2020 Best Invention
Attorney Andrea Wimmer

Attorney Andrea Wimmer

Bankruptcy Attorney

Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team as Managing Editor. While in private practice, Andrea handled all bankruptcy matters from inception to case closure while also acting as managing attorney for her firm, Marco | Wimmer PLLC. Andrea has been a speaker at, among other events, ABI’s Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, Norton’s Bankruptcy Institute and the Arizona State Bar Convention. In 2017, she was selected as one of ABI's 40 under 40 honorees. She is a member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judge’s NextGen Class of 2016, and she received the 2014 Member of the Year Award and a Special Appreciation Award from a local consumer attorney group, as well as a Distinguished Service Award from ABAIC. She has published in NACBA’s Consumer Bankruptcy Journal and the State Bar of Arizona Bankruptcy Section Journal, and currently serves as treasurer of the Arizona Consumer Bankruptcy Counsel. She has also been a volunteer attorney with the Arizona Bankruptcy Court’s Self-Help Center, which provides assistance to pro se debtors.


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Articles written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer

What Happens When a Chapter 13 Case Is Dismissed?

If you have a dismissed Chapter 13 case, you may have several options. You might be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, even if you can't afford to pay another attorney to help you.

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Should I Take A Bailout Loan To Stop Foreclosure?

A foreclosure bailout loan might look like the perfect solution at a glance, but it has downsides, too. Bailout loans, also known as hard money loans, tend to have high interest rates. They may also require the borrower to refinance again within a few years. If you’re considering a bailout loan to stop foreclosure, make sure that you understand your options and their potential impacts on you, your finances, and your family.

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5 Smart Strategies To Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit rating is an important component of your financial profile. Not only can a credit score determine whether you are approved for a loan or credit, but it can also determine important terms of the loan or new credit. The higher the credit score, the better the terms. A good credit score can save you money by helping you qualify for credit with a higher limit and a lower interest rate. This article will provide some helpful information for building and maintaining your credit score and overall credit profile. We’ll discuss five smart and simple strategies for boosting your credit score.

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Bad Credit: The Problem & Solutions

It is possible to increase your credit score if you are proactive. This article will look at what’s considered a poor credit score, the consequences of having bad credit, and strategies to improve your credit.

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What You Need To Know About Wrongful Foreclosure

If you’ve defaulted on your mortgage, your lender has the right to start the foreclosure process. Foreclosures that happen outside the court are called nonjudicial foreclosures. But even with nonjudicial foreclosures, you still have legal rights and defenses against the foreclosure proceeding.

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Student Loan Forgiveness for Borrowers Who Drop Out

If you’re struggling to make student loan payments after dropping out of your degree program, it’s important to understand your options. Student loan forgiveness, deferment, forbearance, income-based repayment, and other programs can be confusing. This article offers a basic overview to help you get started.

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What Personal Property Can be Seized When a Creditor Has a Judgment?

If a creditor gets a judgment against you, they can use the judgment to take personal property that’s not protected by an exemption as a partial payment. Since most people’s personal property isn’t that valuable it’s usually not worth it for the creditor to spend the time and money to actually seize personal property.

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What Is a Judgment and What Do I Do About It?

Learn the nuts and bolts about judgments, where they come from, what happens when a creditor gets a judgment against you, and what you can do to minimize the consequences associated with debt-related judgments.

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What Is the Process of a Nonjudicial Foreclosure?

Most states allow nonjudicial foreclosures, which permit states to proceed with foreclosure sales without first obtaining a court order. Because nonjudicial foreclosures are much faster and less complex, homeowners don’t have as much time to defend against these actions.

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What if I Can’t Afford to Pay a Judgment Against Me?

If you’ve fallen behind with your bills, you might be worried about getting sued or having a court judgment entered against you. This article covers what happens if you default on a debt, how you can make sure you don’t forfeit your chance to prevent a judgment, and what collection actions to expect from a judgment creditor.

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What Debt Collectors Can, and Can’t, Do To Collect a Debt

The debt collection process can be confusing. You probably have many questions about what a debt collector can and can’t do. Luckily, there are debt collection laws designed to protect you from deceptive practices and misleading representations. This article will outline what debt collectors can and can’t do and teach you how to protect your rights.

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The 7 Steps of a Nonjudicial Foreclosure

You may be familiar with the term “foreclosure”, but you might not know what nonjudicial foreclosure really means. Don’t worry - this guide will help you understand your rights and options.

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How To Stop Wage Garnishment With Bankruptcy in New York?

If you live in New York and your wages are being garnished, bankruptcy may be able to help you keep your paychecks and stop wage garnishment.

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What Will Happen If I Don’t Pay an Unsecured Loan?

Unsecured debt includes credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, cash advances, medical debt, retail store accounts, and money borrowed from family or friends. This article will discuss unsecured debts, what happens if you default on these types of debts, and what options you have for dealing with them after defaulting.

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What Is Secured Debt?

Secured debt is connected to a piece of property that the bank can take back if there's a payment default. The most common type of secured debt are car loans.

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How Does Debt Settlement Affect Your Credit Score?

Debt settlement allows you to pay off a debt for less than the total you owe, but it can lower your credit score. If you compare the permanent benefits of getting rid of a debt burden against the temporary negative aspects of a lower credit score, you might find that debt settlement is a good option for you. If you’re interested in settling your debt, keep reading to learn how debt settlement affects your credit score and whether debt settlement or a different debt relief option is the best for you.

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Can the IRS Take Your Home?

The short answer is yes, legally the IRS can take your home. But it’s important to remember that as a taxpayer, you have options. This article explains how the IRS goes about taking someone’s home, and what you can do to stop it from happening to you.

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How Does A Tax Lien Foreclosure Work?

Depending on where the property is located, past-due property taxes may lead to a tax lien foreclosure or a tax deed sale. The tax lien foreclosure process includes some additional protection for property owners. But, the bottom line is the same. If your property taxes are delinquent, you could lose your property to a tax lien foreclosure or tax deed sale—even if your mortgage has been paid in full.

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What Is the Standard Repayment Plan for Student Loans?

Standard repayment plans are available thanks to several different repayment option choices. These plans include extended, graduated, income-contingent, and income-based. All of these options provide borrowers with the ability to lower their monthly payments or extend the term of their loan thereby keeping their payments low.

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How To Deal With Debt Collectors (When You Can’t Pay)

If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors about unpaid debt, there’s an obvious way to make it go away: Pay off the debt in question. But what if you’re at a point where it’s impossible for you to pay? It might seem like you’re out of options, but don’t despair — there’s a way out of this.

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How Can I Raise My Credit Score by 200 Points?

If you aren’t happy with your current credit score, the good news is that you can increase it. But it won’t happen overnight. Whether you’re looking for a short-term boost or have a long-term goal to raise your score by 200 points, you can do it with some patience and persistence. It also helps to know how your credit score is calculated, so you know the best actions to take to reach your goals. Keep reading to learn how you can give your credit score a big boost by changing how you deal with your credit.

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Car Repossession 101

This article will answer some common questions about vehicle repossession, including why it happens, what the steps are in this process, and how you can get your car back, after it’s been repossessed.

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Credit Score DIY: How To Fix Your Credit on Your Own

Credit scores impact our lives whether we like it or not. Fortunately, anyone can take steps to improve their credit score. If you’re ready to improve your credit score or you just want to find out more, keep reading to learn what you can do to fix your credit score on your own.

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Can a Repo Man Enter a Locked Gate?

If you've fallen behind on your car payments, you've probably started getting phone calls from the bank about a repossession. The good news is, the repo man can't legally enter a locked gate or garage without your permission. But, a repo agent may legally enter your yard, driveway, or other private property if nothing is blocking their access. Keep reading to learn more.

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Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy – Which Is Better?

Almost anyone who is experiencing difficulty paying their bills and considering filing for bankruptcy will come across advertisements or solicitations for something known as debt consolidation. This article will discuss the difference between debt consolidation and bankruptcy and give you some help in deciding which is better for you.

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How To Buy a Car After Repossession

Repossession might feel like an insurmountable obstacle to getting another car. It’s important to realize that you can repair bad credit. Working to reach a healthy financial situation after a repossession means that even this unpleasant experience will move into the past.

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How to File Bankruptcy for Free: A 10-Step Guide

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful debt relief tool for American consumers and businesses alike. If your case is simple, you may not need a lawyer to file. Here's a 10 step guide on how to prepare for and get a fresh start in the form of a bankruptcy discharge.

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How Can I Stop My Wages From Being Garnished?

Wage garnishment is a common problem for millions of Americans. It can be deflating to have your wages garnished. But you do have options to protect yourself.

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How Long Can I Stay in My Home After a Foreclosure Sale?

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of foreclosure, discuss the before and after of a foreclosure sale, and give you valuable information about foreclosure timelines so you can get a better idea of how long you can stay in your home while planning your eventual move.

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How a Lawyer Can Help You With Car Repossession

Having your car taken back by a lender is understandably a terrible experience, and you might be wondering what your options are. Although there are steps you can take on your own, a lawyer knowledgeable about car repossession can help. Most importantly, they can explain the car repossession process and provide you with options specific to your situation. This article will explain how a lawyer can help you, what things lawyers cannot do in the event of a car repossession, and how to find a lawyer.

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What Can I Do if My Car Is Repossessed With My Personal Belongings In It?

Your personal belongings are your personal belongings. If a repo company took your car, you have the right to get these belongings back without having to pay a fee.

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How Long Does It Take To Improve Your Credit Score?

Many people want to improve their credit score, especially if they have bad credit. You can improve your credit score in a relatively short time, sometimes less than a year or even just a few months. This article will explain what factors determine your credit score and how you can improve yours.

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600 Credit Score: What Does It Mean?

Your credit score is a measure of your ability to repay your debts. If your credit score is 600 or less, then you will likely have difficulty getting a new loan at a reasonable interest rate. Most lenders who see borrowers with a credit score of 600 or lower will only offer high-interest loans that must be paid without fail every month. If the borrower fails to pay each month, then the lender can send the account to collections. This article will explain what credit scores are, what factors affect your credit score, and how to improve your score.

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What Happens to the Cosigner of a Car Loan in Bankruptcy?

If you have bought a car and your loan has a co-signer, you may wonder what will happen to the co-signer when you file bankruptcy. This article explains your options and how they'll affect your co-signer.

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4 Tips To Get Out of a Car Lease

Leasing a car can seem like a great idea at first. But over time, leasing a vehicle may become more of a burden. Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks of leasing a car is how difficult and expensive it can be to get out of your lease early, regardless of your financial status. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you may be able to unburden yourself from a lease you no longer want to be in. You may be able to transfer the lease, buy the leased car and sell it to someone else, trade in your car, and/or lower or suspend your payments. This article will explore each of these options in detail.

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What Bills To Keep Paying After Filing Bankruptcy

One of the biggest benefits of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay that goes into effect as soon as the case is filed. It means that your creditors (those you owe a debt) are not allowed to keep asking you for money. But, just because you don’t have to pay your debts after filing bankruptcy, you’ll still have some expenses to pay going forward. This article will explore what kind of bills a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy has to pay even after their case is filed.

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How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

You can file more than one bankruptcy in a lifetime. How many times depends on how long it's been since your last bankruptcy case and what type of bankruptcy you filed. We'll break it down for you.

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How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

You can file more than one bankruptcy in a lifetime. How many times depends on how long it's been since your last bankruptcy case and what type of bankruptcy you filed. We'll break it down for you.

