HAMP Denial May Mean Lawsuit

Under the Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”), an underwater homeowner may request that a lender modify his or her home mortgage. Typically, a request is made after the homeowner has missed payments and needs the modification to eliminate negative equity, reduce monthly payments (and interest in some cases), and bring the mortgage current. If the homeowner meets certain eligibility requirements, …

Bankruptcy Dishonesty Means No Discharge and Worse

Overwhelming debt causes a great deal of stress. You may lose sleep, become angry, or get scared. Fortunately, the federal bankruptcy laws can restructure your debts, provide a fresh start and alleviate your stress. However, it is critical that you play by the rules. A man in Tama County, Iowa, recently discovered the importance of honesty and fair dealing during …

Rental History Useful for Rebuilding Credit

The average American’s FICO credit score hit an all-time high this past April, nosing in at 692. FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Although judgment of credit scores is often in the eye of the beholder, anything between 700 and 749 is considered a good score, with the best scores ranging 750 and higher. Debtors emerging from bankruptcy are …

Courts Relax Rules for Bankrupting Student Loans

You can’t discharge student loans in bankruptcy. Everyone knows that. Nevertheless, recent federal court decisions indicate that restrictions on discharging student loans during bankruptcy are relaxing. Most public and private student loans are excluded from discharge unless the bankruptcy debtor can show that repaying the loan would “impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents.” Because Congress …

Buying a Vehicle before Filing Bankruptcy

While having reliable transportation is important for most American families, it can be critical for a debtor in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The average Chapter 13 case lasts three to five years, and during that time the debtor is prohibited from incurring additional debt without court approval. While it is possible to get court approval for a different vehicle during the …

Should You Change Banks When Filing Bankruptcy?

Every night, while the rest of the country sleeps, Wells Fargo Bank cross-checks all newly filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions against its list of account holders. If a Wells Fargo account holder has filed bankruptcy, the bank may place a “temporary administrative pledge” (a “hold”) on the debtor’s account(s). This hold is a certainty if the debtor has a bank …

The Three “D’s” of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has its own language, so it is important to understand the technical meaning of certain terms. Take, for instance, the difference between a bankruptcy dismissal, denial, and discharge. A dismissal is a court order that terminates the bankruptcy case. A bankruptcy case may be dismissed upon request of the debtor (called a voluntary dismissal), or after complaint from the …

Some Student Loans ARE Dischargeable

There are many myths surrounding the topic of discharging student loans in bankruptcy. Some say you can’t do it. Others say you can discharge student loans only if you can prove hardship. Still others say you can discharge private student loans, but not federal student loans. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. All debts are discharged in bankruptcy unless there is an …

How Having a Car Loan Can Help in Bankruptcy

The U.S. Supreme Court in Ransom v. FIA Card Services instructs that above-median debtors can take a vehicle ownership deduction of around $500 on the Means Test when calculating Projected Disposable Income, but only if there is a lien on the vehicle at the time the bankruptcy case is filed. Ransom gives debtors a great incentive to ensure there is …

Where Do You Get Your Bankruptcy Advice?

This just in, lawyers are expensive. Useful legal advice from a licensed attorney costs. No attorney who values his law license is going to give a free, off-the-cuff opinion that may be used against him in a court proceeding (especially a pro se case). Lawyers are also busy (mostly talking on the phone to relatives and friends who want free …