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Bankruptcy

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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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Law Student Allowed to Discharge Bar Study Loan


Can you be relieved of any education related loans in bankruptcy?

Student loan debt is a overwhelming problem in this country.  In fact, it has been calculated that the average person has approximately $28,950 in student loan debt to pay back to the government.  Those who pursue careers as professionals, such as physicians and lawyers, often have a much greater amount than that.  Some have hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans.  Unfortunately, student loan debts are generally considered nondischargeable in bankruptcy (with certain exceptions).


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Credit Card Debt: An Embarrassment, But Not of Riches


Who holds the highest revolving debt in the United States?

Most of us are well aware that revolving debt, including credit card debt, home equity loans and personal lines of credit, has risen sharply in this country. For many of us, this is a very personal issue since our own revolving debt is frighteningly high. According to a study by ValuePenguin, a New York-based financial company, by December of 2015, revolving debt had risen to $936 billion, up from $930 billion the month before. Credit card debt has reached its highest peak since the 2009 recession.

Ferreting Out the True Statistics

The study showed that average households in the U.
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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.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins File for Bankruptcy


Can debts incurred by fraud be discharged in bankruptcy?

We’ve all seen them. Home improvement shows in which a contractor or decorator comes in to transform a person’s house into his or her dream home. Just turn on HGTV and you will most likely find one playing right now. What seems like a dream come true, however, can become a nightmare if the renovation or redecoration is botched. In this situation, the contractor or decorator may be liable, but what if he or she doesn't have the money to pay the judgment? Well, that is where the bankruptcy court comes in, as they did in a case involving a notable pair from HGTV.


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Relief on the Horizon for Student Loan Borrowers


Can student loans be included in a bankruptcy petition?

Discharging student loans in a bankruptcy petition have been restricted by law. However, recent cases suggest that appellate courts could may craft a broader definition of how much distress a borrower needs to be in before discharging student loans.

As has widely been reported, the amount of outstanding student debt has risen dramatically in the last decade. In 2005, the US Court of Appeals established a standard for discharging student loan debt in a bankruptcy. Since then, lower courts have ruled on the issue opening the door to the possibility of the Supreme Court weighing in on this issue.
Read more . . .


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Student Loans and Personal Bankruptcy


Are student loans dischargeable in personal bankruptcy?

Today,   many people are struggling to pay back student loans while also struggling with other types of debt, such as credit card payments or medical bills.  This overwhelming financial burden can cause a person to seek out bankruptcy as a means of relief only to be told that they cannot discharge his or her student loan debt. 

Generally, the bankruptcy cannot free you of student loan debt, but there are limited circumstances where student loan debt can be discharged. 



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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.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Avoiding Post-Bankruptcy Lending Scams

I just went through consumer bankruptcy, and seem to receive solicitations for loans and credit cards almost daily. Is this a scam?

It is no secret that the bankruptcy process will temporary impact the petitioner’s credit rating and eligibility for new financing. In the long-run, however, bankruptcy can significantly reduce outstanding debts and liens, leading to an overall brighter financial future. Recent filers should be warned, however, that unscrupulous lenders will take very opportunity to exploit bankruptcy petitioners, primarily due to the presumption that these individuals are “desperate” for credit and will accept virtually any interest rate offered. As experienced bankruptcy practitioners, we encourage you to maintain your newfound freedom from the grips of debt, and to hone your skills in spotting a lending scam before it can ever hit home.

Signs of a Scam

Scammers in any industry rely on the psychological vulnerabilities of their targets. Scams against the elderly, for example, often rely on the notion that elderly individuals live alone, need someone to talk to, and can be easily persuaded into anything with a casual, friendly conversation.

Unfortunately, the same is true with post-bankruptcy lending scams. In the weeks and months following the bankruptcy process, some debtors may feel hopeless and out of control of their financial futures. Using this to their advantage, scammers will entice borrowers to restart the debt cycle by entering into wildly unfavorable – and sometimes illegal – credit agreements, often with unthinkable interest rates and skewed repayment terms.

Other signs of trouble include unsolicited, relentless offers over the telephone or through the mail. In addition, loans and credit products promising to improve one’s credit score are generally correlated to unfavorable repayment terms targeting those in “desperate need” of financing – again, relying on the psychology of vulnerability.

The best bet? Stay on the straight and narrow, avoid pursuing new debts, and if an offer seems too good to be true, it almost always is.

If you are considering personal bankruptcy or have questions about how the process will impact your credit rating, please contact Padgett & Robertson today: 251-342-0264.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Timing Consumer Bankruptcy

What is the Best Time to File for Consumer Bankruptcy?

In some cases, filing for consumer bankruptcy involves a strategic component, particularly if a debtor is seeking to reduce overall liability or avoid issues with an impending life milestone such as divorce. It is also true, however, that waiting too long to file bankruptcy can end up costing you more in the long run which raises the question: when is the best time to file?

Interestingly, the summer months are the most popular when it comes to the raw data of bankruptcy filings. By contrast, January and February see the lowest number of filings – the reasons for which could be anyone’s guess.

Setting the calendar aside, there can be some real benefits to filing as soon as possible. For instance, if you are facing a foreclosure and feel that you have nowhere to turn in terms of housing, filing for consumer bankruptcy will put a stay on the pending proceedings – therefore buying you additional time to devise a future housing plan.

As well, creditors are continuing to charge interest on your secured and unsecured debts each day. In many cases, a debtor has nothing to gain by waiting – and trying – to pay down debts before filing. Often, the most toxic and costly debts (unsecured credit cards) are forgiven in the process anyway.

When should an individual delay filing? If a divorce is on the horizon, a debtor will likely fair better by co-filing with a spouse as opposed to filing alone. Likewise, if two spouses are responsible for the debts together, co-filing will be virtually necessary in order to ensure the proper outcome.

Lastly, delaying filing may be the best option if you truly believe you will be able to pay down your debts without needing bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy will create a temporary stain on your credit rating, which could make it difficult to secure a loan for a home or a vehicle. The impact will be just as negative, however, for those who believe they can pay down debt and wind up in default.

If you are concerned about when to file for bankruptcy, please do not hesitate to contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Padgett & Robertson, Attorneys at Law, in Mobile, Alabama at 251-342-0264.


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.


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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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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.”