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Can I Keep My Car If I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Most people can keep their car and get debt relief by filing bankruptcy. Of course, if you need a fresh start but you need your car just as much, you probably wonder about how this works in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn what a bankruptcy filing means for your car.

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Can I Keep My Car If I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Most people can keep their car and get debt relief by filing bankruptcy. Of course, if you need a fresh start but you need your car just as much, you probably wonder about how this works in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn what a bankruptcy filing means for your car.

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What can go wrong at the meeting of creditors?

The meeting of creditors is the one time everyone filing for bankruptcy has to go to court to answer questions from their trustee. Naturally, it’s often the most stress inducing part of the entire case for the filer. Let’s take a look at what to expect at your creditors’ meeting, and, importantly, some of the things that can go wrong at the meeting (and how to avoid them).

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What does it mean that my debts have been discharged?

A discharge order that tells your creditors they are forever prohibited from asking you to pay your pre-bankruptcy debts ever again.

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Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Explained

The laws that protect your property from creditors are called exemptions. The exemptions listed in the Bankruptcy Code are called federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Can I keep money I receive from a lawsuit when I file bankruptcy?

Yes, you can usually keep a personal injury award to the extent it is protected by exemptions, either federal exemptions or your state’s exemptions.

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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

When a creditor or debt collector gets a judgment against you, it's dischargeable as long as the original debt was dischargeable. The question becomes a bit more complicated if the creditor gets a judgment lien on your property. Here’s how it works.

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Can I File For Bankruptcy After Moving To A New State?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy after moving, but it may get a little more complicated. If you're moving to a new state, or have recently moved, you’ll need to know which bankruptcy property exemptions now apply to you. In this article, we will discuss the timing issues and other factors that may accompany a recent relocation. 

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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy vs. Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Learn the differences, which type of bankruptcy is better depending on the situation, and the downsides of each.

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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Filing bankruptcy does not ruin your credit forever! If you need debt relief but are worried about how a bankruptcy affects your credit rating, this article is for you.

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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Filing bankruptcy does not ruin your credit forever! If you need debt relief but are worried about how a bankruptcy affects your credit rating, this article is for you.

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How Long Does A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

Once filed, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes about 4 - 6 months to complete. The bankruptcy discharge is granted 3 - 4 months after filing in most cases. 

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How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?

Bankruptcy costs include court filing fees, credit counseling course fees, and if you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, attorney fees. The total cost will largely depend on your financial situation, the complexity of your case, and whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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Can I Buy A Car After Bankruptcy?

Yes, but it makes sense to wait as long as you can after receiving your discharge. You'll need to be careful and make certain that you’re getting a good deal.

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Spending Money Before Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Have more money than you can protect with an exemption? Wondering what you can spend it on so the bankruptcy trustee won’t raise any eyebrows? This article explains how it’s possible to have “too much money” and what steps you can take to best protect your fresh start.

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How To Get Out of Paying HOA Dues

If you live in a condo, you are likely familiar with the term homeowners association (HOA), and the purpose it serves. An HOA essentially creates and enforces the rules governing the property and residents of a condominium or other type of community association. When someone purchases property that is part of an HOA, they automatically become a due-paying member. These dues, called HOA fees, association fees, or association dues, can be low or high, just as the HOA rules may be lenient or very restrictive.

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Can I File For Bankruptcy Online?

When you are hit by a sudden financial shock and need a fresh start, you naturally ask - can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy online? In this article, we’ll explain the different options for filing for bankruptcy online and the pros and cons of each.

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I had my 341 meeting. Now what? (Guide)

The court will grant your bankruptcy discharge 60 - 90 days after the meeting. If the trustee filed a no-asset report, the case will be closed pretty soon after the discharge is entered. Until your case is closed, make sure to keep an eye on any mail from the court or the trustee so you don’t miss anything important.

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What Is The IRS Statute Of Limitations?

Most people in the United States have to deal with tax issues at least once in their lives. If those tax issues lead to tax debt, generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect it. The 10 year period starts with the filing of the return or assessment by the IRS. However, there are a few situations that can pause this 10-year period, which gives the IRS more time to collect.

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4 Important Facts About Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment can happen to anyone. An unexpected car repair or medical bill can cause you to fall behind in paying your debts. This article explores how wage garnishment works, what the federal limits and exemptions are, and how bankruptcy can help. If your wages are being garnished, the Consumer Credit Protection Act is a federal law that limits the amount of money that can be taken from your paycheck by your employer.

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Can You File Bankruptcy And Keep Your House?

Filing bankruptcy and keeping your house is possible. Whether you can file bankruptcy and keep your house depends on your unique circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

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What Is A Charge Off On A Car Loan?

A charge-off on a car loan is when the creditor declares the debt uncollectible. The creditor can still collect the charged-off debt and you still owe it.

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Getting Financial Aid During and After a Bankruptcy (Guide)

Filing bankruptcy does not prevent you from getting federal student loans or other types of federal financial aid. While some federal loans do require that you have good credit (which may take a little while to build after filing bankruptcy), others don’t depend on creditworthiness. Instead, they look at your financial need based on your current financial situation. 

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4 Things To Know About Student Loan Settlement

If your student loan is in default and you want to clear up your debt, you might be able to enter into a student loan settlement agreement. There are advantages and disadvantages to using this debt relief option.

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What are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits?

Learn about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy income limits including how you may still be eligible for Chapter 7 relief under the bankruptcy means test even if your average income exceeds the median income.

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Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator

The Chapter 7 means test is the analysis that determines whether a person can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s called the bankruptcy means test because, at its most basic level, it looks at whether someone has the means to pay their debts.

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What are the Pros and Cons of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most powerful debt relief options available in the United States. It gives you a fresh start by erasing your debts. This article explores the pros and cons of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Florida Repossession Law

If you’re in Florida and your car has been repossessed, you still have the opportunity to redeem your car or reaffirm your loan. You can also file bankruptcy to help you keep your car, or to help you get rid of future collection activity on a deficiency balance.

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Getting a Repossessed Car Back

This article will explain the process of how to get your car back after it has been repossessed. Every state has laws that affect the repossession process. These laws determine how quickly a lender can repossess a car once you miss payments.

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California Repossession Law

California law permits cars to be repossessed after one late or missed loan payment. Cars may be repossessed after missed insurance payments as well. There is no legally required grace period, and the repossession company doesn’t have to give you notice that they are repossessing your car.

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8 Tips for Effective Money Management

Managing your finances effectively can save you a lot of money and inconvenience over time. And it’s not as hard as you might think to get your finances in order. It just takes a little planning and foresight along with some self-discipline. Regardless of what your money personality is, here are several tips that can help you manage your money more efficiently and profitably.

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3 Things Everyone Should Know About Small Claims Court and Wage Garnishment

Debt collection lawsuits for small amounts are usually brought in a special court, called the small claims court. The procedures are simple and costs kept to a minimum. Even though this is a simplified process, a judgment from a small claims court carries the same weight as a judgment from any other court.

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What is Debt and How Should I Handle It?

Debt is money borrowed that has to be paid back over a period of time. Lending institutions, like banks, will lend you money so you can make a purchase. In turn they expect you to pay them back, with interest. Debt can be classified in two broad categories: corporate debt vs. personal debt. Corporate debt involves loans between businesses and, generally speaking, has little to no impact on personal debt. This article will explain the most common types of consumer (personal) debt and how to handle it.

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5 Solid Steps for Negotiating With Debt Collectors

If you have a debt that you cannot pay (such as credit card debt) and it has been turned over to a debt collection agency or debt collector, negotiating with that collector may seem intimidating. But in many cases, negotiating with creditors or lenders isn’t as hard as you may think. This article will tell you what you need to know to have a better chance of successfully negotiating with a debt collector.

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Are Credit Repair Companies a Bad Idea?

If a credit card repair company is telling you that your debt can be wiped out and you can start over with a new identity, stop listening. These types of credit repair company scams steal Social Security numbers and account information. That doesn’t mean the credit repair industry doesn’t have any legitimate credit repair agencies. They’re just hard to find.

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What Happens If The Bank Takes My Car?

If you have fallen behind on your car loan, you may be wondering what happens next. How will you get to work with no car? Is it possible to get it back after it's been repossessed? In this article, you will learn how repossession works, what you can do after it has occurred, and how to avoid it in the first place.

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Repossession: The Basics

Repossession is when a lender takes back property that was used as collateral for a loan. If you’re behind on your car loan payments, you could suddenly lose your car, boat, appliances, or furniture without warning through repossession. On top of that, having a repossession on your credit report will hurt your credit score. Read this article to learn more about the repossession process and how you can get back on track.

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Statute of Limitations in Small Claims Court

The statute of limitations is the law that regulates how long a party has to assert a claim through the legal system and small claims courts provide simplified proceedings for people who have claims that aren’t worth a substantial amount. Generally, the statute of limitations remains unchanged if you bring a claim in small claims court. This article will explain a bit about defending yourself in your state’s small claims court and how the statute of limitations could affect your defense.

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What Happens When Someone Sues You?

Being served with legal papers can be stressful. But like all challenges, there are ways to deal with this. Understanding the rules of the court, basic legal definitions, and each step of a civil case is a great place to start. In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between small claims courts, large claims courts, and civil courts. We’ll also discuss some tips for answering a lawsuit filed in any court.

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Can Your Tax Refund Be Garnished if You Default on Student Loans?

Your tax refund can be garnished if you’ve defaulted on a federal student loan. Federal student loans are guaranteed by the government and the government has power over tax refunds. Not all student loans are subject to a tax offset and you can take steps to keep your tax return money. In this article, we’ll tell you about the student loan tax garnishment process and give you some tips on how to keep your tax refund money safe from garnishment.

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Eviction 101

Like most property laws, the relationship between landlords and tenants is regulated by state law. Because eviction laws vary from state to state, there is no uniform law of eviction. These state eviction laws lay out rules that landlords must follow in order to evict tenants. This article will explain some basic facts about eviction.

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Laws Protecting Californians From Debt Collectors

Debt collection laws come from federal and state governments. California has chosen to put extra laws into place to protect California residents. The Rosenthal Act is one such law. There is also a federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, that protects consumers across the United States. Keep reading to learn more about California debt collection laws and how they protect you.

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Information on My Credit Report Was Removed. Now It’s Back!

Disputing and removing incorrect information on your credit report can be tedious and time-consuming. So having one of these items reappear on your credit report can be frustrating. This information may have negatively affected your credit and even cost you money. So now that you’ve had this “blast from the past” reappear, what do you do? This article will help you understand when items can be legitimately reinserted onto your credit history and credit profile. It will also help explain how to do credit repair and remove illegitimate items once again from your credit report.

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Will a Car Repossession Keep You From Getting a Home Loan?

Repossession is one type of negative event on a credit report that can affect approval for any type of loan, especially a mortgage. While a repossession won’t directly prevent you from getting a mortgage loan, it won’t make it easy. Because everyone’s credit profile is different, it’s hard to predict the impact of a repo on anyone’s home loan application. This article will explain how a repossession can affect your credit history and how it affects getting approved for a mortgage loan.

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Pros & Cons of Debt Settlement

There are pros and cons to most financial decisions. And debt settlement is no exception. Debt settlement helps you pay off old debt, but it can also hurt your credit score. You need a good credit score to get a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, and sometimes even a job. How are you supposed to get ahead if paying off your debt sets you further behind? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of debt settlement, so you can decide what’s best for you.

