regarding student loan wage garnishment and how it may be affecting you, contact an attorney to discuss information as well as any possible next steps. A chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you with your wage garnishment matters.
January 5, 2022
Financial struggles affect almost everyone, but if you are having trouble keeping track of your spending and savings, there are some helpful tips you can apply. This is especially true if you have filed for bankruptcy, as financial problems can occur despite best efforts to make responsible choices. Medical bills or an emergency repair can quickly derail your financial plans. If you are recovering after bankruptcy, keeping the following money management tips in mind can help you avoid getting into serious financial trouble again.
Review Your Credit Report
Keep an eye on your credit report regularly to watch for suspicious activity. A credit report is a summary of your financial transactions, showing information such as your loans. Knowing what’s on your credit report can give you a sense of the health of your finances. You can get free annual credit reports from the major crediting companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Stick To Your Budget
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not making a budget. If you struggle with spending, first identify the areas where you are having trouble with. Categorize your spending so that you can see where your money is going towards each month. Setting limits for yourself can help you cut down on lower priority purchases that can be saved for a later time.
Make Payments on Time
A good way to ensure that you can stay on top of your finances is to make payments well before they are due. Late payments can be damaging to your credit score. You can set reminders for yourself a few days or a week early so that you do not accidentally miss a payment.
Explore Your Options
If you have tried other strategies on your own but are not having success, you can reach out to professionals who can assist you with your financial planning. Debt issues and other major struggles you may be facing are best handled with help from an outside party. Don’t be afraid to explore all of your options and find out what resources are available to you with the help of a trusted bankruptcy lawyer like Carolyn Secor, P.A..
Staying on top of your finances after completing the bankruptcy process can be intimidating, but picking up better money management habits will take time. Developing a suitable financial plan will take time and effort, and you are not alone in your struggles. Meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer is a good first step to take if you are not where to start. Schedule an appointment now to learn more about financial services available.
December 7, 2021
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most common types of bankruptcy filings used. It has the potential to help many people get themselves out of poverty and onto a path where they feel empowered to handle their finances. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start in eradicating the debts that loom over you. However, filing for bankruptcy should only be done when thought through, and discussed with a lawyer who is familiar with bankruptcy law.
What makes Chapter 7 bankruptcy different from other types of bankruptcy filings? Here we have listed the pros and cons, so you have a better idea of what operating under this bankruptcy status will be like:
Pro’s of Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- Automatic Stay Protection: once your case has been filed, creditors are banned from contacting you or taking collection actions.
- You Keep Most Belongings: Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for people to keep most of their assets, such as cars, furniture, clothes, etc.
- Future Wages are Protected: after filing, creditors cannot touch your earnings, so future paychecks are entirely yours to keep and use for necessities of living and other expenses.
Con’s of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
- Public Record: what happens in the bankruptcy court is not private, and is open to the public. But, most people aren’t interested in finding out the details about another individual’s bankruptcy case.
- Income Limits When Applying: it will be important to calculate your income, and see if you fit the criteria needed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Giving Up Luxury: even though you are permitted to keep certain assets, there are others that aren’t protected, such as luxuriouos and indulgent items.
As a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from Carolyn Secor, P.A. may inform new clients, it’s best to learn about bankruptcy sooner rather than later, so you can make a decision that is ideal for you and your financial future.
June 30, 2021
Hiring a lawyer can be a stressful process. To begin with, how can you be sure you even need a lawyer? There are a lot of reasons that you need a lawyer before you end up in a courtroom. Once you know you need a lawyer, how do you find a good one? Should you hire one for just this job or keep a lawyer on retainer?
How to know if you need a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
The simple answer is, if you’re not sure, you need a lawyer. Consulting a lawyer and finding out you are in the clear is preferable to not contacting a lawyer and facing down lawsuits or fines. Lawyers are essential at every step of the business process like a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer from a firm like Carolyn Secor, P.A., can explain. They can make sure you start off on solid ground by advising on a sound business structure and helping you with the paperwork and licenses you need. You will also need a lawyer if you are working with any intellectual property and when going through a bankruptcy. They can draft solid agreements and contracts to help keep business running smoothly. They can even help you get paid with a letter on your behalf. If you wait until an emergency comes up to hire a lawyer, you have waited too long.
