COVID-19 put many people in a position they have never been in before—saddled with debt that they can no longer afford to pay off. This has led to numerous individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy gives people an opportunity to erase most of their debt, while holding on to their tax credits, child credits and stimulus checks. This option also allows the person filing for Chapter 7 to keep retirement accounts untouched for the most part. In a situation where an individual files for Chapter 7, a trustee gathers all of the nonexempt assets a debtor owns and sells them off to pay off the debt. This is supposed to give the individual a blank slate. This article will take a deep dive into what happens when the individual filing and his or her assigned trustee has a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 hearing, when attempting to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
For those who have had the good fortune of never dealing with any form of litigation, it is important to note that civil litigation is when an individual or business files a lawsuit regarding a civil matter (e.g., personal injury, fraud, medical malpractice and negligence) to dispute a civil case against another individual or business. While one or both parties may have valid cases, litigation of any form can be costly and time consuming. While filing for civil litigation may, at times, be your best option, it is important to note that it is not always your only option. The process from pre-trial to the judgement might cost you more than the amount being disputed. Here we are presenting a mock case study to consider three methods that can be used to avoid civil litigation, when possible.
Did you know that the state of Florida only gives employees 300 days from the date of discrimination/ workers right violations to file a case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against their employer and only 365 days to file with the Florida Commission for Human Rights? An employee must file with these organizations before filing discrimination lawsuits. Those working for small companies (under 15 employees) may also have to file under a county or city ordinance with even shorter deadlines. In some cases, employees don’t know their rights and are perplexed about what to do when they finally realize that they are being treated differently than similarly situated co-workers and in other cases, they don’t know what would be considered an employee law/ workers’ right violation. It is important for you, as an employee, to know your rights and common employee law violations that take place in the workplace so you can know what is and is not acceptable behavior from your employer. A tough boss is one thing, an unscrupulous boss is quite another.
What is civil litigation?
Most times, we are faced with terminology that sounds complicated and downright scary—especially any term that includes the word, “litigation.” Civil litigation simply means that the plaintiff wants compensation and/or other damages from the defendant(s) and no criminal charges and penalties have been filed. The standard of proof in these cases is a lot less stringent than criminal cases. To win a civil litigation, each side presents their evidence, and whosesoever has the most convincing evidence gets a judgement in their favor.
COVID-19 has brought about many first time entrepreneurs—many people who quit, or were let go of, due to the pandemic. While some started solo companies and sold products online, others are reaching points of success where they may soon need an office and employees as support staff. Prior to reaching the latter stage, employers should educate themselves a bit about employment law, and tried and true workplace policies. Employers should also make sure that someone in the office is keeping good records of incident complaints, in the event that an HR department is not in place, so that the business owner is never on the wrong side of the law and an employee’s welfare is never put at risk.
Remember that time you went to the doctor, forgot to pay the bill, had the doctor’s office call you and then, a few months later some random debt collector calls you for repayment? A lot of times, these situations happen accidentally, and certain times we forget about the debt, and about repaying the debt all together. When the third party calls, we are reminded of the debt and then make an active decision on whether to pay the debt at that time, tell the collector to call back later for the payment, or to ignore the debt collector and see what happens when you opt not to pay your debt… Then, one day you find out you’re getting sued for debt.
If your bills are piling high, to the point where making any kind of down or minimum payment seems like it’s going to be a struggle, bankruptcy might be your best option. It is important to know that filing for bankruptcy in Florida is going to cost you more than just about every other state, so there is really no cheap bankruptcy filing. While the filing costs are fixed by the state, the fees charged by attorneys typically runs between $999 and $1499, but can go as high as $5000. The range in price varies on specifics such as: 1. How the attorney bills for his or her time 2. whether you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, chapter 11 bankruptcy filing or Chapter 13, 3. How long the bankruptcy process takes, 4. Whether there are any challenges being filed by trustees and/ or creditors, 5. Whether there are any related legal costs to your case, and 6. Whether there are any adversary proceeding attorney fees.
Let’s be honest: The first thing to know about getting a credit card with low interest and high limits credit card after filing for bankruptcy is that it will not be easy. Credit cards for people with bankruptcies and credit cards that accept bankruptcies are not easy to come by with good terms after Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. However, there is no need to lose hope, there are a few options secured card options of post bankruptcy credit cards and ways to even get an unsecured credit card again.
By now you’ve probably heard it all—you should apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you’ll get it. You shouldn’t apply for PPP, you aren’t eligible. No harm in trying—apply for PPP and see what happens. Well, you have to pay to file your 2020 taxes prior to applying for round 2 of PPP, and most business owners do not want to spend the money to do so unless they are eligible to get some money. No one can do a quick summary of all of the PPP criteria, but here is our best attempt at summing it up for you.
So far, you have an idea for a business, a name, a platform to sell or a way for customers to contact you and learn more about your business, and you have a basic way to stay organized using Excel or Google Sheets. Now, it is time to get out there and either sell products or services to people that do not know you exist.