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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: From Financial Bondage to Financial Freedom

May 31st, 2011 by Hank Evers

The following story is an unedited letter from a client detailing the difference that bankruptcy, and Doan Law Firm in particular, made in her life. She asked that we not publish her name.

When in debt and facing the potential of bankruptcy, we often feel like slaves to our debtor. We feel this because most likely we are.

If we are unable to pay on time, we are charged more.  If we ignore the creditor, we are tainted with marks to a credit score while being charged more fees.

After years of avoiding creditors, my husband and I called Doan Law Firm. I came into their office feeling defeated and guilty. I knew those feeling were a direct result from the shame I felt after being sued not once, but twice, for not paying creditors. And the truth is I felt we deserved being sued, since we were unable to repay the debt.

After having excellent credit and being debt free, for years, my husband was in a bad accident on the job. He was not only hospitalized, but terminated from his job while laying in the ER.

When it was time to keep the lights on, I was grateful we had good credit. I figured it would allow us to make up the the difference in income we had lost from his job. But when my husband fell into a deep depression during a bad case of post traumatic stress syndrome, I felt that paying bills with credit cards, instead of having my husband worry about the finances, would be best. This ended up being my biggest regret.

Time passed so quickly and all the 0% cards soon came back at 32% and within two years we were way over our heads.

As devout Christians, I knew the debt was a sin.  First, I was not only unable to keep my word and repay the creditors, but now money (or the lack of money) had become our biggest worry! I know to worry is the expectation that God is going to fail me, yet I operated in fear trying to fix things financially the wrong way. It was wrong to ignore the creditors while I was praying for some miraculous pay off that never arrived.

We didn’t want to file bankruptcy; we wanted to pay everyone back! Our excuse not to file was a mere reflection of the pride we carried.

After speaking to a rep at Doan Law Firm, I was told that I only needed a penny to remind me to trust in God. After that phone conversation I felt God tug on my heart. I hung up with that rep and that afternoon is when I fell to my knees in repentance. I didn’t realize how much I needed to repent from. I had to repent from mismanaging money, the spirit of entitlement ( I wanted to keep living the same way I did before the accident), I had to repent from lying ( I spent months lying to creditors telling them I would call them back and never did),  and from the spirit of pride which kept me from getting help sooner. I fell on my face asking God to forgive me for being in debt, regardless of how I got there. I hadn’t realized how much was attached to the debt and how much it was blocking me from growing spiritually.

We had been tithing for years and still weren’t able to find financial overflow or freedom from living pay check to pay check.

It finally all made sense to me when I repented right before paying for our bankruptcy. God removed our pride and sense of entitlement, and He reminded us during this process how important it is to live right in every area of our life, and this included in our finances.

Recently, after we have arrived to a new season in our walk with the Lord, I lost one of my biggest accounts. I was worried, but the week we repented I saw a miracle. I picked up 3 new accounts, which tripled my income. I praise God because his love and mercy never failed us. He forgave us. In our case we needed to repent in order for the windows of heaven to release all that he had in store for us. It’s amazing all the goodness that comes from walking in obedience!

“Thank you Doan Law Firm for showing us love and compassion; we really needed it.”

Your Credit Score: When to Stop Fighting the Rapids

May 24th, 2011 by Kendall Bober

“But won’t bankruptcy destroy my credit?!” We have heard it time and time again and are sure you have had that thought once or twice, especially if you are contemplating filing. The truth is bankruptcy actually acts as a repair for your credit.

Think about it, if you are having thoughts of filing bankruptcy, you probably aren’t in the best of financial situations at the moment anyways. The piling of bills and never ending debt aren’t looking so good on your credit report. If you’re trying to repair your credit score without bankruptcy, it may be like trying to swim up a white water rapid. No matter how hard you swim, the waves are too strong and will only push you back.

All of your bills and large amount of debt will keep pushing you back from achieving the credit score you want. Instead of fighting the rapids, you should think of exiting the river and walking up the stream.