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6 Steps To Settle a Credit Card After Getting Sued

If you have a pile of unpaid debt from a credit card that you aren’t able to make even the minimum monthly credit card payments on, you might be facing a credit card lawsuit. Many companies will consider filing this kind of lawsuit about six months after someone stops paying. To avoid facing debt lawsuits, you can try to work out a settlement with your credit card so you can get some debt relief without paying the full amount of debt. Read on to learn some tips to prepare for negotiations.

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How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?

While a credit repair service cannot do anything that you can’t do yourself, it may be more convenient for you to enlist their help. Just remember that the cost of credit repair varies depending on the borrower’s circumstances, what type of debt they have, and what blemishes they have on their credit report. Read more to learn how to repair your credit yourself, what the benefits might be of hiring a credit repair service, and how to find a reputable one if that is the route you end up taking.

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What Are the Colorado Bankruptcy Exemptions?

While the U.S. Bankruptcy Code operates in basically the same way throughout the country, there is one important exception: States have the ability to choose whether their residents can use the federal bankruptcy exemptions or have to use the exemptions available under state law even in a bankruptcy. While some U.S. states allow people to choose between exemptions drafted by state lawmakers and federal bankruptcy exemptions, as a Colorado resident, you are not permitted to use the federal exemptions. Fortunately, Colorado has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property. So, you will have to use Colorado’s bankruptcy exemptions and federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable in your case. Unless stated otherwise, married couples in the state filing together can usually “double” the amount, provided both have an ownership interest in the relevant asset or property.

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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Money

There are a number of strategies to put in place when you find yourself in credit card debt. Common advice includes tightening your budget, prioritizing your highest-interest accounts and negotiating with creditors. But those strategies only work if you actually have some money to put toward paying down your credit card debt. What are you supposed to do if you truly have little to no money to put toward your debt?

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When I Die, Will Someone Have To Pay My Credit Card Debts?

In most situations, no one else is responsible for your credit card debt after you die. There are two exceptions. A joint account holder will usually be responsible for credit card debt, even if the charges were yours. And your surviving spouse may be responsible if you live in a community property state. Otherwise, only your estate is responsible for the debt. Unfortunately, the way this plays out may be a little more complicated. Read on to learn more.

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4 Tips for Disputing Medical Bills

If you’re struggling with medical debt, you’re not alone. Medical costs in the U.S. are often unmanageable. Even if you have medical insurance, the deductibles, copays, and non-covered services can add up quickly. Mounting medical expenses, high-pressure phone calls, concern about your credit report, and the threat of debt collection lawsuits can make a difficult situation even worse. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that may be able to help you reduce medical debt to a manageable level.

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Sent to Collections Without Notice? Here’s What To Do Next.

If you discover that a creditor has sent one or more of your current debts to a collection agency, it’s best to take action immediately to fix the situation. Having a debt sent to collections is a blemish on your credit report, and your credit score will suffer as well. Debt collectors have 30 days to report that your account was sent to collections, so you may not discover this until you get your next monthly statement. This can be frustrating, but what you do once you find out about it is what matters. You can take the following steps to minimize the financial impact of your delinquent account.

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When Will a Debt Collector Sue?

Once you stop making timely payments on a debt, your creditor will attempt to collect it by regularly sending you notices of nonpayment. This may go on for several weeks before these collection attempts intensify. Third-party collection agencies may become involved in the collection process. The debt may even be sold to a third party. Eventually, some debt collectors in the chain will likely file a lawsuit for the debt’s repayment. This article will explain when a debt collector is likely to sue you for unpaid debts, including credit card debts or medical bills.

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Can a Credit Card Company Sue Me if I Stop Paying?

Failing to pay credit cards will result in a credit card company escalating its efforts to collect the debt. If these efforts fail, it will file a civil lawsuit to recover the debt. Once a creditor receives a judgment, it can take other measures, such as a wage garnishment, bank account levy, or judgment lien to satisfy the debt.

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Will My Landlord Be Notified That I Filed for Bankruptcy?

Your landlord will be notified when you file for bankruptcy if you're on a lease. If you are on a month-to-month rental agreement, then the landlord won't be notified that you filed. 

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How Long Does a Credit Dispute Take?

If you find an error on your credit report you can have it removed by disputing it. You must file a dispute with the credit bureau that reported the inaccurate information. The credit bureau has 30-45 days to investigate the dispute and give a response. But the total timeline of the dispute may be longer. In this article, we’ll talk more about what factors affect this timeline.

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Rapid Rescoring: Updating Your Credit Report Quickly

Normally, lenders and credit bureaus update account information every 30 to 45 days. Rapid rescoring speeds up this process. Rapid rescoring is a process where a lender submits proof of recent positive changes to your credit accounts to the three major credit bureaus. They then factor this new information into your credit score with a rapid rescore. Lenders will usually receive the updated information within 3-7 days. This article will discuss what rapid rescoring is, how it can help you, and what its limitations are.

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Debt Settlement Attorneys: How Can They Help?

One way you can get debt relief is through debt settlement. A good debt settlement attorney can help you settle your debts. They should also be able to provide advice on other debt-relief options like debt consolidation, debt management, and bankruptcy. A debt settlement lawyer may be able to help you get a better overall settlement deal. Perhaps most importantly, they can help you avoid the stress of communicating with aggressive debt collectors. This article will explain debt settlement and the benefits of hiring a debt settlement attorney.

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How Does the Haven Act Impact My Means Test?

Under the HAVEN Act, veterans or their family members who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy may exclude the certain types of income from the means test.

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Protecting the 2020 CARES Act Stimulus Payment in Bankruptcy

This article is about the first stimulus payment authorized by Congress as part of the CARES Act signed into law in March 2020.

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Disputing Student Loans on Your Credit Report (A Guide)

Housing, employment, and loan decisions are made based on a person’s credit history. If there is a student loan error on your credit report you’ll want to get it fixed. In this article, we’ll give you some guidance on how to fix student loan errors that may appear on your credit report.

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Why Do I Keep Getting Calls About Student Loans?

This article will explain why you may be getting calls from your student loan lender or loan servicer. If you have unpaid student loans, you may be contacted by a loan servicer for different reasons.

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Can I Fix Negative Information on My Credit Report?

This article will explain how to obtain your credit report, and what types of information, both negative items and positive, will appear on that report. This article will also discuss the issue of “fixing” a credit report when misinformation appears on your credit history.

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How Long Does a Repo Stay on Your Credit Report?

A car repossession can stay on your credit report for seven years and the repossession will initially lower your credit score. In this article, we’ll help you learn what you can do to minimize the impact that a car repossession will have on your credit report and how to improve your credit score if your car has already been repossessed.

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Partial Unemployment Benefits: Eligibility Requirements & How To Apply

If you were working full time before and now only work part time, you may be wondering if you qualify for unemployment benefits. You can still collect partial unemployment benefits if you are working a part time job. Eligibility will depend on your state’s laws, the number of hours you work each week, and how much you’re making. In this article, we will look at how unemployment benefits work for part-time workers and how you can get the largest unemployment benefit payment possible.

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What Does It Mean To Be Laid Off?

Being laid off from work can happen to anyone regardless of their skill or job performance. Learn how you can navigate the uncertain time between when you are let go and the time you are hired for your next job by applying for unemployment and other benefits you qualify for. Also, find out how to use the time at your disposal to ready yourself for new employment.

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How Long Do I Have To Work To Qualify for Unemployment?

While all states follow unemployment insurance guidelines set by federal law, each state is free to establish the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in their state. Because each state has different laws about the eligibility requirement for unemployment benefits, the amount of time required to qualify will depend on the laws of your state. This article will summarize the amount of time that UI claimants must work to qualify for benefits.

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What Are The Different Types Of Bankruptcies?

Bankruptcy has helped millions of Americans relieve their debt burden and get a fresh start. There are different types of bankruptcies, so it's important to know the differences and similarities.

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How to File Chapter 7 with No Money?

Even though there are bankruptcy fees in the form of court fees, course fees, and attorneys fees, eligible filers can file their Chapter 7 bankruptcy for free.

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What Should I Do if I'm Being Sued by a Creditor and I Have an Upcoming Bankruptcy Court Date?

If you're being sued by a creditor for an unpaid debt but you're in the process of filing bankruptcy, you may be wondering if you need to show up to your court date for the creditor's lawsuit against you. It will depend on when your court date is and where you're at in the process of filing your bankruptcy case.  If you haven't filed your bankruptcy case by the court date for your creditor's lawsuit against you, make sure you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge can potentially grant a default judgment against you simply because you didn’t show up. If you have filed your bankruptcy case, it's still a good idea to show up to the hearing to let the judge know. Or you can contact the court clerk prior to the court date to let them know and see what they advise.

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Unemployment Overpayment & Bankruptcy

If you’ve been notified that you’ve received an overpayment of unemployment benefits, you’re probably wondering whether this will impact your bankruptcy. Here’s what you need to know.

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Wage Garnishment Exemptions

A wage garnishment allows your creditor to take money directly from your paycheck or sometimes your bank account. It is important to know what income is exempt from being garnished for your claim of exemption. This article will discuss what happens in wage garnishment and how you can keep income from being garnished that is protected by exemptions.

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Your Credit Score Is Not Ruined Forever After a Bankruptcy Filing

Bankruptcy is a useful debt relief tool. It can give you a fresh start when unpaid debt becomes unmanageable. Sadly, many people attach a stigma to filing bankruptcy and fail to see its advantages and benefits. Instead, they focus on the notion that bankruptcy will forever ruin their credit. But this is just one of the many myths of bankruptcy. It often causes people to put off filing, which only delays bankruptcy’s benefits. While your credit score is affected by bankruptcy in the short term, we’ll discuss how your credit score is not permanently ruined by filing bankruptcy.

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I Live in Washington State and Debt Collectors Are Calling

Washington state has two laws that protect you, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Collection Agency Act (CAA). The FDCPA is the minimum standard for states, but Washington’s laws increase the standards. It’s like having a low federal minimum wage and a higher state minimum wage. In this article, we’ll help you learn how Washington’s debt collection protection laws can help you stop debt collectors from calling.

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The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act

In Florida, you have even more protections from unfair collection practices than you would in other states. The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) works with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to help limit phone calls, threatening letters, and other types of unfair actions from collection agencies and other types of debt collectors. It protects Florida consumers and gives them the right to sue debt collectors that have violated the FCCPA. Keep reading to learn more about the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and your rights under federal and state consumer protection laws.

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Giving Gifts Before Filing Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy system doesn’t care about the fact that you purchased your kids some toys for Christmas, or that you’re giving a friend a $10 gift card for their birthday. But, you will be required to list all persons who received gifts with a combined value greater than $600 within the 2 years before your bankruptcy case is filed. This article discusses how gift giving is viewed in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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I paid off my wage garnishment, now what?

Paying off a wage garnishment is a great accomplishment. Once all the debts are paid, though, the money that has been automatically taken from your paycheck doesn't always stop being taken from your paycheck. This article will give you advice on how to make sure your money is no longer being withheld and sent to your creditors as well as information about how you can rebuild your credit after a wage garnishment and how to avoid having your funds garnished in the future.

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Who Can Garnish My Wages?

Many types of creditors have the right to file a complaint in court for unpaid debt. Wage garnishment laws give creditors the ability to withhold money from your paycheck, but not all creditors are required to go to court before they can garnish your wages. This article will explain what wage garnishment is, who can garnish your wages, and how bankruptcy can help stop wage garnishment.

