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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Are Attorney’s Fees Dischargeable in an Alabama Bankruptcy?


Is bankruptcy the right choice for me if I owe significant attorney’s fees?

Many Americans today are burdened by debt.  An estimated eight out of 10 Americans are in debt, some seriously, with debts ranging from mortgages, unpaid credit card balances, student loans, car loans, and attorney’s fees, among other expenses.  Attorneys, particularly family law and divorce attorneys, can charge hefty fees.  Your legal fee debt could mount rapidly during a divorce or other legal matter.  You may find yourself wondering whether attorney’s fees are dischargeable in bankruptcy.


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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.


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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, May 16, 2016

How to Stop a Wage Garnishment


Does filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Many individuals who find themselves unable to pay their debts face the potential of having their wages garnished. A wage garnishment is a court order directing an employer to withhold part of an employee's earnings and pay it directly to a creditor until the debt is paid off.

In Alabama, most creditors need to obtain a court judgment stating that you owe them money in order to obtain a wage garnishment. Moreover, if you lose a lawsuit and a money judgment is entered against you, the party that prevailed in the lawsuit can also garnish your wages. Your wages can be garnished without a judgment, however, for unpaid income taxes, court ordered child support, support arrearages, and defaulted student loans.


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Monday, April 25, 2016

Foreclosures Continue to Plague Calhoun County


Why do foreclosures remain stubbornly high is some parts of Alabama?

The so-called Great Recession of 2008 is slowly fading into the rearview mirror of the nation's psyche. In Alabama and across the nation, the financial crisis resulted in a number of homeowners losing their homes through foreclosure. While foreclosures in the state are not as widespread as they were during the height of the housing market collapse, some residents of Alabama still face the potential of losing their homes.

Foreclosures in Calhoun County

One particularly hard hit area continues to be Calhoun County, where home


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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, October 30, 2015

Basics of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and how does it work?

If you are overwhelmed by debt, you might be considering bankruptcy as a way out.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide you with a fresh start if you are eligible. Our attorneys regularly determine if clients are eligible and assist them in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process from inception to conclusion.

In order to be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the means test.  This means that your income must be lower than the median monthly income in your state.  There are a number of exceptions to this rule under which you might also be able to qualify. 

If you pass the means test or fall into one of the exceptions, the Chapter 7 process requires that all of your assets be sold and that the proceeds from those assets be used to pay creditors in a specified manner. The process begins by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court. 

As a debtor, you must disclose all of your financial information, including a detailed list of your assets and liabilities as well as your income and expenses. At this point, the automatic stay kicks in. The automatic stay stops most collection efforts by creditors.  Within 40 days of the submission, the court appointed bankruptcy trustee must hold a meeting of creditors. You must be present at this meeting, where the trustee and any creditors who attend will question you under oath. The trustee has 10 days from this meeting to decide whether to accept the case or find it to be abuse.

If the case is accepted, all of your assets, except exempt property, will be liquidated and used to pay your creditors. After the bankruptcy, all of your debts will be discharged, giving the debtor the fresh start you were looking for.  There are some debts that are non-dischargeable, such as tax debts and child support payments. You will still be responsible for these, even after the bankruptcy process has been completed.

The attorneys at Padgett and Robertson have extensive experience representing individuals in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.  If you are in the Mobile area contact us today at (251) 342-0264 for a free consultation. 


Monday, September 21, 2015

Bankruptcy & Family Law: How filing affects domestic matters

If I file for bankruptcy, can I avoid or reduce some of my alimony arrears?

Getting behind on the bills can be exceptionally stressful, and a consumer bankruptcy action can help alleviate some of the frustration that comes with overwhelming monthly obligations.  There are certain debts, however, that  are not dischargeable through the consumer bankruptcy process, and the Bankruptcy Code makes clear that most domestic matters cannot be avoided even with a total Chapter 7 liquidation.

No matter how difficult the financial landscape, child support arrears cannot be reduced, negotiated or discharged under any circumstances. However, filing for bankruptcy may help a debtor get caught up on the outstanding balance of the overdue support, and may even help reduce some of the other debts owed to unsecured creditors. When a debtor files for Chapter 13 protection, his or her debts will be prioritized – with child support arrears at the top of the list. The monthly child support payment will be amortized over the length of the repayment plan period and will be paid to the trustee, who will ensure the amount is properly distributed to the child(ren) in need of support.

Bankruptcy can also have an impact on divorce proceedings, and debtors are encouraged to seek thorough legal counsel prior to filing for bankruptcy if considering marital dissolution. In some instances, it may make sense to file for bankruptcy prior to divorce, as this can result in significantly reduced filing fees and court costs. Moreover, joint debtors may be able to have some of their debts discharged and forgiven, meaning the debts need not be distributed during the divorce action.

On the other hand, Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy can take 3 to 5 years to complete, depending on the payment plan – which may not be feasible if a divorce is on the horizon. Likewise, those seeking Chapter 7 protection may have difficulty meeting income eligibility requirements by filing together, making it more beneficial to go through the divorce first.

If you are considering bankruptcy and are not sure how the proceeding will interface with your pending domestic matter, please do not hesitate to contact Padgett & Robertson in Mobile, Alabama today: 251-342-0264.


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.
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Bankruptcy Law News

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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| Phone: 251-342-0264

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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.”