Bankruptcy

/Bankruptcy

6 Tips to Avoid Holiday Debt

6 tips to avoid holiday debt on Black FridayThe holiday season is upon us again, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just a few weeks away. The holiday season, and Black Friday in particular, are designed to get Americans to spend as much money as possible. This year, the COVID lockdowns will change the way people shop for the holidays. The doorbuster shopping events won’t happen this year – everyone will be shopping from home.

Shopping online can be more dangerous for your debt situation, since you’re not physically at the store and paying attention to the prices of the items you’re buying. Plus, credit cards give you the illusion that you can spend more money than you currently have, so many Americans fall deeper into debt during the holiday spending season. Making matters worse, gifts bought on credit cards end up costing far more than if you paid cash, once you factor in interest rates and finance charges. There’s also the fact that if you max out your credit limit, your credit score will drop.

Once the holiday season is over, the warm fuzzies disappear, and you’re left with even more debt. This year, we thought we’d share a few holiday spending tips to help you avoid over-spending, and hopefully help you avoid any more debt. Once you realize that Black Friday is specifically designed to get you to spend more money than you planned on spending, it’s easier to avoid the holiday credit card blowout.

(more…)

Bankruptcy and Divorce – What You Need To Know

bankruptcy and divorce in DallasMany times, financial difficulty leads to stress in a marriage. In cases where the financial stress leads to divorce, the issues often lead to bankruptcy filings.

The question that we hear the most often from clients regarding divorce is “What should we do first – the divorce or the bankruptcy?”

There’s actually no easy answer for that question. Every situation is unique, so if you’re asking the same question, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will be able to look at all the factors and suggest the route that will work best for you.

In general, if certain conditions are present, filing for joint bankruptcy before the divorce will be the fastest, most cost-effective option:

  • Both spouses know that they’re going to file bankruptcy
  • There are few, if any, assets that would be exempt under bankruptcy laws, so not much will be divided in the divorce
  • The emotional situation isn’t so hostile that the spouses wouldn’t cooperate in a bankruptcy proceeding

If one spouse won’t agree to joint bankruptcy

If your spouse won’t agree to a joint bankruptcy, you can still file bankruptcy on your own. When your debt is discharged, the creditors would then start collection efforts for the entire debt against your spouse (since the debt is the responsibility of both spouses). (more…)

We shot some new commercials!

Last month, we shot a few new commercials, and we wanted to share them here on the site… We know that the unprecedented situation caused by COVID has put many DFW residents in a precarious financial situation. If you’re struggling with debt, give us a call at 214-760-7777 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help you get back on the road to financial freedom.

(more…)

Laid off because of COVID in Dallas? Bankruptcy can help

Even with many states starting to open up after the lockdown quarantine caused by the coronavirus, many companies are filing for bankruptcy – several months without income and mounting debt is an awful combination.

Many huge companies have filed for bankruptcy, and the list continues to grow. Well known brands have declared bankruptcy, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Gold’s Gym, Tuesday Morning, Bar Louie, Dean & DeLuca, Advantage Rent a Car, and Hertz.

Coresight Research is a company that tracks retail openings and closings, and at the beginning of the year, they projected that 8,000 stores would close this year. They’ve recently updated their projection to 25,000.

These companies won’t necessarily go out of business – filing for bankruptcy allows protection during a restructure, so debt can be shed, operations can be redesigned, and low-profit locations can be closed. (more…)

Filing bankruptcy because of the coronavirus

Over the last month, over 22 million Americans filed for unemployment because of the shelter in place orders that have been put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many small businesses have been absolutely crushed by the forced closure, and those that were able to pivot and provide modified services are still hurting due to the drastically reduced demand. If people aren’t leaving their homes, they’re simply not buying.

The number of jobless Americans is expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate. A research paper released in late March by the St. Louis Federal Reserve estimated that we could hit an unemployment rate as high as 32% – that’s about 47 million Americans.

That’s an almost mind-boggling number of people who won’t be able to pay their mortgage, rent, or other bills – let alone buy groceries and other essentials. It’s been estimated that over half of Americans have already lost some income due to the lockdown.

Federal, state, and local governments are working hard to provide financial safety nets – the Payroll Protection Program was rolled out and quickly depleted. Mortgage lenders and automotive finance companies are deferring payments, and if you meet the requirements, you’ll receive a federal stimulus check. Unfortunately, for the millions out of work, the government stimulus check simply won’t be enough to keep them afloat.

What should you do if you’ve been laid off?

Your first step should be looking at your budget. Figure out what you can do to save money immediately. Talk to your creditors, most will try to assist you if you’ve been laid off during the pandemic. Most mortgage, car, and credit card payments can be deferred. Student loans can be deferred as well. Many cities across the country have prohibited utility shut-offs – but skipping utility bills could lead to massive debt later down the road.

Once you’ve spoken to your creditors, you’ll have a better picture of your financial obligations. If you’ve got enough in savings, that might be enough to get you through the lockdown – but you’ll need to pay attention to how much you need to spend on essentials. You might be able to last longer by deferring non-essential bills and paying your minimum amount on others.

If you’re already at the point where the money has run out, or will run out in the near future, give us a call at 214-760-7777 – we’re happy to talk through your financial picture and let you know what your options are. It’s a free, no-pressure consultation – we’re not going to force you to file for bankruptcy, and in fact, might advise against it if there are better options on the table.

