Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Monday, May 1, 2017

Can I Keep My Boat If I File For Bankruptcy?

According to estimates from the U.S. Coast Guard, over 25% of all Alabama residents go boating each year, and almost one fifth of the state lives in a household that owns some type of boat. Boating is a fun, family-friendly activity, and for many people in our state it’s the way they feed their family or earn a living. So, it should come as no surprise that a lot of potential bankruptcy filers are worried the government will seize their boat if they file for bankruptcy.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

How Many Times Can You File For Bankruptcy?

How Many Times Can You File For Bankruptcy?

During the recent presidential campaign, now-President Trump’s multiple bankruptcies were discussed quite a few times. He made it clear that he has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but that he has been more than happy to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws when his businesses were in trouble. In fact, Trump-owned businesses have filed for bankruptcy four times.

When the news started to spread that Trump’s businesses had filed for bankruptcy more than once, several people reached out to our firm and asked if filing for bankruptcy multiple times was something “normal people,” aka not billionaires, could do. The short answer is yes, you can file for bankruptcy as many times as you need to.
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Supreme Court To Decide Debt Collection Case With Alabama Roots

Debt collectors are some of the most-hated folks on the face of the earth. People like them even less than lawyers, which is saying something. Unlike lawyers, debt collectors deserve their rotten reputation. They aren’t out to help anyone but themselves as they pester, threaten, and sweet talk people into paying off debt that in some cases is no longer collectable.

The highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court, has actually taken up a case that centers around expired credit card debt that a debt collector attempted to get an Alabama woman to pay back when she filed for bankruptcy.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Think You Are The Only One Filing Bankruptcy? Think Again.

Sometimes the people that come into my office are embarrassed. They think everyone else in the world has things figured out, but they are a huge screw-up because things are not going great for them. The truth is 26,269 bankruptcy cases were filed in Alabama last year, meaning there are a heck of a lot of people in our state going through hard times right now. In fact, Alabama is actually doing worse than the rest of the nation when it comes to bankruptcies.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Are Attorney Fees Dischargeable in Bankruptcies?

Everyone files for bankruptcy with different overwhelming financial obligations looming over their heads. Sometimes, those obligations include legal fees. Ideally, particularly with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all debts will be wiped out, or at least reduced in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unfortunately, some obligations will remain including certain legal fees. Generally speaking, unsecured legal fees are fully dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, just like any other unsecured debt.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Family of deceased veteran suing Wells Fargo over sudden foreclosure

How can you save your house during a bankruptcy?

Perhaps one of the common questions that comes up when we talk to people about filing for bankruptcy is: Will I get to keep my house? Being able to hit the refresh button on your finances while still being able to live in your home is often critical to people’s decision to file. 

While it’s often the case that people can keep their homes during bankruptcy, if there’s a foreclosure in the process, banks tend to make it harder to do.

Unsavory Bank Tactics Trigger Foreclosure

Wells Fargo has recently come under scrutiny again when it suddenly foreclosed on a deceased veteran’s home.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What Does That Really Mean? Common Bankruptcy Terms Explained

What Does That Really Mean? Common Bankruptcy Terms Explained 

When the attorneys at our firm talk with someone who is thinking about filing bankruptcy, or someone who is already going through the bankruptcy process, we try to talk like normal humans rather than the legal mutants we are.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Bankrupt Rapper 50 Cent Being Probed for Financial Misconduct

Curtis James Jackson III, aka, 50 Cent, the infamous rapper who achieved commercial success in the music industry after running afoul of the law back in the day, may be in trouble again.

Jackson burst onto the music scene back in 2003 with a hit rap song "In Da Club," went on to sell more than 22 millions CDs and acted in a few films. As he acquired wealth, he even bought a 21-bedroom mansion with a home movie theatre and 8-car garage in Connecticut, formerly owned by one-time boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Somewhere on the road to riches, it seems 50 Cent took a wrong turn, as he filed for bankruptcy last July. The circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy are also curios as Mr. Jackson filed for Chapter 13 protection after he lost a lawsuit regarding a sex-tape dispute in which the plaintiff was awarded $7 million. He is also involved in a multi-million dollar dispute with former business partners involving headphones.

Since his filing, it has been reported that 50 Cent posted pictures on social media sites showing him leading a lavish lifestyle by flashing piles of cash. Now, a Justice Department watchdog recently filed documents in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Hartford, CT., saying the social media posts are "potential evidence of serious misconduct."

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy that allows individuals who are struggling with debt to seek relief through the court. In this bankruptcy filing, an individual uses his or her income to pay some or all of what creditors are owed over time -- from three to five years, depending on the amount of individual's debt and income. In return, property can be retained by the person seeking relief. The court must approve the repayment plan and also determine that there is enough income to meet the payment obligations under the plan.

Financial Accountability

In the curious case of 50 Cent, the federal watchdog contends the perception of Jackson's lavish lifestyle requires financial accountability. This comes on the heels of the bankruptcy court judge ordering him to explain the social media posts in person. Since filing for bankruptcy in July, Mr. Jackson has posted photos that show piles of cash his couch and refrigerator. A Justice Department official reportedly said, the pictures are “openly contemptuous of the bankruptcy code and process.”

In short, the Justice Department has asked the judge to appoint an examiner to determine how much money 50 Cent has made since the bankruptcy filing and whether he has accurately reported his income. The facts of this case are rather curious, and it is uncertain what will become of 50 Cent's piles of cash. For the ordinary individual who is facing problems paying his or her debt, however, a bankruptcy attorney should be consulted to explore the options that may available.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What Happens When a Co-Signer Files for Bankruptcy?

