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Struggling with Debt? What You Should Know to Avoid Making Things Worse…

Good people find themselves deep in debt for a lot of reasons:  Job loss, health issues, and divorce are common reasons for debt problems.  We see people try all kinds of ways to try to stay ahead.  Here are some things that you should NEVER do:

Do not take out a second home mortgage to pay debts.  This transfers unsecured debts to secured debt attached to your home. If you cannot make payments your creditor will foreclose on your home. It is possible to protect your home in bankruptcy.

Do not pay debts using your retirement savings account.  Retirement accounts are protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  Call us first to discuss any such transfers.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling.  Contact us for a free consultation.

Do follow the advice of your attorney.  At our office we have over 55 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out. We can usually protect your assets with full disclosure and some pre-planning.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts with which you have credit lines or credit cards.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

Bankruptcy is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

 

 

BANKRUPTCY AND DIVORCE

 

It’s not uncommon for someone to file bankruptcy after a divorce. You or your ex-spouse may not be able to keep up with payments on a single salary. It happens, it’s a legitimate reason to look for relief through bankruptcy.

Money is a big stress factor in many relationships. Sometimes a couple that has money problems will think that the answer to their problems is divorce. Each spouse is likely to believe that the other is mostly responsible for the couple’s money problems. This belief may or may not be true. One thing is true, you can divorce your spouse, but you can’t divorce the debts incurred during your marriage.

When either party contemplates bankruptcy, one consideration is the timing of the filing and whether the parties should file a joint bankruptcy before or during the divorce, or an individual bankruptcy before, during, or after the divorce. Your creditors are not part of the divorce, and the family court cannot alter, modify or revise the contract between debtors and creditors.  Any joint debt discharged by one party will leave the other party solely liable, exposed to collection efforts and law suits, and will often force the other spouse to repay or file bankruptcy.

Both spouses are responsible for the debts incurred during the time of the marriage. Your divorce settlement will divide up the debts, assigning responsibility for some to one spouse and some to the other. But that divorce settlement is between you and your ex-spouse. It doesn’t bind your creditors, who can collect the debt from either of you. This means if your ex-spouse doesn’t pay his or her share of the debts, the creditor can come after you for payment.

HOW CAN I GET STARTED?

Call our office today and set up your free consultation with an attorney. We will discuss which chapter of bankruptcy is best for you.

Bankruptcy can mean different things to different debtors. There are several types of bankruptcy chapters provided under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, each with its own rules and procedures.

The most common filings for bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 will wipe out all your unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, utilities, etc.). You can also keep your house and vehicle in Chapter 7, as long as you are or can get current on payments. Chapter 7 is a straight bankruptcy. This will stop all collection proceedings including phone calls, mailings, garnishments and court proceedings. Most bankruptcy filings in the U.S. are Chapter 7. Under a Chapter 7, any debt incurred to a spouse or former spouse that is incurred during a divorce by agreement, decree or court order is not dischargeable.

Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. It is referred to as a wage earner plan. You must have a reliable source of income to repay all or a portion of your debt. Chapter 13 will stop a foreclosure or repossession as well. It is designed to help you retain your home or vehicle if you are behind in payments. You will repay 1% to 100% of your unsecured debt, depending on your individual situation. Repayment will  last a minimum of three and maximum of five years. During this time it will be up to the creditors to file claim in order to be paid during the case.  Under a Chapter 13, the debtor may receive a discharge from obligations incurred as part of the divorce if certain conditions are met.

HOW CAN I GET BACK ON TRACK?

Once you have fully discharged, rebuilding credit can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. But it’s important to realize that there is life after bankruptcy. Repaying your existing bills as agreed will be one of the single most powerful things you can do to restore your finances and your credit.

FREE CONSULTATION

Contact our office at 513-752-3900 to schedule your free consultation to see if bankruptcy will give you the financial relief you are looking for.

BANKRUPTCY & GARNISHMENTS

OUR OFFICE CAN STOP WAGE GARNISHMENTS. CALL 513-752-3900 TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE CONSULTATION

Once a creditor obtains a judgement against you they can garnish your wages. In the state of Ohio a garnishment can take 25% of your pay BEFORE TAXES.

You can stop a garnishment by filing bankruptcy.  Once you file for bankruptcy an “automatic stay” goes into effect which prohibits further and stops all current collection efforts by creditors.  If the garnishment continues after the case is filed all funds must be returned to you.  Once you receive your bankruptcy discharge the debt is wiped clean and cannot be collected upon.

The “automatic stay” does not apply to domestic support obligations, such as child support or alimony.  These are considered priority debts that are unaffected by the automatic stay and cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

When you file bankruptcy you are required to list all your creditors so they can be notified of the bankruptcy.  However, there is a chance that creditors may not be alerted in time to put a stop on the garnishment after they case is filed. In this case, any funds that are garnished after the bankruptcy filing will be returned to you.

If you are struggling with debt or a wage garnishment you should immediately contact our office for a free consultation.  At Keegan & Company, you meet with an experienced attorney (not a paralegal or secretary) to discuss your individual situation.  We have free consultations, fair fees and monthly payment plans.

Contact Keegan & Company Attorneys for help today.

BANKRUPTCY IS YOUR RIGHT AND PROTECTED BY THE CONSITUTION

The office of Keegan & Company Attorneys has been in practice for over 30 years.

Bankruptcy is specifically set forth in the United States Constitution.  The United States Constitution states “The Congress shall have Power to establish….uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies through out the United States.”  Bankruptcy is a constitutional right.

Our founders wanted to ensure that there would be a uniform system of bankruptcy so that one state would not put someone in debtor’s prison for a debt that was discharged in another state. James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 42, wrote about how important uniform bankruptcy laws would be for the regulation of commerce in the United States.  In this article the power to pass and regulate bankruptcy was mentioned in the same paragraph as the power to issue currency and regulate the use of foreign currency.

The United States Congress passed the first bankruptcy law in 1800. That law lasted until 1803.  The next bankruptcy law was not passed until 1841, which also had a short life, lasting only until 1843.  After the civil war, Congress passed a bankruptcy act with a little more longevity, lasting from 1867 to 1878.  Congress finally passed a permanent bankruptcy law in 1898, which remained in place for the next eighty years.  The current structure of bankruptcy laws was enacted in 1978. In 1984, 1986, 1994 and 2005, the bankruptcy act was revised, but the basic structure remained in effect.  The 2005 act added the means test, limits on restructuring vehicle loans and a credit counseling requirement.

Bankruptcy can help you get a fresh financial start.  It is designed to discharge all of your unsecured debts.

At our office we offer a free consultation  with one of our attorneys to discuss your individual situation.

Call us at 513-752-3900 to schedule your free consultation. We offer 2 convenient locations: Eastgate & Middletown. Easy Parking. Fair Fees. Caring and Knowledgeable Attorneys.