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What Happens If I Don’t Get A Discharge After I File Bankruptcy?

The goal of filing bankruptcy is to get a discharge of your debts. The discharge is the legal determination that your debts are no longer due. Without having to pay all of your past due debts you are now able to save, get caught up on an overdue house payment, or simply have more money to buy groceries and put gas in your car. This type of relief is so helpful to so many, and is the reason to file bankruptcy. When your monthly obligations are eliminated, or reduced, you are able to start fresh with your finances and sleep a little better. So what do you do if you file a case and the discharge is denied?

If you file bankruptcy and the Court denies discharge, you need to know the following things:

  • All of the debt you had before you filed your case is due, and most of that debt will now include late fees and accrued interest.
  • Creditors are now permitted to call you to collect the debt, and can even file a collections lawsuit against you.
  • Money judgments can be entered against you, and the judgment creditor is permitted to take whatever legal actions are available to them to collect the debt, which might include garnishing your wages or bank account.

Discharge is only denied in the most extreme of circumstances, such as providing false or incomplete information to the Court at any time during your case. A couple of other reasons the Court might deny your entire discharge (as opposed to certain debts simply being non-dischargeable, like child support and most student loans) include failing to provide requested paperwork, refusing to abide by a Court order, or failing to take the required debtor education courses. If the issue of denial of discharge comes up in your case, rest assured we will work aggressively to protect your rights. Filing bankruptcy is a difficult decision to make, but when you partner with the right bankruptcy attorney the whole process can become less stressful. Call us today for help.

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

Can A Creditor Stop Me From Filing Bankruptcy?

If you have decided to file bankruptcy you will want to be sure your case goes off without a hitch. This will require you to provide your bankruptcy attorney with all of your debt and income information, and to review the paperwork before it is filed. You should also take care not to incur any debt too close in time to your filing, or you run the risk of looking like you took out the debt without ever intending to make payments. If that happens, the lender can question your motives and also ask that their debt still be paid. Because you are filing bankruptcy to eliminate debt, it can be a real blow to find out there are still some things you have to pay.

It can also be disappointing and frustrating to learn that someone has tried to block you from filing your case. This is rare, and it is more common for a lender to object only to their particular debt being discharged. Here are a few of the reasons a creditor might rely upon when objecting to you discharging their debt:

  • Claiming the debt was incurred under false pretenses, usually by claiming the credit application contained knowingly false information.
  • Claiming the loan was taken out with the intention of never repaying it, which can be hard to establish because it requires the lender to prove your state of mind at the time you incurred the debt.
  • Claiming the debtor damaged the property of the lender.

In order to object to the discharge of a debt a lender has to file an adversary proceeding, which is a lawsuit filed in the actual bankruptcy case. If an adversary is filed against you, it could require a trial before the bankruptcy Judge to reach a resolution. In Bankruptcy Court there are no juries, just the Judge and the evidence. While this can be a frightening process, rest assured we know how to bring out the evidence that is in your favor and in the best light.

For answers to your questions about debt and bankruptcy, and what it means to have the discharge of your debts objected to, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Will Bankruptcy Wipe Out Liens On My House?

A lien is a lender’s way of keeping an interest in property that is the subject of a debt. For example, when you buy a house the mortgage lender maintains an interest in the home until it is paid in full by recording the mortgage. The recording office keeps track of all things recorded against a piece of property, and those things act as liens against the property. If your property has a lien on it, you will have to satisfy that lien before you can sell the property. If you do not satisfy the lien, a new buyer will be put off from the purchase because the lien will cloud the title and not allow the new owner to dispose of the property without first paying off the lien. The way to make sure your property is lien free is to pay the debt associated with the property before selling, and in the case of your house that is usually done by paying the lender the sales proceeds at closing. But there are other ways liens can attach to your home, and it is just as important to know about those as it is to understand how your mortgage works.

One of the most common ways a lien attaches to your home, that is not the mortgage, is by being sued by another lender. If you are sued for a debt and a judgment is entered, the prevailing creditor can reduce the judgment to a judgment lien and record it against your home. One of the good things about bankruptcy is that your creditors are no longer allowed to harass you. But another benefit of a bankruptcy filing is that if a lien impairs one of your exemptions, it can be eliminated. This is how it works:

  • You are given certain exemptions when you file bankruptcy, and one of those is your home. What this means is that creditors are not allowed to take your home, up to the exempt value. This benefit protects the family home and allows you to keep your house, as long as you continue to make the payments.
  • If a lien has attached to your home, other than the mortgage lien, it is said to impair your homestead exemption. In order to have that lien removed, and keep your exemption safe, you can seek to have the lien removed.

