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Debts

Learn about the different kinds of debt and how they’re handled in a bankruptcy case. (Hint: Most of them are wiped out by the bankruptcy discharge.)

Almost all types of consumer debt can be eliminated by filing bankruptcy. But, as with everything in life, there are some exceptions. If you need debt relief, learn how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start.

This page is your home base for learning about how different types of debt are treated in bankruptcy.

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What is Unsecured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 10, 2020

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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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 28, 2021

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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What is Debt and How Should I Handle It?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 1, 2021

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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Should I File for Bankruptcy for Credit Card Debt?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 1, 2021

Credit card debt can prevent you from paying your day-to-day living expenses. By filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you can get rid of credit card debt while protecting your property. But to qualify for Chapter 7, your income needs to be below the average median income in your state.

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Filing Bankruptcy to Deal With Your Student Loan Debt? Here are 5 Things You Should Know!

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated August 10, 2020

Everyone knows that it’s very hard to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. But that is not the same thing as saying that student loans can never be eliminated through a bankruptcy filing. Ultimately, it’s the bankruptcy court judge that makes the decision on whether someone should be able to eliminate their student loans through bankruptcy. Here are the five things you should know if you’re considering bankruptcy to deal with your student loan burden.

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What Is Secured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 19, 2021

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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Should I List My Student Loans Even if They Can't Be Erased?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated September 15, 2021

Yes. You should include all your debts on your bankruptcy forms, even if some cannot be erased. 

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Should I File For Bankruptcy or Try Debt Relief?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated January 14, 2022

When a person can't pay their debts, creditors can become extremely demanding in their attempts to collect debts. In some cases, debt collectors may harass individuals to repay their debts. But if you don't have any money left over each month to pay your bills, you can't won't be able to pay the debt regardless of what a debt collector tells you.

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What To Do If You Don’t Remember Everyone You Owe Money?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated November 21, 2020

If you're overwhelmed by debt collectors and collection agencies calling you to collect a debt, it can seem as though you'll never be able to remember who they all are. But, it's important to give the bankruptcy court a list of all of your creditors, so here are some steps you can take to make sure you didn't miss anyone.

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How to Get a Free Bankruptcy Consultation in New York?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated December 1, 2020

How to find a free Chapter 7 bankruptcy consultation in New York City. A bankruptcy attorney will help you decide between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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How Can I Find a Free Bankruptcy Lawyer in New York City?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated November 10, 2020

If you're looking for an affordable bankruptcy lawyer, look no further. Upsolve is a nonprofit that helps low-income Americans get the fresh start they need through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We'll also help you look at other resources for affordable bankruptcy lawyers.

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Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy (A Guide)

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 29, 2020

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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Legal Aid Bankruptcy Resources in New York City

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated December 3, 2021

Legal aid nonprofits provide free assistance to people who can't afford a bankruptcy attorney. See if there's a legal aid nonprofit in New York City that can help you.

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How to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated November 25, 2020

Tips for finding a bankruptcy attorney.

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How Do I Find an Affordable Bankruptcy Attorney?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 21, 2022

While you don’t have to hire a lawyer to file a bankruptcy case, you may want legal assistance. If so, there are several resources you can use to find an affordable bankruptcy attorney, including your state bar association’s website, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, or a local legal aid organization. Many bankruptcy lawyers also offer a free consultation for prospective clients. You can get free legal advice during the consultation and learn more about the lawyer’s fees and options for paying them.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Bills in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 30, 2022

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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What is a Debt Collection Attorney?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated March 31, 2021

If you're having trouble finding a debt collection attorney to help you with a lawsuit, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy relief. You can file bankruptcy without an attorney to get rid of debts.

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What are Non-Dischargeable Debts in a Bankruptcy Filing?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 2, 2020

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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Debt Consolidation – 5 Things You Should Know

Written by Attorney Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2021

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

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Debt Relief Programs and Financial Resources for Veterans

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 13, 2022

There are many debt-relief programs and resources for veterans and active-duty service members alike. Some focus on helping military personnel with homeownership while others focus on managing your finances and debts. It’s especially important for active-duty military members to keep their finances in order. This will help you get or maintain security clearances. This article covers the most common debt relief programs and financial resources for veterans and active-duty service members.

