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Coming Up With A Budget That Works

We all know that having a budget is the best way to keep track of what you spend, and what you need to pay each month. The idea is great in theory, but can be very difficult to put in to practice in real life. This is because there always seem to be expenses that come up that have not been budgeted for and this causes a great many of us to resort to loans or credit cards to make ends meet. When you have to take out a loan or use a credit card to pay for an everyday expense because your budget was busted due to an emergency, debt can mount up quickly. Unless you make enough money to pay off a loan or credit card balance in a short amount of time, you are also going to be paying interest for these funds, and as the interest begins to add up so does the total balance due. This scheme makes the banks a lot of money, but does nothing to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket. To combat this problem, it is critical to come up with a budget and stay on top of your spending.

Here are some tips for coming up with a budget that works:

• Don’t forget to include things you pay weekly, like insurance or gas, when coming up with a monthly budget. Remember, not all months have 4 weeks, there are some that are longer and you will need to take that into account when coming up with a monthly budget.
• Be honest about where your money goes, if you go to Starbucks or buy your lunch every day, you have to include those extras in your budget.
• Be reasonable about what you can eliminate, because if you try to make a budget that leaves you no room for a break now and then, you will be more tempted to stray from your plan.

Even with a budget it is still possible to experience a financial downturn. If so, think about turning to us for help with a bankruptcy as your answer. A bankruptcy case will give you immediate relief, and the idea is that you will also receive long term financial success. Our staff is prepared to give you the information you need to decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

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

What To Do If You Are Turned Down For A Mortgage Modification

Most family’s biggest monthly expense is their house, and when money gets tight it can be scary to think that you may not be able to keep your house. Fortunately, there are options for lowering your mortgage payment, and if you are able to take advantage of one of these options, you can enjoy a lower house payment. The most popular option is to modify your mortgage, which requires your lender’s agreement. In order to receive a modification of your mortgage loan, you have to apply with your lender and be approved for the new mortgage terms. Sadly, not all lenders are willing to agree to modified mortgages, and many homeowners are left still struggling.

If you are turned down for a mortgage modification, you are not out of luck. There are other things you can do to help make ends meet, including:

• Reducing luxury purchases.
• Refinancing a car.
• Shopping around for cheaper auto and life insurance.
• Coming up with a meal plan, and shopping only for the ingredients needed.
• Use coupons and buy things when they are on sale.
• Pay your electric bill on an averaged basis, so the amount is close to the same each month, which makes it easier to develop and stick to a budget.

If you have tried these things, and likely several others, and are still underwater financially, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal way to eliminate debts, or have them greatly reduced. Depending on what type of case you are eligible to file, you will either get to wipe out all of your unsecured debts (like credit cards and medical bills), or pay only a small portion of the balances. When you have less debt, you have more freedom. Filing bankruptcy will also put a stop to a foreclosure, a repossession, and a wage garnishment. All of those things add to an already stressful situation, so having them exit your life will give you the emotional lift you need to figure out your bills. We have had experience filing bankruptcy for a countless number of client, and can take on your case too.

For more information about mortgage modifications, and to find out what you can keep and what you have to give back if you file a case, contact us at

What Documents Are Required To Modify My Mortgage?

When you think back to the time you bought your house, you probably remember having to fill out a lot of forms and provide a lot of documentation. There is no doubt that buying a home is a detailed process, once which includes a lot of paperwork. So if you are thinking about asking for a modification of your mortgage, in an effort to lower your current house payment, you might be hesitant to go through that paper intensive process again. But a modification of your mortgage is a different process than applying for a mortgage loan, and the amount of time and paperwork required is not as much.

The typical process for a mortgage modification, and a short list of the most common documents required, is:

• Making a request for a modification, which can be done over the phone with your current lender and then followed up by filling out a short application form if, after a quick phone call you are still interested in the modification program being offered.
• The application will likely include a request that you submit documentation of your earnings. Most people do this by providing pay stubs, but you could also provide a W2, or a tax return.

You will probably also have to provide the past few months’ worth of your checking and savings account balances. This is done by giving the mortgage lender copies of your most recent bank statements, and depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to provide copies you print yourself from online banking. It is unusual to be asked to provide much more than what is outlined above, but it can happen. For instance, don’t be surprised if you are asked to turn over a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy, or to provide information about your property taxes. These documents are needed if your mortgage includes an escrow account for payment of these expenses, and in order to accurately calculate your new payment under the modification, the lender has to know these cots. And once you do provide the completed application and the requested documents, you have to stay on top of the lender for a response. Some lenders have the reputation for asking for duplication documents, so it is always a good idea to keep a record of what you have already provided. If you need help with the process, we are here to give assistance, and can also talk over other options with you.

For more information about how to manage debt or what is needed to modify a mortgage loan, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Where Does The Money Go When My House Is Sold At Foreclosure Sale?

If you are behind on your mortgage payments your mortgage holder will probably start foreclosure proceedings against you. If you are unable to defend the foreclosure your home will be scheduled for foreclosure sale. There are a lot of misperceptions about these sales and many homeowners believe the sale is the final step in the matter and nothing further can happen afterwards. In some cases this is true, but in others there is a different result. It is helpful to know what to expect if your house is sold at foreclosure so you don’t have a surprise down the road.