The law of bankruptcy exemptions and liens is complicated, but we can break it down for you in easy to understand terms. Call us today to find out how to safeguard your assets in your bankruptcy.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will explain how the process works and make sure you are comfortable before proceeding.

Will My Job Fire Me For Filing Bankruptcy?

Not that long ago it was considered taboo to file bankruptcy, and it was seen as a sign of financial mismanagement and caused embarrassment to those that filed. But in today’s world everyone from superstar athletes to mega movie stars file for bankruptcy. The law does not discriminate, and the ability to manage debt by filing bankruptcy is available to most anyone. Even so, the need to file bankruptcy can still cause concern to some people, and they prefer to keep their private financial affairs to themselves. A lot of people are also concerned that if they file bankruptcy their employer will fire them, leaving them without a paycheck and only adding to their financial distress.

So, it is good to know that your employer cannot fire you simply because you file bankruptcy. This is good news for borrowers who are worried about being without a job, but unfortunately not all employers follow the rules. If you are terminated by your employer and believe it is because you filed bankruptcy, here are some things you should do:

  • Contact your bankruptcy attorney right away.
  • Gather the evidence you believe supports your position that you were fired because you filed bankruptcy.
  • Put your employer on notice that you intend to seek any and all legal remedies available to you for the firing, including possible wrongful termination.

We can help you develop the facts of your case, and pursue remedies on your behalf. We have experience working with employers and others that take action against you due to the fact you filed bankruptcy. Call our office now for more information.

For help with bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by looking at your case and letting you know your options. We work with you to come up with solutions that make sense and fit the facts of your case.

 

 

Three Ways To Tell If Bankruptcy Is The Answer?

It is not always easy to see a clear answer to a problem, especially if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed with the situation. When money is the problem it can be all the more difficult to make a determination as to what course of action is best for you, but there are some signals to look for that will help you make a good choice. Knowing what to look for is beneficial because when you know the signs you are more likely to take the right path. You will know if the decision you make is sound, because you will feel a weight lift and be able to breathe a sigh of relief at having come to a conclusion about your choices. Lifting a financial burden off of your shoulders can give you just this type of relief, and it is important to consider just how beneficial bankruptcy can be for you if you are in over your head with your finances.

Three ways to tell if bankruptcy is the answer for you include:

  • Are you unable to pay all of your bills on time each month? If so, bankruptcy could be the answer for you because it will eliminate or reduce your unsecured debt balances, which frees up money to allow you to pay your other bills.
  • Do you make less than you owe? If so, bankruptcy might be right for you because when your debt goes down you have more wiggle room each month and are able to pay things on time, and even save for an emergency.
  • Have you tried to make arrangements with your lenders, only to have your requests fall on deaf ears? If so, you are a perfect candidate for bankruptcy. In bankruptcy you are permitted to modify the contract terms, or eliminate a debt that is owed and the lender has limited options by way of opposition to your efforts. It is a rare case where the debtor comes out worse off than they were before they filed, and the relief many receive from filing bankruptcy allows a consumer debtor to make a fresh financial start.

The bottom line is that if you are in financial distress, you do have options. We can help you make an informed choice, so you feel good about the path you are choosing. For more detailed information about what bankruptcy can do for you, call us today. We will take a look at your finances and explain the process to you, so you understand how it works.

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.

What Is A Proof Of Claim?

Most legal proceedings are filled with technical jargon and legal definitions that are unknown to people without a law degree or people without a background in the law. If you don’t know what the terms being used mean, it can be hard to get a firm handle on what certain things mean in your case. With bankruptcy, the problem can be escalated because emotions are running high given the main issue is your money, and your money problems. It can help to have a basic understanding of some of the terms that you will hear frequently throughout your case, so you feel comfortable with what is happening.

