Saturday, October 20, 2012

Should you stop paying credit cards?

Should you stop paying credit card balances once you have decided to file for bankruptcy relief? Or should you ever stop paying them when you do not plan to file bankruptcy? I will address each of these situations.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Choosing a bankruptcy lawyer

There are many different types of bankruptcy attorneys from which to choose. Please follow these suggestions when looking for a lawyer:
  • Ask for recommendations: The best source for recommendations would be lawyers you already know and trust. Other types of lawyers probably know who practices bankruptcy and who is trustworthy and diligent. You can also ask friends and family, but make sure you ask about the quality of service that someone received from the lawyer.
  • Schedule an initial consultation: Meet with a lawyer on your first visit. If you are scheduled to meet with a paralegal, this is a bad sign. If you are asked to bring enough money to file the case on your first visit, this is too much pressure and a sign that the lawyer is desperate to earn a fee and not evaluate your case thoroughly beforehand.
  • Evaluate the information you received: Do you understand what would happen if you filed Chapter 7? Chapter 13? Do you understand what would happen if you do not file bankruptcy at all? Do you understand the steps to take before and after filing? You should hire a lawyer who is going to help you make an informed decision and make sure that filing bankruptcy would be in your best interest.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Headline: Baseball great pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud

From the Associated Press via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Baseball great pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud.

It is a federal crime to conceal assets in a bankruptcy case. Most intentional fraud probably operates at a low level, such as when smaller assets are undervalued or not listed, perhaps with the intention of claiming that they belong to someone else. And there is no doubt that assets are often forgotten or undervalued unintentionally. But when someone like Lenny Dykstra lies about the location or sale of his property, as I understand this story to say, then a routine bankruptcy case turns into a serious criminal prosecution.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Georgia increases homestead exemption

On May 2, Governor Deal signed a bill that more than doubled the value that a bankruptcy debtor can exempt for his or her home in Georgia. The exemption available is now $21,500, up from the previous amount of $10,000, and a married debtor can still exempt double that amount -- $43,000. Georgia's bankruptcy exemption amounts for one's home are still low compared the amounts available in other states, but this is a much more meaningful amount.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My ex-spouse filed bankruptcy -- now what?

The disturbing news that often comes after a divorce is that one's ex-wife or ex-husband filed bankruptcy. Your ex-spouse may be responsible for child support and debt payments, so what happens when he or she files for bankruptcy protection? In many routine cases, you will not be harmed or even inconvenienced, but be aware that a rigid set of deadlines has been set according to the filing date. Here are some of the issues:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Possible federal courthouse closings with Athens on the list

Bankruptcy cases are usually filed in the federal court division where the debtor resides. The Athens Division serves Clarke, Elbert, Franklin, Greene, Hart, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, and Walton counties. News stories are reporting that the Athens courthouse is on a long list of courthouses that could be closed to save costs. I know that this could complicate my bankruptcy practice and inconvenience my bankruptcy clients, though I am not sure of the full effect that this might have on our region. Imagine living in Hartwell and receiving a summons for jury duty in Macon, a drive that could be well over two and a half hours when coming to Athens would have been far enough. Here are some of the stories covering the issue: