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How Will I Know When My Debts Have Been Discharged In Bankruptcy?

The purpose of filing bankruptcy is to eliminate or reduce burdensome debt. This is accomplished by completing your case, and having the court make an entry in your case that the case has been discharged. The bankruptcy discharge if the legal mechanism that declares the debts included in your case to no longer be due. When a debt has been discharged in bankruptcy, the lender can no longer seek repayment, and you are no longer financially responsible for that debt. One exception would be if you signed a reaffirmation agreement, agreeing to pay back a debt. If so, even entry of discharge will not absolve you from the responsibility of repayment of the debt you have reaffirmed.

Because discharge is so important in a bankruptcy case, it is equally as important to know when the discharge entry has been made. You will know when your debts are discharged like this:

● Your attorney will receive notice that the Court has entered the discharge.
● Once your attorney receives the notice of discharge, a copy will be sent to you, or you will receive a call or correspondence from your attorney’s office notifying you that your bankruptcy case has been discharged.
● The discharge entry has a docket number associated with its entry, and you can provide this information to any creditor who is still seeking repayment or information on when the discharge was made.

If by chance on of your lenders still tries to collect a debt that has been discharged, you can take action against that creditor for violating the discharge order. Offenders can be made to pay your fees and costs associated with making a claim that the discharge order has been violated, and they can also be made to reimburse you for any damages you suffered as a result of the violation. If you have received a discharge in bankruptcy and are being harassed by lenders, call us for help We know what steps to take to put a stop to this illegal action, and will help you keep your creditors in line and in compliance with the discharge order.

For more information about bankruptcy discharge, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that help get you back on your feet.

Do I Owe The Trustee In Bankruptcy Anything?

There are many players on the bankruptcy field, and understanding the role of each one will help you understand the process better. The Court Clerk is the entity where your case is filed, and it is the Clerk’s office that sends out notice of your filing to all of your creditors. This is accomplished by including a list of your creditors with your filing, and when those lenders enter an appearance in your case they will be on the list of entities that gets electronic notice of all the things that happen in your case. The Judge assigned to your case will be responsible for hearing any motions that get filed, and if you file a Chapter 13 case it is the Judge that signs the order confirming your plan. And, every case has a bankruptcy trustee assigned, to oversee the administration of the case.

The role of the trustee can be a confusing one, but in basic terms the trustee’s job is to administer the case and make recommendations at critical junctures. One thing the trustee does is to make sure that all of your assets have been listed, and that you have not left off any of the required information from your case filing. The bankruptcy trustee has a different role in a Chapter 13 than in a Chapter 7, because in a Chapter 13 the plan payments are made to the trustee and the trustee then pays your lenders. In a Chapter 7 the trustee’s interaction with lenders is not as significant, unless an asset is found that can be liquidated for the benefit of the unsecured creditors. Your obligations to the trustee, in either type of case, include:
● Providing full and complete information about your income and your debts.

● Providing copies of all car titles and home ownership documents.
● Providing copies of your tax returns and pay stubs, upon request.

Most of your interaction with the trustee will take place shortly after your case is filed, at the 341 hearing. It is at this time that the trustee will ask you to provide the documents noted above, and ask you a few simple questions about what caused you to file bankruptcy. Thereafter, you can expect that your attorney will handle any inquiry from the trustee, and your job is to provide your attorney any additional information requested. The limited amount of time you spend talking with the trustee assigned to your case should be short, and before you know it you will be receiving your bankruptcy discharge.

For answers to your questions about debt and bankruptcy, and the role the bankruptcy trustee plays in your case, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What To Do About Bankruptcy Discrimination

If you are considering bankruptcy you might also be wondering if you will lose your job, or be kicked out of your rent home for filing a case. With many potential employers performing background and credit check upon hire, and landlords doing the same, it is only natural to wonder if filing a case will lead to adverse action being taken against you. The answer depends on the type of business or entity you are dealing with, and it is important to know what to expect if this is one of your concerns.

If you are dealing with a governmental agency when wondering if your bankruptcy filing will cause any type of action you consider discriminatory, keep in mind that those agencies are prohibited from doing the following, based solely on the fact that you have filed bankruptcy:

● Government assistance cannot be revoked or suspended on the basis that the recipient has filed for the protection of bankruptcy.
● You cannot be evicted from public housing just because you have filed for bankruptcy. Any denial of an application for this type of housing also cannot be based on the fact a bankruptcy appears on your history.
● You cannot be denied a driver’s license based on the fact you filed bankruptcy.
● Filing bankruptcy cannot be the basis for denial of an application for federal student loan aid.

