A bankruptcy blog containing useful information for anyone considering a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney.

Your Credit Score After Bankruptcy

If you call for a bankruptcy consultation, part of that phone call will be a discussion regarding your credit score after bankruptcy. There is plenty of good news regarding your credit score after bankruptcy. This article will help you distinguish between fact and myth.

Your Credit Score After Bankruptcy Will Not Be Ruined

Generally, your credit score a year after filing a Chapter 7 will recover to what it was just prior to filing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While there are exceptions, most clients who choose to file a Chapter 7 do not have a perfect credit score. By eliminating debt in the Chapter 7 filing, your debt to income ration improves and this helps your credit score recover after you’ve filed bankruptcy.

You Will Receive Offers For Credit Cards After Bankruptcy

Clients are surprised to find that they are offered credit cards shortly after filing bankruptcy. Certainly, most clients report that around the one year mark after filing, they receive credit card offers. While the interest rates may be high, this is true of most credit cards. If you pay off the balance each month, you are never charged interest. The reason banks offer you credit cards so soon after filing bankruptcy is that you are a good candidate for credit. You’ve discharged all of your unsecured debt through bankruptcy, and you’re more likely to pay on a new credit card. The creditors also know you can’t file bankruptcy again for a number of years.

If you want to improve your credit score after bankruptcy as quickly as possible, consider a secured credit card. A secured credit card is one where you give the bank or credit union a deposit. For instance, you may give the bank $300.00. In exchange, the credit union gives you a credit card with a limit of $300.00. Each month, if you spend some and pay the balance down to $0 again, the credit union will report this to the credit bureaus. This positive payment history serves to quickly build your credit score after bankruptcy. Quite often, after a history of on time payments, the credit union will extend your credit to a higher limit.

You Can Build Credit While A Bankruptcy Shows On Your Credit Report

A bankruptcy filing will show on your credit report for no more than ten years. This will not prevent you from building your credit score after bankruptcy. Your income to debt ratio will be improved, and if you immediately take advantage of secured credit cards, or make payments on vehicle and mortgage debt, your credit score after bankruptcy will build accordingly.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Making a phone call is the first step. We get excited when we speak with potential clients who are considering filing bankruptcy. Quite often I find myself telling clients that whether they file with our firm or another firm, they NEED to file bankruptcy. I believe this because after hearing their story, I believe they deserve the relief bankruptcy provides.

If you’d like to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney today, call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. It’s easy and it’s free. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Reaffirmation Agreement

When you file your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will have to declare on your Statement of Intention form, whether you plan to reaffirm certain debts. When you sign a Reaffirmation Agreement, you are simply recommitting to the debt associated with property. This property can be your vehicle or your home. Whether you should sign a Reaffirmation Agreement depends on the circumstances and the type of debt.

What Effect Does Bankruptcy Have On My Mortgage?

If you file Chapter 7 and receive a Discharge, you will effectively no longer be obligated to pay the debts which were discharged. This presents a dilemma when the debt is associated with property such as a home or vehicle. In those instances, the lender has the right to force you to either a) return the property associated with the debt, or b) sign a Reaffirmation agreement.

Because a mortgage debt is such a large debt, the Bankruptcy Courts have held that you actually have a third choice with regard to your home mortgage. That choice is that you can “Retain and Pay”. This means that you do not have to reaffirm your mortgage debt, and so long as you continue to make your mortgage payments, you can stay in the home.

What Are The Reasons To Not Sign A Reaffirmation Agreement?

First, if you or your spouse lose your job after bankruptcy, or if the economy and housing values decline, you’ll be protected. If you do not reaffirm, you can simply walk away from the home and you owe nothing to the lender. You simply turn over the keys. If you reaffirmed, then you would be responsible for the loan balance on the mortgage. If the lender sold the home in foreclosure and did not receive enough to pay off the mortgage, they could pursue you for the remainder. In the alternative, if the lender forgave the remaining debt, there is a chance you would receive a 1099 for forgiveness of debt. This would trigger a tax obligation for you.

