Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Many Times Can I File for Bankruptcy?

If you have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 before, can you do the same again? Can a debtor in Arizona file for bankruptcy multiple times? It’s not uncommon for Arizonians to fall into hard times and become severely indebted once or twice. Technically, it is possible to file for bankruptcy more than once under Arizona law and the applicable federal laws. However, the law specifies certain circumstances under which a debtor can actually do that.

BAPCPA and Multiple Bankruptcy Filings

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) went into to effect. The law made it less easy for debtors to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The idea is to prevent unwarranted practices by higher income individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to take advantage of its debt discharge clauses. BAPCPA aimed to force rich debtors to file for Chapter 13 instead and to pay back what they owe under a court-mandated payment plan.

As a result of BAPCPA, there are now several significant limitations for multiple Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings in Arizona.

What are the Limits on Multiple Bankruptcy Filings?

Here is a list of the most significant limitations to multiple bankruptcies that debtors should be aware of:

  • Debtors must wait for at least 8 years before filing for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The days are counted from the day the debtor filed the first Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. From then on, the debtor must wait exactly 8 years before filing for bankruptcy under the same chapter once again.
  • Debt discharges during the second bankruptcy could be more impaired based on discharges offered during the earlier bankruptcy filings. For example, if you are filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot obtain a debt discharge if you were granted an earlier Chapter 13 debt discharge in the previous two years. If you have obtained a debt discharge under Chapter 7 in the previous 4 years, then you can’t get a Chapter 13 discharge for a new case. However, this doesn’t prevent you from being able to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy regardless of how many bankruptcies you have filed before. There are certain circumstances, such as owning too much mortgage debt, that allow debtors to do this. Chapter 13 filings are accepted even for issues like needing a payment plan to pay off taxes owed.
  • Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, regardless of precious bankruptcy history, enables automatic stay on a current debt between three to five years. However, the court must be specifically requested to enforce the automatic stay if you have had a bankruptcy dismissed by the court during the previous 12 months.

The above limitations are not too restrictive when it comes to filing for another bankruptcy. If your case is complicated, you must consult with an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney. Keep in mind that you may not be able to keep filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in rapid succession as per the recently amended rules and regulations.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona

If you have decided to file for bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not suitable for all situations. Also, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is usually the more common option for petitioners who are behind on mortgage payments but still want to keep their property. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the borrower to agree to pay back overdue charges and settle back on the original mortgage contract. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly used option for those who are severely indebted and simply wish to start over.  

You can always consult with a local bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale or your area to decide which option is best for you. Otherwise, take a look at advantages and disadvantages of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 forms of bankruptcy to decide which option is the best for you:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona

Most Arizonans who are in heavy debt choose this option to solve their financial situation. Under Chapter 7 filings, a court will most likely discharge unsecured debts like credit card debt or personal loans. The petitioners will only have to pay back debts secured with assets once the parties have agreed on a “Reaffirmed Agreement.”

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is particularly attractive to many because it offers protection against debt collection efforts like constant calls and holding back wages. If you earn any wages on a property you have bought, the money will belong to you, not the creditor, following the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing date.

There is also no minimum debt amount needed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can expect the proceedings to end within 3 to 6 months from the filing date.

As attractive as it may be, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not without its setbacks. Mainly, the law does not cover assets given up as collateral for a loan, such as a property or a vehicle. The petitioners could lose non-exempt property, which would later be sold by a court-appointed Trustee. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not typically suitable if your home is undergoing foreclosure. Filing for bankruptcy will only temporarily halt the proceedings. Co-signers will also be contractually bound unless they separately file for bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona

This option allows petitioners to keep all property, whether exempt or nonexempt, under a court-approved payment plan. If you have many secured loans, then Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option for you. Some debts will not be canceled under Chapter 7, but a judge can reduce them. Like with Chapter 7, Chapter 13 filings afford protections against collection calls and similar efforts by the creditor.   When pursuing Chapter 13, you’re most likely going to need experienced legal counsel by your side.  

If you agree on a full payment, co-signers will be protected from creditor’s collection efforts. You can also obtain protection against foreclosure of your home if you completely follow the new payment agreement. You can also get more time to pay off debts under this proceeding, especially ones that are not discharged, like child support or taxes. You can also repeatedly file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The disadvantage is that the payment plan you agree to will be based on your income earned after the filing date. You will have to be frugal until the debts are paid back as per the agreement. These plans can last from 3 to 5 years. As a result, the proceedings can last up to 5 years. Attorney fees for Chapter 13 bankruptcy also tend to be higher.  Some professions, like stockbrokers, cannot file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arizona.

Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages given above before discussing your bankruptcy with an attorney.  For more email the firm at [email protected] or call 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

When you file for bankruptcy in Arizona, you are bound by state as well as federal laws. Before you file for bankruptcy, you need to know whether you actually need to. Most people who are deep in debt opt to file for Chapter 7, which provides a certain degree of debt relief, asset protection and management of existing debt. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can only be used once every seven years. So, you really need to know whether you want to file for bankruptcy now or seek alternative solutions.

When it comes down to it, it will be up to you to decide whether you should file for any form of bankruptcy. A credit counselor may be able to help you. Before you make up your mind, here are several tips on filing for bankruptcy in Arizona:

Take Advantage of Arizona’s Exemption Laws

Arizona’s Exemption Laws allow a certain degree of protection against repossession of assets by creditors who have provided unsecured debt. For example, if you are neck deep in credit card debt, you don’t need to fear that the credit card company might show up and demand your house or car. Credit card debt is mostly dischargeable under Arizona law. Likewise, if you want unwanted collection calls to stop, you can simply do so by informing the creditor that you have filed for bankruptcy. Consult an attorney in your local area, for example, a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale, to know whether you can benefit from exemption laws and avoid filing for bankruptcy, or hastily seek to file.

Income may Only Qualify You for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your household income must be below the state median income for households of your size. If you fail this “means test,” you may have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Moreover, a bankruptcy judge can later examine whether your income is sufficient to repay debt under Chapter 13, rather than file under Chapter 7.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to repay your existing debt in part under a strict household budget. Your finances will be closely watched by a court-appointed Trustee. If you fail to meet any of the court-mandated obligations, then the Chapter 13 filing could later result in sanctions or “conversion” to another type of bankruptcy under the code. Having competent legal counsel at your side at all times is critical.

Moving on with the Proceedings

If you have made up your mind to file for bankruptcy, you will have to go to a court at the zip code you have lived in for at least 91 of the past 180 days. If you haven’t lived at your current address for this amount of time, you should use the court relevant to your old zip code address. Expect most of the proceedings’ paperwork to be distributed through via snail mail. With or without counsel, you will have to go to the bankruptcy court in person at least once. Go online to find information about your court and to download important documentation.  Appearing in a federal court house is often easier to digest with a competent licensed attorney by your side.

Cost

There are a number of fees associated with filing for bankruptcy in Arizona. In addition to paying for a lawyer, you will have to pay fees for things like mandatory pre-filing credit counseling, filing forms, making copies, and other similar tasks. Fees for different things will vary. For example, getting counseling can cost between $25 and $100.  Costs can be as little as $400 for preparing documentation. However, hiring a lawyer may cost as much as $5,000.  Every case is different.  Be careful agreeing to the “lowest cost” bankruptcy attorney who later calls you demanding thousands more in fees to continue with your case.  Like anything in life, lowest price does not mean highest value.   

If your income is too low, some of these costs may be waived off or you might only have to pay a portion of the fees. Filing for bankruptcy is not free, so do expect to pay as you go through the federal proceedings.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Bankruptcy Options in the New Year

The Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are authorities in bankruptcy. For those struggling with their financial affairs, there are laws that provide for the reduction or elimination of certain debts, and can provide a timeline for the repayment of non-dischargeable debts. It also permits individuals and organizations to repay secured debts with more favorable terms to the borrower.

During December and January, we have many clients looking at options to refresh their finances in the New Year. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, there are four types of bankruptcy cases to choose from:

Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” It requires a debtor to give up property which exceeds certain limits called “exemptions”, so the property can be sold to pay creditors.

Chapter 11, also known as “reorganization”, is used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large.

Chapter 12 is used only by family farmers.

Chapter 13 is called “debt adjustment”. It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts (or parts of debts) from their current income.

Most people filing bankruptcy will file either chapter 7 or chapter 13 and either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.
It is no surprise that filing bankruptcy can become tedious and overwhelming. At Canterbury Law Group, we will represent you through the entire process and fight diligently to secure your fresh financial start.

Call us today to schedule your consultation. We can put you on the path to reach financial success!

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Important Factors on Bankruptcy Help in Scottsdale

If your financial struggles are becoming overwhelming and the future looks bleak, there are a few things you need to know before filing for bankruptcy.

1. There is No Shame in Filing – If you are considering bankruptcy but your feelings about what type of person you would be to file are stopping you, it’s time to get over it! These days, people from all walks of life file for bankruptcy. You should feel no shame in wanting to solve your financial struggles and get your life back in order. The stigma is in avoiding the problems, hiding from creditors, and not facing the facts – it’s time to fix your finances and turn a new corner.