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On My Bankruptcy Forms, Should I List Debts That Appear on My Credit Report but I Don't Owe?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated September 4, 2021

You should list debts on your bankruptcy forms that are on your credit report even if you don't think you owe them.

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What Are Bankruptcy-Friendly Credit Cards?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated January 27, 2022

It’s important to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy. The good news is that you’ll get plenty of offers for credit after your bankruptcy discharge. The bad news is that some of those offers won’t be great, with high interest rates or hidden fees. If you want to rebuild your credit, you need to find the right card to work for you. Read on to learn about some of your options.

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What Is an Automatic Stay In Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 12, 2020

The automatic stay stops the people and companies that you owe from trying to get their money. In most cases, the automatic stay goes into effect as soon as you file your paperwork.

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Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lower My Credit Score?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 27, 2021

Most people who have low credit scores and file for bankruptcy actually see their credit scores improve.

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Will bankruptcy stop a levy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 11, 2020

If creditors are threatening to levy your bank account, you may be worried about how you are going to pay your bills and living expenses if a creditor takes your money. Let’s go over some important information about levies and ways you can stop a levy.

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Should I list the original credit card, or the debt collection agency?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

When you're listing the companies that you owe money to, you should list current owner of the debt. So if a debt collection agency bought your debt from the original credit card you owe money to, you should list the debt collection agency. 

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I Just Took Out Payday Loans. Should I Wait 90 Days To File Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

It's a good idea to wait at least 90 days to file after taking out payday loans or making any substantial purchases. This is because these types of transactions can make a trustee or judge suspicious and less likely to approve your bankruptcy. It looks like you're "cheating" — wracking up debt knowing that you could just get rid of it in bankruptcy right after.

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What Does It Mean To Be Judgment Proof?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 27, 2021

Being judgment proof means that you do not have anything for a creditor to collect if they sue you and win. As you can imagine, this means that they are not likely to sue you. It does not mean that they can't sue you, just that they probably won't be able to collect if they do decide to take you to court.

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What Happens to the Automatic Stay if My Bankruptcy Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated May 17, 2022

If your bankruptcy case gets dismissed, your debts won’t be discharged and the automatic stay goes away. Without the protection of the automatic stay, debt collectors and creditors can resume collection activities. If your case is dismissed, you can file a new case or file a motion to reinstate your previous case. If this happens, there may be limits to the automatic stay.

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What if I Paid Someone Back in the Year Before Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 24, 2021

If you're filing for bankruptcy, you probably owe many debts. If you repay some of those debts but not others in the year before bankruptcy, the trustee in your bankruptcy case may try to recollect some portion to redistribute the repayment more evenly across all your creditors.

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 27, 2021

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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Should I Make a Last Payment on My Credit Card Before I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated September 15, 2021

If you plan to file bankruptcy soon, making one last credit card payment won't hurt your case, but it also won't help it.

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Will My Utility Company Take My Deposit When I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Upsolve Team
Updated November 11, 2021

Your utility company might keep your security deposit when you file bankruptcy. The company is allowed to keep any security deposit that you paid them before bankruptcy. It's also allowed to charge you a reasonable security deposit for future services after you file.

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A Creditor Is Suing Me. What Should I Do?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated August 27, 2021

When you file your bankruptcy paperwork, you will need to mention any lawsuits creditors have brought against you.

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Will My Landlord Be Notified That I Filed for Bankruptcy?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law GradLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 15, 2021

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

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law GradLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2021

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 Is Community Debt?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated July 2, 2022

Community debt is any debt that you or your spouse incur while married or any debt for which you and your spouse are co-signers. There are 10 community property states where spouses or legal partners may have community debt. This article outlines the 10 community property states and how having community debt may affect your bankruptcy filing.

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Do I Need To List All of My Creditors?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

You should do your best to list all of the companies you owe money to on your bankruptcy forms.

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If a Creditor Was Charged Off, Do I Still Need To List Them?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated April 19, 2022

Just because a creditor has charged off a debt doesn't mean that you don’t owe it anymore. That's why you'll still need to list the creditor on your bankruptcy forms. Having a debt charged off only means that the creditor has decided the debt is uncollectible for accounting purposes.

