Debts

Bankruptcy can erase many debts from things like credit cards, medical bills, and payday loans. But it can’t erase some debts like most student loans.

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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How to Stop Collection Calls (Guide)

Calls from collection agencies and bill collectors interrupt schedules and pile on stress. You have the power to stop calls from collection agencies. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) exists because debt collectors have used devious and harassing methods to collect debt. If you have debt you’re struggling to manage, you don’t need the added stress of irritating collection calls. If you’re one of those hundred-million individuals, keep reading to learn how you can stop debt collection calls from interrupting your life.

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What Is A Charge Off On A Car Loan?

A charge off on a car loan is debt that a creditor declares uncollectible. An auto loan charge off hurts your credit history and lowers your credit score. The charged off debt could stay on your credit report for seven years and drop your credit score by 100 points. The creditor can still collect the charged-off debt, and the person that took out the auto loan still owes the charged-off debt. Car loan debt feels like it will last forever, but even a car loan charge off can be discharged through bankruptcy.

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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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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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Sued For a Credit Card You Can’t Pay? Find Out How to Settle Credit Card Debt Before Going to Court in 6 Steps

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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Are You Getting Calls From Collection Agencies and Worried What Might Happen? Find Out Here!

Calls from debt collectors are stressful and - if you don’t know what to expect they can be downright scary. Learn whether a collection agency can sue you and how to protect your rights, so you’re ready the next time a collection agency calls.

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IRS Wage Garnishments

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) garnishes your wages for unpaid tax debts, you do have options to stop the IRS. There are a few different tax procedures you can use to stop a garnishment. In some cases, it may even be a good idea to file bankruptcy.

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Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt?

Whether you are liable for your spouse's debts depends on a few different factors. First, you need to know if you live in a common-law state or a community property state. Second, what kind of debt is it? Is it tax debt? Is it a debt secured by your property? Third, if it is a credit card debt, are you a joint owner of the account, or are you only an authorized user? With any debt, you will be liable if you are a joint owner of the account. As a general rule, an authorized user on a credit card will not be liable. All these factors matter.

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How to Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe

If it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of debt, it can seem impossible to find a life raft. Getting a handle on who you owe, and how much money you owe them is an important first step to sorting out your personal finances. Even though this can be intimidating and might feel hopeless, by going through everything and letting it air out, you’ll be able to take some concrete steps towards moving past your debts. This article will give you some tips for taking the bull by the horn and sorting out your financial life.

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What Is a Lien and How Does It Affect My Property

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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What happens if your debt goes to a collections company?

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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Am I responsible for my business’s debts?

nfortunately, running a small business can be difficult, and sometimes businesses fail. Many small business owners that are struggling and look to bankruptcy as a tool to help them get out of debt. Many small business owners often wonder “Am I personally liable for the debts incurred because of my business?” To answer that question, we first need to define personal liability as it relates to bankruptcy.

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When to stop using credit cards before filing Chapter 7

Once you know that you’re going to file bankruptcy, it’s time to stop using your credit cards. Ideally, you stop making new charges a few months before filing. However, that isn’t always possible. If you’ve recently made new charges and you’re close to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing date, take a look at those charges to determine if they were for necessities only. The most important thing is that you don’t make any charges with the intention of erasing those debts through 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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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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What are preferential payments in bankruptcy?

Preferential payments, or preferences, are payments made to creditors before a bankruptcy case is filed that allow the creditor to receive more than they would have been able to recover in the bankruptcy case. Such preferential payments can be recovered by the bankruptcy trustee so the funds can be distributed to all unsecured creditors in shares. 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 Debts Can’t be Erased by Filing Bankruptcy?

Even though bankruptcy provides the most comprehensive debt relief for most folks who are struggling to make ends meet, it is not a way to get out of any and all debts. This means you need to carefully evaluate 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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Do I still owe after my car is repossessed?

Unfortunately, having your car repossessed isn’t the end of the road on your car loan. Many Americans owe more on their car than it is worth and their loan is “underwater.” Here’s what you need to know about vehicle repossession and how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer some debt relief.

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

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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Getting School Transcripts (When You Owe Money to the School)

If you owe the school money or you have defaulted on your student loans, it's common for schools to deny requests for your official academic transcripts. For many, this can be devastating. Without these transcripts, you may not be able to transfer to another school, attend graduate school, obtain a professional license, or qualify for some jobs. Keep reading to find out about your rights and options in this situation.

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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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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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How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive, misleading, or harassing tactics by debt collectors. This article will explore the basic protections you’re given by the FDCPA and provide you with some helpful tips on how to deal with debt collectors who don’t follow the rules.