One of the most frequently asked questions about the sale of a home in a foreclosure is where the money comes from, and where it goes after the sale is final. The logistics of the funding for a property sold at foreclosure sale typically go along these lines:

  • When the lender gets the property back at the sale no real money is paid. The bid is what is called a credit on the judgment obtained and the lender does not have to pay for the property because they have a judgment.
  • If a third party does buy the home at the sale the sales proceeds are given to the lender. This is after any taxes and any other fees are paid.
  • In the rare event there are excess funds after these payments are made, the borrower is entitled to those funds.

This process leads many to question how a lender comes up with their bid amount, and if it is fair for the lender to start the bidding. Another issue that creates a lot of curiosity about the process is what happens to the property after the sale. If the home went back to the mortgage company they will remarket that property, but the sales price will be used to determine if there is any deficiency still owed by the borrower. If there is a deficiency the lender might take steps to try and collect from the homeowner. You can challenge the valuation and the process, but you have to act fast. If you are concerned you still owe your mortgage lender after a foreclosure sale has taken place, call us for an analysis of what happened in your case.

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

What To Do When Lenders Violate Collection Laws

Being sued for a past due debt will cause you stress and anxiety, sleepless nights, and can lead to distraction on the job. This is because most creditors are relentless when it comes to collecting their debt and refuse to listen to reason or to work with honest consumers. The level of contact from a lender can border on harassment and add to the emotional trauma of being unable to pay your bills. No one takes out a debt with the intention of letting it go unpaid but sometimes life has other plans and things happen. But what should not happen is violations of the rules in place for debt collection and when a lender crosses the line the debtor can and should take action.

The law that governs how debt collection cases should go is called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and it requires the following:

  • Debt collectors have to advise you they are debt collectors and not the original lender. Part of this notice has to inform you that the purpose of the communication is to collect a debt and that any information you provide in response will be used for that reason.
  • You must be given the opportunity to dispute the debt.
  • You can ask for the name of the original lender and that must be provided to you.
  • You can ask for a payment history and that proof of debt be given to you before the case proceeds any further.

You can also ask that the debt collector cease and desist from contacting you. If the collector fails to abide by your request this is a violation of the Act. Violations of the Act are actionable, meaning you can sue the debt collector for any damages the violation has caused you. This can be tricky business and is best left to a knowledgeable consumer protection attorney. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, or if threats have been made in connection of a past due debt call our office. We know what to do to put a stop to the prohibited acts and can also take action on your behalf against the debt collector.

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



Three Ways To Stop A Wage Garnishment

Do you remember the excitement of getting your first job, and how quickly that excitement faded when you saw how much of your paycheck was held out for things like taxes? No one likes to have their paycheck reduced, but the facts of life are that certain charges come out of your pay that make your take home pay much less than what you need. There is little anyone can do to avoid having taxes withheld from their pay, but there are other deductions that can be avoided. One of these deductions is a wage garnishment, and if you have received a paycheck where money was held out to pay a creditor you should take immediate action.

Three good ways to stop a wage garnishment and put more of your hard earned money back in your pocket include:

  • Calling the lender to negotiate voluntary payments on the debt. Sometimes the key to keeping lenders happy and off of your back is communication. If you show you are willing to talk to them about your debt they may be more willing to work with you on a repayment plan.
  • Asking the Court to enter an order that states you are exempt from being garnished. Typically a showing of some sort of undue hardship as a result of the garnishment is required to get this type of Order, and that will mean you have to go to Court and bring in evidence about your expenses and pay.
  • Filing bankruptcy will prevent a creditor from taking any collection efforts, including a pending garnishment.

Of these three options bankruptcy can provide the most benefits. Not only will bankruptcy stop a pending wage garnishment but it will also prevent a lender from filing a foreclosure or making collection calls. These protections are a welcome relief when you are facing too much financial stress and also give you a chance to collect yourself and to breathe again. If you have more debts than you can pay, are being garnished, or a foreclosure is imminent, call us for help.

For more information about how to stop wage garnishments or other debt collection efforts, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that fit the facts of your case.


What Is Repossession Of Personal Property?

The law is full of definitions and ways to characterize certain things. Your house is defined as real property, but your car is considered personal property. The distinction is important because if a lender tries to sue you for non-payment the type of property dictates the type of lawsuit filed. In order for a lender to take back real property a foreclosure has to be initiated. But when creditors seek to take back their personal property it is referred to as a repossession.

If a lender is trying to repossess personal property and has to resort to the legal system to try and take back property in which they have a security interest the case is called a replevin. This is how it works:

  • A lawsuit is filed where the creditor asks for their property back and claims to have a right to possess the property that is superior to your right to keep your things. This right is generally based on the fact that until the loan is paid in full the lender has rights in the collateral that is the subject of the note.
  • Most times the property is not ordered to be returned to the lender until a judgment is entered that says the creditor is entitled to possession of the item of personal property.
  • There are times, however, where a lender will ask for an order of possession prior to the judgment being entered. If this document is part of your case it is crucial that you contact an attorney to make sure the request is proper. If you do not fight the request for an order of delivery prior to the judgment being entered you run the risk of losing your property before the case is even decided.