Private companies and entities have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to what they can and cannot do if you have filed bankruptcy. For example, you cannot be fired for filing a case, but a private employer can refuse to hire you if you have a bankruptcy on your record. You might also be denied housing by a private landlord if you have filed for bankruptcy, and it is also permissible for a private college or university to withhold your transcript if you file a case. The best thing you can do to avoid any of these things happening is to start working on your credit as soon as you can after you case is over. This will show that you are not a financial risk, and this can give reassurances to companies and organizations with whom you deal. If you believe you have been discriminated against wrongfully as a result of filing bankruptcy, you can take action against the offender. In order to find out what to do if you believe this has happened to you, call our office for a review of your case.

For more information about bankruptcy discrimination, contact us today at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will go over the facts of your case and let you you’re your next step.

Will Filing Bankruptcy Stay On My Record Forever?

One of the most frequently asked questions about filing for bankruptcy has to do with how long the case stays on your credit, and how quickly after you file you can begin to rebuild your credit. For many people, having good credit means enjoying lower interest rates on loans, and can also help you get a better rate when renting a car or on your auto insurance. So the sooner the notation that you have filed bankruptcy drops off your credit, the sooner you can start receiving financial offers that include favorable repayment terms. But you do not necessarily have to wait for the bankruptcy case to disappear altogether from your credit before you can take on new debt.

There is no question that bankruptcy does go on your credit report, but having this information show up on your credit is not the end of the world. For example:

● If you reaffirm a debt, the lender you reaffirmed with will make that notation on your credit and show that you are making on time payments (as long as you do continue to make your payments on time).
● Many lenders are willing to make loans to people who have filed for bankruptcy, so you will still be able to get credit if you need it; the difference between money loaned after you file a case and before the fact is that the interest rate offered is usually higher. For some people, this is not a deal breaker and you can still obtain credit or take out loans even with a bankruptcy on your record.
● A lot of auto lenders offer programs to buyers who have been through bankruptcy, making it possible to purchase a safe vehicle if that is one of your post bankruptcy needs. And again, if you make the payments on time, that will be noted on your credit history. The more data to show you are reliable and can be counted on to pay your bills, the more likely you are to rebuild your credit quickly.

If you do decide to take on new debt after your bankruptcy case, your credit will start to rebuild right away. In just a few short months you can have good marks on your credit, and the impact of a bankruptcy will begin to decrease.

For help with bankruptcy and for information about how bankruptcy impacts your credit rating, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Is There A Right Time Of Year To File Bankruptcy?

When you are having a hard time making ends meet, it is important to find a solution quickly. If bankruptcy is on your list of things to consider, you might be wondering if there is any special timing that you should follow when you file your case. Or, if you are going through a divorce and need to get some financial relief, you may question whether the timing of your divorce should be close to the timing of your bankruptcy. There are arguments that can be made that help to determine the timing of a bankruptcy case, and sometimes part of the rationale for when you file depends on the time of year.

One thing to keep in mind when filing for bankruptcy is whether you have filed and/or you’re your taxes for the year yet. With income tax returns due in April of each year, you may want to file bankruptcy before taxes, or wait a while after your return is filed, depending on your tax liability. Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about what time of year is best to file bankruptcy:

● If you file before taxes are due to be submitted, you will be able to tell the Trustee that you have not yet filed your return. If you do this though, be prepared for the Trustee assigned to your case to ask that you give your completed returns directly to your attorney so they can be turned over to the attorney for the IRS. If any refund is due to you, the bankruptcy trustee may claim those funds.
● If you file a bankruptcy case well after tax season and have already filed a return, received a refund, and spent the money received, the chances are low that the Trustee will ask you to pay back the refunded amount into your bankruptcy case.

It is important to remember that if you have not filed taxes yet, and are required to do so, you may not receive a bankruptcy discharge until your return is finalized. This makes the timing tricky, but a qualified attorney can give you options so you can make the most of your case. When divorce is part of the equation, the timing issue becomes less significant because child support is not dischargeable in bankruptcy and depending on the wording of your divorce decree, you may not be able to eliminate spousal support payments either. The bottom line is that you will need to file a case when it is in your best financial benefit to do so, and figuring this out takes the help of a trained legal professional. Call our office today to find out your options, and let us help you get back on solid financial footing.