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How to Answer a Summons When You Are Sued

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated November 29, 2021

If you have yet to begin filing bankruptcy you may choose to answer the complaint. A summons can certainly lead to more drastic legal actions when not handled properly. You have a certain amount of time to answer the summons and if you fail to answer it could result in a default judgment.  

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If I Have a Debt That's Not Dischargeable, Should I Still List It?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated April 19, 2022

Yes. You must list every debt you have on your forms. The court needs to know about all of them. 

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I Don’t Have the Names of My Doctors. Is That Okay?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated April 19, 2022

Yes, that's fine. Just do your best when you write down the names, addresses, and amounts owed to your creditors. If possible, please Google around to find info you don't know off the top of your head.  

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What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 7, 2020

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 5, 2022

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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How Can I Get Free Legal Aid?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 29, 2022

Legal advice can be very helpful as you navigate the bankruptcy process, but not everyone can afford to hire an attorney to help them. That's where legal aid comes in. Legal aid organizations offer free or low-cost legal help to eligible individuals. This article will describe what legal aid is, how to find out if you qualify, and what it's like to work with a legal aid organization.

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Can Bankruptcy Help With Payday Loans?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

In some cases, bankruptcy can help borrowers who have payday loans they can't repay. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, which prevents the payday loan company from trying to collect the debt. If the debt is later discharged, you are no longer obligated to pay it back.

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What Goes Into a Credit Score?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated August 27, 2021

Your credit score is determined by several factors, including payment history, how much of your credit you're using, what types of credit you have, how long your credit history is, and how much new credit you've applied for recently. Your score helps lenders understand how well you manage credit as a borrower. You can proactively work to improve your credit score and build a strong financial future.

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How Much Debt Do I Need To File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 31, 2022

Bankruptcy laws don't specify a minimum debt requirement to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As long as you qualify to file and meet all the requirements, you can file Chapter 7 and have your dischargeable debts wiped away.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop Eviction?

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated May 11, 2022

An automatic stay goes into effect as soon as you file bankruptcy. This temporarily stops all debt collection activity, including eviction actions, as long as the landlord hasn’t already received a judgment in their favor. The automatic stay isn’t a permanent solution, though. It’s only a temporary measure that may buy you some time to deal with the eviction or find other housing.

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Can I Leave Debts Out of My Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 10, 2022

You need to list all your assets and debts when you file your bankruptcy. Leaving debts out of your bankruptcy filing will mess up your income and expense calculations. It can also be grounds for criminal charges for bankruptcy fraud.

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Can filing bankruptcy stop a debt collection lawsuit against me?

Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice
Updated October 29, 2021

In most cases, yes. In fact, facing a possible judgment or receiving one in a debt collection case is often why you might decide to file for bankruptcy. A debt collection lawsuit is a civil lawsuit (not criminal). These most often occur if a creditor has filed a suit against you for non-payment of a debt which may lead to the creditor garnishing your paycheck.

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What does it mean that my debts have been discharged?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 2, 2021

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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How Does Bankruptcy Affect a Car Lease?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 6, 2022

A car lease isn’t the same as a car loan. A lease is a contract to use a car for a period of time. It’s not considered a debt when you file bankruptcy. If you have a car lease and file Chapter 7, you can continue with the lease if your payments are current. Otherwise, you can give the car back and walk away from the lease. If you file Chapter 13, you’ll have more options for keeping the car, which we’ll explore in this article.

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Why you should not include credit card or personal loan debt payments in Schedule J (Expenses)

Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated July 22, 2020

Since Schedule J is essentially a budget for life after bankruptcy and since you will not continue to pay your debts after filing for bankruptcy, don’t list your monthly credit card payments etc. on your Schedule J. Anything that gets discharged in your case, that you won’t continue to pay for should be left off your Schedule J.

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How to get your credit report for free

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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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Should I Keep Paying My Credit Cards if I’m Going To File Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated February 7, 2022

It’s important to understand that you don’t have to be late on credit card payments to file bankruptcy. But at the same time, if you're facing a hardship and are struggling to make ends meet each month, it's absolutely ok to fall behind on payments before filing bankruptcy.

