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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


Lawrence & Associates Provided Free Legal Consultations on Weekends at the Richwood Flea Market This Summer

Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2014 at 3:32 pm    

The Attorneys of Lawrence & Associates provided free legal consultations at the Richwood Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays between 9am – 5pm this summer. Thanks for meeting with us!

Richwood Flea Market

Kentuckys best and most loved Flea Market since 1980! Richwood Flea Market is your one stop shopping home for all things vintage and new. Whether you are looking for a bargain or looking for a home for your store, Richwood Flea Market is the place for you. Great family fun and food!
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Lawrence & Associates

Lawrence & Associates is a firm dedicated to helping accident victims and the families of fatal accident victims get the compensation and care they need to rebuild their lives. We also help people and their businesses obtain a fresh financial start through bankruptcy. Lawrence & Associates is located in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, and serves all of Northern Kentucky.


What Does It Cost To Have An Attorney Handle My Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case?

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014 at 2:41 pm    

fresh start bankruptcyThe short Answer at Lawrence & Associates is that in most cases it costs $870 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or $300 out of pocket for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, plus court fees of $335 for a Chapter 7 or $310 for a Chapter 13. In extremely complex or extremely simple cases our prices will vary but those cases are very rare.

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, What Do You Mean By Out of Pocket?

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Lawrence & Associates will end up getting $3,500 ultimately but the client will only have to pay us $300 out of pocket plus court fees. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the client never has to pay the full fee out of pocket. The remainder of the $3,500 fee that Lawrence & Associates gets is paid through the bankruptcy court.

How Are Court Fees Paid?

The client prepays the filing fee to Lawrence & Associates and then we pay the fee for them when we file.

What about Consultations and Retainers?

Initial Consultation are always free, with no obligation to sign up.

Sometimes you need us to act quickly and get the details later. In that case, we can be retained for $275 to start working on the bankruptcy immediately.


Student Loans Cannot Be Discharged in a Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2014 at 3:10 pm    

Student LoadsPresently student loans are non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy and it doesn’t seem that Congress is likely to change this rule anytime soon. The only way to get rid of a student loan is by paying it off.

Types of Student Loans…

  • Loans from the Federal Government – Loans from the federal government are typically low rate and the government is less likely to be aggressive when chasing debtors down for money.
  • Student Loans from Private Lenders – Private lenders of student loans are in most cases aggressive in collecting debts.  These lenders can be a real nightmare to deal with.

Students Need To Be Careful About Taking More Loans Than They Need

A lot of students take out large loans that cover all tuition, rent, and living expenses for a semester, when they could take out just enough to cover tuition and work to pay their rent and living expenses, which is the better idea. Also, students need to look at the average earnings for graduates with a given degree and compare that to the amount of tuition going into that degree to see whether it is even possible to pay the loan back. There are many degrees obtained from high priced institutions where it is almost mathematically impossible to pay the loans back.

Next Steps for Those With Large Amounts of Student Loans?

Since you can’t discharge student loan debt, you would be best to just pay them. Maybe you can cut expenses enough to make this happen. This is your best option. For those who just can’t handle their other debts to enable them to pay down their  student loans; chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option.

Immediate Relief For Pressing Financial Problems

Above all, do not ignore your financial problems or lawsuits that creditors bring against you. These issues will not disappear. Your best option is to contact a bankruptcy attorney at the first sign of financial distress. Even if you are facing immediate foreclosure, repossession or wage garnishment, Lawrence & Associates can provide swift legal action to help protect you. Your start to a fresh financial future begins when you contact the bankruptcy law firm of Lawrence & Associates. Our firm helps clients file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When you work with our firm, we will take the time to fully explain your legal options and the bankruptcy process in an understandable way — not with complex legal jargon. We can also provide advice on how to stop creditor harassment, garnishment, foreclosure and repossessions.

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.

If you or someone you know has large amounts of student loans that they are having a problem paying back, have them contact Lawrence & Associates today to see if we can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

This is an advertisement. This does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney client relationship.


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

 


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

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