April 14, 2014

Consumer Debt in Alabama: Five Steps to Confronting Your Creditors

Debt collectors can be more than aggressive—in some cases they become belligerent, commit repeated harassment, and break the law. To protect your rights, it is important to know when a debt collector has crossed the line. While it is one thing for a debt collector to call and remind you of an unpaid bill, threatening calls late at night, while you are at work, or calls made to your family members are illegal. To best battle with debt collectors, you should know the law and your options.

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Our bankruptcy lawyers in Birmingham understand the stress faced by our clients and will pursue every opportunity to help alleviate debts. We are dedicated to helping consumers achieve debt relief and put an end to creditor harassment. While ignoring your debt and avoiding debt collectors is a bad idea, there are some ways you can protect yourself. Here are 5 tips for battling debt collectors:

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April 6, 2014

Overcoming Student Loans Through Bankruptcy

Debts that can be discharged through bankruptcy generally include unsecured liabilities such as medical expenses, credit card debt, or utility bills. Even though student loans are technically unsecured, they do not fall under the normal category of disposable debts. This does not mean that you cannot tackle your student loans through bankruptcy. Some students have been able to discharge their debts through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Others have been able to eliminate or reorganize other debts so that they can focus on student loan repayment.

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Our Birmingham bankruptcy lawyers are experienced in handling debt relief on behalf of our Alabama clients. We will take the time to review your assets, debts, and income to determine the best course of action, including bankruptcy or alternatives. If you are overwhelmed by student loan debt in Alabama and worry you cannot get ahead, it is time to consider your debt relief options.

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March 28, 2014

Medical Bankruptcy: Not Just for the Uninsured

The rising costs of health care, high deductibles, and the expense of emergency care are sending both the insured and uninsured into medical bankruptcy. While the Affordable Care Act may give more Americans access to health insurance, it may not resolve the ongoing issue of medical bankruptcy. According to a recent study, unpaid medical bills are predicted to be the number one cause of bankruptcy filings. This means that more Americans will be filing bankruptcy because of unmanageable medical debt in greater numbers than those filing for credit card debts or delinquent mortgage payments.
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Medical bankruptcy is often the outcome for individuals, couples, and families who are faced with an unexpected emergency, such as an accident or illness. From emergency care, to treatments, surgeries, and long-term care needs, bills can mount quickly. Even for the insured, deductibles and co-pays can send even the well-prepared spiraling into debt and eventually bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy lawyers in Birmingham are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers when filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We understand that the decision to file can be difficult, but we also know that a fresh start is often the best solution.

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March 20, 2014

Bankruptcy May Offer New Alabama Parents Fresh Start

For young and newly married couples, there is nothing more exciting than getting pregnant with your first child. While planning may involve sharing the news with grandparents and family members, heading to the doctor for prenatal care, or changing your home office into a nursery, there are other long-term considerations for new parents. Preparing for a first child may also mean dealing with past debts and money management so that you can begin to plan and save for your family’s newest arrival.

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a family with household earnings over $105,000 will spend nearly $400,000 on a child before he or she reaches the age of 18. These numbers do not include additional expenses, including college tuition. For many new parents, the financial costs of paying for a child can be overwhelming. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to helping families throughout the state take control of finances at any stage in life. When preparing for your first child, remember that bankruptcy is one option that will help you get out of debt with a fresh start. CNN Money has highlighted the need for planning in a recent article.

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March 15, 2014

Holiday Aftermath: Battling Last Year's Credit Card Debt

It is not uncommon for consumers to overspend during the holidays or turn to their credit cards to make ends meet. Usually this kind of spending is made with the self-promise of early payback and a quick reduction of debt. Unfortunately, as many consumers tend to find out after a few months, paying back a credit card is never easy. Not only do you have to come up with additional funds you didn’t have, you have to start paying off the additional interest you have accrued. If you are dealing with the ‘holiday hangover’ of credit card debt, it is time to take a realistic look at your finances.
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In addition to credit card debt, this time of year also forces consumers to be realistic about tax debt, returns, actual income, and spending habits. For many debtors, March and April can be a whirlwind of stress, compounded by mounting credit card debt and last year’s regrets. In some cases, the answer is not simply creating a budget—but considering the possibility of bankruptcy. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are committed to helping clients get ahead. We will help you explore your income, debts, and assets and determine if bankruptcy is the right option for you.

