Category: ‘Debt Relief’

When Is the Right Time to File for Bankruptcy?

July 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one.  For some, it can be difficult to get past some of the myths associated with filing for bankruptcy.  Sometimes by waiting, an individual facing a lot of debt can find himself or herself in an even worse situation. So, when is the right time to file for bankruptcy?

A recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project and an article from the Notre Dame Law Review highlighted that the longer people wait to file bankruptcy, the more they end up struggling- not only financially, but in their personal lives as well.

The following factors are indicators that you should consider filing for bankruptcy, or at least sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options in more detail.

  • If your debt amount is more than 40 percent of your income. The higher the debt-to-income ratio a person has, the less likely it is he or she will earn enough money to ever pay back the debt;
  • If you are using debt, such as credit cards or unsecured personal loans, to pay for other debts;
  • If your debts include items that can be liquidated in bankruptcy, such as medical debt, credit cards or personal loans;
  • You are using payday loans to help cover necessities before your next paycheck. This is oftentimes a sign your expenses are exceeding your income;
  • If you are forgoing necessities such as healthcare, prescriptions, or food;
  • If the collection calls have reached a breaking point;
  • If you have been threatened with a lawsuit, are being sued by a creditor or your wages are being garnished.

If someone is on the fence as to whether to file for bankruptcy, he or she should schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Student Loan Borrowers Seeing Some Relief from Bankruptcy Judges

July 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Student loan borrowers are beginning to see some relief in bankruptcy court when it comes to discharging student loan debt. At the start of 2018, the Department released a statement that it was reviewing student loan bankruptcy laws with respect to how difficult it has been for borrowers to receive a discharge of their student loan debt in bankruptcy. Following this statement, some bankruptcy court judges have lessened the standards borrowers are held to when deciding on whether the loan obligation should be discharged.

Since the statement was made by the Department and subsequent request for comments on the current policy, no updates have been given as to whether the Department would be making official policy changes. In the meantime, bankruptcy court judges seemed to have taken a cue from the Department and are now making rulings to make loan repayment terms easier on borrowers for the meantime.

A recent Wall Street Journal report found that judges were more becoming more lenient when dealing with individuals saddled with student loans. Current college graduates are now entering the workforce with well over six figures in student loan debt. Unless these graduates land a job making an income that is comparable to this debt, these individuals soon find themselves unable to make student loan payments. Bankruptcy is meant to provide individuals drowning in debt with a way out, but the current policy with respect to student loan debt has dictated that this obligation stays with the debtor even after a bankruptcy discharge of all other debts.

The study looked at 50 current and former bankruptcy court judges, reviewing bankruptcy cases where the filer had student loan debt. The study showed that a number of the judges were very sympathetic to the cause of the individuals in front of them who were not able to pay their current student loan debt obligations. In fact, many of them understood the struggle all too well with student loan debt since they may also carry debt from law school, or they may be influenced by the struggles they see with their law clerks finishing or graduating from law school. It is estimated that the average lawyer holds just under $120,000 in student loan debt.

These judges are required to follow the legal standard that a borrower must pass the “undue hardship test,” which has traditionally been a strict standard. It has also been a standard that has never been clearly defined by bankruptcy law and has been applied inconsistently from court to court.

Congress has never given a clear definition for what undue hardship consists of, but many courts have used the “Brunner” test to determine what this means.

The Brunner test requires that the borrower show that he or she has made a good faith effort in repaying the debt, that the financial circumstance is such that the person cannot have a reasonable standard of living if he or she has to repay the debt, and this financial situation is likely to continue in the future.

Even though the judges’ hands may be tied by the legal standard, they may seek other, more creative solutions to help the borrowers ease their burdens. They may not be able to completely cancel the debt in all situations, but they have tried to help alleviate some of that burden. In some cases, however, some of the more sympathetic judges have completely cancelled the borrower’s past due debt obligation.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://studentloans.net/bankruptcy-judges-taking-it-easy-on-some-student-loan-borrowers/

https://lendedu.com/news/some-judges-push-to-ease-bankruptcy-rules-for-student-loan-debt/

 

U.S. Consumer Debt Increases in the Month of May

July 10, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Recent data shows that U.S. consumer debt rose in the month of May by the most it had in the last six months, showing that Americans were more confident in their spending habits halfway through the second quarter.  The increase was seen in revolving debt, which includes credit card debt along with non-revolving debt like student loan debt and auto loans.

