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BANKRUPTCY CASE STUDY: Couple Gets To Keep Their Home After Both Being Laid Off By Using a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 3:03 pm    

safe homeClient(s) Challenge – Our clients L.S. and P.S., a husband and wife living in Northern Kentucky, 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.

Lawrence and Associates’ Solution – Lawrence and Associates helped L.S. and P.S. 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.

Results – L.S. and P.S. kept their home and are still living there to this day.

About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are a Kentucky resident struggling to pay your debts, you need to take action. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can put a stop to foreclosure or repossession actions, as well as wage garnishments, so that you can get a fresh financial start. It will also end the harassing phone calls and letters. You must comply with the terms of any repayment agreement or you will lose these protections, so it is important to have strong legal guidance before agreeing to anything. You want an experienced bankruptcy to protect your interests. At Lawrence & Associates, we provide comprehensive counsel in Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters to people throughout Northern Kentucky. We will take the time to listen carefully to your questions and concerns, and explain the law and the process, as well as your options. We will help you identify your needs and goals, so that we can tailor our counsel to your specific situation.

Experienced Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you don’t qualify to permanently discharge debt under Chapter 7 or prefer to set up a new payment plan with your creditors, we will help you reorganize your debt in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. We will prepare and file all the necessary paperwork to complete the process and will represent you in hearings or meetings with creditors, the bankruptcy trustee or the bankruptcy court. We will help you put together a reorganization plan and will review all proposed repayment plans to ensure they are appropriate.

Immediate Relief

When you file for protection under Chapter 13, an automatic stay goes into effect, which prevents your creditors from calling, writing or using any other means to collect the debt, other than through the bankruptcy proceeding. The automatic stay will suspend foreclosure or repossession actions, as well as wage garnishments, giving you time to get back on your feet financially. In many instances, you will be able to reduce the amount you have to pay, sometimes to as little as a penny on the dollar, by entering into agreements with your creditors. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be ideal for someone with large medical bills or credit card debt, allowing you the opportunity to keep most or all of your assets and enter into payment arrangements that are workable.


Northern Kentucky Residents Have a Right to Haggle Over Their Debt

Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 3:09 pm    

lender callsThere is a pervasive myth in American society that attempting to negotiate down the amount of one’s debt is a bad thing. This myth is designed to keep you poor, and beholden to the interests of the banks, credit card companies, and other lenders that you’ve met during your quest to live a happy, normal life. The truth is that you have every right to negotiate down your debts, and that the lender or collection agency will usually work with you if you stand your ground and dangle a carrot in front of them. Don’t forget that the fees, fines, interest rates, and negative remarks on your credit report are not unchangeable, universal laws physics that cannot be altered. They aren’t laws at all, actually; rather, they are only policies, arbitrarily set by the lender (and often arbitrarily changed by them, too). Policies that are set arbitrarily and changed arbitrarily can be negotiated. Also, don’t forget that the lender you are using is a business, and it is in competition with every other lending business out there. If the lender is faced with a choice of waiving a few late fees or watching you walk to their competitor and pay them exorbitant interest rates for a while, then it’s no choice at all. The lender would much rather work with you than watch you walk to a competing Northern Kentucky business.

Bankruptcy is a Creditor’s Trump Card and a Fresh Start

In a bankruptcy, you have the ability to force the lender to take nothing (or much less than 100%) in return for their loan. Obviously, this is the worst possible outcome for the lender, and you have a Constitutional right to spring it on them at any time. The lenders know this, and this is a principal reason that they continue to perpetrate the myth that rearranging your debt is a sin; absent any legal way to prevent you from using your trump card, they try to convince you that the trump card is evil. Calling bankruptcy a trump card, by the way, is poetry because Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy on multiple occasions. The belief in this myth is a major way that the thinking of wealthy people and business owners differs from the thinking of the poor and middle classes. Wealthy people and business owners don’t feel bad about filing bankruptcy or re-negotiating debt; it’s just another business decision. That decision should have no different connotations for you.