Second, the terms of your mortgage will not change. The interest rate and underlying agreement with the bank will continue. Each time you make a payment, your balance will decrease. In other words, you will receive credit for all payments made.

What Are The Reasons To Sign A Reaffirmation Agreement?

Truthfully, the only real reason to reaffirm your mortgage debt is related to credit reporting. Most lenders will not report your mortgage payments to the credit bureaus unless you reaffirm the debt. One of the fastest ways to rebuild your credit is through making mortgage payments. There are alternatives, however. If you obtain a retail credit card or secured credit card, or if you’re making payments on vehicle loans, you will receive credit for those payments when the creditors report to the credit bureaus.

Speak With  A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If you’re considering filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, call us at 704.749.7747 to speak with a Charlotte Bankruptcy attorney today. Or you can click HERE to request a consultation. Most consultations are done by phone and they are free—you deserve to understand your options. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

Can I File Bankruptcy

One major concern when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the potential for your bank to freeze your bank accounts. This article addresses the reasons why a bank might freeze your bank accounts, and how to avoid it.

Why Will The Bank Freeze My Bank Accounts?

Generally, when you take out a debt with a bank, the credit agreement contains a right to set-off. This means the bank has the right to reach into your checking, savings or other accounts held by the same bank, and use those funds to pay the debt owed to them. Therefore, if you bank with Wells Fargo, and also have a Wells Fargo credit card, you should take steps to make sure the funds are not frozen when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Often the funds in question are exempted on your bankruptcy petition. This means you have protected these funds and you will ultimately be allowed to keep them. However, this may not keep the bank from temporarily freezing the funds until your bankruptcy attorney or the bankruptcy trustee makes a formal request to have them released. As a result, you will experience the inconvenience of losing the use of those funds for an extended period of time.

How Can I Avoid Having My Bank Accounts Frozen?

Generally speaking, the safest way to avoid having funds frozen is to withdraw those funds prior to filing bankruptcy. You can hold the funds as cash on hand, or you can transfer them into another bank where you do not have any debt. The only funds a bank can freeze are the funds in the account on the day the bankruptcy was filed. For a lot of Chapter 7 clients, this means they keep the account open, but leave a very low balance in it on the day of filing. This minimizes the damage if the funds are frozen.

Is This Going To Raise Suspicion With The Bankruptcy Court?

No. Transferring funds in this manner is permissible. This is distinguishable from transferring the funds to another individual, which may constitute a gift or a preferential transfer.

How Will I Know If I Need To Transfer Funds Prior To Filing?

Consult with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney regarding this specific issue, prior to the filing of your petition. Identify if you have debt and deposits with the same bank. If so, devise a plan of action with your attorney so that on the date of filing your balance is low enough that even if the funds are frozen you will not be inconvenienced.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy and would like to know more about your options, call us to set up a free phone consultation, at 704.749.7747. Or, click HERE to quickly request a call from us. Bankruptcy provides a powerful way out of stressful financial situations. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

Charlotte Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The purpose of this article is to discuss filing a Charlotte Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our firm is located in SouthPark in Charlotte, NC and we serve the Charlotte Division of the Western District of North Carolina.

The Need

You’ve probably tried debt settlement, negotiating with creditors, and finally, you’ve threatened bankruptcy. Unfortunately, not much works with big banks. Most clients we work with have really put a lot of pressure on themselves to pay off debts and just can’t get ahead. Finally, they truly consider bankruptcy.

How We Can Help

As a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, I get to experience the satisfaction of helping people to truly get a fresh start. It is probably the most rewarding aspect of the job. Our team is ready to assess your financial situation and help determine if you will qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

First of all, we will have you submit some basic information so that we can understand a little more about your assets and income. After reviewing and discussing that information with you, we can tell you if we think you will be a good candidate for bankruptcy. Another thing we discuss is your financial dealings over the recent past—transfers, payments to creditors, new debt, etc. Finally, with your full financial picture completed, we can prepare a bankruptcy petition for you to see if you pass the Means Test in bankruptcy.

