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san antonio bankruptcy lawyerThe recent CARES Act deadline for excluding pandemic relief payments from Chapter 13 “current monthly income” was extended to March 27, 2022. 

Way back in March 2020, the CARES Act made some helpful temporary changes to consumer bankruptcy law. (See our blog post in April 2020 about this.) Some of these changes would have expired, but in the meantime, Congress passed two other laws which extended the changes. These are still temporary, so it’s important to know the new deadlines. Last week we focused on one change dealing with Chapter 7’s means test. Today we focus on a similar change and new deadline about Chapter 13’s crucial “current monthly income” calculation. 

The Crucial Role of Your “Current Monthly Income” in Your Chapter 13 Payment Plan

The Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts” consumer bankruptcy option provides many advantages over Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” for many people. Chapter 13 tends to be better for those with tax and child/spousal support debts, vehicle and home mortgage loans, and more than usual or unusual assets. It involves paying into a monthly Chapter 13 plan for the benefit of your creditors. Usually, that plan allows you to prioritize paying your more important creditors over the rest of them. 

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texas bankruptcy lawyerOne of the biggest concerns that people have when they file for bankruptcy is how it will affect their financial situation. Many people who are married have shared finances with their spouse, making bankruptcy that much more difficult. Many people falsely believe that when they are married, they must file for bankruptcy along with their divorce. However, even if you are married and have joint finances with your spouse, you can still file for bankruptcy individually. It is important to note, though, that filing for bankruptcy without your spouse can have an adverse effect on his or her credit, depending on the situation.

What Happens to Our Property?

In Texas, any property that either spouse acquires during the course of the marriage is considered to be joint property. However, for the purposes of bankruptcy, joint property is only considered to be that which has both you and your spouse’s name on it. For example, if a person files bankruptcy separately from their spouse in Texas, all of the property that they own -- even jointly -- is part of the bankruptcy estate. This means a spouse’s vehicle can also be included in the bankruptcy estate, even if they have financed the vehicle alone.

How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Spouse?

There are specific ways bankruptcy can affect your spouse in a community property state. Since all of the property that a couple owns is included in the bankruptcy estate of a married couple in Texas, this means that the protection of the extended stay is also extended to the spouse of a person filing for bankruptcy. This means that the bankruptcy trustee cannot take property that has been excluded as collateral to pay off some of the person’s debt. This also means that any debts that are held jointly by the couple will be discharged upon completion of the bankruptcy, essentially discharging the spouse’s liability from the debt as well.

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Texas chapter 7 attorney, Texas chapter 13 lawyer, Texas bankruptcy attorney,There is a multitude of relief options for Americans who are struggling with debt, and in some situations, filing for bankruptcy is a smart decision. Many debtors find that either chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy can put them on the path toward financial stability. Before filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, though, it is important to understand if you are eligible and what may happen to your assets.

The best source of information about your unique bankruptcy case is an experienced attorney. A bankruptcy lawyer can evaluate your debts to determine which bankruptcy chapter - if any - is ideal for your particular situation. In the meantime, here is some important information about state median incomes and asset liquidation as they relate to filing for bankruptcy:

State Medians and Your Income

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Texas bankruptcy lawyer, Texas chapter 7 attorney, filing for bankruptcy, debt collection, A wage garnishment is a court order that requires a debtor’s employer to pay a portion of the debtor’s wages to one or more creditors. Many people consider filing for bankruptcy in order to stop or prevent wage garnishment.

According to federal bankruptcy law, only a chapter 7 bankruptcy can stop a wage garnishment. During chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer liquidates his or her assets to pay off debts, and the court issues an automatic stay.

This immediately stops wage garnishments, as well as all other debt-collection proceedings such as foreclosures or evictions. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will only put a stop to commercial wage garnishments, such as those related to credit cards, certain loans, and mortgages, but it will not stop garnishments for child support or delinquent taxes.

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bankruptcy credit score, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerMany Americans have a limited understanding of bankruptcy and credit in general. For this reason, financial crises can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

One topic that concerns many debtors who are considering bankruptcy is how the process will affect their credit scores. While bankruptcy will most likely have some impact on a credit score, debtors should not view this option as a financial death sentence.

One of the truest statements about bankruptcy is that it is different for everyone. Sometimes, it is the most appropriate way out of debt; other times, there may more effective alternatives. A helpful way to get a firm understanding of one's financial situation is to sit down with a legal expert who can offer a firm understanding of the law surrounding debt relief options.

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