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What Is a Debt Management Plan?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated May 17, 2022

A debt management plan allows you to combine your debts and make one monthly payment with a lower interest rate. It's set up by a credit counselor and usually takes 3-5 years to complete. Only certain kinds of debt, such as credit card debt, can be included in a DMP. If you have a lot of debt that's secured by collateral (like a house or car loan), a DMP may not be the best option. But you can look into other debt relief options including filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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What Is Debt Settlement?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated May 13, 2022

Debt settlement is a type of debt relief. If a creditor agrees to a debt settlement, you make a lump-sum payment for less than the total debt you owe and they forgive the rest. This can work well if you have a large sum of cash at hand. But many who've fallen behind on paying their debts don’t. If you try to save up money to settle a debt, you'll hurt your credit in the meantime if you stop making your debt payments.

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What Is Credit Counseling?

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated February 22, 2022

Credit counseling is not a debt relief solution in itself. Instead, it’s a starting point for people who are looking for the right solution.

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What Is Debt Consolidation?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated May 11, 2022

Debt consolidation is when you combine multiple debts into one. The goal of consolidating your debt is to reduce your monthly payment and get a lower interest rate. It also simplifies your debt repayment, so you're less likely to miss payments each month. Debt consolidation loans and credit card balance transfers are two common types of debt consolidation.

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What Is Post-Petition Debt?

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated March 29, 2022

Debt you acquire after you file your bankruptcy petition is called post-petition debt. Post-petition debt won't be discharged in your bankruptcy. But post-petition debt isn't the same as debt you forgot to include on your bankruptcy forms.

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Can Social Security Overpayments be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 4, 2020

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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Can I File Bankruptcy if I’m in a Debt Relief Program?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 26, 2021

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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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Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy – Which Is Better?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2021

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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Can Attorney Fees Be Included in Bankruptcy?

Written by Your Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 24, 2022

If you owe attorney fees when you go to file your bankruptcy case, most will be treated as unsecured debt and discharged as part of your bankruptcy case. There are some exceptions to this, especially for attorney fees related to family court matters. Keep reading to learn more about how attorney fees are treated in bankruptcy.

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 4, 2020

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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Store Cards and Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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 Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Money

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 12, 2022

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 to Declare Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated July 22, 2020

You have many options for debt relief. There are debt settlements, debt management plans, debt consolidations, and bankruptcy. Each option has pros and cons. The best choice for you will depend on your particular situation. Whether you should file bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy to file is unique to your situation. Everyone's financial situation is different.

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Receiving Credit and Other Offers After Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Alexander Hernandez
Updated July 22, 2020

Court cases and documents filed in court are part of the public record. The same holds true for bankruptcy cases. As a result, companies searching the court records will know that you filed for bankruptcy and will start sending you advertisements in the mail offering you their services, including offers to apply for credit. However, before you accept that offer for a new credit card or car loan, continue reading to learn what you need to consider and what your best options are.

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City of Chicago’s “Fresh Start” Parking Ticket Debt Payment Plan Program

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated August 11, 2020

Within the past few years, investigative reporters from ProPublica have uncovered the disparate effects of Chicago’s parking and red-light ticketing system on low-income communities of color. Under a new Illinois ordinance, people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy could erase their ticket debt if they met certain qualifications.Read on to learn more.

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What Debts Can’t be Erased by Filing Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated November 5, 2020

Even though bankruptcy provides the most comprehensive debt relief for most folks who are struggling to make ends meet, it's not a way to get out of any and all debts. This means you need to carefully review your debts to make sure that filing bankruptcy will actually help you improve your situation. After all, if most or all of your debts can’t be eliminated as part of your bankruptcy filing, the downsides of filing bankruptcy may outweigh the debt relief benefits your bankruptcy discharge provides.

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What are preferential payments in bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated October 2, 2021

This article will explore what constitutes a preferential payment and why it matters to you if you’re thinking about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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What are Priority Unsecured Debts?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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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What happens if your debt goes to a collections company?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated July 22, 2020

Most of us have a pile of “to-dos” that never seem to be done. For many people, this includes a stack of bills and debts that just keep getting higher. As much as you’d love to pay off that medical debt, there’s never quite enough to go around on payday. Having this debt hang over your head can be really stressful. A lot of people sit up at night, worrying about what will happen next to their debt. Read more to find out what debt collectors can – and can’t – do, how they might legally be able to claim that money, and how this might affect your credit history.