One phrase you might hear a lot when filing bankruptcy is “proof of claim”. A proof of claim is a document filed by a creditor, setting forth the amount of the debt you owe that particular lender. Creditors file proofs of claim so the Court and Trustee assigned to your case are aware of how much you owe. Proofs of claim are most often filed in Chapter 13 cases, so the debt can be repaid but can also be filed in a Chapter 7 if the Trustee files a notice directing creditors to file a claim. Other terms of art you will hear a lot when you file bankruptcy include:

  • Discharge: this is the entry in your case that officially declares your debts no longer due. Obtaining a discharge is the goal of all bankruptcy cases, and debts that have been discharged are not collectible.
  • Automatic Stay: this is the provision of the Bankruptcy Code that prohibits lenders from contacting you once a case has been filed and also prohibits lenders from maintain a collection lawsuit or garnishment against you. The purpose of the automatic stay is to give a distressed consumer a break from collection efforts so they can focus on their bankruptcy case and getting their finances back in order.
  • Means Test: the means test is a mathematical computation that, once performed, will dictate which chapter of bankruptcy you must file. The implementation of this test was one of the major changes to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 and was put in place to help ensure those that are able to pay back at least a portion of their unsecured debt do so.

We understand that not everyone has a familiarity with bankruptcy terminology, and are here to help explain things to you. Call us today to learn what you can do about your debt, and what it takes to get a fresh financial start.

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

Do I Have To Pay For Stuff I Don’t Keep In Bankruptcy?

There seem to be two schools of thought regarding bankruptcy and what it means for your property. On the one hand there is the thought that you can file bankruptcy and keep your property without paying for it, and on the other hand there are those that think you have to give all of your stuff back and still pay part of the bill. Neither of these two theories is correct, and the truth about bankruptcy is much easier to swallow.

When you file for bankruptcy you will have to decide what to do with certain pieces of property. With things like your house and car, you will need to declare your intent as either surrender, redeem, or reaffirm. If you decide to surrender something that means you are agreeing to give it back to the lender, and any balance owed will be eliminated. You will not have to pay for something that you no longer have, but you will have to pay for things where you state your intention is to redeem or reaffirm. Reaffirming a debt is the most common way to hang on to your property while still making payments and it requires you to sign a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement is like a brand new contract for the debt, and you remain responsible for making the payments even after your case is over. Because the purpose of bankruptcy is to get rid of debt, you might be wondering why anyone would agree to reaffirm. Here are the most common reasons given for reaffirming a debt:

  • The lender might agree to reduce the interest rate, and this means a lower payment.
  • You may need the lender to still be able to work with you in the future, on this debt or for future advances. Without a reaffirmation agreement in place, the lender is prohibited from talking to you about the debt after the case is over. But, if you reaffirm, the creditor is allowed to communicate with you about the debt.

Deciding what to give back, so you can eliminate a payment and free up money for other things, and deciding what to keep in bankruptcy can be hard. We can help. Call us today.

For more information about reaffirmations and for help deciding what to give up and what to keep in bankruptcy, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

The Top Ten FAQ’s About Bankruptcy

Making any decision that will have a significant impact on your life should only be done after thorough research. When you know what to expect out of a situation you are better prepared to handle it, and can move forward with confidence. If you are having money problems, the best thing you can do is find out what repayment option will help you the most. This is because when a solution is found to your financial troubles, a huge weight is instantly lifted and this allows you to better focus on the things that matter, like your family and your work. One popular way to ease the burden caused by overwhelming debt is to file for bankruptcy. But, there are a lot of myths out there about what bankruptcy is all about, and having a good handle on the accurate facts before you file will help.

The top ten FAQ’s about bankruptcy include:

  • Can I file a case and still keep my house? The answer is yes, but you will still have to make the house payments.
  • Will I have to give back my car? Again, you can keep your car, but you do have to continue making the payments.
  • Will I lose my job if I file bankruptcy? If your employer fires your and states as the reason for doing so is that you filed bankruptcy, you can bring an action against your employer.
  • What is the automatic stay? The automatic stay is a provision of the Bankruptcy Code that prohibits creditors from making contact with you the minute your case is filed.
  • What types of actions are prohibited once the automatic stay is in place? You cannot be called or written by a creditor regarding their debt, and all collection activity against you (including pending lawsuits or garnishments) have to immediately stop.
  • Who is the Trustee? The Trustee is appointed by the Court, and is an impartial individual charged with the administration of your case. The Trustee does not represent you, and is tasked with making sure your case is filed completely and properly and that all documents regarding your income and assets are included. The Trustee might also look for an asset, such as a piece of collateral without a lien or exemption, which can be sold to pay some of your debts. This is rare, and if it happens in your case you can rest easy knowing your attorney will be looking out for your best interests.
  • Will I have to see the Judge? Probably not. Most cases including only one court appearance, and that is an informal meeting shortly after you file. The parties present are you, your attorney, the trustee, and any creditor that wants to ask a question.
  • How is notice of my case given to my lenders? When you provide the information needed to prepare your case to your attorney, part of that information includes a list of all your creditors and their addresses. This data is compiled onto what is called the creditor matrix, and the Court sends notice to everyone on the matrix when your case is filed.
  • What do I do if I can’t afford the filing fee? You can seek permission to pay the fee in installments.
  • Will my credit be ruined forever? No! In fact, you will probably receive some pre-approved credit offers pretty quickly after you case is over.

