A recent story in the Detroit Free Press observed that nearly one out of every three car loans in the United States is “upside down.” Stated another way, the driver is paying more on the car loan than the car is even worth. And who knows the status of the automobile industry better than the city paper for Detroit, home to America’s automobile manufacturing industry since the industry began? You can read the article here.
In filing for bankruptcy protection, the consumer cannot expect that student loans will be discharged along with normal consumer debt, like credit cards. The reason is that the Bankruptcy Code, under 11 U.S.C. § 523 (a)(8) states that student loans are nondischargeable, unless the consumer is able to bring a separate lawsuit and show, in this separate lawsuit, that being forced to repay the student loans, would constitute “undue hardship.” The bankruptcy code does not define what “undue hardship” is. So the courts have come up with their own definition:
Both before and after filing their bankruptcy petitions, consumers are required to participate in counseling sessions, with very, very limited exceptions. This recent case from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal shows two important concepts :1) how a consumer trying to file their own “simple” Chapter 7 Bankruptcy winds up wasting a whole lot of time and money, and gets no discharge of their debts, and 2) how seriously the Courts view the credit counseling requirement. The case is In re: Naomi Kidd Ramey, and you can view the entire by clicking here. (Ohio is one of four states which are included in the appellate jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit).
Payday loans are marketed as being a convenient solution to “life situations” where there is “more month than money” as payday draws near but does not quite arrive. Any consumer finance professional will tell you this is a false premise – a car requires predictable maintenance, for example, the tires wearing out is not an “emergency.”
“Chain of Title” How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud – By David Dayen (Book Review)
When I am not helping consumers get a fresh start and live debt free in my law practice, I enjoy reading as a pastime. To combine both, I recently had the pleasure of reading this book, published by first-time author David Dayen.
Both single and married consumers find themselves in need of a fresh start through bankruptcy protection. A married person can file for bankruptcy by themselves, just like they can file a separate income tax return if they choose to.
You have probably never heard of a “preference payment” in a Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy proceeding, but these are never fun conversations to have with a client. Let me write about this now and hope that, if you decide to hire me as your attorney, we will never have to have this conversation. This situation comes up when an otherwise broke person has a sum of money on hand, and then has to decide what to do this money.
Bankruptcy allows consumers who are faced with overwhelming debt to move forward with their lives knowing that they have legally resolved problems with their creditors. While there are some debts, such as student loans, which are not automatically discharged by a bankruptcy filing, almost every type of consumer debt can be discharged in a bankruptcy filing. Here are some life situations which have I seen in more than two thousand consumer bankruptcy filings:
One of the critical goals in any bankruptcy proceeding is to keep as much of your property out of the hands of the Trustee as you can. In fact, you want to keep all of it out of the Trustee’s hands (the so-called “no asset” case). After all, if the Trustee takes everything from you, the idea of a “fresh start” doesn’t really mean too much. Property which you as the consumer filing bankruptcy get to keep is known as “exempt” property.
For most consumers, filing a bankruptcy is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But for others, even after being granted a discharge of debt in bankruptcy, they find themselves in that unbelievable situation of having to ask the question – if I filed for bankruptcy protection previously, can I file another bankruptcy and get my debts discharged? The answer to that question depends not only on the length of time since your previous filing, but also the type of bankruptcy you filed. For more information about the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings, click here.