The filing of the bankruptcy petition triggers the automatic stay in bankruptcy under 11 U.S. Code section 362. It prevents your creditors from contacting you for the purpose of attempting to collect a debt. The automatic stay is in effect during the duration of your bankruptcy.

Most Chapter 7 filings only require one short court appearance which we attend with you. Furthermore, the appearance is with the bankruptcy Trustee—he or she will ask questions about the petition we submitted. In contrast to what most client believe, creditors rarely attend these meetings.

Lastly, you’ll receive your discharge in bankruptcy. This means your allowable debts incurred prior to filing bankruptcy are no longer your burden.

Next Steps

If you’d like to speak with an attorney about a financial situation, or get a fee for a bankruptcy, please call 704.749.7747. You can also fill out a simple form HERE to request a phone consultation. Consultations are free and we’re here to help. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

filing bankruptcy while married

The purpose of this article is to explain the effect of a writ of execution, and help you understand your options which include filing bankruptcy.

Your Pain

If you’ve received a writ of execution, it’s because a creditor has a judgment against you and is trying to collect on that judgment. The writ of execution will be served or delivered on you by the Sheriff. Essentially, it gives the Sheriff the power to take assets which you own, in an attempt to pay off the judgment.

Prior to the writ of execution, you should have received a Notice of Right To Claim Exemptions, which is important to complete and submit in a timely manner. This notice allows you to exempt some or all property so that a Writ of Execution will not later harm you.

If the Sheriff shows up with the Writ of Execution, the best thing you can do is communicate with them. If you plan to file bankruptcy shortly, you should tell them that. You can even give them your bankruptcy lawyer’s name and phone number. Usually, the Sheriff will want to know if you have a bankruptcy case number—you don’t get one of those until you file; however, the Sheriff may also give you an extension to allow you some time to get your bankruptcy filed.

How We Help

As Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, my job is to keep creditors from seizing your assets. We can confirm that you are working with our firm to file a bankruptcy, and even tell the Sheriff’s office when we expect to file the bankruptcy. Additionally, we can help you understand the effect of a Writ of Execution, a Judgment or a Notice of Right To Claim Exemptions.

Mainly, if creditors have a judgment against you or are pursuing judgments, it’s time to talk to a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney about whether filing a Chapter 7 is the right choice for you. Whether you file with our firm or another firm, part of our job is helping you understand the options.

Next Steps

If you are having trouble with creditors and would like to know more about the option of filing a bankruptcy, give us a call. Phone consultations are free and we’re here to help. Most consultations can be done over the phone. You’ll get the guidance you deserve and you’ll be empowered to take next steps. Call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a consultation. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

student loans in bankruptcy

No, bankruptcy does not cover student loans. Well, at least bankruptcy does not “get rid of” student loans. This is the starting point in the discussion regarding student loans and bankruptcy. While that answer is not attractive, most clients find that filing a bankruptcy provides them with the relief they need from other debt such as credit card debt and medical debt. With those items out of the way, most clients find they can actually make their student loan payments.

The Exception To The Rule

Every rule has exceptions, and the same is true of student loans in bankruptcy. If you can prove that the payment of the student loans will pose an undue hardship on you and your dependents, you may be able to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy. Courts use the Brunner test to determine if an undue hardship exists. It requires showing that: a) the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a “minimal” standard of living for the debtor and the debtor’s dependents if forced to repay the student loans; b) additional circumstances exist indicating this state of affairs will persist during the remainder of the repayment period, and c) the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans. Brunner v. New York State Higher Educ. Servs. Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (2d Cir. 1987).