For more information about bankruptcy and how to time the filing of your case, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Five Bankruptcy Myths

If you have access to the internet, you have access to a world of knowledge. But sometimes the data found on websites, social media, and reports by the media is incomplete or inaccurate. The worst thing you can do when trying to make a major decision is to base that decision on misinformation. And while it is not a bad thing to do a little research on your own, it is always best to take that research to a trained professional before taking action. Just like you would not look up how to perform an appendectomy, and then do it yourself, you should also not look up information on bankruptcy and take them at face value.

When your money is at stake, take the extra step to meet with a knowledgeable legal professional, and then partner with that person for help. If you do, you will avoid falling prey to these five bankruptcy myths:

● You can decide which debts are included in your bankruptcy: this is not true, and while it might seem like a good idea to stay in the good graces of one or two of your lenders so you can borrow from them later if need be, you do not get to leave any creditors out of your filing. All of your debts have to be listed when you file a bankruptcy case.
● You can keep your stuff without paying for it: anything you want to hang on to, like your house or car, still has to be paid for; even in bankruptcy. If you do not pay, the lender has the right to enforce their lien rights and take back the property.
● You will not be able to get a loan if you file bankruptcy: most people receive offers of credit within months after their case is final. The key is to only accept what you can pay, and understand that the terms will not be as favorable as they once were. You can expect to get loans and credit at a higher rate than before, and this is why it is so important to only borrow what you can repay.
● You get to pick what type of case you get to file: the Bankruptcy Code was overhauled in 2005, and now there is a mathematical computation that has to be done before you file, and the results dictate what chapter of case you are eligible to file.
● If you file once you are not allowed to file again: the rules are strict, and you might not get to file the type of case you had in mind, but you are allowed to file bankruptcy more than once.

A lot of people also have concern over their credit, and the damage done by filing bankruptcy. The truth is your credit can rebuild quickly, especially if you stay current on the debts you do intend to keep paying after your case.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

How To Find The Right Bankruptcy Attorney

We all know that life is full of choices, and sometimes the choice you make has a lasting impact on you for years to come. It is not always known what type of impact to expect, and that is no more clear than with the recent Presidential election results. America had a choice, and not everyone agrees that Donald Trump was the better choice over Hillary Clinton. How Mr. Trump is as a President remains to be seen, but one thing we should all take away from the bid for the White House is that when a choice is presented, the best approach is to do your homework before making a decision. Only then can you rest easy knowing you made a choice that meets your needs.

If you have a lot of debt and are not sure how to pay it all, you might be thinking about filing for bankruptcy. This is a choice in and of itself, and once made you will need to find the right bankruptcy attorney for the job. Some tips to help you make a decision that works for you include:

• Make sure all of your questions are answered, and that you understand the answers. If you are confused about the information being given to you, it is the attorney’s job to make it clear. When you leave a meeting unclear about your financial future, there is no sense of calm, and that is an important part to filing for bankruptcy. Most people in financial straits are seeking not only a way out of the financial burden, but also the stress that goes along with that burden. The right bankruptcy attorney will put you at ease by making sure you feel comfortable with the process, and that your questions are answered.
• Ask a potential attorney about their experience, it is always good to know that the person you are putting your trust in has knowledge and experience with your needs.
• Be sure to provide all of the information about your debts and assets to your attorney, because part of finding the right attorney to help you includes making sure that attorney knows all there is to know about your case.

We want to help you with your financial problems, and understand how important these issues are to your everyday life. Our team has experience and knowledge, and treats you with dignity and respect. For help filing bankruptcy, call us today.

For more information about debt management and what you can to do get out of debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Three Tips To Making A Post Bankruptcy Budget Work

Bankruptcy is a valuable legal tool that lets you get rid of overwhelming debt. But, the benefits are short lived if you come out of your case and take on a lot of new debt. In order to make the most of your case, it is best to have a plan for how to budget your money after your case is over. Part of the goal of filing bankruptcy is to help you get out of debt, and also to stay out of debt. When you are able to come up with a financial plan that works, the emotional burden that is lifted can last for years.