How to Find a Good Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
One of the best ways is to ask around. Put your personal and professional networks to work for recommendations. Make sure to look around online and do some research. There are sites that offer directory services for lawyers, and they may even include complaints lodged against the lawyer.
Once you have some recommendations, set up meetings with the potential lawyers. Make sure that you come ready to ask questions. Think of it as interviewing an employee. How much do they need to be paid? How much experience do they have?
What is a Retainer
A retainer is a prepayment into an account that is used to pay the lawyer’s fees later. By setting up a retainer with a lawyer, you can avoid worrying about legal issues and focus on running your business. The retained lawyer can review and form contracts and agreements and advise in all sorts of legal matters. They can even make recommendations if you need someone more specialized. The exact amount needed depends on the lawyer, so make sure you ask during the interview process.
If you have questions about any chapter 7 bankruptcy legal issues relating to your business, contact a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer and discuss your options.
June 11, 2021
Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. There are many things to consider when deciding if it is right for you. There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. This blog will focus on Chapter 7.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation bankruptcy, is the kind of bankruptcy that is often portrayed in media. It allows individuals who are unable to pay their debt to discharge most of it. Once you file, an automatic stay takes place and your creditors must cease all actions pertaining to the collection of your debt. You will likely have to sell some of your assets to pay down some of the debt, however some things may be considered exempt. If you decide to file for bankruptcy a lawyer can help you decide if this is the correct option for you. If you go forward with filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy here are six ways it may affect your everyday life.
You may have difficulties obtaining a good credit card.
When you file for bankruptcy your credit score will likely drop by 100 or more points. The negative mark bankruptcy leaves on your credit score can last for up to 10 years. Most “good” credit cards, with benefits and low interest rates, will require you to have a credit score of 700 or above. While you are building your credit back up, you may still be able to get a credit card, but it will likely be one with a higher interest rate and fees.
You may have a hard time getting a mortgage.
Once you file for bankruptcy you will have a waiting period before you can apply for most types of mortgages. For example, FHA loans are the most flexible allowing you to apply for a loan as soon as 1 year if you can prove extenuating circumstances, or 2 years without. Other types of loans have their own waiting periods. Once you have completed the waiting period you will probably need to meet a credit score minimum and other requirements. Securing a mortgage after bankruptcy is by no means impossible, but there will be hurdles.
You may have high interest rates if you choose to finance a new car.
Sometimes during a bankruptcy proceeding you will be forced to sell your car to pay down your debt. If this occurs and you need to buy a new car but cannot pay cash, car dealerships may take advantage of the situation and charge you extremely high interest rates, occasionally up to 29%.
You will no longer receive collection calls.
Once you file, collection agencies will not contact you anymore. Not having to deal with harsh creditors may significantly improve your daily life.
You may feel relieved.
Once your bankruptcy proceeding is finished you may feel immediately relieved. Now that you have been discharged of your debts, you can move forward without the constant stress of large amounts of debt hanging over your head. You may even find you look at the world in a more positive light and other aspects of your life may improve as well.
You may notice a decrease in the amount of fights you are having at home.
If you have a partner, you might find that your relationship improves almost overnight. Financial strain is one of the biggest stressors on any relationship. With your debt being eliminated you can focus more on your improving your relationship rather than your financial situation and you may fight less frequently.
These are just a few of the ways filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy could affect your daily life. Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a very personal decision, everyone’s situation is different. Like with everything in life, there are pros and cons to filing and only you and your lawyer can decide what those will be for you.
March 4, 2021
One of the basic and most important protections available when you file a bankruptcy of any type, anywhere, is the Automatic Stay.
Essentially, the moment you file your bankruptcy case, the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay stops any company or person whom you owe money (a “creditor”) from taking any steps to collect money from you. The provision that creates this Automatic Stay is Section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Automatic Stay blocks credit card companies, personal loan companies, banks, car loan companies, mortgage companies, the IRS, and almost anyone else to whom you owe money.
