Lately, many of my clients have been completing their Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans and getting Discharge Orders.  This is a HUGE accomplishment!  Chapter 13 is a 3 to 5 year Court-supervised plan where individuals pay their debt back in whole or in part. Creditors are paid through a Chapter 13 Trustee in a certain order based on the US Bankruptcy Code requirements. Why is the completion of a Chapter 13 case such a big deal?  An American Bankruptcy Study in 2019 of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings showed that only 40% of Bankruptcy cases were discharged (completed successfully).  And, when people
Continue Reading Successfully Completed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases!

There are alternatives to loan modification for homeowners that are delinquent on their mortgage.

Some circumstances, usually a reduction in income or increase in expenses, lead homeowners to become delinquent in making their monthly mortgage payment. When the mortgage arrearage amount grows over time, the mortgage servicer may offer the homeowner the opportunity to modify their mortgage so that the arrearage can be spread over the remaining term of the note, or the term of the note can be extended to provide for reduced payments. This is a wonderful opportunity and makes good sense; however, obtaining the relief
Continue Reading Obtaining Loan Modification for a Delinquent Mortgage is Difficult

Just when you thought that old debt was dead, old Court Judgments can come back to haunt you!  Now that Courts in Illinois are up and running, debt collectors are looking for opportunities to get some “found money” from debts that are very old.  The debts are very old, but the creditor would have obtained a Judgment many years ago. Lately, many clients have come to see me with these “Zombies” of debts that have come alive! This old debt may even drop off someone’s credit report.  When people think of their debt, they typically figure that if they don’t
Continue Reading It’s Alive! Revival of Judgments in Illinois

Families across the U.S. are beginning to realize their “old budget” doesn’t do it anymore

With monthly distributions of the child tax credit having expired, and the increased cost of groceries, fuel, and utilities, families across the country are finding that their income no longer provides for their normal monthly expenses. A budget deficit is an uncomfortable position, especially when caring for children. The constant accumulation of debt to service a budget deficit is like sinking in quicksand.

Avoid Debt

A common mistake is that households will take on debt prior to
Continue Reading Inflation and the End of the Monthly Child Tax Credit

During the first year of the new administration, Student Loans have been on the top of Congress’ and the White House’s minds.  Here is a summary of what has happened so far, and what might be next: The Pause on payments and interest is extended to May of 2022.   This pause, where borrowers don’t have to pay and interest doesn’t accrue on the loans was originally set to expire at the end of January.  We can guess that the extension of this “final” pause was due to the new Delta and Omicron Covid variants spread throughout the country.  Or, it
Continue Reading Student Loans- Will there Be Big Changes in 2022?

Filing for Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy because the up-front costs of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy are too expensive is a bad idea, but sometimes it’s the only feasible solution.

Upon filing a bankruptcy petition creditors are prevented from engaging in any collection activity, which includes the garnishment of wages. A common problem with this solution is that bankruptcy attorneys often require between $750 to $1500 plus a filing fee of $338 to be paid prior to filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Attorneys require their Chapter 7 Bankruptcy fees up-front because, like the creditor garnishing the client’s wages,
Continue Reading Stopping a Wage Garnishment with Bankruptcy

Saving money is good, investing money is better, but losing money is the worst.

At the beginning of 2021 retail investors entered the limelight as GameStop Corp. (GME) rose from under $20 per share to $483 in under two weeks. After the general public observed this phenomenon of a dying brick-and-mortar industry spring to life through the sheer will of a mass of retail investors lead by a common understanding of market game theory, many young lower and middle-class adults decided to join in.

“many novice investors that bought into the hype served as exit

liquidity to early investors, those
Continue Reading The Era of the Retail Investor

When most business owners think of Bankruptcy, they are thinking that is the option of last resort, when everything is going “down the tubes” so to speak.  But, in reality, Bankruptcy offers many ways to reorganize debts and save the business. The main way that Bankruptcy helps a small business is to “get the heat off” and allow a business or its owner to stop the collection lawsuits or deductions directly from its bank account, and allow it to survive, and then thrive again. These clients came to me 5 years ago:   They have owned a carry-out fish restaurant
Continue Reading Bankruptcy Success Stories- Saving the Family Restaurant and Home

Eliminate the debt that is preventing your peace and prosperity.

