Category Archives: Practical tips

Debt collectors know when to pounce on you — how one does it

One of the nation’s largest debt collectors,Portfolio Recovery Associates, has been in the news lately, and this article exposes a hard truth about the collections system: Debt collectors know when your finances improve. Because debt collectors pay the credit bureaus to tell them. I’m a bankruptcy attorney, and I know people want to put off […]

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Bankruptcy creditor blamed for arrest warrant

If a creditor is suing you in small claims court, and you file a bankruptcy case to put an end to the problem (which it should), and the creditor does nothing further to collect on the debt (which is proper), the creditor still can end up in hot water if bad things happen to you […]

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Unemployment overpayment might survive bankruptcy

Debtors who have been notified by a state unemployment agency that they have been overpaid — and also that the state would like to be re-paid, pronto — might be able to discharge such a debt with a bankruptcy case. Or they might not be able to. It really depends — on the particular facts […]

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Fancy eyeglasses cause trouble at bankruptcy hearing

On the bankruptcy questionnaire I give to prospective clients, the very first thing I ask them to value is their jewelry. There’s a reason for that: it’s not that jewelry is subject to forfeiture in bankruptcy (in fact, there are generous allotments for debtors to keep jewels), but that it’s something that they are likely […]

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What’s so important about Schedules I and J

If you hang around bankruptcy lawyers long enough, it won’t be long before you hear talk about “what’s on the I and J.” This sort of inside baseball talk refers to Schedule I and Schedule J, on which debtors are required to list all their sources of income (on I), and all their household expenses […]

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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 […]

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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?” […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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