What does this mean for you? Here are a few examples: If your home is to be sold tomorrow in a foreclosure sale, we can file a bankruptcy petition today and stop the sale. If your bank account has been frozen (restrained), we can file a bankruptcy petition, and the Automatic Stay requires your bank to release the freeze and allow you access to your money. If your salary is being garnished (also called an “income execution”), filing a bankruptcy petition will invoke the Automatic Stay and stop any garnishment so you once again receive your full paycheck. Are you being sued? Filing a bankruptcy petition will invoke the Automatic Stay which, in turn, will temporarily halt any proceedings against you.
The Automatic Stay begins at the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed (usually electronically); not the day it is filed, but the actual moment it is filed. Therefore, we can theoretically stop a foreclosure sale scheduled for 3pm by filing the bankruptcy ten minutes earlier.
However, it is not unlimited relief; there are some circumstances in which the Automatic Stay will not block legal action against you, as the lawyers at Baram Kaiser Law can explain. For example, criminal proceedings do not violate the Automatic Stay. Likewise, actions to collect previously Court-ordered child support obligations are not stopped by the Automatic Stay. The Automatic Stay can be limited in duration in certain circumstances, for example, if you have filed bankruptcy previously in the recent past. In certain circumstances, a creditor may have legal grounds to ask the Bankruptcy Court Judge to remove or modify the Automatic Stay, for example, if you do not resume mortgage payments after you file your bankruptcy. These nuances in the Bankruptcy law require the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to help plan the best course of action to protect you and your family’s finances.
January 24, 2020
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit after someone else caused a recent injury, a very natural question is “How much is my case worth?” However, this is not really the right way to think about things. The purpose of personal injury lawsuits is to compensate a victim for losses. This means your case is worth exactly how much you lost. Of course, things are a little more complicated than that. The first step in understanding how much your case is worth is understanding the different types of damages.
Special Compensatory Damages
The first type of damages is special compensatory damages. These damages correspond to financial losses. If you can place an exact monetary value on a loss, then it will fall into this category. Examples of this include:
- Medical bills
- Damage to property
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Purchase of medicine
- Purchase of medical equipment
For all of these losses, their monetary value is objective. Before you step foot into the court room, you could look at receipt or bill or wage log and know exactly how much money you lost.
General Compensatory Damages
The second type of damages is general compensatory damages. These damages correspond to non-financial losses. If you suffered in some way, but it is impossible to objectively place a monetary value on your suffering, then it will fall into this category. Examples of this include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
As you can probably tell, the monetary value of all of these is subjective. The only way you could determine it is by making an estimation. When general compensatory damages are accepted in a court case, the judge will be the one to decide how much they are worth.
The third type of damages is completely different from the other two. Punitive damages are not a form of compensation. Instead, they are assigned as punishment for the defendant. The judge will be the one to decide if punitive damages are appropriate, as well as how much potential punitive damages should be.
So, now that you know about the types of damages, you can estimate what your case is worth. It will be the sum of special and general compensatory damages. Punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases, so you should not expect to receive any. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Washington, DC can help you estimate these values more with more precision.
Thanks to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and what your case may be worth.
September 10, 2019
In the majority of situations, filing for a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy should not adversely affect your immigration status.
For starters, you don’t need to be a US citizen or even have a green card to file for bankruptcy protection.
The key requirement is that you must be a US resident which generally means showing or proving that you’ve lived in America for a substantial amount of time such as six months or more.
Even better, your citizenship application, visa or green card applications should and will continue even if you do file for bankruptcy.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can’t deny your application just because you filed for bankruptcy.
The Bankruptcy Code, Section 525 (a) is the law that prevents the federal government from discriminating against anyone who files for bankruptcy protection. The section provides:
“…A governmental unit may not deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a license, permit, charter, franchise, or other similar grant to, condition such a grant to, discriminate with respect to such a grant against, deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, a person that is or has been a debtor under this title or a bankrupt or a debtor under the Bankruptcy Act, or another person with whom such bankrupt or debtor has been associated, solely because such bankrupt or debtor is or has been a debtor under this title or a bankrupt or debtor under the Bankruptcy Act, has been insolvent before the commencement of the case under this title, or during the case but before the debtor is granted or denied a discharge, or has not paid a debt that is dischargeable in the case under this title or that was discharged under the Bankruptcy Act.”