2. You May Be Able to Keep Your Home – Arizona has well known homestead exemptions that allow you to keep your primary residence. Being forced out of your home is not a reason to avoid filing bankruptcy. The likelihood of losing your home is much greater if you do not file. A Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney can help you make bankruptcy choices that in most cases may permit you to maintain ownership of your home even after your bankruptcy concludes. And in this day and age when so many homeowners are underwater on their mortgage, the likelihood of your home not being included in your bankruptcy is even greater.

3. Bankruptcy is an Investment – If you feel as if you are sinking financially, now is the time to contact a Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney. He or she can help you assess your current situation and get a handle on where you are headed. This will give you some time to save up the money you need to file for bankruptcy before it is too late.

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the most sophisticated personal and business bankruptcy cases. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation. Call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0400 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Does Bankruptcy Affect Students Financial Aid?

As back to school season is here, many parents are wondering if a previous bankruptcy can affect eligibility for education loans. Although it may affect some loans, it does not affect eligibility for certain forms of financial aid.

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-394) amended the US Bankruptcy Code at 11 USC 525(c) to prohibit denial of government student grants and loans based solely on the student’s or borrower’s past or present filing of a bankruptcy petition. The only exception is the Federal PLUS loan.

A child is eligible for federal student loans, such as the Stafford loan, regardless of the parent’s history of bankruptcy. Also, the Stafford loan does not depend on the borrower’s credit history in any way.

A parent’s history of bankruptcy also does not affect the child’s eligibility for federal grants, state grants, scholarships and money from the college, nor student employment programs like Federal Work-Study. The parent may also be eligible for tuition installment plans because these plans are usually structured as a qualified education loans to make them difficult to discharge in bankruptcy.

However, parents are ineligible to borrow from the PLUS loan program for five years from the date of the bankruptcy discharge. By law, PLUS loan borrowers must not have an adverse credit history. The regulations define an adverse credit history as having had a bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment or default determination in the last five years or a current delinquency on any debt of 90 or more days.

If a child’s parent is denied a PLUS loan because of an adverse credit history, the child becomes eligible for increased unsubsidized Stafford loan limits. Parents with a recent bankruptcy will be ineligible to serve as the borrower or co-signer on most private student loans. The provisions of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 apply only to federal student loans, not private student loans. Most lenders of private student loans ask about bankruptcy filings in the last 7 or 10 years. It really doesn’t matter whether the filing was under chapter 7, 11 or 13, as the lenders will be wary of lending money to anybody with a recent bankruptcy filing.

The bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury law Group work attentively with bankruptcy clients to secure their fresh financial freedom. Whether filing as an individual or for your business, the bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are experienced experts in all areas of bankruptcy cases in the Phoenix area. Please call us today to schedule your consultation.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale attorneys are renowned bankruptcy technicians. We represent clients through the entire bankruptcy process and, although all cases are unique, the end goal of bankruptcy is always a new beginning and fresh financial start.

We help clients determine eligible exemptions for their bankruptcy case. Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Arizona law (meaning that they will emerge from bankruptcy):

  • Alimony and Child Support – Alimony and child support, up to the amount needed for support. 33-1126.
  • Bank Deposit – A debtor may exempt $300 in a single bank account. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33–1126(8).
  • Homestead or Residential Property – Under Arizona law, debtors may exempt up to $150,000 (per debtor or married couple) of their home or other real property covered by the homestead exemption. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33–1101, 33–1103 and 33–1104.
  • Insurance Benefits – Life insurance benefits that are payable or received by a surviving spouse or child, up to $20,000.
  • Claims for the destruction of, or damage to, exempt property – Cash surrender value of life insurance policies, subject to length of ownership requirements and other exceptions.
  • Motor Vehicles – A debtor may exempt up to $6,000 in one or more motor vehicles. An elderly or disabled debtor, or an elderly or disabled spouse or dependent of the debtor, may exempt up to $12,000.
  • Pension and Retirement Benefits – Benefits from various employee pension systems are exempt. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 33–1126 and 38–792.
  • Personal Property – A debtor may exempt the following personal property:
    • up to $6,000 in household furniture and appliances not covered by other exemptions
    • up to $1,000 total in bible, bicycle, sewing machine, typewriter, computer, burial plot, rifle, pistol or shotgun
    • up to $500 in clothing
    • up to $400 in musical instruments
    • up to $800 in animals
    • up to $2,000 in engagement and wedding rings
    • up to $250 in books
    • up to $150 in watch
    • wrongful death awards
    • prepaid rent or security deposit to $2,000 or 1.5 times your rent, whichever is less, in lieu of using homestead exemption.
    • all teaching materials for youth, and
    • certain professionally prescribed health aids.
  • Tools of the Trade – A debtor may exempt up to $5,000 in trade implements, which includes farming tools if the debtor’s primary income is from farming. All arms and uniforms that a debtor is legally required to keep are exempt. Library and teaching aids of a teacher.
  • Unemployment Compensation – Unemployment compensation is exempt as long it is not commingled with other funds and except for the enforcement of child support orders. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23–783.
  • Wages – A debtor may exempt the lesser of the following wages, per week:
    • 25% of his or her disposable earnings, or
    • earnings in excess of 30 times the federal minimum wage
    • Workers’ Compensation – A debtor may exempt up to $6,000 in one or more motor vehicles. An elderly or disabled debtor, or an elderly or disabled spouse or dependent of the debtor, may exempt up to $12,000.

