Bankruptcy Law

How Will Filing For Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?

Filing for bankruptcy when someone is married can be a joint process, or it can be done by only one spouse proceeding with the case. Ultimately, it depends on the type of debt and the financial situations for both spouses. For example, if one only spouse owes a specific debt or debts, then that spouse may be able to proceed on a bankruptcy alone, especially if the other spouse has good credit and very few other debts. Proceeding with a single bankruptcy case while married can be complicated, and in certain situations, it can adversely affect the non-filing spouse, but not always 

Joint Debts

In any marriage, parties bring in their own, individual debts, and debts are almost always incurred during the marriage, as well. One spouse may choose to take out a loan, not naming the other spouse on the debt, which means only the spouse whose name is on the debt is responsible for what is owed. If that spouse is not able to continue making payments on the debt, he or she can proceed with a bankruptcy to discharge that debt. If the debts listed in that bankruptcy case belong to the filing spouse alone and not the non-filing spouse, discharging the filer’s debts and liabilities should be a straightforward process. It becomes more complicated if any of the debts listed in the bankruptcy case belong to the non-filing spouse. In these situations, these joint debts will normally remain with the non-filing spouse. 

If the filing spouse pursues a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and names debts that belong to both spouses, unfortunately creditors who were pursuing payment from him or her can now pursue payment from the other spouse. The filing spouse may receive a clean slate with a bankruptcy discharge of these debts, but this shift in ownership will only push off responsibility for payment of these debts to the non-filing spouse. If, however, the filing spouse files a case under Chapter 13 bankruptcy and begins his or her repayment plan, his or her spouse will also be protected under the case’s stay so long as the filing spouse remains current on all bankruptcy plan payments. If the filing spouse does not stay up on his or her repayment plan, the non-filing spouse may soon find himself or herself fielding calls from joint debt creditors.  

Credit of the Non-Filing Spouse 

Another commonly expressed concern has to do with the credit score of the non-filing spouse. A person filing for bankruptcy should almost always expect a drop in his or her credit score, but should this be expected for the non-filing spouse, as well? Like many things in the law, it depends. If a joint debt is involved and is included as part of the filing spouse’s bankruptcy case, this bankruptcy filing may show up on the other spouse’s credit report. Additionally, if the married spouses intend to apply for any type of joint financing in the future, the bankruptcy on the one spouse’s credit history will make that process a little more difficult.

Joint Property 

While joint debts are fair game in a bankruptcy case, the same goes for joint property, especially if that property was acquired by both spouses after they were in a relationship. If the joint property happens to not fall in one of the categories of property protected under Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions, the asset is fair game to be sold to pay off the filing spouse’s debts. If the non-filing spouse is able to successfully argue that he or she brought the property into the marriage, acquired it by gift during the marriage, acquired it as part of an inheritance, or is able to pay the debt associated with the joint property, that asset may be able to stay with the non-filing spouse.  

Collection Calls 

The automatic stay protects the person filing for bankruptcy from collection proceedings, including phone calls from debt collectors. In a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy case, the co-debtor shares that protection. However, this does not always mean collection agencies will not try to pursue payment from the non-filing spouse. Collection agencies will do this in an effort to trick the non-filing spouse into making payment.  However, if the spouse that did not file for bankruptcy is on the receiving end of one of these calls, he or she should request proof of responsibility for the debt amount. If the debt solely belongs to the filing spouse, the non-filing spouse can then demand that the calls stop. If a bankruptcy case has already been filed by the spouse, direct those phone calls to the filing spouse’s bankruptcy attorney after making the formal request that the calls cease.  

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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.   

Bankruptcy Law

How to Know which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for You

Making the choice to file for bankruptcy is not an easy decision to make, but it is the first step towards a financial fresh start. However, choosing which type of bankruptcy to pursue can be a difficult decision to make.  

Typically, consumers choose between a Chapter 7 “liquidation” bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 “reorganization” bankruptcy. Both forms of bankruptcy have their positive attributes, as well as their negative ones, and it ultimately depends on the consumer’s financial situation and the goals he or she wants to achieve as to which type of consumer bankruptcy will be best for him or her.  

Bankruptcy Law

The Pros and Cons of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2020

For someone struggling financially, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can offer him or her a fresh start and freedom from insurmountable debt. The year 2020 has pushed many consumers to the brink financially, and bankruptcy can offer the help a person needs to start the New Year debt-free.  

