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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Common Questions When One Spouse Files Bankruptcy

The Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group represent debtors, creditors, trustees and committees in both personal and commercial bankruptcies. Bankruptcy law provides 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.

The Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury represent many clients through personal bankruptcy cases. If you’re married and considering filing bankruptcy, here are common questions that often arise:

1. Do I Have to File Bankruptcy with My Spouse? If only one partner in a marriage owes debt, then only that partner should file for bankruptcy. Debts where spouses are jointly and severally liable for payment will remain with the spouse who has not filed for bankruptcy. However, in states that follow community property law, single spouse bankruptcy for joint debts may in some situations be advantageous.

2. Can I File for Bankruptcy without My Spouse’s Knowledge? Legally and in theory, yes, it would be possible for one spouse to file for bankruptcy without the other partner ever finding out. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy uses income as a test for eligibility and utilizes income garnishment as a means of settling debt. The non-filing spouse will certainly notice if his or her paychecks are being collected by the bankruptcy court for debt repayment. Even outside Chapter 7 bankruptcy though, there are plenty of other ways for a spouse to discover his or her partner’s financial situation. Our Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyers suggest that hiding bankruptcy is only a temporary solution at best and is not healthy to any marriage nor recommended.

3. Will My Credit or Property Be Affected If My Spouse Files Bankruptcy? In general, one spouse filing for bankruptcy will not affect the other spouse’s financial situation, including the other spouse’s credit rating. A debt is created by contract between a debtor and a creditor – each debtor must sign the contract to be liable for payment. Therefore, the bankruptcy of one spouse does not cause the other to become bankrupt.

4. Does Single Spouse Bankruptcy Change the Nature of Joint Debts? Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when a spouse’s debts are wiped clean, the creditor can go after the other spouse. However, a major advantage of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where the debtor plans to re-pay her debts, is that the creditor will leave the co-debtor alone, as long as bankruptcy plan payments are timely deposited.

5. Are There Any Exceptions? While the bankruptcy of one spouse does not generally affect the other, there are some notable exceptions. For example, the bankruptcy of one’s spouse may show up on the other’s credit report if joint debt is involved – a contentious area of the law. Also, if applying for a joint loan in the future, the bankruptcy of one spouse will affect the creditworthiness of the applying couple.

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy, the Phoenix bankruptcy attorneys can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Options in Business Bankruptcy

The Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group work in business bankruptcy, which 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. In addition to the some of the strategic benefits, liquidating through bankruptcy can provide numerous benefits over merely dissolving your entity.

There are three types of bankruptcy that your business may file for depending on its business form. Sole proprietorships are legal extensions of the owner; therefor the owner is responsible for all assets and liabilities of the firm. A sole proprietorship can take bankruptcy by filing for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13. Corporations and partnerships are legal entities separate from their owners. As such, they can file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11.

1. Chapter 7 – The most common form of bankruptcy in the United States, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, provides individuals with a discharge of all debt which are “dischargeable” under the Bankruptcy Code. In a Chapter 7, all of the debtor’s non-exempt assets on the petition date are liquidated through the priorities set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. At the time of filing, the bankruptcy code establishes the creation of your “debtor’s estate” which includes all “non-exempt assets.” As a Debtor you have various duties and obligations, including significant duties of co-operation, which are owed to the Trustee. These obligations are designed to assist the Trustee in the administration of your bankruptcy estate.

2. Chapter 11 – More individuals, usually with a high net worth, are turning to Chapter 11 to solve their bankruptcy needs. The bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant experience with Chapter 11 filings, which tend to be more complex, and are capable of filing an individual case under Chapter 11 as mandated by the facts of each individual case.

3. Chapter 13 – This type of bankruptcy is not a per se liquidation but rather involves a restructuring of debt typically over a three or five-year period, pursuant to a plan which is filed with, and approved by, the Court. This plan allows a debtor to pay its creditors a percentage of the amounts owed to them. Like in a Chapter 7, in a case under Chapter 13, the court appoints a Trustee. Pursuant to the terms of your Chapter 13 plan, you make one single global monthly payment to the Trustee, who then pays the creditors their pro-rata share of what is owed.

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the sophisticated 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. 480-744-7711. www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips When Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The most common form of bankruptcy in the United States is Chapter 7. At Canterbury Law Group, we constantly work with clients to file Chapter 7, which allows individuals to extinguish all debts which are “dischargeable” under the Bankruptcy Code. In a Chapter 7, all of the debtor’s non-exempt assets on the petition date are liquidated through the priorities set forth in the bankruptcy code. At the time of filing, the bankruptcy code establishes the creation of your “debtor’s estate” which includes all “non-exempt assets.” As a Debtor you have various duties and obligations, including significant duties of co-operation, which are owed to the Bankruptcy Trustee. These obligations are designed to assist the Trustee in the administration of your bankruptcy estate.

The Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyers at Canterbury Law Group will counsel you regarding these duties, which if followed, will make your case run smoothly. Unfortunately, many debtors who are not fully informed of these obligations run the risk of not receiving a full discharge of some or all or their debt. If you’re thinking of filing Chapter 7, here are some recommendations from our lawyers:

1. Complete the Mandatory Credit Counseling – Before you can file chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is essential to complete credit counseling. It is a mandatory step before you can file and often requires paying a fee. Otherwise, your filing will not be allowed to continue.

