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How Divorce Impacts Finances

Divorce does more than just turn two married people into single people, it also impacts the everyday lifestyle of all of the family members. If children are involved they will most likely find themselves splitting their time between two houses, and juggling activities with two families. In order to maintain two households, significant finances are needed. Because many families struggle to make ends meet when they all live under one roof, the struggle is amplified when the parents get divorced.

There are a few ways divorce impacts finances, and it is important to know how your bottom line might be affected if you get divorced. The most common consequences divorce has on the family budget include:

  • One parent is usually made to pay child support, but can often times find this a difficult task now that there are two mortgages or two rent payments to make each month. This can result in children being unable to continue participation in costly after school activities and sports.
  • In many instances the family home is sold during divorce, and each spouse finds more affordable housing on their own. This can help to free up monthly income, but only if adequate housing can be found or is available in your area.
  • Spousal support is often a part of the divorce process, and is designed to allow a spouse who has given up a career in exchange for raising a family a chance to get back on their financial feet after divorce.

While bankruptcy will not allow for a party to wipe out their obligation to pay child or spousal support, it does allow for elimination of credit card and other debt. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you may be able to have high interest rate unsecured debt forgiven, or at least a portion of this type of debt. When finances are put at risk due to divorce, it is worth taking a look at the benefits offered by bankruptcy. Call us for answers to your most important questions and concerns, and let us help you develop a plan that meets your financial needs.

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

Will I Get To Keep Spousal Support If I File Bankruptcy?

There are a lot of questions about what property you are allowed to keep if you file bankruptcy. Before you file it is good to know what you will still be able to hang on to, and if there are certain things you will have to go without in your life. It may be that you are not able to keep a high dollar luxury car or continue taking lavish vacations, but you are allowed to keep necessities and will not have to give up things like child or spousal support.

Bankruptcy law allows for the following regarding alimony:

  • The spouse obligated to pay support is not able to have this obligation forgiven just by filing bankruptcy. The monthly spousal support payments will still be due even if bankruptcy is filed by the spouse that owes.
  • The person to whom money is paid is not required to turn that money over to the bankruptcy court or trustee if bankruptcy is filed. The purpose of support is to provide financial assistance to a spouse in need after divorce, and bankruptcy does not change this objective.

There are some exceptions, and they depend on the wording of your divorce decree. It takes a skilled legal professional to identify times when alimony can be eliminated in bankruptcy, and you have to take care that you do not stop paying before the court says you can. If you are concerned about how spousal support will be treated if you file bankruptcy, whether you are the recipient or the one paying, call one of our trained bankruptcy and debt management attorneys today for more information. We will review the facts of your case and let you know what to expect. We know how hard it is to budget for your monthly expenses when you are unsure about what funds you owe and what funds you are owed, so we take an approach that allows you to see the whole picture. When you have an accurate view of your monthly income and expenses, you are better able to provide for your family. Contact us today for help.


For more information about spousal support and bankruptcy, contact us at Our approach is individually tailored to meet your needs, so you can reach your financial goals.



Avoid These Five Things To Stay Out Of Debt

Becoming debt free takes a lot of hard work and discipline. There are simply too many temptations out there for purchase, and too many offers of credit made that allow you to buy things you otherwise might not be able to afford. When you take advantage of a credit offer that gives you the ability to spend freely, it does not take long to accumulate a large pile of debt that can be hard to repay. The cycle of being unable to meet your monthly obligations as they become due, or living paycheck to paycheck can really take a toll on your physical and mental health and may even disrupt your personal relationships.

If you are looking to stay out of debt, here are five things to avoid:

  • Borrowing money from your life insurance or retirement accounts without good cause. While the general rule is to leave these monies untouched, there might be a circumstance where the rate of repayment on loans of these types is lower than what you are paying on a credit card or other loan. If that is the case, it could make sense to take out a loan to pay off higher rate debt in exchange for a lower rate and faster repayment. The key is to avoid charging cards back up after pay off, and to stick to a budget so you can save for the future.
  • Agreeing to a payday loan, which usually has a rate of interest at exorbitant rates. This type of loan is a money maker for the lender only and can leave you in more debt that before the loan was granted.
  • Taking out high interest rate credit cards, or taking cash advances from those cards. Cash advances are usually at a rate even higher than the card itself, and this means the payment you send in every month barely touches the amount of the advance. Thus, you are in debt for a long period of time, at a high rate.
  • Buy only what you need, and avoid impulse purchases. This is easier said than done, and a good way to cool off before making an impulse purchase is to wait a day or two.
  • Make a budget, and stick to it! The key is to include extras and emergencies in your budget. If you do not allow yourself some wiggle room here and there, you will be tempted to splurge.