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How to fix errors on your credit report - An Overview

Your credit score and by extension, your credit report play an important part in almost everything you do. Whether it’s getting qualified for a new mortgage or trying to rent an apartment near the school you want your child to go to, errors on your credit report can significantly impact your options and finances going forward. To ensure you’re getting the best possible deal it’s important to keep an eye on what’s on your credit report and - if you find any errors - update and correct the information it contains.

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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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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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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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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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Can attorney fees be included in bankruptcy?

Attorney fees can, and should, be included in any bankruptcy filing. The larger question is whether attorney fees can be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. The answer to that question is generally yes. In this article, we will explore what to look out for if you're trying to discharge attorney fees.

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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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What is a luxury item and why does it matter for my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

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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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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What is post petition debt?

This article will explain what “post-petition” means, what post-petition debt is, the difference between post-petition debt and debts you simply forgot to include in your bankruptcy forms, the effect of your discharge on post-petition debt and whether the timing of the discharge affects the new debt.

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What is Debt Settlement?

Debt settlement is a type of debt relief that may allow you to settle your debts for less than the full amount due. Most debt settlement programs work by setting aside money to negotiate with, then making settlement offers one debt at a time. But, like any debt relief solution, debt settlement isn’t for everyone. In this article, you’ll learn more about how debt settlement works, the benefits of making lump sum payments, and the risks you should know about.

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What is a Debt Management Plan?

When you’re struggling with debt, your first step should always be to educate yourself about your options so you can make the best decision for you and your family. This article describes one possible option: a debt management plan, also known as a DMP. A debt management plan involves working with an agency to consolidate your payments. The agency will also work with your creditors to try to get you better terms, so you can pay off your debt more quickly.

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Our favorite personal finance blogs

Learn about some of our favorite personal finance-related blogs.

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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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Does Bankruptcy Affect Alimony?

You will still be obligated to pay alimony if you file for bankruptcy. Alimony is not a dischargeable debt.

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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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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate many unsecured debts. Some unsecured debt can even be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. But, what happens if credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, or other unsecured debt is reduced to judgment? When a creditor or debt buyer files a lawsuit and gets a judgment against you, that generally doesn’t change whether the debt is dischargeable. That means some judgment debts are dischargeable and some are nondischargeable. The question becomes a bit more complicated if the creditor gets a judgment lien on your property. But, you may be able to avoid judgment liens in bankruptcy, keep your property, and discharge the debt. Here’s how it works.

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What is Community Debt?

"Community Debt" is: - any debt that you or your spouse acquired *__while married__* or - any debt for which you and your spouse are co-signers

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If I have a debt that’s not dischargeable, should I still list it?

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

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How long does it take my debt to be discharged?

Your trustee meeting takes place 21-40 days after you file for bankruptcy. Then, about 60 after your trustee meeting, your debt will be officially discharged. 

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What should I do if a creditor tries to collect a debt during my bankruptcy?

Filing bankruptcy means that you shouldn't have to deal with creditors or debt collectors for a while.

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

Most debts can be erased in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including: - Credit card debt - Medical debt - Most judgments from collection lawsuits - Personal loans - Utilities bills - Phone bills

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What Happens to My IRS Tax Debt If I File Bankruptcy?

The most common of all of debts owed to the IRS is back, or unpaid, income taxes. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option if your tax debt meets certain requirements.

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How to Stop Debt Collection Companies?

Do you want to stop debt collection companies? You may need to do more than to request that they stop contacting you.

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What is Secured Debt in Bankruptcy?

When you get a loan by promising property as collateral to a creditor, you have a secured debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate your obligation to pay a secured debt. But, bankruptcy can’t prevent creditors from taking any property you pledged if you default on your payments.

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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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How to Get Veteran Debt Relief?

You can obtain veteran debt relief in one of several ways. If you cannot afford to pay your debts, filing bankruptcy may be the best way to obtain veteran debt relief.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Bills in Bankruptcy?

This article will explain what bankruptcy is and what type of bankruptcy may be beneficial to you, how your medical debt is affected by bankruptcy, and how you can get started on your journey to discharging your debt and obtaining a fresh start. 

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How to Find a Credit Repair Lawyer?

A credit lawyer can help you repair your credit score by correcting mistakes and errors on your credit report. However, you can perform many of these steps yourself without an attorney. If you need to file for bankruptcy relief without an attorney, Upsolve can provide guidance

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What is Unsecured Debt?

You can get rid of unsecured debt by filing a bankruptcy case. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases eliminate most unsecured debts.

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What should I do if I don't remember the creditors I owe in my bankruptcy?

If you don't remember the creditors you owe when filing for bankruptcy, don't worry. In many cases, you can still erase the debts you owe.

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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.