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Schertz banruptcy attorney

Paying your stimulus money to various combinations of creditors, in the hopes of avoiding bankruptcy or before a planned one, is dangerous.

Before You Make Decisions That Hurt You

Last week we introduced the radical idea that the best use of your upcoming or already received $1,400 stimulus payment might be to pay for a bankruptcy case. We focused then on how to figure out when you should throw in the towel and decide to file bankruptcy. One clue is if you find yourself making questionable decisions. That can mean that you are starting to feel desperate. Then the bad decisions can turn your situation even worse.

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Boerne bankruptcy attorney

You no doubt have countless uses for the next stimulus payment. But if you are like some people, the very best use is to file bankruptcy. Like who?  

Last week Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act and President Biden signed it into law. Among its many parts is the $1,400 per person stimulus payment—officially called the Economic Impact Payment. On Friday, March 12, 2021, the IRS put out a news release about these payments. This provides general information about qualifying for the payments, and the amounts individuals and families will receive. There are more details in this IRS Fact Sheet. For information on your own payment, “[b]eginning Monday [March 15], people can check the status of their third payment by using the Get My Payment tool . . .  .”

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San Antonio Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney

Chapter 13 bankruptcy enables you to use the pandemic’s mortgage payment forbearance process and sell your home if and when you are ready to do so.

Last week we showed how Chapter 7 helps you take advantage of the pandemic foreclosure moratorium when selling your home. Today we show how it works even better with the more powerful Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts.”

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TX bankrutpcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy lawyerWhen you file for bankruptcy, you are granted an automatic stay on most of your debts. Essentially, this means your creditors cannot contact you or attempt to collect the debt. What happens, though, if the creditor keeps calling and harassing you through the mail, at your work, or at your home? Rest assured: you can enforce the protections that bankruptcy offers.

When Contact Is a Genuine Oversight

All creditors know (or should know) that a bankruptcy filing means they must cease all contact with you, as the debtor. As such, most who violate this rule have simply done so due to an oversight. Perhaps they did not remove your name from the system properly, or they have not received the paperwork yet that notifies them of your filing. In any case, it is important that you not overreact or panic during the initial contact from a creditor. Instead, simply inform them that you have filed for bankruptcy and politely refer them to your attorney.

If the contact was made by phone, document the date and time of the call, the agent’s name and extension number (if applicable), and the creditor’s name and phone number. If the contact was by mail, copy or scan the mailing (after you have written a response that indicates your bankruptcy filing and your attorney’s number). This information gives you proof of contact and ensures you can take action if the contact continues or escalates.

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TX bankrupcy lawyer, Texas bankruptcy attorneyWhen you file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy court will automatically issue a stay that stops all collection activities by creditors. The automatic stay is a court order that prevents creditors from calling you, sending you letters, and otherwise pushing you to pay what you owe them. The stay is meant to be a form of relief that gives you the chance to get organized as you approach your bankruptcy proceedings. If you are subject to a child support order, however, it is important to understand that the automatic stay will not help you with that particular obligation.

How the Automatic Stay Works

Whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy code recognizes that you will need time and space to sort out your thoughts and to prepare for the proceedings without creditors bothering you at all hours of the day. The automatic stay is meant to give you that time and space. The stay also serves as the proverbial “line in the sand” as well, meaning that once the stay is issued, collection efforts cannot resume until the bankruptcy proceedings are complete or the creditor obtains the express permission of the bankruptcy court to contact you again. In the meantime, you will not be at risk of foreclosure, eviction, wage garnishments, or even having your utilities shut off.

Child Support Is an Exception

If you currently pay child support, the automatic stay will not help your required payments nor will it prevent collection activities if you are behind on your support obligation. The automatic stay is intended to give you relief, but not at the expense of your child’s best interests. You must continue making your child support payments during the bankruptcy proceedings, or you could be subject to collection efforts by state agencies or the court.

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