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My Car Was Repossessed Right Before Filing a Bankruptcy…. What Should I Do?

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 1:35 pm    

repossessionAct Quickly, You May Be Able to Get Your Car Back

If your car is repossessed before you file for bankruptcy, you might be able to get the car back by filing for bankruptcy; however, you must act quickly! Generally, once the car is sold at auction, you won’t get it back. Therefore, you should contact a Kenton County Bankruptcy attorney as soon as your car is repossessed. Legally, if you have nonexempt equity in your car, the lender must return the car because it is part of the bankruptcy estate, and the repossession is considered to be an illegal preference. In practice, however, car loan lenders generally won’t return the car without an order from the court, which usually means you’ll need help from a Northern Kentucky bankruptcy attorney. Once you have the car back, you’ll still have to either redeem the car or reaffirm the contract in order to keep the car.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Also Allow You to Get the Car Back

If you were considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy anyway, and do so quickly you may be able to keep your car. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can repay any car loan arrears through your Chapter 13 repayment plan. So, if you can make your regular car note payment and your plan payments, you’ll be able to keep your car. The automatic stay applies to Chapter 13 too, so you should be able to stop any pending repossession sale.

Beware: If You Can’t Afford the Payments, Getting the Car Back May Not Be Your Best Option

Sometimes, getting your car back once it’s been repossessed is not the always the best option. Often, people are willing to accept any terms to get a vehicle back because they need the car, for example, to get to work. However, if you owe significantly more than the vehicle is worth and know you will have trouble keeping up with the payments in the future, you might want to contact an attorney and discuss your options.

If you or someone you know is facing repossession or has recently had his or her vehicle repossessed, contact Lawrence & Associates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky today to get the help that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Need a Status Update On Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Check Online or Call Your Attorney

Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 2:33 pm    

Bankruptcy UpdateChapter 13 Bankruptcies last for 3-5 years in almost every case so it’s common for the debtor to want to check its status.  Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often a straightforward affair. Most of the work is done on the front end, especially for the debtor. You gather your paperwork, let the lawyer generate the documents, show up to a few meetings and one court hearing, and then wait for the discharge in the mail. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a much longer and more involved process. Debtors want a status on the bankruptcy during that time, to make sure the payments he or she is making are actually doing what they are supposed to do.

Call Your Attorney to Get an Update

If you want a status on your bankruptcy, don’t be afraid to call your attorney to get an update. Your attorney is paid to counsel you not just at the time of filing, but also throughout the bankruptcy. If you have questions or a problem with your Chapter 13, your attorney should be able to help you with that even if you filed the bankruptcy years ago.

Check Your Status Online!

You can also get a status on your bankruptcy online. Go to www.13datacenter.com and set up a free account as a Debtor. You will be asked some background questions to verify your identity, similar to the kinds of questions you are asked when you look up your credit report. Once your account is created, you can see all the payments you’ve made to the trustee and where those payments have gone.

Typically, you’ll see payments made in the following order…

  1. Fees your attorney did not charge up front (but which should be disclosed in the contract)
  2. Secured claims such as a car loan
  3. Any mortgage or tax arrearage
  4. Unsecured creditors such as credit cards.

As a rule, you should see car loans, taxes, and mortgage arrearages being paid in full, if you are near the end of your bankruptcy.

Call Your Attorney First Before Contacting the Chapter 13 Trustee Office

You can also get some information from the Chapter 13 trustee’s office, although calling the Chapter 13 trustee should be an option of last resort. Generally, if the Chapter 13 trustee has to step in and start answering questions about how the bankruptcy case is being handled, the attorney isn’t doing a very good job. Make sure you call your attorney first!

At Lawrence & Associates’ Kenton County office, we’ve helped hundreds of people get a fresh start from crushing debts. Our attorneys take care to communicate with each and every valued client so that there is no confusion as to how a bankruptcy will operate. 

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


How Many Years Do I Have to Wait Before Filing a New Bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky?

Posted on Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 10:32 am    

how long between bankruptciesMany people in Northern Kentucky filed a bankruptcy within the last five to ten years, only to find new debts piling up. Northern Kentucky citizens sometimes find that the first bankruptcy may not have erased a debt as expected. Other times unexpected new debts occur after the first bankruptcy was filed, such as high medical bills from a Northern Kentucky hospital like St. Elizabeth Medical Center. The Northern Kentucky attorneys at Lawrence & Associates can provide affordable debt relief in this situation.

