May 26, 2011

Neve Campbell Divorce Final

Posted in Celebrity Divorce tagged at 9:46 am by demetriagraves

Neve Campbell is now officially divorced from her husband of four years, British actor John Light. Campbell who quietly filed for divorce, last year has now been granted the official dissolution. Campbell cited “irreconcilable differences” in her divorce filing back in June. It looks like it has taken the former couple 11 months to come to a final agreement, they have submitted a confidential settlement on how their assets will be divided. The terms are unknown but Campbell wanted a judge to deny Light a spousal support. They have no children together, so this makes the split simpler.

Campbell and Light came to know each other on the set of indie film “Investigating Sex”. They tied the knot in Malibu in May 2007 after dating for about two years. Previously, the 37 year-old Canadian actor was married to actor Jeff Colt before they divorced in 1998.

Bankruptcy Pros & Cons

Posted in Bankruptcy tagged at 9:42 am by demetriagraves

If you’re in financial trouble and considering bankruptcy as an option it’s important to know the different pros and cons associated with filing bankruptcy and these are outlined in this article. When I conduct bankruptcy consultations the person I am meeting with often tells me “I never thought I would be in this situation.” People filing for bankruptcy are usually experiencing debt problems due to a loss of job, a reduction in pay, or because of a serious health problem. Most people are going through an incredibly difficult time in their life and simply don’t know how to best solve the problem.
Bankruptcy may not the best solution for every debt problem. However, many people dismiss it out of hand without taking the time to learn what the process is, what bankruptcy can do for them, and what the actual consequences are. So here are some of the pros and cons of bankruptcy and how it can help you solve your debt problem.

PROS

Eliminate Debt: It is no surprise that the purpose behind filing bankruptcy is to eliminate debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is particularly good at eliminating unsecured credit card/medical bill type of debts. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy they are completely eliminated this is known as a discharge.

Collection Calls Will Stop: Immediately upon the filing of your bankruptcy case the bankruptcy court issues an order that stops all collection efforts against you. This means the telephone calls will stop. Lawsuits will stop. Your bank won’t even be able to foreclose on your home. This order issued by the bankruptcy court is called the “Automatic Stay.” This order allows you some breathing room from your creditors – time to take a step back and put a plan together for moving forward.

Fresh Start: It is almost a cliche but the filing of a bankruptcy case really does give you a fresh start. This is most clear in situations where a client has recently gone through a divorce. Often a divorce is immediately followed up with a bankruptcy filing, mostly due to the fact that each spouse took on a hefty amount of debt through the divorce decree without an ability to pay it. Eliminating the debt allows you to start over, rebuild your credit, and move on with your life.

CONS

Credit Score: The biggest impact of bankruptcy on most people is the damage done to the credit score. Though often when people are in financial trouble their credit score has already taken a severe hit. Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. However it is by no means a 10 year sentence of no credit. In fact most are surprised to learn that you can get loans and credit cards relatively soon after filing bankruptcy. You can even get an FHA home loan two years after you Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. As stated earlier often by the time you file for bankruptcy the damage has already been done to your credit score, and in fact the filing of a bankruptcy may actually help improve your credit more quickly than it otherwise would.

Stigma: Many people are worried what others will think of them if they file for bankruptcy. It is important to know that while bankruptcy is a “public proceeding”, no one other than your creditors will know of your bankruptcy unless you tell them. Sure, they bankruptcy court would let them know you filed if they asked, but they would literally have to go down to the bankruptcy court and make a request to get information on your bankruptcy case, which is not likely to happen.

Bankruptcy may not the best solution for everyone, and if it isn’t, I will tell you and let you know your options. But if you are suffering through overwhelming debt it is worth your time to learn more about bankruptcy as an option. I offer a free 30 minute telephone bankruptcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. So what are you waiting for?

May 19, 2011

Arnold is a “Baby Daddy”

Posted in Celebrity Divorce, Celebrity Paternity tagged , at 11:26 am by demetriagraves

According to latest news, Maria Shriver has hired a top divorce attorney, but hasn’t decided yet whether she wants to divorce Arnold Schwarzenegger. Details are emerging regarding the former California governor’s affair with his housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena and their teenage love child, plus new information is emerging about Schwarzenegger’s financial support for his 13-year-old out-of-wedlock son.
A birth certificate has surfaced showing the boy, was born in October 1997 – just a week after Shriver gave birth to their youngest son, Christopher. Baena got divorced less than a month later. Settlement papers reveal she claimed she and her husband had no children. Schwarzenegger has been supporting the teenager. He lives with his mother in a four bedroom home in Bakersfield, Calif.

The 50 year-old Baena who is originally from Guatemala retired from the Schwarzenegger household in January after working there for twenty years.

