Debt Law

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Although an individual can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, both types involve the same four steps, according to Money Crashers. These steps include providing a financial inventory, receiving credit counseling, attending a creditors' meeting and completing post-bankruptcy credit counseling. Most bankruptcy cases are handled through paperwork rather than court attendance.

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  • What is life like after bankruptcy?

    Q: What is life like after bankruptcy?

    A: Life after bankruptcy includes a new financial beginning and some challenges. Bankruptcy stays on a credit report for 10 years, which limits credit options, according to Bankrate. Lenders sometimes view individuals who filed bankruptcy as too risky because some past debts were written off. As a result, individuals who filed bankruptcy may not be issued a credit card for some time.
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  • What happens during bankruptcy?

    Q: What happens during bankruptcy?

    A: Although an individual can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, both types involve the same four steps, according to Money Crashers. These steps include providing a financial inventory, receiving credit counseling, attending a creditors' meeting and completing post-bankruptcy credit counseling. Most bankruptcy cases are handled through paperwork rather than court attendance.
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  • What is a good bankruptcy score?

    Q: What is a good bankruptcy score?

    A: The lower a bankruptcy risk score, the better. According to Bankrate, bankruptcy risk scores range from negative numbers to 2,000. While these scores are hidden from consumers, businesses use them to decide whether to extend credit to a customer.
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  • What happens to debt when a person moves out of the country?

    Q: What happens to debt when a person moves out of the country?

    A: The results of moving out of the United States and leaving debt behind vary from lawsuits filed on behalf of the debt holder to poor credit for the debtor. Depending on the length of time out of the country, there may be no result.
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  • Q: How do you write a hardship letter to stop foreclosure on your property?

    A: Write a hardship letter to defend against foreclosure by presenting a clear picture of the current situation, and explain the circumstances beyond control that have led to the inability to make mortgage payments, advises AllLaw. Examples of hardship include illness, job loss, military service, medical bills and natural disasters.
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  • Q: Where can you find answers to common questions about bankruptcy?

    A: As of June 2015, answers to common questions about bankruptcy are the website of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York. The site's Filing Without an Attorney page has a link to a PDF from the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project.
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  • Q: How can I get my money back?

    A: A consumer who feels that they have been cheated can report the offense to several government agencies, reports NOLO.com. If the reporting doesn't result in a refund, a consumer can send a demand letter for the money and then file a lawsuit.
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  • Q: Can debt collectors call on Sundays?

    A: If it is inconvenient for a debtor to receive a debt collection call on Sunday, and the debtor has specifically told collection agents not to call on Sundays, then debt collectors are not legally allowed to call. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors who call on Sunday after being advised not to can be held in violation of the law.
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  • Q: What is a debt snowball worksheet?

    A: A debt snowball worksheet is a worksheet to facilitate paying off debts in order from smallest to largest. This concept was created by Dave Ramsey, a popular financial writer and radio personality, according to his website. On the debt snowball worksheet, the payer lists debts from smallest dollar amount to largest. After the smallest debt is paid off, the payment for that debt is applied to the next smallest, until all debts are paid.
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  • Q: What are the laws regarding bank garnishments?

    A: Laws regarding bank garnishments include the ability for a creditor to garnish a bank account only after he receives a judgment against the debtor, the Federal Trade Commission notes. The creditor must sue the debtor and win a judgment and the right to garnish the debtor's bank account.
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  • Q: How do you respond to being sued by a credit card company?

    A: When a creditor or debt collector pursues litigation, respond to the summons within the specified timeframe by filing an official answer to the court handling the lawsuit, Credit.com states. Otherwise, the creditor may win a default judgement, hold you accountable for legal fees and request permission to garnish wages or bank funds. Avoid admitting liability in the answer, as the company can then demand the full debt without proving you owe it.
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  • Q: What is the statutes of limitations on debt collection?

    A: State law sets statutes of limitations for debts, which may vary from state to state, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Some states have several statutes of limitations. The applicable law depends on the type of debt involved.
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  • Q: What are some laws that protect consumers against bill collectors?

    A: On the federal level, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from certain debt collection practices and sets rules that debt collectors must follow, notes the Federal Trade Commission. Several states have their own debt collection laws, such as the Illinois Collection Agency Act, which requires debt collectors to have licenses, and sets rules about how they communicate with debtors, states Nolo.
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  • Q: How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy take to discharge?

    A: The court usually grants a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy four to six months after the petitioner first files the case with the clerk, states Nolo. The time varies according to individual case circumstances and by local jurisdiction processing times.
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  • Q: How can you stop bill collectors from harassing you?

    A: A debtor can stop a bill collector from harassing him by calmly and firmly telling the collector that it is only allowed to contact him by mail, states the Federal Trade Commission. If the debt collector fails to comply, the debtor can file an action with the FTC.
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  • What are some tips for filling out a bankruptcy application?

    Q: What are some tips for filling out a bankruptcy application?

    A: Tips for filling out a bankruptcy application include providing extensive proof of income, accurately listing all monthly expenses, and remembering to include expenses the applicant may only pay once or twice a year, according to Nolo. Applicants need to list every asset they own on a bankruptcy application.
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  • Q: What did the Debt Forgiveness Act extend to 2014?

    A: The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act extended tax breaks for cancelled mortgage debt through Dec. 31, 2014, according to the Washington Post. The Act, which began in 2007, previously had been set to expire at the end of 2013.
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  • Q: How long does it take to file chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    A: It takes approximately two to four months to complete the filing of Chapter 13 bankruptcy and begin a structured payment plan in accordance with the findings of the bankruptcy court, according to U.S. Courts. The amount of time required for this remains within certain limits dictated by the court, but variations occur due to the fact that this type of bankruptcy is a restructuring of debt and consists of a dialogue between the court, creditors and the debtors in question.
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  • Q: What are some famous court cases that involve black farmers who were denied loans?

    A: In 1997, a group of black farmers filed a successful class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleging that it had practiced racial discrimination in denying them loans, according to Grist.com. The court decision in the case of Pigford vs. Glickman is available at FindLaw.com.
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  • How do you find an affordable bankruptcy lawyer?

    Q: How do you find an affordable bankruptcy lawyer?

    A: Find an affordable bankruptcy lawyer by querying the legal aid society in your area about pro bono attorneys who provide free or low-cost legal help, advises U.S. News & World Report. Other sources may be nonprofit legal service organizations or law school legal clinics, adds Nolo. Use the interactive U.S. map and search engine at Probono.net to locate pro bono services in your state, according to the American Bar Association.
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  • How can you keep your home and file for bankruptcy?

    Q: How can you keep your home and file for bankruptcy?

    A: Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows property owners to keep their homes, unlike filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy where the owner forfeits all non-exempt assets, notes HowStuffWorks. However, some states exempt houses from assets that must be liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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