Are Lawsuit Judgments Discharged in Bankruptcy?

June 14, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Some filers enter into bankruptcy with collection cases already at judgment level, with the hope that these judgments along with their other debts can be discharged through bankruptcy. However, getting a judgment discharged is not always so simple, and it depends on a number of factors, including:

  • What kind of case the judgment was for; and
  • Whether the creditor who has the judgment over the debtor has already placed a lien on the individual’s property.

Bankruptcy Discharge for Most Judgments

Generally, a judgment from a lawsuit involves unpaid debts. If the bankruptcy filer has not paid his or her medical bills, personal loans or credit cards, the next step for the unpaid creditor is usually filing a lawsuit against the borrower. If a judgment is obtained, the creditor can garnish the borrower’s wages or even go after a personal asset and have a lien placed on it to satisfy the outstanding debt.

Filing for bankruptcy activates what is known as the automatic stay, giving the filer reprieve from further collection calls and attempts.  It can also put a stop to wage garnishment and can wipe out the borrower’s obligation to pay back certain debts, even in a judgment. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, if a collections lawsuit is pending, the automatic stay in the bankruptcy will put a stop to the lawsuit. Even if a judgment has been entered against the borrower, the final discharge in the bankruptcy case will get rid of that judgment for most purposes, except in certain cases. If the judgment is for a debt that is considered nondischargeable, the bankruptcy will not get rid of the debt.

Nondischargeable Judgments

Some debt is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. If the creditor has gotten a judgment against the bankruptcy filer for a debt obligation that includes one of the following debts, a bankruptcy discharge will not get rid of that judgment. These categories include:

  • Judgments connected to domestic support obligations, including child support or spousal support/alimony;
  • Judgments for criminal penalties, fines and/or restitution;
  • Most tax judgments;
  • Most student loan obligation judgments;
  • Judgments for any debts that were acquired under false pretenses or by fraud;
  • Judgments for injuries that were willful and malicious caused by the debtor; and
  • Judgments for any injury or death that was caused by the debtor’s drunk driving.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/lawsuit-judgments-discharged.html

 

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Named a Florida Super Lawyer 5 Consecutive Years

June 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers 2018, in the practice area of consumer bankruptcy. This is the fifth consecutive year Kingcade has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list (2014-2018). The prestigious honor is awarded to only five percent of lawyers in the state.

Attorney Kingcade practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy law, handling Chapter 7 and 13 filings and foreclosure defense cases for the Southern District of Florida.  As an experienced CPA and proven bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of their rights under the bankruptcy laws to restart, rebuild and recover.

Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, representing the top 5% of Florida lawyers.  The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.  The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

Floridians Hold Some of the Highest Amounts of Credit Card Debt in the Nation

June 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many Americans, but according to a recent study, it seems to be a more significant problem in Florida.  In fact, the Sunshine State has been ranked among the top three states where residents hold the highest amount of credit card debt.

Florida residents carry a total balance of $59.2 billion in credit card debt, as of the end of 2017. The State of California tops the list with its residents holding $106.8 billion in credit card debt, followed by Texas at $67.3 billion.

Interestingly enough, California has traditionally been known to be a state where individuals need to earn the most income to be considered “wealthy” by most standards. Considering the high level of credit card debt residents in California carry, this leads one to conclude that this “income” involves resorting to the use of credit cards, instead of solely relying on earnings.

According to the report, the states with the highest amounts of credit card debt in 2017 were:

  1. California $106.8 billion
  2. Texas $67.3 billion
  3. Florida 59.2 billion
  4. New York $58.1 billion
  5. Pennsylvania $33.2 billion
  6. Illinois $32.2 billion
  7. New Jersey $29.6 billion
  8. Ohio $26.7 billion
  9. Virginia $26.5 billion
  10. Georgia $26.3 billion

Florida residents were also in the top ten for credit card delinquency rates, meaning balances were left unpaid for 90 or more days. Nationally, approximately 7.5 percent of credit card debt was delinquent by these standards. Florida was above this average figure and ranked third in terms of delinquency reported.

The report stated that credit card balances on a national level declined between the years 2008 and 2013 but began to rise again in 2014. As of 2017, more than 470 million credit card accounts were open, totaling $3.5 trillion. The total debt figures were compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The full report can be viewed here.

If you are struggling with credit card debt 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.

Related Resources:

https://patch.com/florida/southtampa/florida-among-states-highest-credit-card-debt

 

Why Are Robocalls Getting Worse?

June 7, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For any person with a phone, it seems like robocalls are becoming more frequent and more annoying. Despite the creation of the “No-Call” lists offered by many states, these calls have persisted. In response to this increase in calls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), through its Chairman Ajit Pai, has recently announced that ending illegal use of robocalls is a priority of the FCC.