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What Is a Lien and How Does It Affect My Property?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated November 28, 2021

A lien is a property right held by a creditor to secure the creditor’s right to payment from the borrower. Once the creditor is paid in full, the lien is released and the borrower owns the property free and clear. This article will provide an overview of the different types of liens, how they arise, and provide some guidance and additional resources on how to deal with liens in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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When Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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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Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 10, 2022

Whether or not you’re responsible for your spouse’s debt depends on what state you live in. If you live in a non-community property state, you’re only responsible for debt in your name and debt you’ve co-signed on. If you live in one of nine community property states (or Puerto Rico), you are responsible for your spouse's debt regardless of whose name is on it. There are some exceptions though, which we’ll explain in this article.

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How to Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated February 10, 2022

If it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of debt, it can seem impossible to find a life raft, especially if the debt collectors have already started circling. Getting a handle on who you owe and how much money you owe them is an important first step in sorting out your personal finances. This article will give you some tips and tools you can use to climb aboard that life raft, grab a paddle, and start sorting out your financial life.

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What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Collection Agency?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated August 7, 2020

Filing for bankruptcy relief does not mean that you have to give up everything you own. The purpose of filing a bankruptcy case is to get debt relief. The fresh start provided by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would not be a real fresh start if the filer ends up losing all of their belongings. That's where the bankruptcy exemptions come in.

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6 Steps To Settle a Credit Card After Getting Sued

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 5, 2022

If you have a pile of unpaid debt from a credit card that you aren’t able to make even the minimum monthly 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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A Guide to Securing a Personal Loan After Bankruptcy

Written by Alicia GraysonLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 10, 2021

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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Can You Pay Student Loans with A Credit Card?

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 2, 2021

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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What is a Proof of Claim in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated July 22, 2020

A proof of claim is what creditors are required to submit to the bankruptcy court before they can receive any money from the bankruptcy trustee. It’s the creditors’ way of saying, “I’m owed money, and here is how much, and why.” The trustee and the person who filed bankruptcy are given an opportunity to review and may object to any proof of claim that is filed in the case. Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.

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

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

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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How Can I Repair My Credit Myself?

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated September 22, 2021

This article will explain how credit reports and credit scores work and provide some simple but effective steps you can take that will help improve your credit score. You probably won’t be able to go from a 550 to a 800 credit score overnight but there are definite steps you can take that will help you repair your credit by yourself, without needing to hire a credit repair company.

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Why Is LVNV Funding Calling Me?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated August 7, 2020

LVNV is a third party debt buyer. It buys charged-off debts from the original creditors such as credit card companies for pennies on the dollar. Even though these companies only pay pennies for these debts, they are able to collect the full amount of the debt.

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Bankruptcy for Senior Citizens

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 7, 2020

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 17, 2021

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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Can A Judgment Creditor Take My Car?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 11, 2020

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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Can My Spouse Be Pursued for My Debts?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 27, 2022

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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Can an Employer Deny Me a Job Because of My Bad Credit?

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated May 19, 2022

In the majority of states, employers can deny you employment if you have bad credit. Some states and cities have passed laws that prohibit the practice, though there are some exceptions, such as for jobs in the financial sector. Employers must get your written consent before they run a credit check as part of the hiring process. Having certain negative items on your credit report may not hurt your chances for all jobs.

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Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Debts?

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated November 28, 2021

You can't be thrown in jail for not paying your credit cards and it's illegal for collection agencies to threaten you with jail time over the phone. Don’t be intimidated by such threats; be proactive, know your rights under the FDCPA, and research your debt relief options, such as credit counseling and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Can My Social Security Disability Benefits Be Garnished?

Written by Your Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 21, 2022

If your sole source of income is Social Security retirement income, disability benefits, or other federal benefits and you keep these funds separate from any other funds, most creditors aren’t likely to garnish your benefits. That’s because you’re probably judgment proof. As a result, a creditor can't secure a garnishment order or take money from your bank account.

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Will My Debt Disappear After 7 Years

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated August 18, 2021

The idea that if debt remains unpaid for 7 years it will simply disappear is a myth in the United States. If you’re under the impression that your unpaid debts will disappear after a 7 year period, you’re certainly not alone.