With Bankruptcy, you discharge all of your stressful debt and are given a fresh start. Yes, your credit score will decrease when you initially file, but think of how easy it will be to reestablish an excellent credit score without having all of the baggage on you. You can walk up that river with ease; nothing will push or hold you back.

You can achieve that credit score you once had or always dreamed of once you rid yourself of everything that is holding you back and keeping you from what you financially desire.

The best form of Loan Modification may not be a Loan Modification at all! Part 2 of 2: Eliminating Junior Liens

May 13th, 2011 by Stephen N. Doan

Here is how it works: years ago, when home values were at their height, home owners used the equity in their home(s) to borrow against. They took out second mortgages, third mortgages, and even fourth mortgages. Those mortgages were secured by the equity in the home. But today, one in four California homeowners is upside down (where the liens against a property exceed the value of the property).  In many cases, debtors can completely eliminate junior liens either in a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 Bankruptcy!

For most individuals and families, eliminating their junior mortgages and creating an affordable three to five year repayment plan on their debt is better than anything possibly achieved through a loan modification. Consumers are able to get caught up on delinquent mortgage payments and eliminate their junior mortgages upon the completion of their Chapter 11 or 13 plan. Consumers then walk away from their plan, free of all unsecured debts and their second mortgages in some cases. It truly represents a fresh start.

The great news is that by using this plan, it is possible to stay in your home while paying only a percentage of your unsecured debt even though you may be making less than you did several years ago.

The only shame is that most people who qualify for this type of bankruptcy don’t even know it exists!

To read the full story click here

The best form of Loan Modification may not be a Loan Modification at all! Part 1 of 2: Chapter 11 & 13 Bankruptcies

May 12th, 2011 by Stephen N. Doan

In California, consumer bankruptcies rose 25% in 2010 and were up 9% nationwide. There were 24,117 consumer bankruptcy filings here in the Santa Ana division of the Central District of California…and that was just in the first quarter of 2010! The majority of those were Chapter 7 filings to liquidate assets and eliminate unsecured debts.

What should be of great interest, especially here in South Orange County is the growth seen in Chapter 13 and consumer Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. In both of these, the consumers typically are able to keep their homes, eliminate their junior mortgages (i.e. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mortgages) entirely, and even reduce the amount owed on other secured debts. When an individual does not qualify for Chapter 13, they often consider a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  For example, if a debtor’s secured debt exceeds $1,081,000 and/or combined unsecured debt exceeds $360,475, and the debtor wishes to keep delinquent assets, the only viable bankruptcy recourse would be to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

To read the full story click here

Bankruptcy and the FUD Factor

May 11th, 2011 by Kendall Bober

Photo by Public Affairs at Missouri State University

Do you get extremely anxious when you talk or even think about money? Are your bills piled so high that they sometimes spill over? And, when you do open those much feared envelopes, do you just peek at the minimum payment line? Like millions of others, you may be suffering from the FUD Factor, FUD standing for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Most psychologists will agree that this can lead to financial denial.

Denial is a disorder that plagues many Americans and leaves them avoiding and fearing anything having to do with finances. As one would suspect, the repercussions can be significant. Your bills, creditor calls, and debt will continue to grow. You may be optimistic and think everything will eventually work itself out, but that’s just the denial speaking.

There are various circumstances that could lead to having financial denial. If you were brought up in a background where talking about money was considered inappropriate, you will most likely feel uncomfortable or anxious when speaking later in life about it. On the other hand, those that grew up watching their parents argue over money will probably be fearful of the topic altogether.

Financial denial can lead to devastating outcomes, including divorce and even suicide.  It is crucial that you address the issue before any of these effects occur.  Bankruptcy, Debt Negotiation, and Tax Negotiation can help. That’s what we do. We help clients understand not only their situation, but more importantly, their options. We are here to help our clients find a path toward financial relief and a fresh start. By minimizing and wiping out their debt, most clients are able to focus on getting their disorder controlled and their financial lives in order.

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