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How Marriage Affects Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2015 at 2:06 pm    

At Lawrence & Associates, our bankruptcy attorneys deal with a lot of bankruptcies that come at the same time as a marriage or divorce. Many Northern Kentucky residents find that they either want to get rid of debts before they get married (often to avoid affecting the other person’s credit), or find that their debts become overwhelming following even the most amicable and fair divorce. In this post, we will talk a little bit about how an upcoming marriage can affect the filing of a bankruptcy.

Wedding Bells and Bankruptcy – What You Should Know

weddingflowersOne of the questions we get asked most often at our Fort Mitchell, Kentucky office is whether a bankruptcy should be filed before or after the couple gets married. Generally, the concern is that getting married will somehow make the other spouse responsible for the indebted spouse’s debts. We’ll deal with two scenarios: one in which both spouses-to-be are indebted and need to file bankruptcy, and one in which only one spouse is indebted and needs to file.

First, let’s assume both of the soon-to-be married couple both have an avalanche of debt and both require bankruptcy. In that instance, it will usually make sense for the couple to get married before filing. First, a married couple only has to pay one court filing fee and one attorney fee, so the cost of filing is cheaper. Second, in both Kentucky and Ohio, all bankruptcies – regardless of whether they are Chapter 7 or 13 – require all household income to be listed. (This information helps determine whether you can file a chapter 7 or a chapter 13, and also how much a payment in a Chapter 13 will be.)

Therefore, an engaged couple in the same household is treated the same as a married couple when household income is taken into consideration. It would be rare that an engaged couple would want to file separate bankruptcies before getting married, but that might be wise if: a) the couple lives apart, b) at least one qualifies for a Chapter 7 while living alone, and c) when the engaged couple combines incomes, it would force them into a Chapter 13. In that case, filing separately would allow the spouse with the Chapter 7 to get in and out of bankruptcy quickly, rather than being in the bankruptcy for three to five years. However, this involves a means test calculation and the means test is complex. We do not recommend that you do this without an attorney.

Next, let’s assume only one person has a lot of debt coming into the marriage, while the other person has very little debt. The second person may not need a bankruptcy, although the first might. The analysis changes very little from the first scenario. If only one person is filing, the fees and costs will be the same regardless of whether that person is married or not. There is still no change in household income based on marriage; rather, the court looks at whether the two people are co-habitating regardless of marriage. One of the biggest concerns voiced is that the partner without the debt does not want his or her credit affected by the bankruptcy. However, in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, the courts will not require the non-filing spouse’s social security information on the bankruptcy documents. Therefore, the non-filing spouse’s credit will not be affected by the bankruptcy. Just like in the prior scenario, the toughest question is for spouses-to-be who don’t live together before marriage. In that situation, an experienced bankruptcy attorney should determine whether moving in together will change the type of bankruptcy you can file.

Marriage Equality and the Supreme Court

At this time, same-sex couples are not allowed the right of marriage in either Kentucky or Ohio and therefore do not get the benefit of filing together. They do not get the cheaper filing rates of opposite-sex married couples, although the rules regarding household income are the same. The United States Supreme Court is currently considering this issue, so that rule may change. If so, we’ll update this blog in a different post to reflect that change.

Get Legal Advice to Prepare for Bankruptcy Before You Make Any Life Changes

There are still a few free lunches in the world. One is in the form of a bankruptcy consultation. When Lawrence & Associates does a bankruptcy consultation, we do not charge you or ask you to sign a contract. If you decide to retain us, you can do so at a second appointment or at the first, whichever you choose. We take pride in representing Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati couples and helping them achieve a debt free future. If you are getting married and have questions about bankruptcy, please give us a call today!


Lawrence & Associates Help a Client Keep Her Home Using Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 at 4:47 pm    

save my home from foreclosureThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client needed to stop a foreclosure on her Northern Kentucky home. She was behind on her mortgage because she had unexpectedly gotten laid off, and it had taken her a few months to find a new job. The foreclosure had been filed and she had no way to defend it.

What We Did

When out client called Lawrence & Associates, we let her know that she could save her home with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so long as she filed the bankruptcy before the Master Commissioner’s sale on her home. Even if the mortgage company gets a judgment on the foreclosure, they cannot take the home so long as the mortgage arrearage is repaid inside a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The Result

Our client got to keep her home and she was able to repay her mortgage arrearage. With her new job and reduced debt, F.S. has gotten the fresh start through the bankruptcy court.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Providing You With Debt Relief Solutions Through Bankruptcy

Regardless of the reasons that brought you to financial distress, filing for bankruptcy does not make you a bad person. In fact, the government created bankruptcy in order to help people recover from unmanageable financial problems. At Lawrence & Associates, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy laws are made to protect them and will allow for a brighter financial future.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