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 7, 2020

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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Can I Fix Negative Information on My Credit Report?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 16, 2021

This article will explain how to get your credit report and what types of information — positive and negative — will appear on your report. We'll also talk about how to fix your credit report when misinformation appears on your credit history.

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Can a Debt Collector Take Me to Court?

Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated November 29, 2021

A debt collector will make several attempts to collect on an outstanding debt before initiating a lawsuit. If you are worried about a debt collector taking you to court, it’s important to understand your rights. This article will discuss whether debt collectors can take you to court, the steps to take if you are sued by a collection agency, and how to handle your debt-related challenges.

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Can a Creditor Garnish or Levy My Social Security?

Written by Attorney Alexander Hernandez
Updated October 30, 2021

You have worked hard your entire life, but now that you have fallen victim to difficult times, you stopped making payments on your credit cards and other debts. As a result, a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you and is seeking a judgment. Are you at risk of having your Social Security taken away from you? Continue reading to learn more about how federal law protects your Social Security benefits from garnishment, levy, or seizure in most situations.

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 19, 2021

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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Can I Settle a Debt After a Lawsuit Has Been Filed?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated November 29, 2021

A lot of people face debt problems at some point in their lives. If you’re facing debt-related challenges, you’re not alone and you do have options. Even if you’ve been sued because of an unpaid debt, you can still potentially resolve the matter, as you can manage this debt in a variety of ways.

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What Do I Do About My Car Payment That Is Way Too High?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated November 29, 2021

If you're like most people, you had to take out a loan to buy your car. Car loan payments usually rival health insurance, student loans, and housing payments for the highest expenses. This article will cover your options to reduce your car payment with or without bankruptcy.

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Unsecured Credit Debt

Written by Attorney Amelia Niemi
Updated August 26, 2020

This article will help you understand what unsecured debt is, and how bankruptcy might be able to help you eliminate various unsecured debts. It will also discuss managing student loans, a type of debt that isn’t secured, but also usually isn’t dischargeable in bankruptcy.

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How Settling a Credit Card Debt Affects Your Credit Score

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 15, 2020

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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Will a Judgment Creditor Take My Car?

Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated October 8, 2021

The short answer to the question, “Can a judgment creditor take my car?” is “Maybe.” Generally, creditors will only take a vehicle if your car has value.

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What Is the Process of a Nonjudicial Foreclosure?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 3, 2021

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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9 Steps to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 28, 2020

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

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 24, 2021

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 a Deficiency Judgment?

Written by Attorney John Coble
Updated December 9, 2021

It's common that a deficiency balance remains after a foreclosure sale is complete. Whether the mortgage company chooses to pursue the deficiency balance depends on the amount of the deficiency and state law.

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What Personal Property Can be Seized After a Judgment?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 23, 2022

If a creditor gets a court judgment against you, they may be able to seize some of your personal property if it isn’t covered by an exemption. It costs creditors money to sue you and try to take your property, so it’s pretty rare for creditors to do that. More frequently, they’ll use a wage garnishment or levy your bank account to satisfy a judgment against you.

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Secured Credit Cards and Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 7, 2022

A secured credit card is backed by a cash deposit that serves as collateral. If you file bankruptcy, you won’t be able to keep regular, unsecured credit cards, but you may be able to keep a secured card. That’s because secured and unsecured debt is treated differently in bankruptcy. Secured cards are also a great way to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy filing.

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Can I Discharge a Private Student Loan in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney John Coble, Your Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 21, 2022

Generally, private student loan borrowers have fewer options for managing their debt than federal loan borrowers. Private student loans that don't meet the definition of "student loan" in the Bankruptcy Code can be discharged. All others must been the undue hardship test.

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Payday Loans and Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated December 12, 2021

Payday loans are short-term loans with very high interest rates that are due on the borrower's next payday. Learn how bankruptcy can help you get out of the impossible cycle created by payday loans.

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Judgments: How Long Do They Last and Will Bankruptcy Help?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 6, 2022

When a creditor wins a lawsuit against you, the court issues them a judgment. This allows them to take serious collection actions like wage garnishment. The length of time the judgment is enforceable varies depending on the state you live in. In some states, it’s as short as five years, and in other states, it’s as long as 20 years. Judgments can also often be renewed. If you can’t afford to pay a judgment against you, filing bankruptcy can help eliminate the judgment.

