Archive for the 'Practical tips' Category

Counting time backwards in bankruptcy court

If you have had wages garnished by a creditor, you certainly might be interested in ways to get some of all of that money back so you can spend it. Filing a bankruptcy case may do the trick, due to a technical portion of the Bankruptcy Code that deals with “preferences.” That, in turn, is […]

Where’s the line for tobacco on the new schedule J?

News flash: the new schedule J bankruptcy form doesn’t have any place for debtors to declare how much they spend on tobacco products per month. Full disclosure: the old Schedule J didn’t either. So smokers (and chewers, I suppose), where do you account for the financial damage for this habit? Under “Food and housekeeping supplies?” […]

A bankruptcy lawyer is not your mother

When you are looking to file for bankruptcy, you are likely to get bombarded with advice, some well-meaning, and some self-serving. Like “It’s way too hard to do yourself. You definitely need to get a lawyer.” Or “It’s easy — if you hire me as your lawyer.” That last one is a little problematic, because […]

Watch for the home upkeep trap on the new schedule J

Schedule J of the official bankruptcy forms is critical for consumer debtors, because it is where they report all their household expenses, from mortgage payments to mousetraps. This, in turn, determines if there is anything left over after the end of the month (don’t laugh), when then decides if you qualify for Chapter 7 or […]

The new bankruptcy forms are here!

Its hard to get as excited as Steve Martin did about phone books in The Jerk, but as of December 1st, 2013, several new bankruptcy forms will go into use. By far the most important for most consumer cases are the the new Schedule I, on which debtors report their income, and the new Schedule […]

Clarification on property value disputes in Massachusetts bankruptcy court

Disputes over real estate values are becoming a hot topic in bankruptcy court again, after years of dormancy due to the recession. A recent Massachusetts case decided by bankruptcy judge Melvin Hoffman in the Worcester division of the court gives a behind-the scenes look at some of the problems that crop up when debtors and […]

Debtors with primarily business debts may still need to provide evidence of income to bankruptcy trustees

Bankruptcy cases often resemble ticker tape parades: lots of paper flying in all directions. Debtors with primarily business debts — that is, more than 50% of their debt total is from a failed or failing business — get a break when they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy: they can skip the means test, meaning they […]

Whoops! “I filed bankruptcy, but forgot there was a lien on my house!”

What happens if you file a bankruptcy case, then years later you go to sell or refinance your house and discover there is a lien from one of the creditors still on it? Well, it may be possible to reopen the case and file a motion to have the lien removed. This motion would be […]

Converting a bankruptcy to Chapter 7 offers chance to eliminate more debt

Bankruptcy debtors involved in a Chapter 13 case often find the payments too much, or life throws them a curve, and they are forced to abandon their payment plans. The usual strategy in this situation is to convert the case to Chapter 7 (a few cases are even converted back and forth several times). Once […]

Zillow printouts start to gain acceptance in bankruptcy courts

Back in 2010, Massachusetts bankruptcy court judge Melvin Hoffman went out on a limb and trashed the use of Zillow.com printouts as an improper way to value real estate in a bankruptcy case. At the time, Hoffman’s opinion in the Darosa case was the only published comment from a bankruptcy judge in the United States […]