These tips, and more, are helpful for keeping you out of debt or for managing existing debt. But even with the most careful of planning debt still happens. If you are experiencing difficulty repaying what you owe, call us for help. You do have options, and we can help you find one that works for you.


For more information about debt management, loan consolidation, and what you will still be required to pay after filing for bankruptcy, contact us at We help by explaining your options and developing a plan that meets your needs.



Three Things To Know Before Filing Bankruptcy

The decision to file bankruptcy should not be made without first giving the issue careful thought and consideration. While bankruptcy is a very real solution for a lot of people, for others it may not be the right choice. For instance, if you are likely to need an extension of credit for business purposes, bankruptcy may impact your ability to get a loan that also requires a personal guaranty. This might mean you are not able to start up your own company, or keep an existing operation going. Before you file for bankruptcy, do your homework so are prepared for what comes next.

Three things to know before filing for the protection of bankruptcy include:

  • Which chapter of relief you qualify to file, and the difference between the two chapters available to consumers. Consumer bankruptcies are filed under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and the two are not identical. A Chapter 7 case is more like a liquidation of debt, where your unsecured obligations are eliminated. Unsecured debt includes high interest rate credit cards, and most signature or payday loans. Freeing up money used to pay monthly payments on this type of debt usually eases the financial burden of most debtors, and allows them to meet their monthly obligations without struggle. A Chapter 13 is a plan of debt repayment similar to loan consolidation. The Plan can last up to 5 years and requires the debtor to make monthly plan payments to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee then pays your monthly obligations to creditors, pursuant to the terms of the plan. Most debtors prefer to file a Chapter 7 over a Chapter 13 due to the shorter time frame, and the ability to discharge unsecured debt.
  • How the means test works, which is a complex mathematical computation that is used to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7. The test will take into consideration your total income and how it compares to your total secured debt. If the equation shows you have disposable income left over each month to put towards unsecured debt, you will be required to file a Chapter 13.
  • What property you will keep, and what you will surrender back to the lender. Once you identify which pieces of collateral you can do without, you will have a better idea of your future financial picture. This is so because even in bankruptcy you have to maintain payments on things you keep (like your house or car).

We can help you figure out what type of bankruptcy best meets your needs, and which chapter you qualify to file. We will also give you guidance on when to reaffirm a debt, and when to surrender collateral back to the creditor. Call us for more information.


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

How To Handle Student Loan Debt In Bankruptcy

One of the largest growing areas of debt in the United States is student loan debt. Most kids get out of college with at least $20,000.00 in debt. Carrying this type of debt load when entering the work force makes it hard to repay what is owed, especially with starting salaries dropping and the job market tightening. One option for those with more debt than they can pay is to seek the relief offered by filing bankruptcy. If you are considering this as an option, it is important to know the benefits. And, if eliminating your student loan debt is your goal, you should know that doing so is a tricky task.

Most student loan debt is not forgiven when bankruptcy is filed. The test used to determine whether you can be made to repay student loans is difficult, and not many debtors are able to meet the criteria. The legal standard applied by most courts requires a debtor to show the following:

  • Repayment of any portion of the debt will impose an undue hardship on not only the debtor, but also any dependents of the debtor.
  • A good faith effort at repayment has been made.
  • That your financial situation is not likely to change for the better for most of the period of time that repayment is expected.

These elements are unique to the individual seeking to have their student debt included in their bankruptcy, and the evidence you use will depend on your circumstances. A good way to look at this test is to view your circumstances as a whole, and show that your living standard would be less than “minimal” if you were made to repay your loans. This might include taking a look at your income and expenses and showing you do not have enough salary coming in to even pay for modest necessities, and the Court may even consider the income your spouse brings in when making this determination. This is because your spouse is just as responsible for the care and well-being of your dependents as you are, and if they can be provided for modestly when looking at the entire household income, you may not quali9fy to have student loan debt forgiven. Before you make the decision to try and discharge your student loan debt, call our office and speak with a qualified bankruptcy and debt management attorney. We will review the facts of your case, and give you advice as to your options.


If you have questions about student loans, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.



Can I Back Out Of A Reaffirmation Agreement?