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How to Dispute a Debt You Don’t Owe

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated September 29, 2021

Credit reports are supposed to be accurate, but it isn’t uncommon to find errors. Learn how to dispute misreported information.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 29, 2020

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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Overdraft Protection and Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2020

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

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Unemployment Overpayment & Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 24, 2021

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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Can I Reaffirm My Mortgage in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Serena Siew
Updated April 15, 2021

The reaffirmation of mortgage debts is possible in Chapter 7 bankruptcy but it's not necessary. Learn what a reaffirmation agreement is how it affects your home mortgage.

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Mortgage Rights After The Death Of A Spouse

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated November 6, 2021

When your spouse dies, mortgage debt doesn’t just disappear. Learn what you can expect regarding your home and mortgage after your spouse has passed away, and find answers to many common questions, such as who inherits the house, what happens to the mortgage, what rights and protections you have, and what a reverse mortgage is and how it works.

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How Will Foreclosure Affect My Credit?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 6, 2021

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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Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.
Updated July 19, 2021

Before Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (MFDRA), struggling Americans had to pay additional taxes on debt forgiven due to foreclosure. Because of the strain of these additional taxes, taxpayers usually faced even greater financial troubles than had caused them to face foreclosure in the first place. The MFDRA is a unique law, and only applies to certain forgiven or canceled debt. This article explains how the MFDRA works and what kinds of debt it covers.

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4 Tips for Disputing Medical Bills

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 18, 2021

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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How Mortgage Relief Programs Can Help You

Written by Attorney Cody J. Harding
Updated November 25, 2021

Mortgage relief programs are available to assist those who are struggling to make payments on their home loans. These programs are usually developed in response to significant downturns in the economy. In recent decades, the federal government has expanded protections for borrowers and developed more programs to assist struggling homeowners. With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, both federal and state governments have added more protections very recently.

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Mortgage Grace Period: What It Means For You

Written by Attorney Cody J. Harding
Updated July 19, 2021

Though your mortgage is tied to an exact monthly payment date, all mortgages provide some flexibility. Most mortgages are due on the 1st of the month. But you can usually make your home loan payment by the 15th of the month without incurring any fees, or being subjected to negative reporting on your credit history. This flexibility is called a grace period. Below, we explain grace periods in more detail and reflect on why they should matter to you.

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Short Sale vs. Foreclosure: What’s the Difference?

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated October 24, 2021

If you’re a homeowner who is unable to make your mortgage payments, you might be facing the potential of foreclosure. One common method of avoiding the foreclosure process is a short sale. What exactly is a short sale and how is it different from a foreclosure? Are there any reasons to choose one instead of the other? And are there any ways to avoid foreclosure besides short sales? The following piece will answer those questions and offer additional information helpful to those who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments.

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Help! I’m in Debt and I Need Relief!

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated October 19, 2021

If you’re struggling to successfully manage your debts, you should know that you’re not alone. Whether it’s student loans, medical bills, or credit card debt, there are several debt relief options available. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages and they don’t all work for all kinds of debts or all borrowers.

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Ways That Student Loans Can Affect Your Mortgage

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated July 19, 2021

Homeownership is a major life goal for many people. In recent years, though, economic challenges have prevented many people from pursuing this goal. Student loan debt is often cited as a reason why so many people are waiting longer than ever to buy a home.

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Getting Out Of Medical Debt

Written by Attorney Kimberly Berson
Updated July 19, 2021

Medical debt can sometimes seem overwhelming, but there are things you can do to resolve it. Learn how medical debt can affect you in the long run, how to negotiate and set up a repayment plan, and what forms of assistance could help you pay for medical costs. Also, find out if filing for bankruptcy could help you to discharge your medical debt.

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Second Mortgage & Foreclosure

Written by Attorney Serena Siew
Updated November 29, 2021

Facing foreclosure on your home can feel devastating enough with only a single mortgage. If you have a second mortgage on top of that, your financial situation could feel even more precarious. In this article, you will learn about the differences between a first and second mortgage, what you can expect to happen if your house is foreclosed by the bank while you still owe a balance on a second mortgage, and what to do if you're facing a lawsuit from a second mortgage holder.

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