June 2012 Archives

Some struggling companies seek bankruptcy protection

During the lifecycle of a company its fortunes will typically wax and wane at intervals, but there are some times so difficult that a company stands on the threshold of financial insolvency. Perhaps an entry into a new market fails to produce anticipated gains or a product does not catch on with consumers. Maybe broader economic developments diminish a company's position relative to its competitors.

Top Ten Questions to Ask When Meeting with a Bankruptcy

You have recognized that you are in serious financial trouble and have scheduled an appointment to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation.  This is the right course of action.  Now you are having doubts.  Is this the right course of action?  Did I choose the right attorney?  How will I know?  These are all reasonable concerns, but remember, it's just a consultation.  You have not committed to anything but having a conversation with a lawyer.  Throughout your consultation, ask these questions and see if you are happy with the answers.  If you are not, go find another attorney.

Bankruptcy Basics: Means Test - "Under-Median" Debtors

If you have not done so already, please go back and read my June 6, 2012 blog entry entitled "Bankruptcy Basics: Means Test - A Basic Understanding".  That entry, as the title implies, gives you a basic overview of what the means test is and how it is calculated. In this entry, I am going to go through what it means to be an "under-median" debtor when you seek bankruptcy protection in the Chicago area. 

Chicago Bankruptcy Question: Does my spouse have to file for Chapter 13 with me?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day: Does my spouse have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with me?  When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the Chicago area, or any form of bankruptcy in any region of the U.S., you generally have the option of filing individually or jointly with your spouse.  The rare exceptions to this rule are when you are forced into an involuntary bankruptcy by your creditors or when one spouse has been barred from filing by the bankruptcy court in a prior case. The more pertinent question is "Does it make sense for you and your spouse to file a joint Chapter 13 case, or for you to file alone?".  The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors specific to your case, but the general concepts to consider are the following. 

Rise in bankruptcy filings leads to drop in credit card debt

Credit cards are a nearly ubiquitous presence in today's consumer economy, and many people in the Chicago area use them on a daily basis to meet ordinary expenses. While credit cards are exceedingly convenient and offer a variety of rewards, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Most people recognize that elevated interest rates can rapidly grow an unpaid balance into high credit card debt. What may come as a surprise, however, is that credit card debt has fallen in the past few years, a time of falling salaries and stubborn unemployment, according to a Federal Reserve study.

Consumers and businesses focus on decreasing debt burdens

In the years immediately preceding the financial collapse of 2008, U.S. consumers were accumulating high and unsustainable levels of private debt. This rapid spending sent the economy rocketing to new heights, but it was one cause behind its equally speedy descent. According to studies of private debt loads across the country, however, Americans are doing a better job of paying down their outstanding debts, which could pave the way for positive economic gains in the future.

Top Ten Questions to Ask When You Call a Bankruptcy Attorney in Chicago

So you're considering filing for bankruptcy in the Chicago area and have decided to call an attorney to get some information.  Always a good idea.  Next thing you know, you have an appointment with somebody to do something at some cost and you don't know what just happened, but you're supposed to come in with some money.  Do not let this happen to you.  If nothing else, ask these ten questions and make sure you get actual answers before agreeing to meet with anyone for a consultation.

Bankruptcy Basics: Means Test - A Basic Understanding

One of the most significant and challenging changes to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that was went into effect on October 17, 2005 was the implementation of the "Means Test" as a pre-requisite for filing for bankruptcy protection.  I am not going to get into the truly technical aspects of the means test, of which there are many, but rather seek to give you a basic overview of what it is.  To determine how the means test effects your ability to file for banrkuptcy protection, you truly need to consult with an experienced Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

Courts provide benefits but take longer to complete foreclosures

Illinois residents who have gone through the foreclosure process know that the court system handles the foreclosures. But it may come as something of a surprise that Illinois is in the minority of states in that regard. Twenty-nine states deal with foreclosures outside of their courts, and those states typically move properties through foreclosure much faster than states that involve the courts.

Chicago Bankruptcy Question: How are student loans treated in Chapter 7?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day:  How are student loans treated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?  The short answer to this one, in the eyes of debtors filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in Chicago, is badly. 

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