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Wage Garnishment In California

California’s wage garnishment laws are much like those in other states. But, California has special rules for certain kinds of debt. For example, all child support payments in California automatically come with a wage garnishment order. It is important to know California’s wage garnishment rules and your options for dealing with having your wages garnished if you’re a California resident. This article will address both the rules and your options.

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6 Strategies That Can Help You Become Debt-Free

Living debt-free will improve your credit score and expand your opportunities for housing and jobs. It doesn’t take long to accumulate debt, but it can take time to pay it down. Keep reading to learn the steps and strategies you can use to get started on your way to a debt-free life.

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Loans For Unemployed: Options & Processes

This article will discuss one of the ways that you can deal with the loss of a job—an emergency loan. Although you may think your employment status directly affects your ability to get a personal loan, especially in an emergency, that isn’t always true. In this article, we’ll talk about your options and the procedures for getting an emergency loan when you are unemployed.

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How can I pay the taxes for the “income” shown on my 1099-C?

When a creditor forgives debt, you're still not completely off the hook since you'll have to consider the forgiveness income for tax purposes. If you have had $600 or more of debt canceled or forgiven by a creditor during a single year, you can expect to receive a Form 1099-C and to pay taxes on this canceled debt. If you’ve received your 1099-C or you’re evaluating a debt settlement option and want to learn more about debt forgiveness and the 1099-C tax form, keep reading. We’ll help you through this process.

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What is zombie debt and should I be concerned?

Zombie debt is debt that you’re no longer legally obligated to pay. If the date of the last activity on the account happened so long ago that the statute of limitations has passed and the creditor is no longer allowed to file a lawsuit to make you pay the debt, it would be considered a zombie debt. But a misstep on your part, even an innocent one, can revive a zombie debt and put you back on the hook for paying it again. Read more to learn how this process works and how to protect yourself from debt collectors that could try to trick you into reviving zombie debts.

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What to Do if You’re Contacted About a Time-Barred Debt

A time-barred debt is one where the creditor has missed the deadline to legally bring a claim against you in court. Unfortunately, debt collectors may still try to contact you about old debts that are time-barred by the statute of limitations. But there are ways to deal with these debt collectors. Read this article to learn more about how to tell if your debt is covered by a statute of limitations and what to do if you’re contacted by a creditor that is trying to collect a time-barred debt.

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Removing a Judgment from Your Credit Report

Having a judgment on your credit report will lower your credit score, sometimes significantly. In some instances, though, you can get this negative information removed from your credit history. As with any item on your credit report, you have the right to dispute any judgment on your report that you feel has been made in error or has already been resolved. If a creditor has entered a judgment against you, here’s what you’ll need to do to get it removed from your credit report.

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Property Inspections

Your home may require a property inspection for all kinds of reasons. If you need to have one done, read this article to find out about the different types of property inspections and what you can expect to learn from one.

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Principal-Only Payments: Are They a Good Idea?

The fastest way to pay off any type of debt or loan is by paying off all of the principal as soon as possible. This makes principal-only payments an attractive option for those who have a lot of debt, especially high-interest debt from credit cards. While this type of monthly payment is not available from all lenders, a principal-only payment can save you big money on interest payments over time. Read more to learn more about principal-only payments and the pros and cons of making them.

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Should I pay the debt collector or the original creditor?

If you have a debt that’s been sent to a debt collector, you may be wondering whether you should negotiate with the original creditor or the debt collector. In most cases, the original creditor will give you more generous terms for repayment than any debt collector will. Unfortunately, if it's already been sent to a collection agency, it's too late to make a deal with the original creditor. This article will explore the debt collection process, how to negotiate with an original creditor, and how to deal with a debt collection agency if your debt does get charged off and sent to collections.

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How to Find Out Which Collection Agency You Owe

If you’re in debt, you’re likely getting notices and phone calls from debt collectors. But, it can be hard to know which collector to work with or whether their information is accurate. The first step toward resolving collection accounts is making sure that the debt is valid and that the person or company calling has the right to collect. This process can be a tangled web. Here’s how to sort it out.

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How long do I have before my student loan goes into default?

When you miss your student loan payments, you risk defaulting on your loan. Different lenders have different timeframes for when they consider a loan to be “in default,” so it’s important to know the terms of your loan and understand the timeframe for default. This article will explain how long it takes for federal and private student loans to go into default if you miss a monthly payment.

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Can an employer contest unemployment benefits?

Employers can appeal an unemployment office’s decision to approve an applicant for unemployment insurance benefits. But, they need to have grounds to do so. In this article, we’ll explain how long an employer has to contest an unemployment claim and the application procedure that’s used in most states to determine benefit eligibility. We’ll also explore how you can appeal a decision if your application for benefits is denied.

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Debt Relief: What Are the Options & How Do They Work?

If you have debts that you’re unable to pay, there are several options that can help you to get back on your feet. These options range from filing bankruptcy to creating some sort of payment plan that prevents debts from charging off or having creditors sue you and garnish your wages. Here we will look at some avenues to help you manage your debt.

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Why You Should Always Pay More on Your Credit Card than the Minimum Payment

A credit card minimum payment is simply the minimum amount of money you must pay each month to remain current on your debt. Making the minimum payment doesn’t do much to help you get out of debt and can actually lead to some pitfalls that will keep you in debt longer. Read this article to learn what those pitfalls are and how to avoid them.

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Is there a “best” time to make my credit card payments?

Many people believe that making your minimum payment on time is all there is to managing your credit card debt. The best strategies for managing credit card debt look at factors beyond just making on time payments. This article will give you tips on how to manage your credit card payment to avoid paying interest charges and detail some other important information you should know about your credit card bill.

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You Can Win That Debt Collection Lawsuit

Most debt collection suits in the U.S. end in default judgments. That’s a judgment entered against the alleged debtor because they either didn’t file an answer to the complaint or didn’t show up in court. This is bad news, partly because many of those cases could have been won. If you’re sued by a creditor, debt collector, or debt buyer, the worst thing you can usually do is ignore the lawsuit. This article will provide guidance on how to deal with a debt collection lawsuit.

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Paying Off Debt vs. Investing: What’s Better?

You may feel like you’re getting conflicting messages about debt and savings. On the one hand, you know it’s not good to carry too much debt. It’s expensive, can lower your credit score, and creates some risk. At the same time, you’re advised to have savings to help weather the unexpected. And, you’re warned about your retirement investments falling short and leaving you in a bad situation as you grow older. But, your budget will only stretch so far. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice depends on your circumstances and your personal financial goals. This overview will help you make the right decision for your situation.

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How To Pay Off Collections: A Complete Guide

If you are being contacted by debt collection agencies or other types of debt collectors, then you have several options to choose from to protect yourself. But don’t ignore those letters or phone calls just because you can’t pay the debt right now. Keep in contact with your creditors and let them know where you stand so that they know that you are actively trying to work with them.

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Will A Foreclosure Ruin My Credit Forever?

A foreclosure will stay on your credit report for seven years, but your creditworthiness will not be negative forever. You can take steps to repair your credit after foreclosure and start building a positive credit history. Read more to learn how you can overcome a foreclosure, rebuild your credit history, and what steps you can take to buy a house after foreclosure.

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4 Things You Should Know About The Statute Of Limitations

This article will explain four things that you should know about the statute of limitations, a state law that limits the time a debt collector has to bring a lawsuit. Once the time limit has passed, you'll be able to defeat a debt collection lawsuit and avoid a judgment.

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Income Contingent Repayment for Federal Student Loans

Federal student loan borrowers have 4 income-driven repayment options. The ICR Plan is one such option if you are struggling with your student loans. . An ICR Plan is for two types of borrowers. In this article, you will learn about the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan.

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Cancellation Of Debt & Related Pitfalls

If you have debts that you are unable to pay, bankruptcy is not your only option. You might be able to negotiate with your creditors to have some of your debt canceled. Learn what debt cancellation is, how it works, and forms of debt cancellation have to be declared as taxable income and which. Also find out which method of debt cancellation might work best for your situation.

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Getting Rid Of Student Loans: 6 Options To Consider

If you are trying to manage a student loan debt, you might be disappointed to learn that they aren't often discharged through bankruptcy, but there are other options for student loan management you could be eligible for, including loan forgiveness or cancellation, disability discharge, or forbearance. Read this article to learn which option might be best for you to pursue and other things to consider.

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IRS Wage Garnishment Procedures

If you owe the IRS unpaid taxes, they might collect on the debt by putting a garnish on your wages and collecting their money directly from your paycheck. Learn about the rules they must follow when garnishing wages, including how much of your income is exempt from garnishment and how much notice they are required to give you. Also, find out what you can do to stop a wage garnishment that's already in place.

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Student Loan Forgiveness Options For Healthcare Workers

If you are a healthcare worker, you may qualify for federal student loan forgiveness. Learn how to find out if you are eligible for these programs, about the different types of debt relief, and other debt relief options that may be available to you.

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Furlough: How It Works And Why It Matters

A furlough is a leave of absence with reduced hours and reduced pay. It could last a few hours or several months. Technically, you’re employed without pay during a furlough, but you could qualify for unemployment benefits. Furloughs include benefits, but usually don’t include paychecks. When you’re furloughed, you might get a return to work date.

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How Will Foreclosure Affect My Credit?

In this article, we’ll help you understand what you can do to avoid foreclosure, how a foreclosure will affect your credit if this process is unavoidable, and how you can save your credit score from dipping lower than necessary. We’ll even give you some tips on how to fix your credit after foreclosure.

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Student Loan Garnishments And Hardship

If you default on your student loans, you risk having your wages, taxes, and Social Security benefits garnished. Your credit score will also suffer. To avoid a student loan wage garnishment, or to reduce the amount that will be garnished, you need to take action. You can do this even after you’ve defaulted on your student loan. In this article, we’ll help you learn how to manage student loan wage garnishments, so you can avoid adding to your financial troubles.

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Guide to Consolidating Federal Student Loans

Consolidating federal student loans streamlines the repayment process and may save you money. Here’s what you need to know to make informed decisions about consolidation.

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Gifted Money To Pay Student Loan Debt | Will I Have To Pay Gift Tax?

When you’re just starting out, a significant gift from a family member or other loved one can make all the difference. For instance, a gift that pays off all or part of your student loans or, the gift of down payment funds may help you buy a home and begin building equity. If someone has offered a generous gift but you’re worried about gift tax, income tax, and other tax issues, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.

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Private Student Loans and Wage Garnishment

Defaulting on the payment of your private student loans can negatively affect your credit score and result in other undesirable consequences. One is wage garnishment. A private student loan lender can even levy or take money from your bank account. Thankfully, there are solutions that can help you avoid these challenges and even provide debt relief.

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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses

In this article, you will learn about student loan forgiveness programs available to nurses. Loan forgiveness eligibility qualifies you to have your loan eliminated. Forgiveness programs are only available for federal loans. The following will guide you on how you can reduce or eliminate your student loan debt if you are a nurse.

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Understanding Credit Card Wage Garnishment

After efforts to collect a credit card debt fail, a credit card issuer or its collection agency will eventually file a lawsuit. If you don’t respond, it can get a default judgment. Any judgment (including a default judgment) allows a creditor to get a garnishment order and garnish wages.

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Can I Refinance My Student Loans?

When you refinance your student loans, you take out a new loan and use it to pay off your existing student loans. Refinancing may allow you to benefit from a lower interest rate and/or reduce monthly payments.

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If I Go To Grad School, Can I Defer My Loans?