2. File All Chapter 7 Paperwork – Complete and file all necessary paperwork in court. Make sure all of your paperwork is accurate. Determine any fees associated with your filing.

3. Meet With Your Creditors – Approximately one month after filing the petition, you will need to meet with your creditors, an arrangement made by the court. During this important meeting, your creditors will question you regarding your finances and property. Typically this meeting involves only a few people connected with the credit card companies to whom you owe your debt. Your lawyer can certainly be present to aid you through this process.

4. Attend the Personal Financial Management Instruction Course – In addition to your credit counseling course, a personal financial management course generally costs about $30 and is necessary for completing your filing of chapter 7. If you skip the money management course, you risk dismissal of your case.

Having a trusted legal team on your side is critical during bankruptcy. Call Canterbury Law Group today to schedule your consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Three Tips for After Bankruptcy

The personal bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group help clients begin a fresh financial future. Not only can the law team at Canterbury help you successfully navigate through bankruptcy, they can also assist with creating a sound financial afterlife.

Here are three tips for those who are ready to improve their financial status:

Regroup – Once your bankruptcy case has been discharged, reflect on your past financial journey. Ask yourself questions that will help you create a better financial afterlife in the wake of bankruptcy, including:

  • How did I get here?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • And what have I learned from all of this?

Create a Realistic Budget and Pay Bills on Time – After bankruptcy, you must become vigilant about your finances. Even if you haven’t created a budget in the past, now is the time to get serious about doing so. Your budget will act as your spending plan, helping you to manage cash flow and preventing you from creating unnecessary debt. Make it a priority to pay all your current bills in a timely manner. Set up automatic bill payments, and remember to pay your rent on time since rent payments are now being tracked by the credit bureaus.

Pick a Credit Card That Will Help You Rebuild Credit – A key strategy to rebuilding your credit rating after bankruptcy is to obtain a secured credit card. With a secured card, you deposit a given amount of money, such as $500, into a bank account and that $500 becomes your credit limit. By charging small amounts each month and repaying your debts as agreed, you can gradually rebuild your credit.

If you have questions about your finances and / or bankruptcy, call Canterbury Law Group today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711.

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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. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Illegal Practices Commonly Associated with Debt Buying

“Debt buying” affects millions of Americans and takes place when large companies buy and sell billions of dollars of debt. Credit card companies, hospitals, personal loan companies, banks and other lenders regularly sell and resell debt – and this may include debt that you owe.

For example, if you open a Visa account with a local bank and eventually stop repaying on your loan, the credit card company terminates your account and starts sending collection letters. The credit card company may decide to sell your debt for cash. Depending on how delinquent the debt is, a debt buyer may pay only 4 or 5 cents on the dollar. Your debt will then be packaged along with other similar debt and sold in bulk to a debt buyer at this discounted rate. The debt buyer will then attempt to collect the debt by calling you or the buyer may retain a lawyer and sue you.

Debt buying is legitimate as long as the debt buyer follows the rules. Debt buyers also realize that most consumers do not know the rules so the debt buyers often take advantage of a consumer’s limited knowledge.

Some debt buyers practice illegal tactics including:

  • Repeated collection calls that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ban on harassment and after hours calls
  • Misleading consumer into consenting to autodialed calls
  • Failure to respond to consumer disputes of debt
  • Farming debt to law firms for litigation without appropriate documentation
  • Threatening consumers with lawsuits for debts where the statute of limitations has run
  • Collecting on debt where the debt buyer has no documentation

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is starting to go after debt buyers who pursue illegal practices. For example, the CFPB recently imposed a $79 million penalty against to large debt buyers – Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are uniquely qualified to represent you in your debt related litigation. If you’re experiencing actions from debt buyers that may be illegal, call us today to schedule your consultation. 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

5 Steps to Becoming Debt Free

Canterbury Law Group is uniquely qualified to represent debtors, creditors, trustees and committees in both personal and commercial bankruptcies. The range of services we provide depends on an individual’s or a company’s unique situation but may include business bankruptcy, Chapter 7, adversary proceedings, restructuring, Chapter 11, creditor representation, Chapter 5 claims and Chapter 13.

If you’re debt is overwhelming your life, bankruptcy may be the right choice for you. However, if you’d prefer working towards eliminating some of your debt, we can also help. And, if you’ve already filed bankruptcy, the attorneys at Canterbury Law Group in Scottsdale want to make sure you stay on track and have a flourishing financial future.

The path to becoming debt-free can be a difficult and arduous one. But following these basic steps will help you and your finances.

  • Create a financial strategy. If one of your financial goals for the year is to get a better handle on debt, put together a debt payoff strategy that complements your budget and won’t overextend you financially. Keep track of future financial needs and contribute to a savings plan.
  • Pay off the most expensive debt first. Look at the interest rates of all of the credit cards you use to make purchases and sort them from highest to lowest. By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards.
  • Lower your interest rate. You can often lower your credit card interest rates by doing a balance transfer. Shop around and try to get the lowest interest rate for the longest duration (preferably until the debt is paid off completely).
  • Eliminate new debt. As you start to pay down your debt, stop using credit cards until you have your finances under control.
  • Pay more than the minimum. Break the habit of paying only the minimum required each month on your credit card statement. Paying the minimum – usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance – only prolongs a debt payoff strategy.

Our bankruptcy legal team is ready to represent you in your Scottsdale business bankruptcy case. Call us today to schedule your consultation. 480-744-7711.

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