In March 2018, Ajit made an announcement that the FCC issued over $200 million in fines for these harassing calls made in the previous year. The problem is these phone calls have continued to happen regardless of these fines. In fact, according to the screening service, YouMail, approximately 3.4 billion automated calls were made in April 2018, which was up 900 million per month compared to the prior year.

In November 2017, the FCC issued new regulations which allowed phone companies to block calls from invalid numbers or to show evidence of what is referred to as “spoofing.” Spoofing involves the caller tricking caller ID into hiding his or her identity. The FCC has also issued a proposal in March 2018 which will create a database of reassigned numbers so that business do not continue to call the wrong people.

Currently, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates robocalls. The law dictates that autodialers must have the prior consent of consumers to contact them, and that consumers have the right to officially opt out of the robocalls. If a company continues to make calls despite the consumer opting out, they are doing this illegally.

Not all robocalls are illegal. Some can be used as a way to remind the caller about an upcoming appointment, flight cancellation or emergency notification. Also, sometimes these calls are also a way to try to collect on a valid debt. The problem becomes when the calls become excessive or even harassing.

The FCC has recently fined a Miami man, Adrian Abramovich, $120 million for 96 million robocalls he was accused of making in one month. The FCC has been accused of sending mixed signals when these robocalls come from “legitimate” businesses.

Student loan company, Navient, has received 599 “communication tactics” complaints that were submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). One of the complaints stated that the company called one person more than 12 times a day, including contacting the individual’s past coworkers, friends and family. The complaint also stated that the company called the same number 14 times in a 30-minute time period.

In response, Navient, along with other businesses, have petitioned the FCC to allow them to be exempted from the number of calls they can make to a consumer. These petitions are currently pending. These companies argue that if an existing relationship is already there, then the consent requirements should not be as strict. Further, they say that the exemption should apply to cellphones, as well as landlines.

In March 2018, a federal appeals court rolled back a decision made under the FCC during the Obama administration which prohibited debt collectors from using auto dialers to reach cell phone numbers. In that past decision, the definition of an “auto dialer” was broadened. However, the recent legal decision ruled that the definition given was too broad. Now experts are waiting to see how this narrower definition will affect current regulations.  It is also now up to the FCC to write a new definition if they wish to clarify what exactly an auto dialer is under the law. If the FCC chooses to make the definition narrower, experts worry that this will leave consumers not protected from excessive and unwanted robocalls.

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.

Understanding the Deceptive Practices of Student Loan Companies

June 6, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Over 44 million Americans are finding themselves in over their heads when it comes to student loan debt. It can be hard to see an end in sight when facing six figures of student loan debt following graduation, but for many, student loans are almost considered a “given” if someone wants to pursue a higher education.  Private student loan companies are now trying to make it even more enticing to take out more money to cover these costs.

In the grand scheme of things, government loans still constitute the majority of what is borrowed. Currently, private student loans account for less than 10 percent of all student loan debt, which is a relatively small percentage.

Private lenders have been hoping for this to change and have been actively lobbying for legislation that would lessen the restrictions the government has on student loans, specifically when it comes to graduate students.

This legislation, known as the Prosper Act, was written and proposed by Republican lawmakers last year. It caps the amount of federal student aid graduate students can receive. This cap on federal aid leaves a gap between what the students are able to borrow and how much tuition costs. Concerns have been expressed that students will have no choice but to seek private loan options to pay for the remainder of these costs not covered by government aid.

The next step is for these private loan companies to make their product more appealing to borrowers. What better way to do this than by making friends with the borrowers themselves? Many of these companies, in fact, are now making their product seem more like they are a lifestyle company than a lender.

One such company, Laurel Road, has partnered with MoviePass, a movie theater subscription service. The company has announced that if an individual refinances his or her student loans with Laurel Road, that person will be eligible for one year’s subscription.

Another private lender, Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi) has made small changes to its branding by changing how it refers to its borrowers. Instead of “customers,” these individuals are now referred to as “members.” It may seem like a small change, but this difference in designation also includes invitations to exclusive “member only” events, like cocktail parties and cooking classes. SoFi brands itself as more of a social club than what it actually is– a private financial institution. In 2017, SoFi offered 323 nationwide member events for its over 14,000 “members.” The company also offers an app that allows its members who meet at events to communicate to each other through the app.

The Laurel Road partnership is just one example of private lending companies trying to rebrand student loan debt as something more “fun.” The problem is further compounded when these loan companies do very little to educate their borrowers on the terms of the loans. When borrowers fail to pay back the debt as it becomes due, many of these lenders have been accused of illegally harassing their customers.  Borrowers have become so desperate to pay back their debts, in fact, that some have even resorted to game show antics to find a way out. Recently, a new game show called “Paid Off with Michael Torpey” has offered student borrowers a chance to compete on TV with the prize being having their student debt paid off. The series is premiering on TruTV in July 2018. Many have criticized this new program, saying it trivializes a very serious, growing problem.  However, it does demonstrate what lengths borrowers will go to in order to get some relief from their crippling debt.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.