Three tips to making a post bankruptcy budget work include taking the following steps:

• Establish a safety net, to be used only in emergencies. When you get rid of some of your debt during bankruptcy, take the money you save by not having to pay as much money per month for your bills and set up an emergency fund. That way, when you come up against an unexpected need, you will have the cash on hand needed to deal with the situation. This will save you from going into debt for costly car or home repairs, or for a medical expense you were not counting on having arise.
• Decline offers of credit, which you will receive shortly after your bankruptcy case is over. It is a misperception that people who file bankruptcy are never able to take out a loan again, and many people begin receiving offers within months of their bankruptcy case closing. When you do get these offers, shred them.
• If you do take on additional debt, make sure that you are able to pay it in full rather than having it add up each month. When you are not able to pay an interest bearing expense in full each month, the amount only grows. Pretty soon, you have more debt than you originally took out, and can find yourself in financial trouble again.

We understand that it is not always possible to stay on budget, and that life does happen. If you have filed bankruptcy before, and are in financial trouble again, you do have options. In either instance, whether you have filed before or are in need of assistance for the first time, we can help.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

How To Avoid Being Sued For Past Due Debts

When you don’t pay all of your bills, the lenders first start their collection efforts with calling you and asking for payment. When phone calls don’t get the payments going again, most creditors send a written demand for payment, with a deadline by which payment must be made or further action is threatened. That further action usually comes in the form of a lawsuit, eviction, or foreclosure. If you fail to respond to these actions, when required to do so in Court, the lender can get a judgment against you. Once a judgment is entered, collection efforts become more serious than letters and phone calls. If your creditors know where you work or where you bank, you might see your wages or bank account garnished. And, if you are a homeowner, it is possible that your lender will put a lien on your home. This makes it impossible to sell or refinance your house, without first paying off that lien.

None of the above sounds like fun, and that is because it is not fun. If you are in danger of being sued for a past due debt, you do have options. One option is to file bankruptcy, which will stop any legal action that is currently pending against you. During a bankruptcy, you also get the benefit of the following:

• In a Chapter 7, you can eliminate all of your unsecured debt. This means you will no longer have to pay high interest rate credit card debts, and other unsecured debts.
• In a Chapter 13 you are allowed to reduce the interest rate and balance due on your car loan, and you are also permitted to repay only a portion of what is due on your unsecured debt. Many times the portion repaid is pennies on the dollar, resulting in significant savings.
• When your bankruptcy is over, you will be on new financial footing and given a fresh financial start. For many people this new beginning is all it takes to get their finances in order, and keep them under control.

If you are hesitant to file for bankruptcy, you might consider having a trained bankruptcy and debt management attorney work out other payment arrangements with your creditors on your behalf. It is not uncommon for a trained legal professional to work out a deal whereby you pay less than what is owed, all while avoiding costly litigation against you.

For more information about how to manage debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Three Reasons Bankruptcy Is Right For You

Money is tight, and with the recent Presidential election results, many people fear their funds will only tighten more. When you have more debts than you can pay, and are living paycheck to paycheck, the smallest change or biggest disaster can set you back drastically. But there are things you can do to take charge of your finances, get out of debt, and on the road to financial recovery. One of these things is to file for the protection offered by the Bankruptcy Code. While many years ago it was taboo to seek help by declaring bankruptcy, the practice is pretty common place today. If you are thinking about how bankruptcy might help you, a good first step is to figure out how you will benefit from filing.

Three reasons bankruptcy is right for you are:

• Filing bankruptcy puts in place an automatic stop to creditor’s calls, letters, and lawsuits. So if you are afraid to open the mailbox every day or to answer your phone when it rings, you can rest easy the instant you file a case because filing bankruptcy puts an automatic stop to these actions, as well as to any pending collection lawsuits against you.
• Depending on the type of case you file, you might be able to wipe out all of your unsecured debt in its entirety. This includes signature loans, credit cards, and medical bills. When you no longer have this debt to pay, you can save money every month or put your hard earned cash towards other monthly obligations without fear of going over budget.
• Also depending on the type of case you file, you might be able to pay what your car is worth rather than pay what is owed. The savings can be significant, and add up to an emergency fund so when unexpected expenses arise in the future you won’t have to wonder where the funds will come from to cover the cost.

We understand how hard you work, and that when your money does not go as far as you need it to go, undue stress can be put on your family. For help figuring out your options and doing what is best for you, call us today.

For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.