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Posts Tagged ‘los angeles bankruptcy attorneys’

Bankruptcy & Divorce

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

A sad reality is that often divorce and bankruptcy go hand in glove and you need to know how one affects the other.  As a general rule, it is best to first file for bankruptcy as a married couple.  Discharging your debts will help your divorce proceed more smoothly.  The divorce case can still be filed and decisions can be made on the issues of marital status, custody and support.  The divorce property split must wait until the bankruptcy is discharged unless one of the parties asks the bankruptcy court for permission to proceed.  Of course, there can be factors that make a different structure more desirable.  You need experienced bankruptcy lawyers like the Doan Law Firm to work with you and your family law attorney to give you and your family a fresh start.

Colonoscopy Without Anesthesia

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

A woman walked into my office today and told me she’d would rather get a colonoscopy without anesthesia than come see me.  With a different client last week it was a mammogram, the week before a root canal.  I try not to be insulted; after all, I’ve told my dentist much the same thing.  I’m happy to see him at church over a donut, but much less glad to see him in his white jacket and giant light-up headgear on a Tuesday afternoon.

Part of my job as a bankruptcy attorney is to take my clients from where they are now – scared, angry, frustrated and out of options – and to shed light on the situation.  Most of the time, reality is much better than they believed.  Sometimes it’s worse, but there’s nothing worse than not knowing.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop is paralyzing when you don’t know if it’s a satin slipper or a steel-toed work boot.

Every meeting ends with a go-forward plan.  Each person to walk out of my office has clarity on their particular situation with all its variables, the next step and, most importantly, the big picture.  It’s always –I say always without hesitation – always, better than a colonoscopy without anesthesia.

You Should Consider Bankruptcy if… (Part 1 of 2)

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

-  You’re receiving harassing phone calls from creditors. Your creditors will be the first to tip you off that you’re heading down a financial slippery slope.  In the good old days, you never heard from a credit card company unless they wanted to sell you life insurance that covers you in the event you are eaten by a great white (for a low $3.99 a month).  If your creditors are calling for purposes other than offering shark bite insurance, you know things are getting out of control.  If you know them by name, that’s an extra tip off.

-  You are served a summons. A lawsuit is the next step after telephone calls and a lawsuit starts with service of a summons to an Orange County bankruptcy or Los Angeles bankruptcy court.  The creditor will receive a judgment since you owe the money and use it as the foundation of a myriad of collection actions like wage garnishments, bank levies, and liens.  Take a summons very seriously because it’s a large, unmistakable sign that your creditors are very serious about pursuing you; it’s the glint of the shark’s teeth.

-  Your car’s been repossessed or your home foreclosed. For most people, the two most important items are shelter and wheels.  When you lose your home or your car, you know it’s time to take action and call an Orange County bankruptcy attorney.   In addition to losing the car and house, your creditor can receive a judgment against you for the difference between what you owed the creditor and what they received when they sold the item.  Also, repossessions and foreclosures do not happen in a vacuum so generally there other significant financial issues that need to be addressed so you can move forward and prosper.

Why Debt Consolidation is the Worst Choice You’ll Ever Make

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Bad choices, we’ve all made them.  If you think you’re immune, take a short memory walk through your dating life, and then join the rest of us.  Most of our bad choices are born out of fear, haste or a misplaced sense of adventure – which is the only logical explanation for why bungee jumping is a sport not practiced solely by those in mental institutions.

Most bad choices are reversible and their impact is minimal, but the choosing to use a debt consolidation company is fatal to your financial life in a way that nothing else is.  A recent article in the New York Times entitled, Peddling Relief, Firms Put Debtors in Deeper Hole, by Peter S. Goodman, demonstrates the havoc that debt consolidation companies wreak and their victims only crime is operating out of fear or haste.

To begin, they are ridiculously expensive, from 15-20% of the debt amount.  For example, on credit card debt of $50,000, the fee would be $10,000.  Of course that’s an up-front fee with absolutely no guarantee of any debt reduction.  While you pay the debt consolidation company, your creditors are paid nothing.  What do unpaid creditors do?  They sue, and of course they win because you do owe the money.  The next step creditors take puts the nail in your coffin  – wage garnishment, bank levy and liens.  In California, creditors with a judgment can take 25% of each and every paycheck you receive.  They can clean out your bank accounts, bouncing every check in their path and incurring NSF fees until the cows come home.  It’s not a pretty picture.

Here are notes from two people who contacted our office on the same day:

“I am in the middle of a home mod for first mortgage. I am also in a debit settlement program for outstanding credit cards and have been for about a year.  My creditors are now taking me to court. I am the sole provider for a family of six. I have tried holding off. I want to know my options.”

“$35,000 in credit card debt.  Lost my job and went back to school. I am now living on financial aid and student loans. I enrolled in a debt settlement program, but am now being sued by one of my creditors.”

How much has each of these people paid to their debt consolidation companies – money that should have gone to their children, or to advance their education?   Both are now in a worse position than when they began, standing in the path of an oncoming train trying to hold it off with an umbrella.  Meanwhile, the debt consolidation companies are partying down at their convention held at the Four Seasons, Palm Beach.

The moral of the story is:  when the need for financial medical care arrives, don’t go to a charlatan selling promises and placebos. Get real professional help from someone who can excise the malignant debt, begin the healing process, and allow you to get on with your life: call an Orange County bankruptcy attorney or a bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles today.

Student Loans and Bankruptcy

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Student loans are difficult, but not completely impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.  It’s like getting your teenager to pick up his room.  You might get lucky, but then again it might be easier to get out the leaf blower and work it that way.

The official standard is to show that paying off the student loans will impose an “undue hardship” on you and your family.  Since the Bankruptcy Code does not define “undue hardship”, a lot of discretion is left to each individual judge – and there are over 300 of them around the country.  One person’s undue hardship can be another person’s slight inconvenience.  This holds true for judges as well.

Here in the picturesque 9th Circuit, which includes California, the court uses the Brunner Test and holds a tough line.  After retaining a bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles or Orange county, to have your student loans discharged you must prove the following in a special hearing:

  1. You cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a ‘minimal’ standard of living for you and your dependents if forced to repay the loans;
  2. Additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of financial affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; and
  3. You made good faith effort to repay the loans.

There are a few other circumstances under which the loans can be cancelled outside bankruptcy:

  1. You die or become totally and permanently disabled;
  2. Your school closed before you could complete your program; or
  3. You work in certain designated public school service professions (including teaching in a low-income school).

You can get more information about these situations on the Federal Student Aid Office website.

Even if you don’t reach the high standard to have your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, discharging all your other debt leaves you in a much better position to attack them with the skill and fervor you applied in your teenager’s room.

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