Our legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business or personal bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. Our track record speaks for itself! 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Celebs end up in Bankruptcy

American society always seems surprised when learning about the newest A-lister or celebrity who has filed for bankruptcy. Having a celebrity status and earning millions doesn’t necessarily deter bankruptcy. How is it possible that so many millionaires find themselves in bankruptcy court, clamoring to protect what little assets they have left? With all the celebrity millionaires (and billionaires) who have gone broke, we may be able to learn from their mistakes.

1. No Financial Education – Often, when you go from having nothing to having everything, a financial education is not part of the package. Learning how to save, budget, and invest can take years, and if you’ve never had substantial money before, you may never have learned these essential financial management skills. When handed huge checks to cash, many celebs go out and buy the biggest house and fastest car they can find, rather than learning how to properly handle their money.

2. Lack of Trustworthy People – Many celebrities surround themselves with attorneys, accountants and insurance professionals to help them with proper estate, tax and insurance planning. However, in doing so, they often do not bother double-checking the work that is being done on their behalf, nor do they properly vet the financial professionals they hire. Not surprisingly, many fall prey to unscrupulous advisors. Worse yet, some celebrities are taken advantage of by friends and family who they hire to manage their affairs.

3. Unrealistic Career Expectations – It might be easy to expect a successful Hollywood or professional sports career to continue indefinitely. But sadly, most careers don’t last very long. Unfortunately, not every actor picks up another well-paying gig immediately after their show is cancelled.

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the most sophisticated personal and business bankruptcy cases. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation. Call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Steps When Filing Bankruptcy

At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys are renowned industry experts. We represent clients through the entire bankruptcy process and, although all cases are unique, the end goal of bankruptcy is always a new beginning and fresh financial start.

Here are three tips for those considering bankruptcy:

1. Gather financial documents. Start collecting financial documents that your attorney can use. Obtain a record of debt including credit card bills, unpaid medical bills, loan statements, etc. Also locate any documentation on assets you currently hold as well as your monthly income statements.

2. Find a qualified law team. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process and a simple mistake can be harmful to your case. Make sure you have a legal team that is experienced, understands your goals and can get the job done. Many law firms offer a complimentary first-time consultation. Call the Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule your appointment.

3. Improve upon your financial habits. You must improve your financial life after your file bankruptcy. Obtain a secured credit card or personal loan to start building up your credit but remember that you may have to wait some time before you can be approved for a secured credit card. Further educate yourself by reading books, reviewing financial websites and seeking out professional guidance.

As authorities in the legal industry, the bankruptcy team at Canterbury Law Group was uniquely formed to provide no-nonsense legal counsel for personal and business bankruptcy cases. The law group at Canterbury consists of a unified team of litigators and paralegals with the experience necessary to deliver high results. The team’s attention, experience and sophistication allows for innovative resolutions that have a positive client impact.

Our legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. Our track record speaks for itself!

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Business Bankruptcy in Scottsdale

Our attorneys have vast experience in Scottsdale business bankruptcy cases. If you are a business owner thinking of filing bankruptcy, we will represent you throughout the entire process, from preparing to file through the restructuring of your company post-bankruptcy.

A common misconception about business bankruptcy is that it means the end of a business. Contrary to those beliefs, many companies that Canterbury Law Group has worked with thrive and advance after bankruptcy and restructuring. If bankruptcy might be an option, here are some terms to know.

Business Bankruptcy: A type of bankruptcy that allows a company to efficiently sell assets or to liquidate in a controlled manner. Just like any other business strategy, bankruptcy should be considered early enough to be a viable strategy to preserve the business’s assets and help it continue as a going concern. Bankruptcy can also be an important tool for assisting in an orderly wind down and liquidation of a business and its assets if you intend to close the business for good.

Business Restructuring: The primary goal of a business bankruptcy is to reorganize a business, which includes restructuring the company’s debts so the business can continue to operate and prosper into the future. There are many ways that this can be accomplished, ranging from selling assets to closing down sites or reducing personnel. It is critical to understand that bankruptcy affords a business the opportunity to propose and implement these changes, without the looming threat that creditors will shut the business down for good.

Our bankruptcy legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. 480-240-0040.

1 2