June 20, 2018

What can I do about Student Loans I can’t Repay?

Many of my clients owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, either for their own education or their children’s, and this debt can be a real and crushing financial burden. The total outstanding student loan balance is $1.08 trillion. According to Forbes, 11.5% of it is 90+ days delinquent or in default, a number on the rise consistently since 2003. The delinquency rate on student loans … [Read more...]

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Primer, Part 1 of 2

Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases by large corporations make the news more frequently than smaller companies using Chapter 11, leaving some business owners and nonprofit organizations like churches wondering whether Chapter 11 is an option for them. Chapter 11 is not as straightforward to explain as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, so I wrote this white paper on Chapter 11 and designed this FAQ: Q: How … [Read more...]

Should I Keep Some of My Debts Out of Bankruptcy?

When people consider filing for bankruptcy protection, they often want to know if they can keep some of their debts out of their bankruptcy estate. In legal terms, this is called "reaffirming a debt." Reaffirmation means that the reaffirmed debt is not discharged in bankruptcy.  In other words, the Debtor voluntarily agrees that the debt will not go away.  Beware reaffirming debts What … [Read more...]

Reaffirmation in Bankruptcy: What, How, When and Why

The goal in any bankruptcy case is to discharge debts. Discharge is the technical legal term that means the debts no longer exist. Literally, they are gone and can never come back. An exception to discharge can come in the form of the reaffirmation of a particular debt. Reaffirmation means that the debt is excepted from the discharge and is not affected by the bankruptcy discharge. Reaffirmation … [Read more...]

Joint Liability for Debts: An FAQ

I am frequently asked whether spouses have joint liability for debts. This FAQ should help readers gain a basic understanding of the issues to consider, but is not a replacement for a qualified bankruptcy attorney's opinion on your specifics. Q: MY HUSBAND HAS SUBSTANTIAL DEBT THAT HE CANNOT PAY. HE NEEDS TO FILE BANKRUPTCY. DO I HAVE TO FILE WITH HIM? A: I have heard this quite often. One … [Read more...]

Attorneys Who Don’t Understand Bankruptcy’s Means Test: A Case Study

I was recently consulted by a highly-paid professional.  He was quite distraught over his financial plight that included debts of over $1,000,000.  He had consulted another attorney who had indicated to him that he was going to have difficulty filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case because of the amount of his income. He was at his wits end. I analyzed his situation. Two ways the Bankruptcy Code … [Read more...]

The Bankruptcy Means Test: Don’t Make Assumptions

Virtually everyone who is considering bankruptcy goes online to get information regarding the bankruptcy process.  These folks will almost certainly encounter the “means test." This is a part of the bankruptcy law that makes it harder to file a Chapter 7, liquidating bankruptcy. The means test purportedly exists to stop people from abusing the bankruptcy law by filing Chapter 7 cases when they … [Read more...]

Bankruptcy and Exempt Property: Common Mistakes

I have been practicing bankruptcy law for over forty years. This year I saw two cases in bankruptcy court illustrating the danger of hiring a so-called bankruptcy attorney who didn't understand the fundamentals of exempt property. First, a primer on exempt property I typically refer to property that creditors cannot reach as exempt property. Although there are many exemptions created by other … [Read more...]

Is Bankruptcy Right For Me? Questions to Ask Yourself

There are some things regarding family finances that serve as a warning that the family should take a good hard look at their financial situation and determine how to remedy the situation.  I have listed some of these below.  If your family has had one or more of these happen, do not put off addressing what may be in your financial future. 1.  There are months in which there is not enough money … [Read more...]

Bankruptcy Specialist: Do I need one?

People choose bankruptcy lawyers based on many things, including their experience.  How do you choose the right one? While there are a number of Charlotte attorneys who practice bankruptcy law that are competent, if not at the highest level, to handle most bankruptcy matters, there are a few extremely capable bankruptcy attorneys in western North Carolina. Unfortunately, there are a number … [Read more...]