What will COVID bankruptcy look like?

If bankruptcy is inevitable, you’ll end up filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to wipe out your debts permanently, with no obligation to ever pay them back. Chapter 7 is best for individuals who aren’t able to pay back a significant portion (or all) of their debt. Typically, this is best when there’s a massive amount of credit card debt or a huge medical debt.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more of a reorganization of your debts. If you’ve got a regular income stream and have simply fallen behind, Chapter 13 is a better option. A plan is created to repay all (or most) of your debt with installment payments.

For both types of bankruptcy, you’d typically have to meet with an attorney and then go to court to get a judge to approve your case. During the COVID lockdown, everything can be done online. We can do everything over the phone or through virtual meetings, and the courts are allowing cases to be filed virutally so social distancing can still be observed.

If you’ve lost your job or been furloughed due to the coronavirus and you’re falling behind on bills, call us at 214-760-7777 – we’re here to help! Even if bankruptcy isn’t right for your situation, we’ll help point you in the right direction to help with your finances and plan for your future.

5 Tips to Avoid Credit Card Debt

5 Tips to avoid credit card debt - Dallas Bankruptcy attorney adviceMany of our bankruptcy clients come to us with completely out of control credit card debt – but that doesn’t mean they’ve been completely irresponsible. Thanks to higher interest rates and compounding interest, just a few missed payments can put you past a point where it’s nearly impossible to catch up.

Learning to manage credit card debt is a huge step in avoiding bankruptcy. If you follow these 5 simple tips, you’ll keep your credit cards under control and avoid spiraling credit card debt.

1. Set a budget and stick to it.

Credit cards make it far too easy to spend money you don’t have. If you know what you can spend each month, it will be easier to avoid those spur of the moment purchases that you can’t really afford.

2. Don’t carry a balance for more than 6 months

Compounding simple interest adds up quickly, and after about 6 months, you’ll end up with a much higher balance that’s hard to pay off. Think of your credit card interest as a small pebble that causes a huge avalanche… it starts off small, but quickly becomes a huge force.

(more…)

The Truth About 5 Bankruptcy Myths

Most Americans don’t know much about bankruptcy – they’re limited to the knowledge they get from news stories and online gossip columns. Bankruptcy is much more common that most people realize, with over a million people filing for bankruptcy every year.

Generally, people assume that bankruptcy is meant for someone who can’t control their credit card spending. In reality, bankruptcy provides financial protection for much more than just credit card debt.

To help shed some light on bankruptcy and how it can help honest, hard working families, we’re sharing the truth about the five most common bankruptcy myths. As always, if you have any other questions, please call us for a free debt consultation – we’ll take as much time as you need to fully explain how bankruptcy works. (more…)

4 Tips to Avoid Bankruptcy

For many Americans, debt is a way of life. When that debt continues to pile up, many people think that filing for bankruptcy is the only way to solve their financial problems. While bankruptcy can definitely help erase debts and start you on a fresh path,  it’s not always your only option. Many times, your financial situation might not be as hopeless as you think it is.

You should start by looking at your overall debt situation and assessing the status. If you’re not too far gone yet, these four tips can help you reduce your debt load and avoid bankruptcy. They’ll take time and dedication, but with some patience and hard work, you’ll be able to climb out of your financial hole and start over again.

1. Don’t add any more debt

When your debt spirals to the point where you can no longer pay it off, bankruptcy becomes your only option. The trick is to stop the downward spiral before it’s too late. Don’t add any more debt to your current load – no new loans, no new credit cards… nothing. If you need extra money, consider selling a few minor assets instead of taking out a loan or opening a new credit card.
(more…)

7 Tips for Saving Money and Avoiding Debt

hero

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the easiest way to avoid bankruptcy is to avoid accruing debt in the first place. Millions of Americans live with thousands of dollars in debt, and a single bump in the road like a car accident or the loss of a job can send them spiraling towards uncontrollable debt.

The sooner you form responsible spending habits, the sooner you’ll build a solid foundation that will help avoid the possibility of bankruptcy. If you follow these 7 simple tips, you’ll be able to save money and avoid accumulating debts that you struggle to pay off.

1. Plan all of your meals

Eating out is the biggest monthly expense in most households. If you plan all of your meals each week and cook at home, you’ll save money – and you’ll probably eat healthier as well.

(more…)

Busting 5 common bankruptcy myths

bankruptcy mythsWhen potential clients call us, they’re usually pretty scared. When you’re drowning in controllable debt and you’re in danger of losing your car or your house, being afraid is understandable.

When you’re scared, it’s easy to believe just about anything you hear. There are tons of myths and misconceptions about bankruptcy floating around, so we thought it’d be helpful to dispel some of the more common myths. So without further ado, here’s the truth behind the 5 most common myths about bankruptcy:

1) Only bad people file for bankruptcy

Bad things happen to good people all the time. It doesn’t take much to start a downward spiral of debt – a sudden job loss, a salary reduction, or an accident with huge medical bills might be all it takes to cause your debts to spiral out of control. Bankruptcy laws were created to give good people a fresh start – you’re definitely not alone! (more…)

Download Our Free Ebook