Wednesday, November 11, 2015

City of Chicago to offer ticket amnesty program for the first time in 8 years......

Do you have old parking and red light tickets in Chicago? The city is offering an amnesty program, waiving penalties. This is the first time in over 7 years that they are offering such a deal. If you owe for old tickets, take them up on it, they are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases!

"For the period 11/15/2015 - 12/31/2015, the City is offering a debt relief program for tickets issued prior to 1/1/2012. Penalty and collection costs will be waived for eligible tickets paid during the debt relief period."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

high income broke debtors... recent trends in bankruptcy

Do you earn a decent salary, but live paycheck-to-paycheck? If so, you are part of a growing segment of the American population: the income rich-ish…

Friday, November 06, 2015

Does Wells Fargo owe you money?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Debtors who had mortgage loans with Wells Fargo may be getting some compensation for violations that occurred from 2011 to 2015.  

By Suzanne Barlyn
(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co will pay $81.6 million to homeowners for denying them a chance to challenge mortgage payment increases imposed during their bankruptcy proceedings, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
Wells violated a 2011 U.S. bankruptcy law by failing to send a type of legal notice about homeowners' mortgage payment increases to bankruptcy courts. The law requires the notice to include disclosures to ensure that fees and charges by banks to homeowners in bankruptcy proceedings are accurate, the Justice Department said.  Read more at:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Warning!! Scam Targets Bankruptcy Filers | United States Courts

Published onOctober 20, 2015
Phone scammers are targeting bankruptcy filers in several states, using personal information from filings and posing as attorneys to get intended victims to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt.
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys issued a warning that “Under no circumstances would a bankruptcy attorney or staff member telephone a client and ask for a wire transfer immediately to satisfy a debt. Nor would the bankruptcy attorney and staff ever threaten arrest if a debt isn’t paid.”
Read More:" Scam Targets Bankruptcy Filers | United States Courts:

Please be aware of this scam that is going around to former bankruptcy clients.   I've heard of these regarding bad checks, and payday loans.  They usually threaten jail, arrest, or immediate suit for non-payment.   IGNORE THESE CALLS.   Save all emails and mailings, and provide them to your attorney for possible Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and /or bankruptcy discharge sanction motions. DO NOT PAY THEM Under any circumstances without discussing it with your attorney in person first.   Call your attorney directly, do not believe that they are calling from your lawyers office.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to Know When Bankruptcy Is Right for You

How to Know When Bankruptcy Is Right for You 
Before you decide to file for personal bankruptcy you should be aware that it is not necessarily the best choice for everyone. For many people, bankruptcy should be the last-case scenario only after they have weighed all of their options and determined that they can’t remedy their financial woes.
Ultimately, the decision to file for bankruptcy should be made between you and an experienced bankruptcy attorney. However, there are other methods of determining whether you can get the help you need before consulting with a lawyer and we will outline some of them here.
Are You Eligible for a Debt Management Plan? 
Most people who are financially distressed look to bankruptcy to alleviate them from credit card debt and help them get a new start. Before signing the bankruptcy paperwork, sometimes a debt management plan can help you to reduce your monthly payments, lower interest rates, stop late fees and collection calls and ultimately put you on a path to avoiding bankruptcy.
If you have not already, see if you are eligible for a debt management plan before deciding it’s time to throw in your chips.
Determine if Bankruptcy will Actually Help You
In some cases, bankruptcy will not actually alleviate you of all your debts. Certain types of unavoidable debts, called priority obligations, may not be wiped out in bankruptcy.
You have to consider what you are trying to accomplish by filing for bankruptcy and find out if Chapter 7 or 13 will remedy you of your concerns. As bankruptcy can be complicated, it’s best to consult with an attorney to address what you are hoping to achieve by filing and if there are other options.
Do You Qualify for Bankruptcy? 
Personal bankruptcy, Chapters 7 and 13, have certain eligibility requirements. For instance, if you are going to file for Chapter 7, you’ll have to have a low enough income. For Chapter 13, your debts can’t exceed a certain limit.
Not everyone qualifies for bankruptcy and debtors’ cases can be dismissed if they don’t comply with the courts requirements. For this reason individuals are discouraged from filing without the help of a bankruptcy professional or bankruptcy attorney; there are simply too many laws and policies that can be missed that may result in the dismissal of your case or worse, fraud which results in fines or criminal charges.
Is it Time to File for Bankruptcy? 
If you are looking for the answer of whether or not you should file for bankruptcy, you should start by asking yourself the above questions. If you find that you can’t afford a debt management plan, are unemployed and have no way to pay off any kind of debt, your best bet may be to consult with a bankruptcy attorney.
Ultimately a bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you explore your options and help you get through what is undoubtedly a stressful and challenging time in your life.