Pros of Filing Chapter 7  

As soon as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the consumer receives immediate protection from his or her creditors. This protection comes from the automatic stay that is issued by the court upon filing. The automatic stay puts a pause on all collection actions, including collection phone calls, legal proceedings to collect on a debt, wage garnishments, evictions, and foreclosures. The automatic stay also gives consumers a chance to breathe and work with the court and bankruptcy trustee.   

Business Bankruptcy, COVID-19

Stimulus Relief Fails to Save Hundreds of Businesses

The financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have been significant for countless businesses throughout the United States.  At the start of the pandemic, federal stimulus funds were issued in various forms to help businesses survive the economic crisis. However, as the virus continues, many of these businesses are being forced to close.  

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of legal filings and government data, over 300 U.S. companies that received approximately half a billion dollars in stimulus relief have also filed for bankruptcy this year. These 300 companies employ a total of 23,400 workers who are being adversely affected.  

student loan debt, Student Loans

Bankruptcy Court Discharges $200,000 in Private Student Loan Debt for Colorado Couple

A major victory was scored for student loan borrowers after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a ruling stating that a Colorado couple’s private student loan debt could be discharged in their personal bankruptcy case. The ruling allowed $200,000 of private student loan debt to be wiped out, breaking the long-standing stigma that student loan debt, particularly private student loan debt, is near impossible to discharge in a bankruptcy case.

The Colorado couple had taken out $200,000 in private student loans from Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan issuers. The ruling comes after a similar bankruptcy case, where the borrower also had their student loan debt discharged. In that case, the loan servicer appealed the ruling.

student loan debt, Student Loans

What Borrowers Need to Know About the New Executive Order- “Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

A new executive order signed by President Trump is expected to give additional relief to student loan borrowers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is important that all student loan borrowers be aware of what these changes entail and how they can affect their outstanding student loan balances.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, that included relief effort for numerous aspects of the economy. The CARES Act paused all federal student loan payments and stopped interest from being incurred on federal student loans. Additionally, the stimulus bill put a stop to all federal student loan collection efforts. However, this bill was passed at the beginning of the pandemic with the thought that relief would no longer be needed through the end of 2020 with the hopes that the COVID-19 crisis would eventually be subsiding. Given the fact that numbers of positive cases are growing, and states are struggling to manage the crisis, it has quickly become clear that additional relief was needed. The original relief offered through the CARES Act was set to expire on September 30, 2020.

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

Personal and Business Bankruptcies Increase in the Month of July

The number of individuals and businesses seeking bankruptcy protection increased last month, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Financial experts have predicted this jump for months since states began to shut down in mid-March.

According to the legal-services firm, Epiq Systems Inc., the number of businesses that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 52 percent when compared to July 2019. Additionally, the number of personal bankruptcy cases have gone up. The number of personal bankruptcy filings are expected to increase, when the Covid-19 economic stimulus relief is cut or reduced.

Bankruptcy Law

The Benefits of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy case can mean different things to different clients. For many of our clients, it means a chance at a fresh financial start. It also means freedom from crippling debt and an unending barrage of collection calls. It is for this reason that many individuals choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to the many benefits this type of bankruptcy offers.

The benefits of filing for bankruptcy can include relief from debt collectors through the automatic stay issued at the start of the case, as well as relief of most of the filer’s debts, including medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, and other unsecured debts. By discharging these debts before they become legal judgments against the filer, he or she can avoid wage garnishment and repossession.

Bankruptcy Law, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

How to Choose a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult one, but choosing the right bankruptcy attorney to handle your case can be even harder.  It helps to do your research, not only online but in person, too. The following tips can help someone who is considering filing for bankruptcy choose the best attorney for the job.

Experience Matters

Many people will start their search on the Internet, looking online to find a bankruptcy attorney. Experience is one factor that should always be considered when choosing an attorney. Experience does not just mean years practicing law. It is important to find someone who has filed cases in bankruptcy court and handles bankruptcy matters regularly. It helps a great deal to find someone who focuses his or her practice solely on bankruptcy law and who handles the specific type of bankruptcy the filer is pursuing instead of a general practice attorney who handles a little bit of everything. Many attorneys will handle only Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, while others will handle corporate bankruptcies, restructuring and reorganization.

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Debt Relief, Small Business Bankruptcy

How to Handle Business Bankruptcy in the Aftermath of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit South Florida businesses hard. Many small businesses have struggled to survive the shutdowns and drop in revenue, while others are pursuing bankruptcy as a means of remaining in operation while receiving financial assistance. For businesses who wish to make it through this time of crisis, help is available.

It has been reported that the number of businesses that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 26 percent from the previous year, even though overall bankruptcy filings were down. These numbers are expected to continue to increase over the summer months as businesses begin to reopen.