When you file for bankruptcy, one way to keep property is to reaffirm the debt. A reaffirmation agreement is required, and it is essentially a new contract for the debt. Most lenders want you to reaffirm, because it means the loan is still due even after the bankruptcy case is finished. The consequence is that if you fail to make payments pursuant to the reaffirmation agreement, the lender can not only repossess the collateral but can also sue you for the money due. This harsh reality leads many bankruptcy filers to have second thoughts about reaffirming a debt, even after the agreement has been signed.

If you are among this group of people, who are reconsidering the decision to have reaffirmed, there is a remedy. A reaffirmation agreement can be rescinded, which requires taking the following steps within your bankruptcy case:

  • Giving notice to the lender that you intend to rescind the agreement.
  • Notice must be pursuant to any time frame set forth in the agreement itself, or sixty days after the agreement has been filed (whichever of these dates occurs last).

The effect of rescinding a reaffirmation agreement is that the debt is no longer due after the bankruptcy case is completed. However, if you wish to keep the collateral that was the subject of the agreement, you will still have to make voluntary payments. If you miss a payment, the creditor has the right to repossess the collateral, or in the case of real estate has the right to foreclose. The decision is yours, and you have to do what makes sense for you and your budget. It is also important to consider your long term financial goals when deciding to reaffirm a debt, or to rescind an agreement to reaffirm. Our goal is to help you identify factors that will enable you to make a decision that works best for you. Call our office today for more information about bankruptcy, and how it can help you. We will listen to the particulars of your situation, and offer advice on your options so you can make an informed decision.

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

Two Ways To Stop A Wage Garnishment

It can be a shock every other week to receive your paycheck and see just how much was held out for taxes, insurance, and other benefits. The amount of money you actually take home is much different than the amount of money you are told is your salary, but it is the take home figure that matters. So, why not do everything you can to make sure the amount that goes in your pocket is as large as possible? There are some things you can do to minimize the bite you feel from the deductions taken out of your paycheck, including adjusting your withholding information. This is something that should be done with the help of a skilled tax professional, in order to avoid running into a tax problem when April 15th rolls around.

Another area where money can be held out of your check is if you are being garnished. This happens when you owe a lender, and they have taken the necessary legal action to allow them to garnish your wages. Unlike the situation where you need the assistance of a qualified tax advisor, stopping a wage garnishment is within your control. Two ways to put an end to your wages being garnished include:

  • Calling the creditor, or the creditor’s representative, and making an agreement for voluntary payments in lieu of the garnishment.
  • Seeking the Court’s intervention, either by demonstrating the garnishment works a significant hardship on you and your dependents such that you are exempt from being garnished altogether, or that the amount being held out should be drastically reduced.

Yet another way to stop a wage garnishment is to file for the protection of bankruptcy. When a bankruptcy is filed, the automatic stay is immediately put in place. The stay is the Court’s way of automatically stopping your creditors from contacting you to collect a debt, and this includes any wage garnishment that is in place. If you are uncertain as to which method of stopping a garnishment is best for you, call us. We can help you by looking at the particular facts of your case, and telling you what options are available.


For more information about how to stop a wage garnishment, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.


Can I Reopen My Bankruptcy Case After It Is Over?

Most times when a legal proceeding is over, the only way to have it reviewed again is to file an appeal. But, bankruptcy court is different. The rules and procedures that apply in bankruptcy court are special and unique, and can be hard to understand. But, knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys are familiar with these laws, and can make sure they are applied to your case accurately. This includes knowing the difference between a chapter 7 and a chapter 13, and knowing what all to include when you file for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is designed to help the honest, but unfortunate, debtor to get a fresh start financially. This is done by filing a case that lists out all of the debts of the person filing for bankruptcy. When a case is initiated, a list of creditors is attached, so everyone you owe money to is put on notice that you have filed. From there, the case proceeds through the Court, with the ultimate goal being entry of discharge of debts. The discharge is the Court’s declaration that the debts in the bankruptcy are no longer due, and the lenders cannot ask that they be repaid. After discharge is entered, the case is closed a short time thereafter. Once closed, a case is considered final. However, there are certain circumstances under which a bankruptcy can be reopened. Those circumstances include:

  • To administer an asset that was not fully administered during the pendency of the case.
  • To afford relief to the debtor that was not provided during the bankruptcy.

It is up to the Court as to whether a case will be reopened, and a debtor who wishes to do so has to file a motion making this request. It is not uncommon to ask for a case to be reopened to do things like file reaffirmation agreements, or to make certain debt treatments clear. Contact our office for answers to all of your bankruptcy related questions, and let us help you with your case. We have experience with debt management solutions, and can help you develop a strategy that works for your family and for your budget.