Yes you probably can. Deferring your loan will help you concentrate on graduate school and make the most of your grad school experience. In this article, we’ll help you understand how deferring your undergraduate school loans can help you to successfully manage your student loan debt while you attend grad school.

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Four Things To Know About Medical Bills And Wage Garnishment

A healthcare provider can try to collect unpaid medical debts like any other debt collector might. A provider may even seek to garnish your wages. Before a provider can take your wages, the facility or physician must sue you and win the case.

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How Repossession Affects Your Credit

Repossession can cost you more than your car. Late or missed car payments can hurt your credit. If your car is repossessed, the hit to your credit will be even more significant. This is true even if you turn in your car voluntarily.

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Social Security and Garnishment 101

If you collect Social Security as retirement income or benefits known as SSI or SSDI, rest assured that most creditors can’t take this money from your bank account or from you before the money lands in your account.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Bills in Bankruptcy?

If you’re struggling to make ends meet while dealing with medical bills, bankruptcy can provide relief. Medical debt and loss of income for medical reasons plays a role in more than 60% of personal bankruptcy filings.

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How Much Do I Owe In Student Loans?

If you want to go back to school, finance a house, manage your debt, or file for bankruptcy, you’ll want to find out how much you owe in student loans. It might feel like you need a degree in finance to keep track of your financial aid, but we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn about how you can find out how much you owe on your student loans and how to effectively manage your student debt.

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4 Income-Based Repayment Options for Federal Student Loans

There are four different income-driven repayment plans for student loan borrowers that received federal student aid. The IBR Plan, the REPAYE Plan, the PAYE Plan, and the ICR Plan. They each have different eligibility requirements and potential benefits compared to the standard repayment plan.

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Should I Lower My Student Loan Payments With An Extended Repayment Plan?

An extended repayment plan lowers your monthly payment amount by stretching your repayment over 25 years. Rather than consistent payments, on a graduated plan your minimum monthly payments start lower and increase every two years.

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Preparing for your 341 meeting during the COVID-19 emergency

If you have your 341 meeting coming up and you haven’t heard from your trustee about how they are handling 341 meetings during the COVID-19 emergency, contact their office immediately. You can find their contact information in section 5 of your Form 309A. 

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3 Important Facts About Student Loans & Garnishment

After 9 months of missed payments, your federal student loan will go into default, making a garnishment likely. For private student loans, default happens much sooner. Keep reading to learn three facts about student loan garnishment that could help you keep your take-home pay and tax refund.

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I Lost My Income Due To Covid - Should I File Bankruptcy?

As we all navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting global pandemic, the single biggest impact being felt by every-day Americans is the loss or significant reduction of household income. With so much uncertainty about so many things surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, many are stressed and worried about their finances and trying to plan ahead. This article will explore whether bankruptcy can give you the relief you’re looking for and what to keep in mind when it comes to timing.

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Getting Details About Your Federal Student Loans

Student loan borrowers tend to end up with multiple federal student loans, which can make keeping track of it all quite difficult. The good news is that you can find all of your federal student loans in the National Student Loan Data System.

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Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy: Important Legal Terms

One of our goals this year is to publish a comprehensive guide on filing an adversary proceeding as part of a bankruptcy to discharge student loans. It will initially be published as a series of Learn Articles. The following is a guide to important legal terms that come up in adversary proceedings.

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Can You Pay Student Loans with A Credit Card?

If you are struggling to make payments, you can use balance transfer checks or an intermediary service to transfer student loan debt to credit cards. An intermediary service, such as Plastiq, makes payments to the loan provider on your behalf. Making student loan payments with a credit card may have some benefits, depending on the card terms. But doing so also carries some serious risks. U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations prohibit lenders of federal student loans from accepting credit card payments. Although there are ways to get around these regulations, the real question you should ask yourself is: *Is it worth it? *

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Discharging student loans in bankruptcy: The Brunner Test

Under the current Bankruptcy Code, an individual cannot discharge student loans in bankruptcy unless retaining this type of student debt would cause undue hardship. To determine whether such a hardship exists, the bankruptcy courts conduct an analysis known as the Brunner test.

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New Year, New Bankruptcy Laws? 

The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020 promises to pull the bankruptcy courts into the 21st century, by allowing e-signatures and remote appearances at 341 meetings.

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Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions Explained

If you have done some research on bankruptcy cases or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Although the federal Bankruptcy Code has a list of bankruptcy exemptions, these exemptions aren’t available in Florida. In Florida, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Florida residents have to use the state exemptions. Also, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions contained in the federal law if you have any assets covered by them.

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California Bankruptcy Exemptions Explained

If you are a California resident, you can’t protect your possessions, like bank deposits and commercial vehicles, under the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions. So, Californians filing bankruptcy have to use California exemption law. Some states permit filers to choose between a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemption system. However, California isn’t one of them. California is called an “opt-out” state, which means federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available to filers in the state.

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How Can I File Chapter 7 and Keep My House?

If after careful research you determine that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice for your circumstances, you may be wondering if it’s possible to wipe away credit card debt and other unsecured loans, but hang on to your house. The short answer is *it depends*. If you’re current on your mortgage and there is not much equity in your home, it is likely that you can keep your house. However, the opposite may be true if there is significant equity in the home, or if you are behind on your mortgage payments. Read on for more information about how filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy might affect your mortgage and property rights.

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Cramdown in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In personal bankruptcy cases, a cramdown occurs when the filer pays off a car loan through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan by paying only how much the car is actually worth, not how much is still owing on the loan. Upon successful completion of the repayment plan, the filer gets title to the vehicle free and clear.

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A Guide to Securing a Personal Loan After Bankruptcy

Filing bankruptcy gives you a fresh start, but what if you need to secure a loan after your discharge has been entered? While you're still at the mercy of lenders and financial institutions, getting a loan is not impossible. Guest Contributor Alicia Grayson has put together this short guide on everything you need to know about getting a post-bankruptcy loan.

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Common Docket Entries & What They Mean

The docket is a case record prepared and maintained by the clerk of the court. Learn what common docket entries mean for your case.

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How To Check The Status Of Your Fee Waiver Application

Anyone who earns less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines is eligible to apply for a fee waiver. But, that doesn’t automatically mean they will receive one. The judge decides whether to grant a fee waiver based on the information contained in the fee waiver application.

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What is an Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy?

An adversary proceeding is like a lawsuit that takes place as part of the bankruptcy case. Adversary proceedings are generally the most complicated part of a bankruptcy proceeding, but they don't happen in every case.

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What Happens If I Declare Bankruptcy?

Overview of what to expect after declaring bankruptcy, including types of bankruptcy, the immediate debt relief benefits of filing bankruptcy, and important information about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

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Evidence: What Is It And What Do I Use It For?

When you bring a court action, you have to support your position by showing evidence. Here's what that means for your student loan dischargeability action.

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Student Loan Rehabilitation Gets the Default Status Dropped

Student loan rehabilitation is a way to get your student loans out of default status. If you’re currently trying (unsuccessfully) to get student loan relief but aren’t eligible for any programs because you’re in default, student loan rehabilitation may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

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Timeline of an Adversary Proceeding (An Overview)

One of our goals this year is to publish a comprehensive guide on filing an adversary proceeding as part of a bankruptcy to discharge student loans. It will initially be published as a series of Learn Articles. The following is one of the sections in the working draft of the Upsolve's Student Loan Adversary Proceeding ("SLAP") Guide.

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CBRA - The Next Big Reform in Consumer Bankruptcy?

The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020 is the single largest change to the consumer bankruptcy laws in 15 years. Some thoughts from a consumer bankruptcy lawyer.

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy: What is it? Should I file? How to file?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common legal process to clear your debt, but it’s not right for everyone. Let’s take a look at some bankruptcy basics to help you learn about it and decide whether it's right for you.

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Car Co-Owner vs. Co-Signer: What’s the difference?

A co-signer on a car loan is obligated to pay the loan if the other person defaults on their payment obligation while a co-owner of a car has an ownership interest in the vehicle itself. This article explains how to properly disclose these relationships in your bankruptcy forms.

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Student Loans

If you’re in public service and work for a government or a qualifying nonprofit, you may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness of your federal student loans.

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Bankruptcy Statistics

The bankruptcy statistics in this article will provide a high-level view of consumer bankruptcy filings around the country, bankruptcy rates from state to state, the types of bankruptcy cases most often filed, and the financial problems that trigger bankruptcy filings.

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How Chapter 10 Would Help You Avoid Eviction

The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020 would really help folks who are behind on their rent. Current bankruptcy laws fall short, requiring you to catch up to stay.

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For tenants, the time for bankruptcy reform is now…

Absent further government action, the ban on evictions is about to expire and - as much as we'd like it to - bankruptcy can't help...

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6 things you should to know about the Statement of Intentions

If you’re planning on filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have a car loan or other secured debt, here are 6 things you should know about the Statement of Intentions.

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Using A Fee Waiver For Free Bankruptcy Credit Counseling

Everyone who wants to file for bankruptcy has to take a credit counseling course before they can do so. While there is a small cost associated with this requirement, it is possible to take the required course for free by requesting a fee waiver.

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Bankruptcy Credit Counseling & Financial Management Courses

If you’re filing bankruptcy to wipe away your debt you’ll need to take two educational courses. A credit counseling course before filing your case and a financial management course after filing.

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Trustee's Report of No Distribution & What It Means For Your Case

The Trustee's Report of No Distribution, or NDR, lets the court and all interested parties know that no money will be paid to creditors.

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How bankruptcy impacts your second COVID relief payment

On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Act includes a second second COVID relief payment to eligible individuals.

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What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a broad term that describes a variety of actions that filers sometimes take to get an unfair advantage. Depending on what form that fraud takes, it’s considered a crime and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a (non-dischargeable) fine of up to $250,000. This article will explore some common types of bankruptcy fraud.

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What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that provides relief for folks who make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7. At its core, it’s a reorganization that allows the filer to pay as much as their budget can handle instead of trying to keep up with each creditors’ minimum monthly payments.

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Significant Consumer Bankruptcy Reforms Introduced

On December 9, 2020 Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler introduced the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020 to simplify the consumer bankruptcy laws.

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Dealing With Tax Debt In and Out Of Bankruptcy

While bankruptcy isn’t always the best solution, discharging an old tax debt through Chapter 7 bankruptcy or paying it off through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is possible.

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Bonus Season?

‘Tis the time of year when some employers pay out bonuses to their employees. If you’re expecting a bonus - congratulations, that’s awesome! But, you probably have some questions on how this impacts your bankruptcy filing, especially if you were planning on filing soon.

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What is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an intimidating and daunting process. Especially if it's not something you've ever dealt with before, you may not know where to begin or how it ends. Here is an overview of what to expect as you prepare for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and what happens after your case has been filed with the bankruptcy court. 

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Should I be Embarrassed About Filing for Bankruptcy?

Should I be embarrassed by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing? We'll let you know how you should think about your discharge of your debts.

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What To Do If Creditors Are Calling After A Bankruptcy Filing

Find out what to do if a creditor keeps contacting you even after your bankruptcy has been filed.

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How to add a creditor after filing my forms?

What follows is a step by step guide on how to add a creditor after filing bankruptcy. The process for this is often very specific and differs from district to district, but there are some things that are the same across the board. If you're an Upsolve user, you can use the case editor and the self-service amendment feature to update your forms.

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5 Important Bankruptcy Questions (and Answers!)

If you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy, you have questions. We’ll answer the most common bankruptcy questions for you right here so you can decide whether you want to take the next step in the bankruptcy process or explore other debt-relief options that might interest you.