I recently co-signed on the loan for my son’s vehicle, and he recently filed for bankruptcy. Should I be worried?

Co-signing a promissory note can be a helpful and productive way to assist a friend or family member in obtaining a much-needed vehicle or personal loan – however, this benevolent decision can ultimately lead to possible financial woes for both parties in the event a bankruptcy occurs. Under the terms of the promissory note, a co-signor is responsible for repayment of the debt if the primarily borrower is unable or unwilling to continue paying –often the case when a debtor declares bankruptcy.

Co-signor liability in the event of a bankruptcy is determined based on the type of bankruptcy filed by the original debtor, which is limited to Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 proceeding, an automatic stay is issued to halt any collection efforts by creditors. However, creditors may still pursue a co-signor, notwithstanding a discharge against the original borrower. To insulate a co-signor against liability in this instance, a borrower could reaffirm the debt or pay it off completely.

On the other hand, Chapter 13 proceedings offer greater protection to the co-signor. The court will initiate a “co-debtor stay” to insulate co-borrowers from liability and collection efforts during the proceedings. However, the court may eventually lift the co-debtor stay in the event the borrower fails to repay the debt under the repayment plan, or the creditor can show it will face “irreparable harm” if the stay remains in place.

In any event, there are options available to help co-signors avoid the fallout of a bankruptcy proceeding by the original borrower, and a bankruptcy attorney can help explain the available options for borrowers in this predicament.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

Can bankruptcy help to avoid or delay foreclosure?

For clients in danger of home foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy can be a lifesaver. In many situations, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can put off foreclosure for a number of months and filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can even enable a person to save his or her home.

The Process of Foreclosure

Foreclosure results when a homeowner falls well behind on mortgage payments. The bank holding the mortgage does not normally begin the process until the homeowner has missed paying the mortgage for a period of at least three or four months. Once the bank begins the process of attempting to foreclose through auctioning off the property in question, the homeowner, presumably having exhausted other avenues such as a short sale or loan forbearance, may benefit by filing for bankruptcy. Contrary to common belief, some homeowners facing foreclosure may actually be able to improve their credit with a bankruptcy filing.

Types of Personal Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 differ in a few significant ways. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most debts within six months, but some debts remain, most commonly student loans, alimony or child support. People who file for Chapter 7 can't file again for eight years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, consolidates the homeowner's debts and creates a payment plan. Such a plan typically lasts from three to five years and allows the filer to retain certain assets, such as a house or car and some savings, although laws vary from state to state. Homeowners whose income level is over a certain amount must file for Chapter 13 and once they have filed, are not permitted to file again for two years. Both of these types of bankruptcy can be utilized if your home is in foreclosure. 

If you have hit some serious financial obstacles and are in danger of losing your home, you should consider the possible benefits of filing for bankruptcy. Our knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys at Padgett & Robertson caringly serve clients in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Please contact us at (251) 342-0264. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bankruptcy Can Stop Wage Garnishments

Can filing for bankruptcy protect you from having your wages garnished?

Undergoing bankruptcy can be beneficial for individuals whose wages are being garnished. Filing for bankruptcy may help stop a creditor from garnishing your wages and may even enable you to retrieve some of the wages that were garnished prior to bankruptcy proceeding. 

The Automatic Stay

Once an individual files for bankruptcy the automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay stops creditors from most actions designed to collect past due amounts. This effectively stops wage garnishments for the duration of the bankruptcy. In cases where the creditor has a valid reason, however, it may ask the court to lift the stay. This happens mostly in cases where the debt is considered non-dischargeable.  Situations that involve non-dischargeable debts that may result in the suspension of an automatic stay include:

• Child support and alimony;
• Tax proceedings; and
• Repaying pension loans.

Most commonly, the automatic stay is suspended in cases of domestic support obligations.

Wage Garnishments After Bankruptcy

The automatic stay may end in one of three ways: when you receive a notice of discharge, when your case is dismissed without a discharge or when the court lifts the stay. If a particular creditor, such as a credit card company, is included in the discharge, your wages can no longer be garnished to collect any outstanding debt. If your case is dismissed without a discharge, however, the creditor can continue to have your wages garnished.

Recovering Wages Garnished Prior to Bankruptcy Filing

When particular conditions are satisfied, you may be able to retrieve some wages that were garnished before you filed for bankruptcy. Typically, you can receive back wages garnished within the 90 days prior to bankruptcy filing if they were over $600 and if you have sufficient exemptions to cover them. Exemptions are often made for items such as a motor vehicle or a wedding ring. It is important to have an experienced attorney in order to negotiate possible recovery of garnished wages. Much will depend on whether you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Ensuring That Garnishments Stop in a Timely Fashion

Once you have filed for bankruptcy, you must provide a complete list of creditors to be officially notified. In order to protect yourself from continuing to have your wages garnished, it is necessary to directly inform the payroll department of the company that employs you. It is also important to inform the levying official, usually the local sheriff, of your bankruptcy in order to stop the garnishment process as quickly as possible.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, particularly if your wages are presently being garnished, and you have questions, please get in touch with one of the skilled, experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Padgett & Robertson.  We are available for a free consultation in Mobile and Baldwin County at (251) 342-0264.

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Padgett and Robertson assist clients with Bankruptcy, Personal Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and The New Bankruptcy Law in Mobile, Alabama and throughout southern Alabama. Alabama State Bar Association Regulations require the following: "No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers." 11 U.S.C. 528 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires the following: "We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.”

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