Bankruptcy & Debt Relief
BANKRUPTCY: CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13
If you have a large amount of unsecured debt, bankruptcy may be a good option for you. The purpose of bankruptcy is to give people a clean slate going forward. If you are buried under an insurmountable amount of debt, bankruptcy can give you a way to clear all of your debt and move on with your life. An added bonus is that filing for bankruptcy means that debt collectors have to stop calling you. If you're at your wits end with collection calls, bankruptcy can give you much-needed relief.
If you have cold feet regarding filing for bankruptcy, consider this - if your creditors (banks, credit cards, etc.) owed more money than they could ever pay and would benefit financially from a bankruptcy filing, do you think they would hesitate to file for bankruptcy? The system exists for a reason - to help you get a fresh start.
If you think bankruptcy can help you, or are curious whether you should file, I can help you consider your options.
Adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court are generally litigated cases that are attached to an already existing bankruptcy filing. A creditor can file an adversary proceeding by paying the required fee and filing a Petition. A debtor can file an adversary proceeding without paying a fee. There are a number of reasons why you might consider an adversary proceeding, including:
- Determining whether liens are valid;
- Recovering property from the bankruptcy estate;
- Contest the debtors bankruptcy or attempt to revoke a discharge;
- Revoke a confirmed Chapter 13 plan;
- Attempt to have student loans discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding;
- Determine generally the dischargeability of a debt.
Adversary proceedings are very similar to standard litigation. There will be discovery, depositions, motions, and potentially a trial.
Contested Matters within a bankruptcy
There are also a variety of contested matters that can come up during a regular bankruptcy that do not involve any outside litigation. These types of contested matters are typically handled with motions and hearings. A few instances where a contested matter might arise are:
- Motions to dismiss a Chapter 7 case;
- Motions to dismiss a Chapter 13 case;
- Relief from stay motions, specifically where a creditor wants to foreclose on a home that is secured by a mortgage;
- Motions used for recovering or protecting certain property.
BANKRUPTCY & STUDENT LOANS
Discharging a student loan in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is very difficult. In order to be successful, you have to show that repaying the loan will cause "undue hardship." This is a difficult burden to meet. That said, if you are buried in student loans and have other issues that are preventing you from working, you may be able to secure a discharge. If you're interested, you should talk to an attorney who knows student loan law.
Debt collectors have to follow rules. My job is to make sure they do. If debt collectors are calling you, I can make them stop and possibly get you paid for your trouble.
Debt collectors often do bad things. They call you when they arenâ€™t supposed to. They threaten, harass, and annoy you. They send nasty letters. They threaten to file lawsuits based on debt that they cannot possibly sue under. They do this with impunity because most people don't know that they can sue them for violating the law.
Debt Lawsuit Defense
SO YOU'VE BEEN SUED
If you're looking at this page, you have probably been served with a summons and complaint. Maybe you are being sued for credit card debt. Maybe it is student loan debt. Either way, it's pretty likely that you've never heard of the company that is suing you. If it's for credit card debt, it's probably a junk debt buyer. If it's for a student loan, it's probably a debt buyer or a trust that purchases bulk student loan debt.
WHAT IS A DEBT BUYER?
A debt buyer is a company that purchases defaulted debt for almost nothing. They purchase old, bad debt and for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect it from consumers. Some debt gets passed around from buyer to buyer. Eventually one of those buyers will file a lawsuit and hope you don't respond so they can get a judgment. In short, think of the worst company you have ever done business with. Multiply that by 100 and you'll have the average debt buyer.
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
So you've received a summons and complaint. The debt buyer expects you to ignore it so they can take a default judgment and start garnishing wages. What they don't expect is that you'll hire a lawyer and defend the lawsuit. They hope against hope that you don't do that because their records are almost universally terrible. It's a rare case that they have the documentation they need to prove they own the debt. If they can't prove that they own the debt, you can fight back hard and win.
Of course. Sometimes debt buyers bring lawsuits that they don't have the documents to prove. When that happens, they often get counter-sued for violating the FDCPA. So if you have been sued by a debt buyer, don't just ignore it. If you fight back, you might just win.
WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOANS?
STUDENT LOAN DEBT IS A BIG PROBLEM
More money is owed for student loans than credit card debt. Student loan debt is a big, scary deal. It might be holding you back from your true potential. I can help you manage it and move on.
The amount of student loan debt currently owed is over one trillion dollars. That’s $1,000,000,000,000.00.
Think of it this way—you would have one trillion dollars if you made one million dollars every day for the next 2,737 years.
Student loans are a little different than credit card debt. They are much more difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, but there are a number of repayment options available that are not otherwise available for credit cards.
STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PLANS
The most important factor in determining how to pay back student loans is the type of loan that you have. There are a number of loan repayment options available for government loans that are not available for private loans. Each private loan company may have its own loan repayment programs. You may also be eligible for a forbearance, deferment, discharge, or forgiveness. Each of these options has possible tax and legal consequences, so it is usually a good idea to talk to a lawyer or tax professional who understands the ramifications of various types of student loan repayment options.
CONSUMER RIGHTS & STUDENT LOANS
Student loans are consumer debt. Debt collectors who collect student loans are usually subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Simply put, they have to behave in accordance with the law or they can be sued like any other debt collector. Debt collectors are not allowed to use unfair practices, abusive language or tactics, or harassment to collect student loan debt.
If your student loans are in default, you lose some beneficial governmental protections and repayment options. It is usually in your best interest to deal with student loan default right away to avoid problems down the road.