Author Byline: is an IRS Approved 501c3 Non-Profit Florida Corporation dedicated to our mission to educate, advise and empower youth to seniors to handle debt, credit and housing and to provide affordable housing opportunities through the acquisition and rehabilitation of residential properties.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 simple ways to Avoid Bankruptcy

5 Simple Ways to Avoid Bankruptcy
Hi everyone.

As a bankruptcy attorney, I see so many cases for people who file, who make good money, but bad decisions.  It goes against my business model, but as a counselor,  I'm going to share with you ways to Avoid bankruptcy!

1.  Make a budget and stick to it. 
Try this for one week.   Write down everything you spend.  Everything from that morning coffee on the go, to the magazine subscription, to the cable bill, Netflix, Redbox, and trips to the movies.  Don't forget your meals, groceries, eating out, the bar tab etc.   You would be surprised on how much you just blow through on insignificant items.    Now, make a list of expenses in order of priority.   Shelter, food, clothing (necessity only) monthly credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, and so on down the line with the discretionary items at the bottom.   Now, look at what you take home as income.    Now, redo your list and trim out the items that you don't HAVE to have.   Pack a lunch, Bring a mug of coffee from home, eat out once a week, or better, once a month.  You can see where you can save money.  Now, the hard part, STICK TO YOUR BUDGET!  Share your reasons with family and friends and they can accommodate your plans to get out of debt.  Movie night in with a group, for instance, is a great way to save money, dine in, and spend time with family and friends all in one!  For people that have trouble budgeting, there is a system called the envelope system.   Put all your money into envelopes for each expense, and you can spend each envelope until it's gone.   IF you need more, you can borrow, but you'll have to make adjustments to your other budget categories!  Don't forget to budget in savings as well, never too early to get on that track.

2. Don't buy luxury items such as a brand new car. 
You've heard the phrase "house poor" Don't buy over your head.  Buy/rent the right size house or apartment for your needs.   (Utility and maintenance costs will reduce too with size).  Choose the right, affordable neighborhood.   Don't buy a new car!  We all know the value drops the second you go off the lot.  Do your research and buy a reliable car.  Pay cash if at all possible, since these are rapidly depreciating assets.  Buy a reliable beater to free up cash. (Have the car checked by a mechanic).  You can always move up in car later when you are out of debt.   If you must finance, never lease a car either. The cost is just too much, and you get nothing at the end of the lease.
Don't get all the bells and whistles.   For instance, do you need that in-dash navigation?  90% of the time you drive, you know where you are going anyways!

3. Pay your highest interest rate debts first.
This will help you pay off the most debt for the lowest price.   Even if you have a smaller account, if it has a lower interest, you'll pay less in the long run if you attack the highest interest first.  Some people want to clear one account first, and some people need that motivation, This is fine, but to pay the least back, attack the highest interest rate first.

4. Maximize your income.  
This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked.   You can always ask for a raise, but be humble about it. Show the employer that you care about the company, and want to move forward, and ask how you can increase your income while doing so.   Sincerity goes a long way.   You can also look for a part time job.  It's short term.  Bust your butt and reap the rewards.  Keep the big picture in mind.     Deliver pizzas, stuff envelopes, be a waiter or waitress.

5.  Cut up your credit cards!
It's Obvious.  This should be the first step.  Stop going further into debt.   Cut up the cards.  Negotiate better interest rates.    Look to refinance your home when the interest rates are low.  Talk to your bank and have them close your accounts too once they are paid off.  Use your debit card or envelope system to pay your bills. This way you can use all available income to pay down the debt to be debt free as soon as possible.

Bankruptcy is an easy way to get out of debt, but it usually doesn't fix the problem.   Fix the problem and you may not even need to file.     Feel free to contact me if you do need to file, if there is truly no way out.   Best of luck to you!