It’s assumed that Schwarzenegger reached an agreement with Baena. By which he paid her child support, he took care of her, potentially bought her a house, and in exchange, he got confidentiality. Child support is modifiable by a court in California. Baena could always go in and say, ‘The circumstances have changed, I need more money.’ She could also ask to get the confidentiality clause lifted. She could say, ‘All of this media is happening now, people are saying things about me that aren’t true. I need to respond,’ and she could ask the court to lift that. The court probably wouldn’t, but the court could change the child support at any time.

This scandal doesn’t seem to be affecting Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood comeback. He recently announced plans to play himself in an animated TV show called “The Governator” and is scheduled to begin filming this summer on “Cry Macho,” a film drama in which he would play a horse trainer. The former world bodybuilding champion is also in negotiations to reprise what is arguably his most popular role, as the relentless killer cyborg in the “Terminator” films. Many observers are amazed the former governor risked his political and film careers, and ultimately, his family.
As for Marie Shriver, if she goes forward with divorce, she would be entitled to 50 percent of the couple’s assets. California is a community property state. Unless there’s a pre-nup, she’s entitled to half of the assets that were accrued during the marriage. Shriver would get child support, as well as spousal support. Shriver would be entitled to spousal support because she gave up her career for him, she was a broadcast journalist. Marie and Arnold have four children together.

Common Bankruptcy Misconceptions

Posted in Bankruptcy tagged at 11:20 am by demetriagraves

One of the most common things I find when working with clients who are considering bankruptcy is that there are many common misconceptions about bankruptcy that can make it harder for people to consider bankruptcy as a viable option. In this article I’d like to bring to light these most common misconceptions about bankruptcy.

MISCONCEPTION #1: Bankruptcy is dishonest. Not true. Most people honestly want to pay their bills, but sometimes things happen that make it impossible. These things include an unexpected lawsuit, judgment or income tax bill, medical bills and more. Bankruptcy is a legal right that is provided for in the United States Constitution. Bankruptcy is a right that protects honest people from harassment, lawsuits, wage garnishment and other creditor actions. Bankruptcy allows a fresh start.

Many experts trace the roots of our bankruptcy laws to the Bible, which says:
At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent unto his neighbor and his brother; because the Lord’s release hath been proclaimed. (Deut. 15:1–2)

There are many famous people who have declared bankruptcy like Jerry Lewis, Kim Basinger, David Bowie, Anita Bryant, Natalie Cole, Mickey Rooney, Walt Disney, Tammy Wynette, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Isaac Hayes, Don Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, MC Hammer, Marvin Gaye, Archie Griffin, Dorothy Hamill, Milton Hershey, Perez Hilton, Ronald Isley, LaToya Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, P.T. Barnum, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, Larry King, Cyndi Lauper, Abraham Lincoln, and former Treasury Secretary John Connally.

MISCONCEPTION #2: I will lose all my property in a bankruptcy case. Not so. The bankruptcy laws are designed to allow a fresh start. A fresh start would be impossible if you would lose all your property. The fact is that most people don’t lose anything in their  bankruptcy because certain personal property is protected.

MISCONCEPTION #3: I can’t own anything after bankruptcy. Not true. In Chapter 7 you can keep the property that is protected in the bankruptcy, and generally anything you acquire after the bankruptcy. The day your bankruptcy is filed acts as a “cut-off” date. Anything you earn after the filing date is yours. Anything that you own or have owed to you before the case is filed is subject to the bankruptcy court’s rules. Most normal belongings are protected (as outlined above).

MISCONCEPTION #4: I will never be able to establish credit after a bankruptcy. Not true. Today, many stores and banks actively market to people who have filed bankruptcy. Most mortgage companies do help applicants get new mortgages with a bankruptcy after two to three years. As a practical matter, you only file a bankruptcy when you can’t pay your bills. Because of that, your credit is probably already bad. A bankruptcy won’t make it any worse. Bankruptcy puts you in a better position to pay current bills and that should improve your chances of getting new credit.

MISCONCEPTION #5: Bankruptcy gets rid of all debts. Not so. Although most consumer and business debts are wiped out in bankruptcy, some debts are not affected. Certain debts can’t be eliminated in bankruptcy. They include child support, spousal support, fines, restitution, some taxes, loans obtained by fraud, student loans, debts due to a DUI, and debts resulting from “willful and malicious” harm.

MISCONCEPTION #6: I can protect my property by hiding it or giving it away before I file bankruptcy. No. It’s a crime to hide property. It’s also a crime to give property away without telling the Court in the bankruptcy filing. The trustee will seek to recover any property you wrongfully transferred prior to a bankruptcy filing. You could end up in jail by attempting to illegally hide or transfer property.

MISCONCEPTION #7: I will lose my job if I file bankruptcy. Not true. The bankruptcy code prohibits an employer from discriminating based on a bankruptcy filing.

