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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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Posted on in medical debt

Borrowing to pay medical debts creates new potential risks. A debt that was easy to discharge in bankruptcy becomes one that you often can’t. 

About one-fourth (26%) of American adults (18-64 years old) reported that they or someone in their household had problems paying medical bills during the previous year. This is according to a 2016 survey by the highly reputable Kaiser Family Foundation, The Burden of Medical Debt. Not surprisingly, more than half of people who did not have health insurance reported such problems. However, more than one-fifth of people who had health insurance still had trouble paying medical bills. So if your medical bills are a challenge for you, you are clearly not alone.

You may have options short of borrowing money to pay off the medical debts. It’s worth contacting the medical creditor—as early as possible—to find out their payment alternatives. Sometimes interest-free repayment plans are available. In some situations, medical providers are willing to negotiate a settlement with you reducing the balance. Especially if you are uninsured, you might even qualify for financial assistance.

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San Antonio tax help lawyerDo you owe 2020 income taxes even though the IRS is now not taxing the first $10,200 of unemployment income? What to do and not to do.

Last week we discussed the extent to which unemployment income is not taxed because of the American Rescue Plan Act. Generally, you don’t pay federal (and possibly state) income tax on the first $10,200 in benefits you received in 2020. Section 9042(a) of the Act. (See our last blog post about qualifying for this, and other details.)

Let’s get into two significant practical problems you may still have in spite of this substantial benefit:

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debtThe United States is a notoriously consumeristic society. Having good credit is a necessity to buy a home and a reliable vehicle. Credit must be built, often through the usage of credit cards and the ability to repay the credit card debt. Sometimes, however, we accumulate debt and get in too far over our heads. Other times, a major unforeseen life event occurs—one which we are unprepared to handle financially. When this happens, filing for bankruptcy may help struggling individuals and families. When considering bankruptcy, the first question on many minds is, “Will it get rid of all of my personal debts”?

Understanding Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a federally approved process through which an individual or a company can reduce their debt. Those who are authorized for the process may have debts written off or repaid under a new agreement. The method used depends directly on the type of bankruptcy approved. The most typical forms of the process are Chapter 11 for businesses or Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for private consumers, although others are available under appropriate circumstances. These chapters refer to the specific section of the United States Bankruptcy Code that will apply in a given case. Meanwhile, while the process is underway, all collection activities related to your debts—including lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings must stop.

Will All Debts Be Cleared?

If you are wondering whether bankruptcy resets your credit, enabling you to begin as though the debt never occurred, the answer is “no.” Filing for bankruptcy allows those who meet eligibility requirements to rid themselves of some but not all debt. Financial obligations that do not typically qualify to be wiped clean are child support, alimony, taxes, student loans, and secured debt. Although they may not be totally discharged, some may be eligible for a restructured payment plan. Some of the most common discharged liabilities include:

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Texas bankruptcy attorney, file for bankruptcy in TexasFor many people, the thought of filing for bankruptcy is a scary one. However, for many people, filing for bankruptcy is the best thing they could do for their finances. Filing for bankruptcy allows you to wipe your slate clean and discharge most of your unsecured debts, but it does come with some consequences. Filing for bankruptcy might make your life more difficult in the future, by making it harder to borrow money, lowering your credit score or even affecting your insurance rates. It can be difficult for some people to gauge whether or not bankruptcy is in their best interests, which is where a skilled Texas bankruptcy lawyer can help.

Your Debts Far Exceed Your Income

Think about all of your different types of debt: your mortgage or rent, car payment, all of your different credit cards, and personal loans. How much total debt do you have? Now, think of your income. How much money do you bring in each month? If your monthly debt obligations are much higher than the amount of money you bring in, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy.

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