8 Years Between Chapter 7 Bankruptcies – Don’t Wait To Meet with an Bankruptcy Attorney Until the 8 year Term is Up

The bankruptcy code requires eight years between filing Chapter 7s, but there are many other options available for relief from out of control debt. That doesn’t mean you should wait for eight years to seek legal advice! The Northern Kentucky attorneys at Lawrence & Associates will work with you while you are waiting for your opportunity to file a Chapter 7 again, making sure you are ready to file as soon as your new Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available. If you delay seeking legal advice, you play right into your creditors’ hands, because they know you are able to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy after eight years, and they will try to sue you in Northern Kentucky before you can file. Get in touch with a Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Attorney today to stop creditors from suing you!

You Can File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy at Any Time

In Northern Kentucky, you also have the option of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time after your Chapter 7 discharge, and this Chapter 13 will hold off your creditors until you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy again. The Northern Kentucky attorneys at Lawrence & Associates can work with you on this and many other options to stop creditor harassment and provide debt relief immediately. If you aren’t able to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy yet but you need legal assistance now, call Lawrence & Associates in Northern Kentucky and we can help you!

If you or someone you know need(s) to file bankruptcy and has recently moved in or out of Kentucky, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Will Filing for Bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky Affect Your Spouse’s Credit?

Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 3:41 pm    

bankruptcyIn Northern Kentucky, if you choose to file for bankruptcy without including your spouse, your spouse’s social security number will not appear on the bankruptcy. As a result, there will be no effect on your spouse’s credit.  Bear in mind that whichever spouse chooses not to file will not have any of their debts affected.  Co-signed debts, such as a credit card in both spouse’s names, will still be the responsibility of the non-filing spouse to pay. Often times, it is in both parties best interest to file together if the couple has co-signed debts. Therefore, it is within your best interest to contact an experienced Northern Kentucky bankruptcy attorney who can advise you and your spouse of the best option.

When Only One Spouse Files for Bankruptcy

If only one spouse chooses to file, the credit of the non-filing spouse should remain unaffected. Each person has a separate credit file for credit reporting purposes. Your debts, if the debts are truly yours alone, are not supposed to show in your spouse’s credit report. Similarly, your bankruptcy should not show in your spouse’s file if you have no joint debts.

Applying for Loans Jointly

While the bankruptcy of one spouse should not affect the credit of the non-filing spouse, the bankruptcy of one spouse will have some effect on the credit worthiness of the non-filing spouse if they apply jointly in the future for a loan. The loan grantor will likely consider the credit rating of both applicants in making a lending decision.

Lawrence & Associates can help Kenton County residents, as well as other Northern Kentucky couples, file bankruptcy as a couple or file for one spouse alone.

If you or someone you know need(s) to file bankruptcy, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

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.

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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.


I Just Moved to Kentucky – Can I File Bankruptcy Here?

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 8:01 am    

Moving To a New State

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Moving can be an adventure, especially when moving to another state. At Lawrence & Associates, a Kenton County Kentucky bankruptcy law firm, we have had many clients move to Kentucky only to find their financial fortunes have changed. Sometimes, clients move to Kentucky for a job that winds up being too good to be true. Other clients relocate from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky in the middle of a major life event, such as divorce. Whatever the reason, moving to a new state can present financial challenges and sometimes those financial challenges lead to bankruptcyIf you are new Kentucky and are thinking of filing bankruptcy, you may be a little confused about where you should file. Is it better to file in Kentucky, or better to file in the state you just moved from? 

Have You Lived in Kentucky for More Than Six Months?

You must live in Kentucky for at least six months to be eligible to file bankruptcy here. If you’ve lived here less than six months, don’t worry – preparing to file a bankruptcy often takes a month or two all by itself, and the dates are all measured from when you actually file (not from when you first think about filing). There is an exception to this rule, but it only applies if you haven’t lived in any state for six months or more over the course of the last nine months.  If you’ve lived in Kentucky for six months, you have to file bankruptcy in Kentucky!

If You Haven’t Lived in a New State for 6 Months, Where Do You Have a Better Chance of Filing the Kind of Bankruptcy You Want?

Although bankruptcy laws are federal, different parts of the country have slightly different rules relating to (for example) the way you can protect your assets from the trustee or the amount you have to pay monthly in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Even relatively short distances – such as moving from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky or vice versa – can have big consequences! If you are in a grey area where the difference of a month or two will change where you file your bankruptcy, you should ABSOLUTELY talk to a reputable bankruptcy attorney right away. Timing is important and you don’t want to wait the extra couple of months only to find out that you are in danger of losing  your car or home because you waited too long to file.