Hopelessness is a lack of control over one’s progress towards a  goal. Those that perceive their position with regard to a particular goal as hopeless can either give up or discover a way to obtain control over their progress towards that goal. Sometimes it’s okay to give up on a goal, someone who achieves every goal they set out for has likely lived a mediocre life. But before giving up, it’s a good idea to see if a professional may be able to provide a means of obtaining what seemed
Continue Reading Is debt affecting your mental health?

It feels good to prioritize saving money above paying debt.

Many people have accumulated debt during the period of the Coronavirus pandemic. Upon expiration of federal programs such as the unemployment bonus and eviction moratorium their financial circumstances may have changed so that the debt they accumulated is no longer manageable. Fortunately there are many business hiring and offering competitive wages, however those wages may not be so competitive as to provide for the timely resolution of debt that has been accumulated. The laws of the U.S. provide a solution to this hardship termed Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy eliminates the most common
Continue Reading The perfect time for a fresh start and a new beginning

Married people may file bankruptcy jointly with their spouse, but they may also file separate.

Married people may file bankruptcy jointly, which is often in their best interest, however sometimes only one spouse possesses significant debt while the other spouse has manageable debt with a good credit score. Many married people considering bankruptcy are curious whether their spouse will become liable for their debt or how jointly owned property will be affected.

Illinois Family Expense Statute

In Illinois, if a married person files for bankruptcy and their spouse does not, then the spouse may be held liable for those debts
Continue Reading How will bankruptcy affect my spouse?

Hey, If someone tells you don’t need to have a contract reviewed, it’s a bad sign!

Should you have your real estate listing agreement reviewed by an attorney?

The short answer is yes. And I think the great real estate agents we work with would agree with me. Why?

Because quality agents want you to be comfortable. And to know exactly what you are signing. They want you to trust them.

If someone is discouraging you from having their contract reviewed, that’s a bad sign, right?

The listing agreement is a contract prepared by attorneys. And by and large, it’s
Continue Reading Real Estate Agent Listing Agreements – Know what’s in them.

The big Covid Financial news is that the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s eviction moratorium ended on July 31st.  The CDC moratorium became a safety net for many, and overrode many state laws.  If you are a renter, and you are behind in your rent, what will happen now? Depending on the state you live in, evictions may start as soon as August 2nd.  In Illinois, the eviction ban will last another month, until August 31st.  If you are behind in your rent, now is the time to be sure you have worked out your problems directly with your
Continue Reading Evictions, Foreclosures and Covid, Oh My!

It is unlikely your neighbors will find out unless they are a Creditor, Co-Signor, or someone to whom you’ve made a “preferential transfer.”

Bankruptcy is a corrective measure against outrageous medical expenses, inequitable lending and banking practices, and a dysfunctional social security system.

Victims of broken social systems

should NOT be ashamed

of asking their government for equitable relief.

By removing the negative stigma away from bankruptcy more people will likely file for bankruptcy, penalizing industries for inequitable or even predatory practices.

Medical and Health Care

Patients of medical services rarely have the opportunity to agree to an out-of-pocket expense
Continue Reading How likely are my neighbors to discover I have filed for Bankruptcy?

You may be eligible for a fresh-start while maintaining your retirement plan.

It is common for someone unfamiliar with bankruptcy law to use some or all of their 401k savings to pay debts when it becomes apparent their budget is not feasible. If income cannot satisfy debt over time it might appear that the only solution is to use retirement savings to satisfy the debt. However, there is a solution that will allow those under financial duress to eliminate many of their debts while maintaining possession of a qualified retirement plan.

The adequacy of Social Security is not certain, and
Continue Reading Before withdrawing your 401k to pay debts, consider Bankruptcy.

Nothing could be further from the truth! My job as a Bankruptcy Attorney is to help clients understand the process, and how to navigate all of the complexities of Bankruptcy Law. My job is also to educate the public about common misconceptions of the Bankruptcy Process, and how it works. You may think, well, if the client is broke, how can they afford to hire a lawyer? That is a legitimate question. But, in reality, if you are having financial troubles, as a business owner, or as a consumer, you can’t afford NOT to hire an attorney. Many people might
Continue Reading Bankruptcy is Just Filling Out Some Forms, Right?