More About Us

>> Our Team
>> Our Testimonials
>> Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Lawrence & Associates Help a Client Being Hassled by Student Loan Lenders

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 4:57 pm    

Student LoansThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client from Erlanger, Kentucky contacted us to file bankruptcy because of her student loans. Her student loans were in default and she was getting hounded day and night by the lender. She knew that student loans were not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and she didn’t know what to do.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates analyzed our clients  debt and realized that her student loans were the only non-dischargeable debt. We further realized that she could pay the student loans off within five years with reasonable monthly payments so long as her other, dischargeable debts did not continue eating into her monthly disposable income. We filed two bankruptcies for our client, the first was a Chapter 7 that discharged her medical bills, credit card debts, and payday loans. The second was a Chapter 13 filed after the Chapter 7. In the Chapter 13, the only debt was the student loan and we forced the student loan lender to accept a repayment schedule that lasted five years. While in the bankruptcy, our client could not be hassled by the student loan lender so long as she made her monthly payments.

The Result

Our client is currently paying off her student loans and is otherwise debt free! If you or someone you know is struggling financially, give us a call. We’re here to help. Lawrence & Associates Bankruptcy office is located in Fort Mitchell, KY.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Husband and Wife in Northern Kentucky Get Released of Their Credit Card Debt

Posted on Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 1:53 pm    

credit card debtThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our clients, a husband and wife, were getting sued by credit card companies. They had been making payments, but the interest rate were so high that their payments only went to the monthly interest on their cards. They were afraid to file bankruptcy because they were afraid they’d lose their house and their car.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates helped them file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and made sure they didn’t lose any property. The credit card debt – which would have already been paid back if it would have had normal interest rates – was wiped clean.

The Result

Our clients received a fresh start and then began living their lives without the constant fear of a lawsuit hanging over their heads.

If you are going through tough financial stress, call Lawrence & Associates’ Fort Mitchell, KY office to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our highly experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Husband and Wife in Northern Kentucky Avoid Foreclosure on Their Home

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 4:02 pm    

foreclosure noticeThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent Bankruptcy case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our clients, a husband and wife, got a foreclosure notice in the mail. They had worked really hard to get their house and even harder to get the mortgage modified after they both got laid off a few years ago. Now it looked like all those efforts were for nothing, because the bank was coming to take the house away.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates helped our clients file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with a five year repayment plan to get their mortgage caught up. Their monthly payment was something they could afford to pay, and the bank was not allowed to foreclose on their house.

The Result

Our clients kept their home and are still living there to this day!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Widow Overwhelmed with Medical Bills After Losing Her Husband to Cancer

Posted on Thursday, August 14th, 2014 at 3:43 pm    

bankruptcy due to medical billsThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce or been saddled with overwhelming medical bills. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share a recent Bankruptcy case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client (M.C.) was a widow who had a mountain of medical bills waiting for her after her husband lost his battle with cancer. The hospital threatened a lawsuit and would not accept the amount of money she offered to pay them each month.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates helped our client file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy so she could keep her farm and pay a reasonable amount toward the medical bills each month. She did not have to pay the medical bills in full, but paid what she could.

The Result

Our client successfully paid the hospital to the best of her ability and received a discharge on the rest of the debt.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Providing You With Debt Relief Solutions Through Bankruptcy

Regardless of the reasons that brought you to financial distress, filing for bankruptcy does not make you a bad person. In fact, the government created bankruptcy in order to help people recover from unmanageable financial problems. At Lawrence & Associates, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy laws are made to protect them and will allow for a brighter financial future.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

More About Us

>> Our Team
>> Our Testimonials
>> Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Lawrence & Associates Helped Clients Who Were Having Their Wages Garnished by Multiple Creditors

Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2014 at 1:30 pm    

Wage GarnishmentThere are many reasons that individuals and families find they can no longer afford to pay monthly bills. Some may have recently gone through a divorce. Others have been injured at work or in an accident and are unable to earn an income. Many are facing increased interest rates on mortgages or credit cards and cannot keep up. There are also people who simply let spending get out of control and cannot find a way out. We want to share recent Bankruptcy case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our clients were are husband and wife who had had three children. Their wages were being garnished by multiple creditors and they were unable to pay their necessary living expenses and were desperate and in need of  help.

What We Did

Lawrence & Associates filed a bankruptcy for this couple and discharged their debts in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Lawrence & Associates also forced the creditors to return $1,500 to our clients because it had been garnished within the 90 day time frame before they filed bankruptcy.

The Result

Now our clients can pay their living expenses and raise their children without the constant fear of lawsuits and garnishments hanging over their heads. The $1,500 returned to them provided them a “cushion” so they can avoid this situation happening again in the future.

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