As of May 2018, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010. That means Americans are on track to accumulate $4 trillion collectively in consumer debt by the end of this year. Americans have been accumulating more debt, particularly over the last two years, where consumer credit has grown at a rate of 5 to 6 percent annually.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Miami Residents Carry Second Highest Credit Card Debt Balance in the Country

July 5, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many people and breaking the cycle can be even more of a challenge. While no one specific timeline works for every person when it comes to paying off credit card debt, it can take years of dedication and regular payments above the minimum to finally pay off a credit card. According to a recent study, it takes the average Florida resident around two years to get out of credit card debt.

The study published by CreditCards.com reported that people living in the Miami metro area, which includes both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, carry the second-highest credit card debt balances in the country, second to San Antonio, Texas. Texas was reported as being a state with three of the five cities that reportedly had the highest credit card debt.

According to the study, Florida residents holding this much credit card debt would need an estimated 21 months to pay off the current card balance. Those living in San Antonio were reported as only needing one more month, meaning 22 months, to bring the balance to zero.

The CreditCards.com study reviewed median income across the country to average credit card debt by taking data that was provided through the credit reporting company, Experian. The data looked at high debt burdens when the balance on the card was significantly high as compared to the residents’ income being reported as average or below average.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, San Francisco, a well-known area for residents living with higher-than-average income, was reported as having the lowest-reported credit card debt. The average San Francisco resident can pay off his or her debt in 13 months. The reason that debt can be paid off so quickly is the average San Francisco resident earns enough income to pay off this debt comfortably.

Other cities that reported lower debt burdens included Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The report indicated that the size of the debt was not so much the problem in the Miami area but rather the debt-to-income ratio. \South Florida residents are taking on more credit card debt than they have the income to handle.

The CreditCard.com study is not the first one that had reported that many Miami-area residents suffer from low income and high financial obligations. An additional report recently shows that Miami residents paid the highest proportions of their income on rent than any other area in the nation. In fact, it has been reported that the Miami-area is one of the least affordable places to live in the nation.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

What Constitutes Harassment by a Debt Collector?

July 2, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For an individual struggling with insurmountable debt, the continuous calls and communications can be overwhelming and stressful. However, at what point do these communications constitute harassment? And if an individual believes that he or she is being harassed by a debt collector, what is the recourse this person has against the debt collector?

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Debtors have protection from harassment from third-party debt collectors under a federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under this law, debt collectors are prohibited from harassing, oppressing or abusing debtors while trying to collect upon a debt. This behavior includes continuous phone calls meant to annoy or harass the individual, use of obscene language and making threats of violence or retaliation against the debtor.

Specifically, the FDCPA prohibits the following:

  • Repeated phone calls annoying, abusing or harassing the debtor or anyone answering the phone;
  • Use of obscene or profane language in these communications;
  • Threats of violence or causing harm to the debtor or other person on the phone;
  • Publishing a list of individuals who refuse to pay debts, not including reporting the information to a credit reporting company;
  • Not disclosing the debt collector’s information when communicating with someone;
  • Contacting third-parties connected to the debtor and giving them information regarding the debt and/or why they are calling;
  • Contacting the debtor at work or showing up at the debtor’s work.

The FDCPA prohibits misrepresentations from being made about the debt. Essentially, the FDCPA makes it so debt collectors cannot use false, misleading or fraudulent practices when collecting on the debt. This means the debt collector cannot lie about how much is owed, cannot make false threats that the company will have the debtor arrested, cannot make false statements that the person on the phone is an attorney when he or she is not, cannot make threats to do things that are not legal, and cannot make threats to do something that the debt collector, in fact, has no intention of doing or right to do.

After the debtor has experienced a series of these violations, the FDCPA requires the debtor to send written notification to the debt collector to stop communicating with him or her and informing the debt collector that this communication is in violation of the FDCPA. If the debt collector continues to push and communicate with the person after this notification, it is recommended that the debtor file a claim for an FDCPA violation. If the individual does file an FDCPA claim and wins, the debt collector will pay the debtor damages, as well as attorney’s fees for having to file the claim.

It is highly recommended that the debtor keep a file of all communication received by the debt collector and keep all recordings of voicemails or other communications. It is also recommended that the debtor write down all dates and times that these conversations have occurred, along with notes about what was discussed in the event a legal claim needs to be filed.

Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws.  Recently, our firm’s motion was granted by a Florida judge in a case that held the creditor in contempt of court for violating the automatic stay in a Miami bankruptcy case. The Order directed the creditor to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of the court.  The creditor in this case was also required to pay attorneys’ fees for our firm having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay to protect our client.

If you are dealing with a creditor you think may have violated the automatic stay, contact your attorney immediately.  An experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney will know whether the contact was innocent in nature or a willful violation worth pursuing.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.