Debtors can expect a vigorous defense to be put on by attorneys representing the lenders in these situations, and the cost of litigating this issue combined with the low chance at success leads most individuals to simply accept that student loans aren’t going away in bankruptcy.

How Does Bankruptcy Help With Student Loans

There are a few ways in which bankruptcy does help with student loans. First, during the roughly 100 days your Chapter 7 is open with the court, your student loan lenders are not allowed to attempt to collect money from you. This is due to the Automatic Stay in bankruptcy. This provides a welcome break from student loans for a few months. You can expect collection attempts to continue after the Chapter 7 closes. In Chapter 13, you can elect to include your student loans in the Chapter 13 to be paid as unsecured debt. This amount is typically pennies on the dollar compared to what you’ve been paying. The downside of course is that during the Chapter 13 you will not make any progress toward the balance on the loans—however, we know that’s not the goal at the moment. The goal is some relief, and Chapter 13 can provide it in this manner.

What Are The Next Steps

Speak with a bankruptcy attorney about your student loans and other debts which are causing you to consider bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a very powerful form of relief which immediately changes clients’ lives or the better. We are happy to discuss your options with you and there is no charge for the phone call—we’re happy to help. Call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call from us. We know you have choices, we hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Paying For Bankruptcy

I’ve always found that paying for your bankruptcy makes an otherwise difficult financial time even more… difficult. Fortunately, if you’re able to put together the funds for bankruptcy, you will experience immediate financial relief upon filing, as your creditors are no longer allowed to attempt to collect on debts. We understand the difficulty associated with paying for your bankruptcy, and we try to be flexible in that regard. Call our office at 704.749.7747 for more details, or click HERE to request a fee quote.

Down Payments Toward Bankruptcy

Our firm will start working on your bankruptcy with you, prior to receiving any funds from you. If you are willing to do the work involved in preparing to file, we take that as a showing of good faith on your part and we work with you to get started. After the firm has reviewed your submitted information, we will schedule a call with you. Once we are comfortable you will be successful in your Chapter 7 filing, then we ask you to make a deposit toward the total fee.

Using Credit Cards To Pay For Bankruptcy

Unfortunately, you can not use a credit card to pay for bankruptcy. When you place a charge on a credit card which you have no intention of paying back, that debt will survive the bankruptcy. A bankruptcy fee would fall into that category.

When Will My Bankruptcy Be Filed

The Federal Bankruptcy Code requires that the final payment be received by the attorney prior to the actual filing of the bankruptcy. So, the remainder of your payment is due any time prior to filing. Once we receive the final payment from you, we are typically ready to file your case within a week. Upon filing, which is done electronically, your bankruptcy attorney automatically receives a bankruptcy case number. The court also immediately notifies your creditors of the filing.

Can Someone Else Pay For My Bankruptcy

Yes, someone else is permitted to pay for some or all of your bankruptcy. While many clients have already borrowed money from friends or family in order to try to keep up with mounting debts and gaps in income, our clients find those same friends and family members are interested in assisting with bankruptcy payments because it represents an end to a difficult situation for you.

Other Fees In Bankruptcy

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we charge a flat fee and we will explain to you the work included with that flat fee. In some rare circumstances, a Chapter 7 may require additional attorney work to defend against an aggressive creditor. Those situations are usually evident prior to filing and your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney will make sure you understand the risk of having to spend additional money on the bankruptcy. Typically, this is not the case.

Who Pays The Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees

In addition to the attorney fee, there are fees due to the court for filing a bankruptcy. Our firm includes those fees in our flat fee, and we pay the court fees directly, together with any 3rd party fees associated with your bankruptcy.

Taking Next Steps

Most clients tell us they feel better already after simply having a phone consultation with the attorney. If you’d like to take the next step toward financial freedom, simply call us at 704.749.7747 and speak with an attorney today. Or you can click HERE and request a call. Bankruptcy is a powerful resource which provides great relief and marks the start of your financial recovery. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

bankruptcy how long discharge

School is back in session, which means more kids in the streets. Pedestrian injuries occur daily here in Charlotte, NC, and our firm regularly represents injured pedestrians in cases and claims against the drivers who hit them. According to a recent study like the one published by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities in 2016 were the highest ever recorded in a year.