Here are some ways to face the aftermath of holiday spending and get control of your finances:
Face reality. Stuffing away bills and ignoring creditor emails or calls is not going to get you out of debt. You should also stop beating yourself up for any spending that may have been beyond your means. Sit down and take an honest look at your debt and figure out what you need to do to move forward.

Organize your debts and create a plan. How much debt are you facing? If you only have a few thousand dollars of credit card debt, you may be able to quickly establish a pay-off plan. If you have significant credit card debt, combined with medical expenses, unpaid mortgages, and other debts, it may be time to look at other options rather than a simple “budget.”

Stop using credit cards and work on pay-off debt. Credit card companies profit from the unsustainable use of a credit line. Once you are unable to make minimum payments, that’s when they start making their money. If possible, you should stop using your credit cards and consider a fixed payment to start paying them off. If you cannot afford a minimum payment and feel that you need your credit cards to make ends meet, you may be in over your head. Bankruptcy allows you to eliminate your unsecured debt so that you can get a fresh start.

Know your rights and take control. Most importantly, now is not time to stick your head in the sand. You can stop creditor harassment. You can stop a foreclosure. Chapter 7 is a totally elimination of unsecured debt. Understanding your debt and your options can help you take a realistic approach to getting ahead. Chapter 13 allows you to get on a manageable payment plan. Bankruptcy is one sure way to eliminate or restructure your debts so you finally have the opportunity to move forward.

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March 5, 2014

Consumers Seek Bankruptcy Help In Alabama as American Debt on the Rise

America is notorious for big spenders and new reports indicate that even the Great Recession hasn’t held consumers back. While spending can help to jumpstart the economy, it can also lead consumers down an irreversible path to bad debt.

According to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, consumer debt is higher than it was in 2011. Not only is America’s debt on the rise, but it has continued to rise rapidly in all areas including home mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit card debt.

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The economy depends on a certain relationship between credit and debt, but it can leave many consumers in its wake. This is why the government allows consumers to file bankruptcy: it helps consumers restore their credit and keeps the economy growing.

Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are committed to helping Alabama consumers take control of their debt and get ahead. We understand that debt is overwhelming and that the decision to file bankruptcy is a difficult one. Our experienced advocates will review your income, debts and assets to help you decide if bankruptcy is the right course of action.

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February 25, 2014

Bankruptcy: Traps for the Unwary

Bankruptcy can be a complicated legal process and should be navigated collaboratively with experienced legal representation. There are countless traps for the unwary that could result in deeper financial and legal issues for filers who do not have experienced representation. If you are considering bankruptcy, keep in mind that the assets and financial claims you make to a bankruptcy court can follow you. To achieve the best possible results in bankruptcy, it is important to have a understanding of your rights and obligations before filing.

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Our Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Birmingham understand that our clients are facing serious financial struggle and debt. Our priority is to achieve the most effective resolution with minimal impact to your family. Bankruptcy courts nationwide have seen the number of mistakes and issues that can arise for filers who do not have adequate representation. If you are considering bankruptcy, consider the following pitfalls that can have a long-term impact on your financial best interests:

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February 18, 2014

Building a Business After Bankruptcy

For many consumers, bankruptcy is viewed skeptically, and as a last resort. When considering bankruptcy as a debt solution, many consumers will wonder: How can I restore my credit after bankruptcy? Will I ever be able to own property again? How long will bankruptcy damage my credit record? These are all very important questions and the answers should help you make your decision when filing; however, the consequences of bankruptcy may not be as lasting as you think.

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Take for example, the owner and CEO of one of the largest film and television companies in the world. After 27 years of business, his film company collapsed in 2008, like nearly every independent film company in the U.S. In a recent CNN article, the CEO discusses filing personal bankruptcy and how he build a new business after filing. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys understand that bankruptcy is an important decision for our clients. We also want those considering bankruptcy to understand the reality of a “fresh start” and the positive growth that can take place after eliminating unwanted debt.

