There are two major categories of debts incurred during or after a divorce, and it is important to determine the nature of these debts in order to determine whether the bankruptcy court can provide any relief. The first type is a domestic support obligation such as a child support or alimony. As you may expect, neither the ongoing support payments nor past due payments can be discharged in bankruptcy, and the automatic stay from a bankruptcy filing does not stop the collection activities on these obligations.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Bankruptcy trends provide useful information but fuel much speculation. Does a drop in bankruptcy filings indicate the economy has improved or that most people who needed to file have already done so? Does it mean that people are finding better income to pay their debts or that they are just able to borrow more now that the credit freeze has thawed out?
Monday, August 1, 2011
Most people who file for bankruptcy do so to get a discharge of their debts so they can start over financially. Debts fall into different categories under federal law which may or not be dischargeable. In many consumer cases, many debts are either clearly dischargeable or clearly not dischargeable, though some debts fall into gray areas.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Owners of small businesses often ask if they can file a bankruptcy petition only in the name of their business or otherwise keep their consumer debts out of a business bankruptcy filing. In many cases, the owners themselves will need to file a personal bankruptcy and not a bankruptcy for their business entity. Here is why:
Monday, March 28, 2011
Debtors frequently ask if they can do anything to stop a garnishment or a lawsuit before they are ready to file a complete bankruptcy case, perhaps as a "pre-filing" measure. After all, how can they afford to pay a bankruptcy lawyer once part of their take-home pay is being garnished? I am sorry to report that there is no procedure in bankruptcy to stop debt collection before you really file bankruptcy. The process is only started with a bankruptcy petition, and for Chapter 7 cases your attorney must be paid in advance. (Bankruptcy attorneys also usually want all the documents fully prepared for the time of filing, though you can file a "skeletal" petition and then file the complete forms within 14 days. However, there are serious pros and cons.)
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Many people who file for bankruptcy are allowed to keep all their property, though it is important to review and plan bankruptcy exemptions. First of all, the bankruptcy process (particularly in Chapter 7) is designed for a debtor to have property sold off for the benefit of creditors. If you have anything you cannot afford to lose in bankruptcy, this can be a tricky process requiring a lawyer who will help you plan carefully.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Deciding whether bankruptcy is best for your situation is complex enough. If you have decided you need bankruptcy relief, the next question to consider is whether to file now or file later. Although filing provides immediate protection against collection efforts, there are situations in which you will be better off if you wait.