July 24, 2017

Beware Debt Consolidation and Repayment Proposals

In my bankruptcy practice I have dealings with many people who, in response to financial difficulties, have sought help from companies that purport to help settle, consolidate or otherwise manage the debt. By and large, most of these people have learned of these companies from advertising. While there are few legitimate firms that provide these services, most simply draft the debtor’s funds … [Read more...]

How Long Will Creditors Try to Collect on a Judgment?

In my ongoing series of blog posts about debt collection, garnishments, judgments, and how to rebound from financial setbacks I am asked lots of questions. One reader asked what happens when you've proven to the sheriff that all your property is exempt from the judgment. She said, "Do they hawk you for years waiting for your financial situation to improve? What happens if you win the lottery … [Read more...]

Chapter 11 or 13 for Troubled Businesses ?

This month news of an oil and gas producer filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection made news. The reason cited for the financial difficulty is the drop in oil prices, which have have slid some 50 percent since June. My Chapter 11 clients own small to mid-sized businesses, but they have the same problems as bigger companies who need to reorganize under the orderly process of a bankruptcy … [Read more...]

What Can I Do about a Judgment against Me in NC?

A creditor has obtained a judgment against you. That means that the judgment constitutes a lien on your real estate (land and buildings) in the North Carolina county in which the judgment was obtained and in any North Carolina county into which it has been transcribed. It also means that the judgment creditor can have the sheriff seize personal property—anything other than land or buildings, … [Read more...]

What to do When Creditors Call You at Work

Creditors and collection agencies use so-called "robo-dialing" technologies to call debtors at work, home and on their cell phones day after day.  The best advice is to not talk to them, unless you have a proposal for repaying the debt in full. If you have a smart phone, you can set it to "reject" the call, but of course this won't make your debts go away. You can send a cease and desist … [Read more...]

Creditors and Divorce Agreements

Most married couples incur joint debts during their marriage, meaning that both spouses are liable for the debt.  Here are some general thoughts to consider if you find yourself contemplating, or going through, a bankruptcy and divorce in North Carolina. Creditors don't care about divorce agreements Your creditors are not bound by your separation or divorce agreement with your spouse. Your … [Read more...]

Settle Your IRS Debts for Pennies on the Dollar

​The tax return is filed and the taxpayer cannot pay the taxes. Then comes a letter from the IRS demanding payment. The taxpayer sees a nifty ad in the newspaper or on TV screaming "Settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar!"  Should the taxpayer hold out hope for salvation? This is almost always a promise of salvation provided by unsavory operators who prey on tardy taxpayers … [Read more...]

Repaying debts with Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, or Chapter 13

In nearly 40 years of practicing bankruptcy law, I've learned a lot about human nature. One of those things is that the vast majority of people want to pay their debts. Almost invariably, they do not want to file bankruptcy because of the perceived stigma. This is understandable, but it may lead to a decision that in the long run becomes costly and painful. To meet that desire to make good on … [Read more...]

Debt Resolution Programs: Beware, Beware

Look, I know why people have joined or are considering joining so-called "debt resolution" programs; we humans have an innate desire to “do the right thing” and honor our debts. But with so many people turning to me to pick up the pieces of a debt resolution program gone bad, it's time to take a stand against them. The ugly downside of debt arbitration programs As I work with new clients in … [Read more...]