At Lawrence & Associates, we help people file bankruptcy every day. Further, we have the skill and expertise to help you decide which state’s bankruptcy rules would be better for you.

If you or someone you know need(s) to file bankruptcy and has recently moved in or out of Kentucky, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Make Sure to Report The Required Types of Income in Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 2:30 pm    

income checklist in a chapter 13 bankruptcyWhen filing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor is required to list his or her current monthly income on the chapter 13 Means Test. This is important because it allows for the calculation of both the debtor’s commitment period and the debtor’s disposable income. Due to the nature of the chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is sometimes beneficial to the debtor that his or her income be minimal rather than a greater amount. Therefore, it is crucial to know exactly what type of income needs to be listed and what type does not.

The Obvious

  • Gross wages
  • Salary
  • Tips
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime
  • Commissions

Form 22C indicates that “All figures must reflect average monthly income received from all sources derived during the six calendar months prior to filing the bankruptcy case, ending on the last day of the month before filing.” It is important to realize that if the debtor is married, than he or she must list the spouse’s income, regardless of whether or not it is a joint-bankruptcy.

Business Income

  • Gross income derived from the operation of a business, profession, or farm

In re Wuilnau, the court held the where a debtor receives income from an LLC, that income needs to be included as part of the Current Monthly Income.2012 Bankr. LEXIS 1121 at *10-11 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio March 14, 2012).

Other Forms if Income

  • Income derived from rentals or real property
  • Interest, dividends, and royalties
  • Pension and retirement
  • Unemployment compensation (unless it was received by the debtor or the debtor’s spouse as a benefit under the Social Security Act)
  • Other sources of income unless specifically excluded.

Certain transactions that have been held to not constitute income for purposes of a chapter 13 are…

  • Loans
  • One-time withdrawals from 401(k) or an IRA
  • Sales of vehicles in a non-business context – In re Leach, the courts held that income derived from the sale of a vehicle used to purchase a newer vehicle was not income that needed to be included in the chapter 13 Means Test. 61 Collier Bankr. Cas.22d (MB) 15555, 2009 Bankr. LEXIS 1097 at 26 (Bankr. D. Mont. Feb. 26, 2009)
  • Transitional bonus payments set off against loan (such as a pay advance)

If you or someone you know may need to file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


It’s Crucial To Know What Deductions To Report in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 8:12 am    

bankrutpcy checklistA debtor is required to list his or her current monthly income on the chapter 13 Means Test when filing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is important because it allows for the calculation of both the debtor’s commitment period and the debtor’s disposable income. Additionally, due to the nature of the chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is sometimes beneficial to the debtor that his or her income be minimal rather than a greater amount, so it’s imperative that one know exactly what type of income needs to be listed. Consequently, knowing what deductions are allowed to be included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is just as crucial. Generally, the Means Test follows the same National Standards set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Internal Revenue Manual to calculate the allowable living expenses for all applicable persons. The applicable number of persons is the same number that would currently be allowed as exemptions on a debtor’s federal income tax return, plus the number of any additional dependents whom that debtor supports.

The IRS Definition of Necessary Expenses…

“Allowable expenses include those expenses that meet the necessary expense test. The necessary expense test is defined as expenses that are necessary to provide for a taxpayer’s and his or her family’s health and welfare and/or production of income. The expenses establish the minimum a taxpayer and family needs to live.” §15.1.7 at P 1,3.

  • Food, Clothing, and Other Items – these generally include food, housekeeping supplies, apparel and services, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous. Taxpayers are allowed the total National Standards amount monthly for their family size.
  • Healthcare – Calculated by using the number of applicable persons and the IRS National Standards for out of pocket health care.
  • Housing and Utilities, Mortgage/Rent Expenses – Calculated by using the IRS Housing standards for the taxpayer’s county and family size. Housing expenses generally include mortgage (including interest) or rent, property taxes, necessary maintenance and repair, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, homeowner dues, etc. Utility expenses include gas, electricity, water, heating oil, bottled gas, trash and garbage collection, phone and cell phone expenses, etc.
  • Transportation, Vehicle Operation/Public Transportation Expenses

Calculating all these expenses is a rather convoluted process, as well as another reason why it is so important to consult with a Northern Kentucky bankruptcy attorney when considering filing for bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky.

If you or someone you know need(s) to file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

 

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