How a Bankruptcy Petition Could Be Used by Immigration Authorities
Generally, anyone seeking admission to the United States through the immigration process must show they have good moral character.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, if the immigration officials have reason to believe you lied on any forms, or if the officials believe that you lack morality; your immigration application may be denied.
USCIS also wants to make sure immigrants seeking admission into America don’t become a financial burden.
Mostly, they’re looking to see if you can, or are working.
The government doesn’t want to have to pay for welfare and other financial assistance.
The fact that you declared bankruptcy may actually help to show and prove that you are working to resolve your debt situation.
Situations Where Filing Bankruptcy Could Affect Your Immigration Status
While the act of filing for bankruptcy shouldn’t disqualify you for immigration, the items on the bankruptcy petition, and your conduct during the bankruptcy process could be used against you.
Here are a few ways the underlying facts behind the bankruptcy petition may hurt your chances for immigration approval:
- You ran up large debts to pay for items you clearly knew you could never afford.
- If it is clear from the creditor list and your income that you were never ever going to be able to pay for lavish expenses, that may be problematic.
- You may be asked about your taxes. Many people get behind on their tax obligations.
- If, however, you lied about your taxes to the IRS or any official for that matter, the lie could be used to deny your immigration applications.
Generally, immigrants are productive people who pay a lot of money into the government (through taxes and social security) even though they are not entitled to those benefits unless they become an American citizen.
Immigrants, like every existing citizen in America, can develop financial problems due to a bad marriage, medical difficulties, and credit card debts.
They may not be able to pay for a home or apartment.
Not being able to pay your bills shouldn’t disqualify you – unless you were dishonest, lied, or committed a crime to get the funds originally.
For immigrants, like American citizens, a bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of or frightened of – it is your right.
Bankruptcy provides a legitimate second chance for many people each year including American citizens and immigrants alike.
Bankruptcy and Criminal Offenses
If the bankruptcy court believes you committed a crime, then that crime could be used against you.
Possible bankruptcy crimes include:
- Lying under other;
- Providing financial statements that you know to be false;
- Not providing information about income or debts that you were supposed to provide on your bankruptcy forms
Very few people are charged with bankruptcy crimes.
Many usually are just told to provide the accurate information within a specific time frame.
If you are charged with a bankruptcy crime, then your bankruptcy petition could be denied.
If USCIS learns of the bankruptcy crime after examining your bankruptcy records, then you could be deported if you are an immigrant.
You may even be barred from re-entering the United States, or be unable to re-enter for a specific number of years.
Experienced bankruptcy lawyers successfully work with immigrants.
We explain what you must list on your bankruptcy petition paperwork and the need for you to be honest in everything your report to the US Bankruptcy court.
We also explain that you must be truthful at the mandatory creditor’s meeting before the US Trustee in Bankruptcy.
Filing Bankruptcy After Sponsoring an Immigrant
If you are sponsoring an immigrant for a visa or for citizenship, generally, you can still sponsor that person even if you file for bankruptcy.
If you sponsor someone and they need to go on to public assistance, you may need to repay public assistance.
The Take Home
The bottom line is that if you’re an immigrant and seeking citizenship, even if you declare bankruptcy, you’ll still be able to become a citizen. All you need to do is make sure you’re honest about your financial situation, and that you remain crime free. If you’re considering bankruptcy, view our full list of bankruptcy services to see how we can help you rectify your financial situation and help get you out of debt.
For the best results, contact your local bankruptcy attorney and they’ll be able to guide you on the right track and ensure your case is heard and you’ll be properly represented.
Disclaimer. Please not that this article does not establish a lawyer/client relationship. Further, anyone with concerns about their immigration status should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer. The discussion in this article is to address the issue from just the bankruptcy side – and again bankruptcy clients should meet with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.