Waking up to find your car no longer sitting in your driveway is shocking and can create a real hardship. In order to avoid this harsh reality, take steps to prevent a repossession before it is too late. If you are behind on your payments and your lender is unwilling to work with you it is time to consider your options. We have experience helping people deal with overwhelming debt and can help you too. Whether bankruptcy or some other debt workout remedy is right for you, we know how to protect your property and get you back on your feet financially.

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

Can Active Duty Military Members Lose Their Home To Foreclosure?

Deciding to join the military is an honorable decision and one for which the entire country should be thankful. Without our military members the nation’s security would be at risk and the question about border control would be receiving even more attention. Unfortunately the pay for military personnel is not at the top of the pay grade, but military members can have just as much debt as civilians. This debt can quickly increase if a member is sent overseas and the payments are not tended to timely.

Being sued is never fun for anyone, but if you are not even in the country to defend a case against you the matter should never take place. Luckily there are rules against maintaining actions against active duty service members and if you are in the military it is important to know your rights. Among the protections given active duty military men and women is the prohibition that they be sued for debt collection or foreclosure while away. This is how it works:

  • Plaintiffs are required to perform a military check when initiating a lawsuit against any person and if that check reveals a status of active duty the lawsuit is not supposed to proceed.
  • The exception to this rule is if the lender asks the Court to appoint an attorney to represent the military member in their absence. This requires the appointed attorney to make every effort to contact the member to learn of any defense to the suit, and then allege that defense in the case.
  • When a judgment is being presented to the Court for approval, the data printout regarding status as active duty or not must also be provided to the Court. The Judge will not grant a default judgment if the military check information shows the defendant is currently on active duty. This saves a judgment from being entered against you in your absence.

The law that protects active duty military members in this regard is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. If you are active duty and have been sued, contact our office right away. We will take the appropriate action to stop the litigation and save your property. If you have been contacted by an attorney appointed to represent you, you should also call our office. Many times these attorneys are not experienced in this area of the law and may overlook an important issue.

For more information about the protections given active duty service members, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Two Options After Being Notified Of Foreclosure

Few things in life cause more stress than being unable to pay your bills. But if you are overextended or have recently experienced a major unexpected event such as a death in the family or significant medical needs it doesn’t take long before your finances take a hit. One of the biggest hits you can experience is the loss of a job or a reduction in hours, which can cause your paycheck to take a nosedive and put you at risk for certain legal actions. One of the scariest legal proceedings to go through is a foreclosure, where the bank is trying to take away your home. If you have received notice of a foreclosure your first instinct might be to panic because if you are behind on mortgage payments you might feel like there is nothing you can do, but you do have options.

Two options you have after being notified of a foreclosure include:

  • Contacting your lender to try and negotiate a workout or loan modification. There are programs in place that many lenders participate in that allow the lender to re-write their own loan. This can save you money on your payment by reducing your interest rate which in turns lowers your payment.
  • Offering to give the property back to your lender by signing a deed in lieu of foreclosure or asking if the lender will agree to a short sale.

Another very real option is to file for bankruptcy. There are two types of consumer bankruptcy cases, a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13. Both forms of bankruptcy have provisions that allow you to save your home from foreclosure and can provide you relief on some of your other debts as well. If you are in danger of losing your home to foreclosure, call us today.

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



Five Things To Budget For That Aren’t Monthly Bills

The key to making your paycheck last from payday to payday is to have a budget and make sure you only spend for expenses that are included in that budget. The most common expenses to put in a budget are your house and car payment, credit card bills, utilities, phone service, car insurance, groceries, and fuel costs. But there are also other expenses that come up from time to time that should also be included in your budget so you do not find yourself lacking funds.

Five things to put in your budget that aren’t monthly bills include:

  • Medical expenses such as office co-pays and prescriptions.
  • Homeowner’s association dues, which are typically due annually but if you save for them every month you won’t be hit with a large bill all at once.
  • Car repairs and maintenance, which includes new tires if you are getting close the mileage limit on the tires currently on your car. This is a big expense but if you put a little aside each month you will have the money on hand before you have a blowout and are stranded on the side of the road.
  • Home repairs, much like car repair needs it is a good idea to start a fund for home repairs each month. That way when your heat or air go out you won’t have to resort to using a credit card to get the situation fixed, and you also won’t have to spring for a hotel stay if the temperature in your home becomes too much to bear.
  • Vacations and special occasions. No one likes to be strapped for cash around the holidays or go on a “staycation” because there is no money for a trip. If you are able to save for these times of the year you will find yourself being able to enjoy your time off work rather than worry about how to pay the bills that pile up while you are away from home.

For help with budgets, or to free up your funds so you can come up with a budget that works call our office. Sometimes the answer is to seek the protection of bankruptcy in order to ease the tension in your budget and allow you to start fresh with your finances. Appointments are available today.

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