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

How Long Will My Bankruptcy Case Take?

Any time a major life decision is made, it is helpful to know as much as you can beforehand. This can be seen when kids graduate from high school, and try to figure out whether to attend college and if so what field of study to pick. Another good example is when a person is searching for a job, and is granted an interview at a top choice. Doing a little research on the company and its philosophy can go a long way in showing interest during the interview and is also comes in handy if an offer is made because there is less of an element of surprise about what to expect. One of the most common questions from people thinking about filing for bankruptcy is how long the case will take to finish. When consumers are unable to pay their bills, it is emotionally satisfying to know how long before the situation changes and the creditors stop calling for repayment.

How long a bankruptcy case takes depends on the type of bankruptcy filed. General timelines are as follows:

  • A chapter 7 case usually takes between 4 and 6 months. This means that from the date you file, you can expect to receive your discharge in about 4 to 6 months’ time. During this time your creditors are not permitted to contact you about the debt, and once discharge has been entered in the case and the case has been closed at the Courthouse, those same creditors are prohibited from contacting you about the debt. This is because the discharge is the legal mechanism that eliminates the debt, and once a debt has been discharged it is technically no longer owed. Any attempt to collect a discharged debt is a violation of the bankruptcy laws, and creditors can be punished for this action.
  • A chapter 13 case lasts from 3 to 5 years. A chapter 13 is not a straight liquidation of debt like a chapter 7 is, rather a chapter 13 is a reorganization of debt. The debtor files a proposed plan of repayment, and the Court approves the plan after creditors are given a chance to object. The same rules on creditor contact with debtors apply in a chapter 13 as are present in a chapter 7 case.

Most debtors prefer a chapter 7, because it eliminates unsecured debt rather than requiring repayment of a portion thereof and because it takes less time to complete. However, not everyone that files bankruptcy qualifies for a chapter 7. There is a complex mathematical computation that must be performed before filing, in order to determine which chapter is appropriate. We can help by doing that calculation for you, and making sure the type of case filed for you is proper.

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



The Top Ten Reasons To File Bankruptcy

People file bankruptcy for many different reasons. In most instances, the factors that led to the need to seek the protection of the bankruptcy court are similar, but the reasons people file for bankruptcy are very different. For example, a common cause of the need to file is loss of job or a severe medical condition that led to an accumulation of medical debt. But, the reasons people file for bankruptcy are not this cut and dried.

The top ten reasons to file bankruptcy include:

  • To stop a wage garnishment. When bankruptcy is filed any pending wage garnishment must be immediately withdrawn, which means your paycheck will no longer be subject to any additional withholding for payment to a creditor.
  • To stop a foreclosure on your home. Just like a wage garnishment has to immediately cease when bankruptcy is filed, so do foreclosure efforts.
  • To prevent a repossession. If one of your lenders is currently trying to repossess your car or another piece of personal property, that effort has to come to an end when bankruptcy gets filed.
  • To get the tax man off your back. While taxes are not debts you can eliminate through bankruptcy, filing does give you a chance to figure out a way to repay your tax liability.
  • To eliminate high interest rate debt, like credit card debts. Bankruptcy is a very real option for dealing with too much credit debt.
  • To save a family owned business. Many small business owners have had to look to bankruptcy to save their business. Most smaller business entities are loosely formed, and the owners and operators can sometimes end up getting their personal finances intertwined with business debt. Bankruptcy can help sort out these mixed finances.
  • To reorganize debt. Businesses and consumers alike can reorganize their debt by filing bankruptcy.
  • To quickly handle an overwhelming debt load. A chapter 7 case is usually completed in between 4 and 6 months. This quick turnaround time is an incentive for overburdened consumer debtors to file bankruptcy.
  • To be able to maintain the ability to support your family, especially if two households are now part of your obligation due to divorce or separation. This is not to say that you are able to eliminate certain support obligations, but sometimes bankruptcy is a natural result of the end of a marriage.
  • To make clear what obligations are yours personally versus those of a corporation. In some business arrangements a personal guarantee is a necessary part of financing, and bankruptcy can help protect your personal assets in the face of a bad business decision.

Whatever your need, we can help you find a solution. Call us today to find out more about how bankruptcy can help you.


For more information about bankruptcy and how to have a successful case, contact us at Our approach is individually tailored to meet your needs, so you can reach your financial goals.