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Requirements for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Deciding to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy should involve a review of everything that is required to successfully get a bankruptcy discharge after the bankruptcy filing. What follows is an overview of the requirements to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the requirements to getting your Chapter 7 discharge.

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What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal tool to obtain debt relief and get a fresh start. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the most common types. This article explores consumer bankruptcy basics, the different types of bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy process overall.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forms Explained

The Chapter 7 forms packet consists of a voluntary petition, schedules, and statements. The term “petition” is often used to describe the set of forms individuals filing for bankruptcy submit to the court. Here's a walk through of all of them.

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Upsolve is featured on TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020!

Today, TIME named Upsolve to its annual Best Inventions of 2020 list!

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Tips For Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney

In this article, we'll explore whether you need an attorney to file bankruptcy, how you can make sure you hire the bankruptcy attorney that is right for you, and what kind of resources are available to find a bankruptcy lawyer near you. Learn how to choose the right bankrutpcy lawyer for your situation based on what matters most!

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Debt Collection After a Bankruptcy Discharge

A bankruptcy discharge order permanently forbids creditors to try to collect discharged debt. Not all collection phone calls are illegal, and some types of debt can be collected after bankruptcy. We’ll help you recognize the difference and learn how to stop debt collectors that violate a bankruptcy court order.

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Do I own my vehicle? What percentage of it do I own?

Whether or not you own your vehicle depends on whether you purchased it using a loan or leased it from a dealer or other agency.

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Chapter 7 Document Checklist

Filing bankruptcy is a very document intensive process. In this article, we’ll look at what documents you’ll need to gather to ensure your case proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary complications.

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What are the California Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you're a debtor filing for bankruptcy and you live in California, you'll be using the California bankruptcy exemptions to keep your property.

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What are Non-Dischargeable Debts in a Bankruptcy Filing?

Non-dischargeable debts are debts that can’t be eliminated in a bankruptcy because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code doesn’t allow it. If you have non-dischargeable debts, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not get rid of the debt. However, a Chapter 7 case can get rid of other debts so that you can pay non-dischargeable debts. Most debts are eligible for a discharge in Chapter 7.

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Overdraft Protection and Bankruptcy

Whether you'll lose your overdraft protection depends on the type of protection you have.

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Guide to PACER: Getting your court notices without an attorney

PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. It’s a system to access case information, the docket, and the documents filed in a particular case electronically.

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Your Bankruptcy Discharge Date

Obtaining a bankruptcy discharge is the primary goal of every individual who files bankruptcy. The discharge date is the most important date in a personal bankruptcy, second only to the date the case was initially filed. Let’s take a look at 4 things you should know about your bankruptcy discharge, when your discharge will be granted by the bankruptcy court, and how to figure out the date of your discharge even if you can’t find your paperwork anymore.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds

It's pretty well-known that tax debts typically can't be discharged in bankruptcy. But what if you're getting a refund? This article answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax refunds and bankruptcy.

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Tax Refunds and Bankruptcy Exemptions

Tax refunds can be used to pay creditors if they're not protected by an exemption. This is an overview of states with no or little protection for tax refunds.

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Debt Consolidation - 5 Things You Should Know

Debt consolidation does not erase debt, but it can be helpful in reducing your interest rate on debt you owe.

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Why do reaffirmation agreements exist? 

If a debt is reaffirmed, the lender can repossess the car if you default on payments AND sue you for the balance left on the loan. Find out why reaffirmations exist.

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Bankruptcy Case Dismissals & How To Avoid Them

Many worry that their case won’t be accepted if they file bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer. Even though it’s scary to think that this may happen, it doesn’t really work that way. You are allowed to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. And, as long as you follow the bankruptcy court’s instructions and complete all required steps, the risk of having your case dismissed is actually pretty low.

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What type of debt can I erase in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out most but not all debts. Learn what type of debt is erased by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.

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Is Upsolve real? Is this a legitimate service?

Yes! Upsolve is 100% a legitimate service! We are a small mission-driven team of dedicated individuals, focused on a single goal: Helping low-income Americans struggling with too much debt get a fresh start by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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What is an asset in bankruptcy?

Everything you own is an asset. Whether your property is valuable enough to turn your case into an asset bankruptcy depends on what bankruptcy exemptions you can use to protect your property.

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Should I File Bankruptcy Before Getting Married?

Whether bankruptcy is the right debt relief option for you depends on a few things, including your income, what type of debt you have, and whether you’ve filed bankruptcy in the past. If you’re already pretty sure that filing bankruptcy is the way to go, but are worried about the timing, keep reading. This article will focus on how being married (or not) impacts a bankruptcy case.

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If I file for bankruptcy, will it hurt my co-signer’s credit score?

No. A co-signer’s social security number will not be involved, and the bankruptcy does not go on their credit.

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What does the bankruptcy discharge do?

A bankruptcy discharge is an order from the Bankruptcy Court that is granted to the filer in a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Discharge orders are also entered in Chapter 13 cases, but only if the filer is eligible for a discharge, which most often includes completing the payment plan. The debt that is discharged depends in part on the type of bankruptcy you file.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?

There are a number of different ways that you can prevent foreclosure, even if you ultimately need to give up your home. Don’t be afraid to explore your options, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and find what’s right for your family and personal financial situation.

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What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Bankruptcy exemptions are laws that protect your property in a bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy relief does not mean that you have to give up everything you own. Learn how exemptions protect your property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Dealing with Returned or Undeliverable Mail from the Bankruptcy Court

If a creditor’s address is incorrect on the creditor matrix, the court’s notices to the creditor will be returned as undeliverable. You’ll either receive the returned mail (as you’re listed as the “sender” even though the court mailed the document) or a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court. Or both.

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Dealing with Returned or Undeliverable Mail from the Bankruptcy Court

If a creditor’s address is incorrect on the creditor matrix, the court’s notices to the creditor will be returned as undeliverable. You’ll either receive the returned mail (as you’re listed as the “sender” even though the court mailed the document) or a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court. Or both.

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How To Update A Creditor’s Address After Filing

If a creditor’s address is incorrect on the creditor matrix, the court’s notices to the creditor will be returned as undeliverable. Follow these steps to make sure this is corrected.

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How To Update A Creditor’s Address After Filing

If a creditor’s address is incorrect on the creditor matrix, the court’s notices to the creditor will be returned as undeliverable. Follow these steps to make sure this is corrected.

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6 Steps To Stop Wage Garnishment After Filing Bankruptcy

Wage garnishments have to stop immediately once your case is filed but you should allow time for the creditor to provide your employer with the necessary paperwork to actually cause the stop. If your case is filed the day before your next payday, chances are you're paycheck will still be garnished, as the payroll has already been processed. However, you'll get that money back.

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What is the Meeting of Creditors?

The meeting of creditors is part of every bankruptcy case. Most times, it only involves the bankruptcy trustee and person who filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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What is non-exempt equity?

What property you are allowed to keep and what you may be forced to sell or surrender when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on how much non-exempt equity you have in the item. Let’s explore what this means for you, so you can choose the path to debt relief that makes the most sense for you.

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What Is A Co-Debtor and How Does My Bankruptcy Affect Them?

When you file bankruptcy, your co-signers will remain responsible for paying the debt that they co-signed for that is discharged in your bankruptcy. As long as they continue to pay the debt, your bankruptcy will not affect their credit.

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Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy (A Guide)

A bankruptcy does not destroy your credit forever. Instead, following some simple tricks and taking advantage of the various credit repair tools can help you build a stronger credit report and higher credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

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How do I prepare for my hearing?

Your bankruptcy process will include at least one (the 341 meeting), and likely two (fee waiver) hearings. Here are some of the most common hearing types you might encounter along the way to your fresh start.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?

Whether you’re receiving or paying child support, a bankruptcy filing will not affect it. If you’re owed back child support, it’s an asset. If you’re the one paying child support and owe an arrearage, it’s considered an unsecured priority debt that is not dischargeable.

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Should I File Bankruptcy? What Are My Options?

Filing for bankruptcy is a big decision. It’s important to understand what you stand to gain and lose by filing either type of bankruptcy.

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What are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Rules?

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules are not as difficult to understand as you might believe, but there’s quite a few of them. Keep reading to get a basic understanding of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules and ensure a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

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What are the Virginia Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Exempt property, such as a car or trade implements, is free of the claims of your creditors and can’t be taken by your trustee to be liquidated. Laws in Virginia determine the types as well as the amount of exempt property.

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What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

The bankruptcy trustee doesn’t represent the filer and they don’t represent any specific creditor. They review the filer's forms and conduct the creditors' meeting.

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How to Amend your Statement of Intentions

The Statement of Intentions is the bankruptcy form that you filed with the court to let your creditors know what you want to do with your secured debts, most often a car loan. If you have changed your mind and need to amend (update) your Statement of Intentions, follow the steps outlined in this article.

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Is It A Good Idea To Delay Filing Bankruptcy?

There are times when filing bankruptcy as soon as possible is best, but, there are other times when it may be a good idea to delay the filing. This article will explore some of the circumstances that may justify filing for bankruptcy right away and some of the circumstances that may warrant a delay.

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What Are Disposable Earnings?

Did you know that creditors have the right to seek a garnishment order against you if you fail to repay your debt? This article will give you an overview of what income may be garnished under the law and how to avoid and/or stop garnishment actions by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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What are the Texas Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you live in Texas, you are lucky. It is one of the best states in the US in which to file bankruptcy. Here is why you will benefit from filing bankruptcy in Texas. Some US states, including Texas, allow filers to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemptions. However, it has to be one or the other—if you opt for the Texas state exemptions, you cannot cherry-pick specific exemptions off the federal bankruptcy exemptions, and vice versa.

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Is life Insurance Protected in Bankruptcy?

A bankruptcy filing can provide debt relief and protection against collection activity and creditor harassment. Bankruptcy also provides asset protection, as many debtors file without losing any property. Exemptions help debtors protect their assets, including life insurance policies. However, receiving life insurance proceeds for a certain amount of time before and after filing bankruptcy is a significant event that must be reported to your bankruptcy trustee.

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What are the Michigan Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Michigan allows residents to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions.

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How Settling a Credit Card Debt Affects Your Credit Score

Settling a credit card account will resolve your debt, but before you commit to this course of action, please read on to learn more about the negative impacts a debt settlement will have on your credit score, alternative debt-relief options, and how you can turn debt relief into a positive opportunity to rebuild your credit over time.

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What is Unsecured Debt?

Unsecured debt is not tied to any property (collateral) and includes credit cards and medical debt. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases eliminate most unsecured debts.

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Bankruptcy Basics: What Is Bankruptcy & How Do I File?

In a nutshell, a bankruptcy case is a legal course of action that puts your debt behind you so you can get a fresh start. This article will give you a short explainer on bankruptcy basics, including what types of cases you can file, how to file bankruptcy, and what to expect from the bankruptcy process.

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What does it mean to surrender your car in bankruptcy?

If you surrender your car as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your car debt is erased by the bankruptcy discharge.

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Should I Update My Forms If I Get a New Job Before Filing?

Congratulations on your new job! If you haven't filed yet, and you really don't know what your monthly income will be until your first paycheck comes in, you have one of two options for how to handle this.

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Can I keep using my credit cards until I file bankruptcy?

Once you’ve decided that you’ll be filing bankruptcy to deal with your debt, you should not continue to incur new debt. That includes making new charges on your credit card, or getting a new loan. 