You Have Rights When Dealing With Lenders

When dealing with a Northern Kentucky lender, remember to be firm and remember that you have rights. The person you are talking to almost certainly has some ability to help you. If not, his or her supervisor does. However, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That means you must be polite and calm. Calling them in a temper tantrum won’t solve anything. They don’t have to help you, any more than you have to work that extra shift to pay their bill. If you have a lender that is abusive – including calling you at odd hours, calling friends and family about your debt, calling you at work, or telling you they’ll have you arrested – ask for the person’s name, employee number, direct line, or any other identifying information you can think of. Tell them you are gathering this information in order to file a Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) violation complaint. If that doesn’t change their tone, get a lawyer to deal with them for you. And if the lender really won’t budge, or if you have so many lenders that you can’t pay the bills even if they do try to help you out, then get ready to file a bankruptcy. Bankruptcy wipes the slate clean and gives you a fresh start.

Lawrence & Associates are Northern Kentucky lawyers who fight for the rights of debtors just like you, every day. Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Legal Update: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Says Debtors in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies Can’t Contribute to 401K or Retirement Plans

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 3:41 pm    

legal updateThe 6th Cir. Court of Appeals, which covers Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, says debtors in Chapter 13 bankruptcies can’t contribute to 401k or retirement plans while they are in bankruptcy.

This Decisions Limits an Individual’s “Fresh Start” Through Bankruptcy 

If you are a debtor in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this decision is bad for you because it causes you to have a higher payment to the trustee. It also takes away your ability to save for retirement. The whole point of bankruptcy is to get a “fresh start”, and part of getting a fresh start is having the ability to save for retirement.

This Decision Will Effect All Taxpayers Eventually

If you are a taxpayer, this is also a really bad decision. People that haven’t adequately saved for retirement are more likely to take advantage of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security for longer periods of time (i.e. before age 67). An increase in the need for these programs will worsen the country’s debt problem and may increase taxes down the line.

What Should Be Done…

We all know that most people don’t save for retirement adequately. The bankruptcy system should force debtors to put money toward their retirement, not prohibit them.  Instead of maximizing the amount of money creditors can get, maximize the benefit to all taxpayers in general. Most creditors are multi-billion dollar corporations, and many of them received bailouts during the great recession. There’s no reason the law should continue backstopping their bad lending decisions at the cost of regular people’s future.

It can be tough staying current on bankruptcy law and it is one of the many reasons that Northern Kentucky bankruptcy filers need the services of a skilled bankruptcy lawyer.

“We’ve Got You Covered.” If you live in the Northern Kentucky area, including Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Gallatin Counties, Lawrence & Associates can help you with your bankruptcy. Call us today for a free consultation!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Does Filing Bankruptcy Affect a Co-Signer’s Credit?

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 5:39 pm    

Many people who file bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky have co-signers on their debt. For some, the co-signer is part of the reason they are filing bankruptcy in the first place! I cannot count the number of parents I have met who have had to file bankruptcy because they were sued when a child defaulted on car payments. Similarly, I have helped quite a few people file bankruptcy because an ex-spouse defaulted on the mortgage that both spouses signed before the divorce.

Trying Not to Hurt a Family Member’s Credit

Sometimes the reverse of that situation is also true. I’ve seen quite a few people fall on hard times with their debts generally, but faithfully keep a particular debt paid because they know a family member co-signed on that debt. The last thing anyone wants is for a family member’s credit to be hurt, especially if that family member has nothing to do with the default on that debt. In this situation, the question I’m most commonly asked is, “If I file bankruptcy on this debt, will it hurt my co-signer’s credit?”

Bankruptcy is Tied to Specific Social Security Numbers

The answer is straightforward, but there are a few factors that need to be considered before you arrive at a plan to deal with the debt. In short, if you file bankruptcy, your social security number is the one the bankruptcy attaches to. A co-signer’s social security number will not be involved, and thus the bankruptcy does not go on their credit. At most, the co-signer’s credit report will receive a notation, on the particular debt in question, that a bankruptcy was filed on that debt. This should not affect the co-signer’s credit score.

Can Creditors Come After Co-Signers After Kentucky Bankruptcy Proceedings Are Started?

The bigger and more important issue is the matter of whether the creditor can sue or demand payment from the co-signer. If the co-signer has not filed a bankruptcy of his or her own, then the co-signer might be forced to pay the debt. This can be avoided if you continue to pay on the debt, and there are several ways that this can be accomplished, including by filing a reaffirmation or by paying the debt through a Chapter 13 payment plan.

Protecting co-signers during a bankruptcy is one of the many reasons that Northern Kentucky bankruptcy filers need the services of a skilled bankruptcy attorney.

If you or someone you know may need to file bankruptcy, contact a Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyer today. Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

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