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February 12, 2014

Following Up on New Year’s Resolutions: Becoming Debt Free

Every year, we make promises to ourselves and to our families that we are going to be better. This is the year, we will shed the extra pounds, read more books, spend more time with our loved ones, save more or get ahead of our debt. While New Year’s resolutions can give us a jump start on our goals, it can take a long-term plan of action to get ahead. If your resolution is to reduce or eliminate debts in 2014, there are strategic ways to make things happen. The decisions you make every day can help lead you towards a life of financial security.
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The debt situation has improved slightly over the past six years; however Americans have still racked up $33 billion in 2013 and are expected to accumulate approximately the same amount of debt in 2014. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Birmingham are dedicated to helping clients reduce or eliminate unwanted debt so that they can get a fresh start. For many Americans, debt is the result of a job loss, illness, divorce, or other unexpected event. Bankruptcy is one way to deal with the aftermath so that you can move forward.
 
If you have accumulated debt, remember that you do have options and rights. A Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize and restructure your debts while also protecting your personal property, including a family home. A Chapter 9 bankruptcy allows you to eliminate all unsecured debts, including medical bills or credit card bills. The discharge of these debts will help you take control of your finances.

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February 6, 2014

4 Signs You May in Credit Card Trouble

As millions of Americans already know, the use of credit cards can result in accumulating and unmanageable debt. While this could be the result of irresponsible credit card usage, it is more often the case that credit cards are used in times of need. If you or your spouse has lost a job, you may turn to a credit card to pay for everyday costs, like groceries, utilities, or phone bills. A medical setback, injury, or family death may also leave your family unable to pay bills. While credit cards may offer a short-term solution, they are no substitution for finding legitimate, long-term debt relief.

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Have you been using credit cards more often to pay your bills? Are you unable to pay off your credit card every month or even struggling with minimum payments? Have you started receiving creditor threats for mounting or unpaid credit card debt? Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to helping you protect your rights and recover from unmanageable debt. In addition to helping you achieve debt relief, we can also help you get back on your feet and rebuild credit.

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January 31, 2014

Medical Bills, Bankruptcy and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Bankruptcy gives consumers the opportunity to discharge and restructure debt agreements in order to get control of their finances. While credit card bills and other unsecured debts can be completely discharged, other debts, including taxes, student loans, and certain mortgages, must be repaid. For millions of Americans, one of the most troubling debts results from necessary medical treatment and care that is not covered by insurance companies. Every year, families suffer with mounting unpaid medical bills as a result of illness, disease and accidents. According to 2012 reports, health care costs are the number one reason for filing bankruptcy.

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Unmanageable debt can start small—an unpaid bill here or there, a few missed mortgage payments or credit card bills. Unfortunately, once a debtor is behind, it can be difficult or impossible to get ahead, especially with mounting fees and interest. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorney is committed to helping consumers eliminate unwanted debt or establish payment plans through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We understand the various social and economic issues that play into consumer debt and are abreast of legal and legislative changes that impact the lives of Americans.

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January 21, 2014

Lien Stripping: Discharging 2nd and 3rd Mortgages

Have you taken out a second mortgage on your home? Are you unable to make mortgage payments and your debts are greater than your home’s value? Remember that filing bankruptcy puts an immediate end to creditor action and allows you to save your home from foreclosure. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most unsecured debt while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to save your home, protect your assets, and work out a manageable payment plan. Both forms of bankruptcies will put an immediate end to creditor harassment and stop any legal action, including lawsuits or foreclosure proceedings.

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Foreclosure law and bankruptcy can be complicated. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated to helping consumers achieve debt relief. We will take the time to help you explore your options and determine if bankruptcy is right for you. If you hold a second or third mortgage, remember that it may be forgiven entirely and any negative equity can be negotiated away. Filing bankruptcy gives you leverage and can help you achieve debt relief.

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