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How To Calculate Your Income If You’re Self-employed

If you're self-employed, you likely aren't getting regular paycheck stubs to help you figure out your monthly income. This article will provide some tips on how to figure out your income for your bankruptcy forms even without a paycheck stub. Your income is calculated differently depending on whether you have a business entity or are a sole proprietor or independent contractor. Let's first take a look at what is considered income depending on how your business is set up and then figure out how to calculate your income for your bankruptcy forms.

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What To Do If A Creditor’s Address Changed After Filing

If you notice that your creditor’s address has changed on a document/letter they sent to you regarding your bankruptcy, it’s likely that they’ve already provided their new/updated address to the court.

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What Happens If I Have A Car Accident After Filing Bankruptcy?

While a property settlement from the insurance company may have to be paid to the trustee, any personal injury settlement you’re entitled to as a result of the accident is yours to keep. This article will explore what steps to take if you get in a car accident after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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What To Do If You Changed Your Mind About Keeping Your Car

Did you originally plan on keeping your car but changed your mind? That is totally ok! Here is what you need to do to make sure you’re protected, depending on where you are in the process.

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Foreclosures & Eviction Protections Under The CARES Act

As Americans struggle to cope with the financial uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Among other things, the CARES Act protects borrowers of federally backed mortgage loans from foreclosure. This article will discuss the foreclosure protections, moratorium on evictions, and other mortgage relief implemented by the CARES Act.

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Timing Considerations If Student Loan Company Takes Your Tax Refund

There are not many creditors that can withhold, or set off, your tax refund before it ever hits your bank account. The most common instance of this is when the IRS keeps your refund and applies it to a prior year's balance owed. But that's not the only time this can happen. Another reason for the federal government to withhold all or a portion of your tax refund is if you're in default with federal student loans. Since student loans aren't automatically discharged in bankruptcy, this can be a blessing in disguise. However, timing matters, and depending on when your tax refund was taken by the government, you may be better off waiting a bit to file your bankruptcy case.

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Confused After A Reaffirmation Hearing?

Reaffirmation Hearings: An overview of possible outcomes and what it means for you.

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What You Should Know About Bankruptcy And Luxury Items

A luxury item is something that is not reasonably necessary for your maintenance and support. It’s something you don’t need to live. Non-luxury items, on the other hand, are things you purchase to cover necessities for yourself and your dependents. Things like groceries, utilities, rent, and gas. The term luxury item includes both products and services that cost more than $725.

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3 Things You Should Know About Bankruptcy Course 2

Every individual seeking bankruptcy relief must complete two educational courses: The credit counseling course is completed before the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court. The second course, on the other hand, can’t be completed until after the case has been filed. Without completing both courses, a bankruptcy filer cannot get their bankruptcy discharge. Here are 3 things you should know about the personal financial management course, including how it's different from credit counseling.

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What To Do If A Creditor Violates The Automatic Stay

The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court and a case-number assigned to your case. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from trying to collect a debt from you. Creditors and their attorneys know that the bankruptcy court can order them to pay sanctions to the bankruptcy filer if they violate the automatic stay.

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Discharge vs. Dismissal: What's the Difference?

Many individuals filing bankruptcy for the first time are unsure of the terminology used by lawyers and the courts. Two words that frequently confuse first-time filers are “dismissed” and “discharged.” The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between the two and when lawyers and the court are most likely to use them when referring to your case.

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9 Steps to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

You can use the avalanche or snowball method to pay off your credit card debt, but if your debt is more than you can pay, take time to learn about the different debt-relief options available to you.

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How to Remove Collection Accounts From Your Credit Report

You have a legal right to dispute debt reported by collection agencies and debt collectors. You can ask for validation or that it be removed from your credit report.

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Intellectual Property and Bankruptcy

Intellectual property receives special treatment in bankruptcy. It's important to evaluate applicable law, review licenses, contracts, ownership status, and navigate IP laws, bankruptcy laws, contract laws, and state laws before filing a bankruptcy.

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Should I File Bankruptcy for My Business?

If you're in debt because of your business, bankruptcy may allow you to wipe your slate clean.

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Can I leave debts out of my bankruptcy?

Even though it might seem to make sense to leave certain debts out of your bankruptcy filing, you're not permitted to actually do so.

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The trustee says I owe money/asset to the estate. What should I do?

What it means and what to do if a bankruptcy trustee says you owe money or an asset to the bankruptcy estate.

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Filing bankruptcy while self-employed

Explore the two most typical ways individuals own businesses, and how it impacts your options when it comes to getting lasting debt relief through a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Will filing bankruptcy affect my apartment lease?

If your rental payments are current, getting debt relief by filing bankruptcy will not affect your lease agreement. Learn how filing bankruptcy will affect your real estate lease.

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Objection to Discharge

Although it doesn’t happen in most consumer cases, creditors have the ability to object to having their debt discharged. Some debts are not dischargeable by default. Others become non-dischargeable once a creditor objects and the court finds that cause exists to exclude a certain debt from being discharged. This article will explore why an unsecured creditor - like a credit card company or bank - would object to a discharge and how the process works.

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A Guide to Leases in Bankruptcy

A lease is an agreement between a lessor and lessee, usually involving rental property or a vehicle. Learn how to deal with your lease in a bankrutpcy so there are no unexpected surprises!

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What’s a set off and why does the court want to know about it?

A set off is when a bank takes money out of your bank account because you defaulted on your payment obligations on a debt owed to that bank. Normally, creditors have to get a judgment before they can reach the funds in your checking or saving accounts, but there is an exception to that general rule: When you have a credit card or loan with your bank, the agreement (either the credit card agreement or the loan documents) will often give the bank the right to pay themselves directly out of your account in the event of a default. 

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How to Stop Collection Calls (Guide)

If you have debt you’re struggling to manage, you don’t need the added stress of irritating collection calls. Keep reading to learn how you can stop debt collection calls from interrupting your life.

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Can A Judgment Creditor Take My Car?

Once a creditor files a lawsuit and is awarded a judgment by the court, it has several options to satisfy its debt. It can garnish wages or levy a bank account. It can also obtain a judgment lien and place it on real property such as a house or even personal property such as an automobile. This article will explain your options and how you can use them when a so-called judgment creditor files a lien on a motor vehicle.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is and take a brief look at how it's possible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy even though there is a presumption of abuse.

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How Do I Reaffirm My Car Loan?

The 6-step process of reaffirming a car loan.

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What relief can I expect now that Congress has passed the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by the president last week provides emergency relief in a variety of forms. What follows is not intended to be a comprehensive list but rather a general overview of the types of relief made available by the Act most likely to benefit our users.

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Filing your pro se bankruptcy forms during the COVID 19 Outbreak

Although most courts are closed to the public, you can still file your bankruptcy case by submitting your forms. In person filing has been suspended at most courts for the time being and each court has established its own specific filing procedures. This article is intended to provide you with a general overview of how the COVID-19 outbreak impacts your options for filing your bankruptcy forms. To find instructions for your court, visit your court’s website. Please be sure to closely follow the instructions provided by the court on how to file your bankruptcy forms. 

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How to tell if you have property that is not protected by an exemption

Schedule A/B lists everything you own. Schedule C lists all everything you own that is protected by an exemption. Here is how you can tell what’s protected by an exemption by looking at your Schedule C, complete with an example to illustrate what it means when something is only partially exempt.

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How do I know if my trustee is going to seize an asset?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy and if the filer has property that is not protected by the available exemptions, the bankruptcy trustee sells the property for the benefit of all unsecured creditors. The vast majority of all consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed in the United States do not result in the sale of any assets by the trustee. Trustees never simply come and take an asset - whether that’s money in your bank account or a boat sitting in your driveway. Let’s look at what you can review to determine whether your trustee is likely to seize an asset from you and what to expect once your case is filed.

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Telephonic Hearings in Bankruptcy Court

A hearing is an appearance in court where one or more parties to the case show up in the courtroom to present something to the judge. A telephonic hearing is exactly what the name suggests: a court hearing that takes place over the telephone.

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How to get debt relief without risking your safety

Filing for bankruptcy protection can be a powerful step towards not only financial freedom, but freedom from financial oppression. It is possible to get this relief without risking your or your children’s safety. This article is all about making sure that your abuser can’t use the bankruptcy court system to further victimize you. 

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How A Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Erase Debt

A personal bankruptcy lawyer can help you erase debts or you may choose to file bankruptcy on your own. Depending on the complexity of your situation and the type of bankruptcy you file, hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer can be a great investment.

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6 Things about the Automatic Stay Everyone Filing Bankruptcy Should Know

11 U.S.C. § 362 is the technical name of the section of the bankruptcy law that protects all filers from creditor actions while their case is pending. You may have heard of this referred to as the automatic stay. Let’s take a deep dive into how 11 U.S.C. § 362 protects bankruptcy filers, what you can do if a creditor violates the automatic stay and what exceptions to the automatic stay protections you should be aware of before filing your bankruptcy case.

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Can My Spouse Be Pursued for My Debts?

A judgment is a court order declaring that you do owe the debt and must repay it. How all of this can affect your spouse, if you are married, largely depends on whether you reside in a common law or community property state and the judgment-debtor laws of your state.

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Debt Collection Basics: Can I Pay Off Debts in Collection?

Learn how to tell if your debt is in collection, how you can use a payment plan to pay off your past-due debt and what steps you can take to stop stressful collection account activity.

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Bankruptcy for Senior Citizens

Filing any bankruptcy can be a complicated process but filing bankruptcy as a senior citizen can be especially challenging. This article will discuss when bankruptcy may be right for seniors, the types of bankruptcy and debt relief alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.

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What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is not right for everyone or every situation. If you're not sure whether bankruptcy is right for you, knowing what alternatives are available to give you some relief from your debts is a critical part of making the right decision for you and your family. Let's take a look at some of the most common bankruptcy alternatives.

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What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy case that can be filed by individuals, married couples, and businesses. It’s the most common type of bankruptcy and provides the fastest form of debt relief. Continue reading to learn more about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works and what everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy should know.

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Will filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy help you? Consider this...

Filing bankruptcy allows you to eliminate your debts - credit cards, car loans, bank loans, medical bills etc. While eliminating these payments will inevitably help your household budget, it won’t change the here and now. You’ll still be responsible for rent, utilities, insurance, groceries and really all other living expenses. Remember, filing bankruptcy does not change your income. If you made $0/mo. before filing your case, you’ll still be making $0/mo. afterwards.

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Help, my 341 meeting is coming up and I can’t find my social security card!

Ideally, you’ll have located your social security card at the very beginning of the process and have everything ready to go by the time your creditors’ meeting rolls around. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned. If you can’t find your social security card in time for the meeting, bring last year’s form W-2 from your employer or one of the other accepted alternatives.

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The Small Business Reorganization Act: How Subchapter V Election Changes A Small Business Debtor’s Bankruptcy Filing

The SBRA creates a subchapter to Chapter 11 that is designed to allow small business debtors an alternative to large and expensive Chapter 11 cases. Electing Subchapter 5 removes many of the financial barriers and administrative burdens faced by small business debtors in a typical Chapter 11 case. While Subchapter 5 streamlines the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, you will still need an attorney to successfully complete this bankruptcy successfully, as it is a complicated process.

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What Does Bankruptcy Mean?

Bankruptcy is one of those words that everyone’s heard but many don’t really know what it means. Especially with so many high profile bankruptcies in the news these days, it can be hard to figure how bankruptcy can actually help a regular consumer. Let’s take a look at what bankruptcy means and how the different types of bankruptcy enable you to take back charge of your finances.