Pedestrians range from children to the elderly, and while pedestrians have rights, there is no doubt they face unique dangers when interacting with motor vehicles in the roadways in Charlotte. Pedestrian injuries tend to be more severe than those sustained by drivers, because of how vulnerable they are to the impact of a moving vehicle.

I Was Hit – Do I Have A Case?

It is generally said that pedestrians have the right of way; however, a close examination of the laws of North Carolina reveal that not to be the case. More importantly, the question is whether you will prevail against a driver or their insurance company in a personal injury claim related to your injuries. A few questions always come up when your personal injury lawyer is trying to decide whether they can win a pedestrian injury case:

  • Were you in a crosswalk?
  • Were you on a sidewalk?
  • Were you wearing brightly-colored clothing?
  • What time of day was it?
  • Were you under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

While the answers to these questions don’t decide every pedestrian injury claim, they help to paint a picture regarding whether the injured individual played a contributing role in the accident.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory Negligence is one of the primary obstacles to winning a pedestrian claim. In North Carolina, plaintiffs find out very quickly about contributory negligence. Most states follow comparative negligence. So, for instance, if you were 25% at fault for your pedestrian injury because you were not in a crosswalk, a jury would be instructed to reduce your jury award by 25%. In North Carolina, however, if you’re 1% or more responsible for the injury you sustained, a jury will be instructed not to give you anything for your injury. This makes the list of questions above even more important to winning a pedestrian injury claim.

Talk To A Pedestrian Injuries Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer or law firm will handle claims which involve pedestrian injuries. Our firm has had success representing pedestrians in the past and we continue to pride ourselves on aggressively representing pedestrians who have been injured by automobiles. Call today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 704.749.7747 or you can request a call by clicking HERE. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

I speak with clients every day who want to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Charlotte, NC but don’t have the money in hand to pay an attorney. That’s one of the challenges of paying for your Charlotte bankruptcy—if you need to file bankruptcy, you’re short on cash to begin with.

We try to be sensitive to the financial needs of clients. After all, our goal is to help clients recover financially. One solution we offer is to make payments toward your bankruptcy over time. Typically, this involves making a deposit at the beginning of the representation, and then paying toward the balance as we approach filing your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Paying for your Charlotte bankruptcy shouldn’t stop you from pursuing bankruptcy. Whether it is our firm or another bankruptcy lawyer in Charlotte, NC, you will be able to work out a payment plan. Here are a few ways in which you can fund a bankruptcy:

Gifts From Family Members

Your family members or friends are allowed to help you pay for your bankruptcy. While you may hesitate to ask for the help, consider it’s different than asking for money as you may have done in the past. This time, you’re taking a step to permanently solve the problem.

Tax Refunds

You can use your tax refund to pay for your bankruptcy. Your tax refund is an asset, and you’re allowed to use your assets to pay for your bankruptcy. The tax refund represents a good opportunity to file bankruptcy because it’s so hard to get a lump sum of money together with bill collectors demanding money every time you turn around. Use your tax refund to permanently better your financial life by putting it toward your Charlotte bankruptcy.

Installment Plans

If it’s overwhelming to consider paying the lump sum for a bankruptcy, speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer today about making installment payments. One rule in Chapter 7 is that the entire fee needs to be paid prior to the lawyer filing your case; otherwise, you and your lawyer are free to agree upon an installment agreement. It’s quite a common approach and it works well for both the client and the law firm.

Get Help Today

Whether you have money to put toward a Chapter 7 or not, please call us to discuss your situation. We love being able to provide guidance and give you peace of mind that there are brighter times ahead. You can request a consultation HERE or call 704.749.7747 to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer today. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.