When your finances are to the point where bankruptcy is your option, it is understandable to be confused. Rather than try and tackle the law on your own, or come to your own conclusions about what you can and cannot do, call our office for help. We will give you the information you need to make a decision that is right for you.

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

Bankruptcy Vs. Debt Counseling: Which Is Better?

When faced with overwhelming debt, a first instinct might be to find a way to manage your debt load and get your balances down to zero. Some options in this regard include taking out a loan to consolidate debt, contacting your creditors directly and asking them to reduce your interest rates so you balance can be paid off faster, or seeking the advice of a debt counselor. Debt counselors can offer you advice on how to get out of debt, and stay that way, and often times will tell you they can lower your payments by negotiating with your lenders. However, many times not all of your lenders are willing to talk to a debt counselor on your behalf, and the benefits you were expecting never come to materialize.

If you are put in that position, you might end up owing more in fees and interest that what you originally had to pay, and that can make your financial hole get deeper. When that happens, turning to bankruptcy can help you make a fresh financial start. So, the question becomes, why not just file bankruptcy from the start? Here are some things to think about when you are considering bankruptcy vs. debt or credit counseling:

  • With bankruptcy you get the benefit of the automatic stay, which is a legal mechanism that prohibits lenders and collectors from contacting you the instant your case is filed. If you go the debt counseling route, you will still be contacted while a counselor tries to come up with a debt management plan for you.
  • Bankruptcy will eliminate your debt, or at least reduce the balance. The reduction in balance typically seen with debt or credit counseling is not near as great as what you can get with certain types of bankruptcy cases, so you end up paying more.
  • When you file bankruptcy, you are represented by an attorney who knows how to handle lenders and is aware of the legal consequences of filing. Debt and credit counselors are not normally licensed attorneys and thus should not be relied upon for legal advice.

We understand it can be hard to figure out what option is best for you when you have too much debt, and that is why we are here to help. Give yourself a break from the collection calls and the financial pressure that results from being unable to pay all of your bills by letting us handle your case. When you turn your case over to us we step in and field the calls, so you don’t have to worry every time your phone rings. Contact our office today for more information.

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.

Does My Spouse Have To File Bankruptcy Too?

Sometimes married couples take out loans in only one spouse’s name. This might be because one spouse has better credit, or one spouse stays at home and has no income to show on a loan application, or there may be other financially strategic reasons to incur debt in one spouse’s name only. So what do you do when your spouse holds all the debt, and your family is suddenly unable to make the payments? Bankruptcy is a good option, but the question might arise as to whether both spouses should file, or only one? The answer to this question is important for all types of family structures, not just those where all of the debt is in one person’s name.

When a bankruptcy is filed you do have the option to file without your spouse if you are married. Doing so can have some of the following results:

  • The non-filing spouse will be in better position, at least in the days and months immediately following the filing, to obtain extensions of credit if you need to take out a new loan.
  • Any funds held in the name of your spouse only should not be subject to seizure by the trustee or a creditor.
  • If you own a home jointly with your spouse, even if you are not financially obligated to pay for the home, your interest in the home will be impacted by the bankruptcy. This means if suitable arrangements are not made for the repayment of the home, your ownership interest can still be lost.

Another situation to consider is one where most, but not all of the debt, is in the name of one spouse only or there are only a few loans that have been taken out in both spouse’s names. It might seem like a good idea to file bankruptcy without your spouse if this is your arrangement, because you may be thinking it would be nice to keep some credit available for your family’s needs. But, if you do this, the debt that is joint between you and your spouse will still have to be paid by your spouse. Even if you have a small amount of joint debt, filing bankruptcy without your spouse can put him or her in the position of being solely responsible for the debt. So while it might seem like an attractive option to file a case on your own under certain circumstances, unless there is a compelling reason to do, so your better bet is to file a joint bankruptcy case. For help deciding what is best for your family, call us today.

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