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How to Protect Property from Garnishment

A garnishment is an order by a court to withhold and surrender a portion of a person’s pay to another entity that has been awarded a judgment against the debtor. Exemptions exclude certain property or funds from being taken by way of garnishment or levy.

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What Happens If I Have Pawned Property and File For Bankruptcy?

Pawn transactions are almost always the last option for individuals seeking cash, as pawn contracts do not favor the borrower. They favor the pawnshop or title loan company. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, read on to learn more about how pawn shops work, what a title loan is, and what happens to these transactions in a bankruptcy case.

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What are the Wisconsin Bankruptcy Exemptions?

You will find a list of available exemptions in the federal Bankruptcy Code, or you may instead decide to use exemptions available under Wisconsin law. However, keep in mind that each state has the option of “opting out” of this scheme. Bankruptcy filers in an opt-out state may only use their state exemptions and not use the federal exemptions. As Wisconsin hasn’t opted out of the choice between state exemptions and federal exemptions, Wisconsinites who file bankruptcy can choose between federal bankruptcy exemptions or state exemptions. Actually, you will be happy to know that Wisconsin is one of the few US states that allows filers this choice, and this is a real advantage if you are filing Chapter 7 in the state. However, keep in mind that you are not allowed to cherry-pick exemptions from both lists; you can select only one set of exemptions. If you’re using Wisconsin law to exempt your property, you can also use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable. This also means that if you’re filing for bankruptcy in the state, you should review both sets of exemptions and then choose what scheme can best protect your property. Hiring an attorney can be helpful in this respect.

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What are the Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There is some good news for Oregonians who are looking to file for bankruptcy protection in the state. Note that now there are 2 separate systems of bankruptcy exemptions to protect Oregon filers in bankruptcy. The Governor signed a significant law on July 1, 2013, that now allows individuals filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state to elect to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. It is a huge change to the bankruptcy process in Oregon with a substantial impact on bankruptcy cases now being filed.

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What are the Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Although some states in the country allow people to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions, this option is not available if you are filing bankruptcy in Ohio. Ohio, like many other states, has its own bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Ohio for at least 2 years when filing your case, you have to use the Ohio bankruptcy exemptions and can’t use federal exemptions Note that one great advantage of using state bankruptcy exemptions in Ohio is that you will have an additional list of bankruptcy exemptions that might be available to you. So, while you have to use Ohio bankruptcy exemptions if you file a bankruptcy in the state, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions as well. These exemptions protect certain qualifying property, like federal and military retirement benefits.

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What are the Illinois Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you have done a bit of research on bankruptcy cases in Illinois or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Many states in the US allow people to choose between the federal exemptions and state exemptions. However, you don’t have that option in Illinois. In Illinois, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions if you’ve lived in the state for at least 2 years when you file bankruptcy. Fortunately, Illinois has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property.

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What are the Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Arizona has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Arizona for at least 2 years when your bankruptcy is filed, you have to use the Arizona exemption laws. This article explores the exemptions available under Arizona law.

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What is Chapter 20 bankruptcy?

Some people struggling with overwhelming debt find that bankruptcy is the best debt relief solution for their unique situation. Determining which form of bankruptcy to file is largely dependent on the amount and types of debt held, and the financial situation of the individual or married couple. When considering bankruptcy, most people first learn about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, named for the Bankruptcy Code chapters that govern how they work. But a lesser-known arrangement, Chapter 20 bankruptcy, functions as a hybrid of the two.

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What to do if your income decreases after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy

If you’re a few months into your case, then you don’t have to do anything. If it changed shortly after your case was filed, wait for the creditors’ meeting and let the trustee know during the meeting that your income has changed. Depending on how much it changed, they may say don’t worry about it or request that you file updated forms.

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Why does the bankruptcy court need my social security number? 

Interestingly, there is nothing in the Bankruptcy Code itself that requires the filer to have a social security number. But, your social security number is how you obtain and maintain credit and how your tax filings and liabilities are tracked, so the bankruptcy court system uses it to keep track of bankruptcy cases. So, if you have a social security number, you have to provide it to the bankruptcy court.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect My Disability Benefits?

Find out whether you can keep your social security disability benefits during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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What Happens if You Ignore Debt Collectors?

Most of us don’t like talking to debt collectors. Anxiety over past-due bills runs high enough. No one wants the added pressure of collection calls and threatening letters. To make matters worse, many people who have collection accounts feel powerless. When there isn’t enough money to go around, it may seem pointless to pick up the phone and talk to a collection agency. Even talking with an original creditor can be tough once your account moves into collection status. Fortunately, you have options for taking charge of your debt and rebuilding financial security. Upsolve is here to help you find the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

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Guide to Bankruptcy Relief for Small Businesses

Small business owners who are struggling to pay the bills can often find relief, and even keep their businesses afloat, by filing business bankruptcy. But all bankruptcies are not created equal. To ensure that the outcome aligns with your goals, it is important to determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your unique situation.

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Corporate Bankruptcy Explained

When a corporation gets into financial trouble, the company may be able to file for bankruptcy protection. In some ways, corporate bankruptcy is like consumer bankruptcy. But, there are also important differences. In this article, you’ll learn how the two types of business bankruptcy differ, how each works, and how corporate bankruptcy is different from personal bankruptcy.

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Should I inform my tax preparer about my bankruptcy case

Yes. If you find out that you are owed a refund there may be special instructions provided by your trustee that you will need to follow regarding your refund check that your tax preparer must know before filing your returns.

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Is there a way to keep a credit card I need when filing bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to keep a credit card, no matter the reason. If you owe a balance on the credit card, you have to list it as a debt. The debt will be discharged and the account closed by the creditor. Bankruptcy law requires that you list all of your debts. You are not allowed to simply “leave out” one of your credit cards. 

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When Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Millions of Americans feel overwhelmed by debt, but that doesn’t mean all of them should file bankruptcy. There are multiple paths to debt relief, depending on your unique circumstances. Bankruptcy is only one. However, when other possible solutions, such as debt settlement and debt consolidation fall short, bankruptcy may be the most effective way to discharge debt and get the fresh start you need. Read on for more information about the different types of bankruptcy, and how to determine if filing might be right for you.

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Store Cards and Bankruptcy

Issuing credit cards to their customers is a favorite and quite effective marketing technique used by many retail stores. It makes the customer feel special and come back to take advantage of the “deals” only available to card holders. Common examples include Best Buy, Kohl’s and Apple credit cards. This article explores how store credit cards are treated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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How to get your credit report for free

Your credit report has a lot of power over your daily life - whether that's when you go to get a new car or are applying for an apartment. In addition to using credit responsibly, keeping an eye on your credit report is one of the most valuable things you can do to make sure your financial house is as stable as possible. There are three ways to request a copy of your free credit report.

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Can I file bankruptcy if I’m in a debt relief program?

Yes, you can absolutely file for bankruptcy relief even after attempting to work things out through an alternative debt relief program. Once your bankruptcy case is filed, you can stop making the payments under the debt relief plan you’re in (if you haven’t already) and your obligation to pay the debt will be eliminated for good when your discharge is entered. Continue reading to learn more about how the different debt relief options can impact your bankruptcy case.

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Cash Advances and Bankruptcy

A cash advance is exactly what it sounds like. Someone gives you cash, you pay it back. There are a variety of different forms of cash advances, but they all have this in common. You get cash in a certain amount. You pay it back with interest.  Getting a cash advance right before filing bankruptcy is a big red flag for a couple of reasons. This article explains how.

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What are Priority Unsecured Debts?

We usually hear debts divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. A debt is secured if the lender has a security interest in some property and can take that property if you don’t pay. But, in bankruptcy, there are other important distinctions. Some unsecured debts get special treatment. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of unsecured debt, and what it means when a debt has priority.

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Can Social Security Overpayments be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

If you owe money to the government due to an overpayment of social security benefits, you may be concerned about whether you’ll be able to eliminate this debt as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn how to make sure you are able to discharge your debt for this overpayment.

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Why can’t I login to my account to pay my car loan anymore?

After a bankruptcy filing, some creditors block you from logging in to your account. This becomes a problem if you want to keep your car and need to make your payment. Unfortunately, there isn’t much consistency among lenders on when and why they do it. They say it’s because they don’t want to violate the automatic stay. Unfortunately, what it really does is make it much harder for the filer to make their payment. 

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How can I surrender my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

"Surrendering" your car means that you give it back to the lender that gave you the loan to purchase it. If you surrender your car as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any debt that you owe on it will be eliminated when you receive your bankruptcy discharge.

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Can I buy or refinance a car during Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Yes, you can buy a new (to you) car while your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is pending. If possible, wait until your discharge has been granted as that will give you more negotiating power with the bank.

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If I surrender my vehicle, will I be responsible for any balance owed?

No. Even if the car is sold for much less than what you owe on the loan, your personal liability to pay the loan is discharged.

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What is Equity?

Equity is calculated by taking the value of your property and subtracting any outstanding loans you have on it.

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Bankruptcy and the Homestead Exemption

Bankruptcy exemptions play an important role in Chapter 7 cases, and the homestead exemption may be the most important of all. It’s the homestead exemption that makes it possible for many people to wipe out unsecured debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy without losing their homes. In this article, you’ll learn how the homestead exemption may protect your house in bankruptcy. We’ll also touch on some of the limitations of the homestead exemption. And, we’ll discuss alternatives for people who aren’t fully protected by their state’s exemptions.

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Which states allow me to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions?

Find out which states allow filers to choose between their state's exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Telling your Creditors about Filing Bankruptcy

You don’t have to tell a creditor that you’re filing bankruptcy before you file. Doing so may or may not help you simmer down collection calls. Once your case is filed, the court notifies your creditors.

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What should I do if I don't perfectly remember my expenses?

Do your best to estimate them and don't get too sidetracked by trying to be perfect. It can be tough to know exactly how much you’re spending on certain expenses. This is especially true if you have been cutting back on your regular living expenses while trying to stay afloat. This article explains some ways you can use to calculate your expenses for your bankruptcy forms.

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What to do if your income increases after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The first thing you should do is give yourself a high five. Whether you found a new job or got a raise in your old job, getting paid more this week than last week is always a good thing! If you’re a few months into your case, then you don’t have to do anything. If it changed shortly after your case was filed, wait for the creditors’ meeting and let the trustee know during the meeting that your income has changed. Depending on how much it changed, they may say don’t worry about it or request that you file updated forms. 

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How to avoid an identity crisis about the way you make a living

If you’re not a traditional wage earner who gets a W-2 from their employer in January every year, you may be confused as to what you “are” when it comes to terms like self-employed, sole proprietor, independent contractor, gig worker, or small business owner. Let’s take a look at some important differences so you can map out your best path to lasting debt relief.

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Verification of Creditor Matrix Explained

Learn about the verification of creditor matrix.

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My children receive social security benefits. Do I include this as income in my bankruptcy?

There are two locations in your bankruptcy forms where income has to be disclosed, the means test and your Schedule I. This article explores whether and when you should include social security benefits your child receives as part of your household income in your bankruptcy forms.

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What happens after the Meeting of Creditors?

The 341 meeting often marks the last official step the filer in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case has to complete. Here is what happens after the 341 meeting.

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Can I file bankruptcy with my deceased spouse?

No, you can't file bankruptcy jointly with your late spouse. But, you can (and should) make sure that all of their debts are listed on your schedules so any payment obligation you may have to the creditors can be discharged in as part of your case.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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