MISCONCEPTION #8: I filed a bankruptcy before, so I can’t file again. Incorrect. The law prohibits getting a chapter 7 discharge within 8 years of a previous chapter 7 discharge.  Don’t hesitate to call me if you have filed a previous bankruptcy. You still have many options.

MISCONCEPTION #9: I am not allowed to have a checking account if I file bankruptcy. Incorrect. No rule stops you from keeping or opening a bank account. Most people keep the account that they had and continue to use it without interruption. In other cases, it may be smart to close an existing account prior to filing bankruptcy. That’s because the bank involved may be a creditor in the bankruptcy. In general, if you do not owe any money to the bank where your account is, there is no reason to close the account.

MISCONCEPTION #10: Taxes cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy. Wrong. Many taxes are eliminated in bankruptcy. There are several complex rules that apply. Eliminating taxes depends on how old the taxes are, when the returns were filed, and whether the taxes have been assessed, and the type of taxes. Both federal and state income taxes can be eliminated in bankruptcy. And even in cases where the taxes cannot be eliminated, it’s often possible to force a payment plan on the IRS and stop interest and penalties from being added.

MISCONCEPTION #11: I must be broke to file bankruptcy. Not really. Although it would not make much sense to file for bankruptcy in when you are not in financial trouble, there is no requirement that a person be destitute. The bankruptcy code doesn’t require that you be unemployed, homeless, or own no property. In fact, you are able to file bankruptcy without losing your job, giving up your home, or having your property taken away.

If you have further questions regarding filing for bankruptcy, I offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation where you can get all your questions answered.

May 11, 2011

Bankruptcy To Eliminate Your 2nd Mortgage

Posted in Bankruptcy tagged at 8:42 am by demetriagraves

Did you know that some homeowners who have been hurt by the housing crash are taking advantage of a little-known loophole in the bankruptcy law to get rid of their second mortgage and also avoid the pain of foreclosure. Statistics are hard to come by, but from what I hear in bankruptcy law circles the provision has been used effectively in possibly thousands of cases during the past two years. Many of these second mortgages were granted during the housing bubble, when home prices were going in one direction only – up, up and up.

Bankruptcy laws prevent homeowners from eliminating the debt of a first mortgage if they plan to stay in their home. But second mortgages are treated differently. They can be declared as unsecured debt when there is no equity to cover them, as is the case for millions of underwater homes that are now worth far less than a few years ago.

Bankers hate it, but for a homeowner who bought a property during the boom, it might be the only way for them to get out from under crushing debt. This is a really big-ticket issue that allows people to keep a home and conform the mortgage to something closer to real value. The law has been like this for years. It’s just never been used as much because in the past there was usually enough equity in a home to cover the second mortgage.

If you feel that you are being crushed under a mountain of debt but aren’t sure what your options are I offer a free 30 minute telephone bankruptcy consultation where we can discuss your debt situation and you can get your questions answered. So what are you waiting for?

Celebrity Suits For Child Support – Starsky & Dupri

Posted in Celebrity Child Support, Child Support tagged , at 8:35 am by demetriagraves

One of the stars of ‘Starsky and Hutch’, Paul Michael Glaser is facing legal action from his ex-wife after allegedly failing to make child support payments.

The now 69-year-old actor, who played Detective David Starsky in the classic 1970s cop series, is being sued by his former wife Tracy Barone, who has accused him of owing $3,224 in child support payments and $13,000 in spousal support, according to legal documents filed in L.A. County Superior Court.

Glaser and Barone, divorced in 2007 citing “irreconcilable differences”, are parents to a 13-year-old daughter named Zoe.

Also in the news this week is Grammy award winning producer, Jermaine Dupri is being sued by Sarai Jones, over missed child-support payments that a judge recently ordered him to pay her. After a paternity test in March, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge ordered Dupri to pay $2,500 a month and an additional $7,500 to Jones after the test proved that he was the father to Jones’ seven-month-old daughter.

The lawsuit comes at a time when Dupri, who has produced hits for artists including Usher and Mariah Carey and was one of hip-hop’s top earners in 2006, is facing financial troubles. His mansion was up for foreclosure and set to be auctioned last week, but the sale was canceled at the last minute. Plus Dupri apparently owes more than $493,000 in back taxes.

May 5, 2011

Bankruptcy During Retirement

Posted in Bankruptcy tagged at 12:04 pm by demetriagraves

Retirement is supposed to mean financial stability for seniors. But increasingly, Americans over the age of 65 are getting into trouble with debt and turning to the bankruptcy courts for relief. In 2007, seniors represented 7 percent of all bankruptcy filers. More than a decade earlier, only 2 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were aged 65 or older.

According to recent reports, seniors are the fastest growing demographic of bankruptcy filers. Bankruptcy poses some special issues for seniors who, unlike other filers, tend to have more equity in their homes and less of a chance of increasing their income so late in life.

High medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy filings among seniors and those under age 65. But typically, those type of bills, which are classified as unsecured debt, are discharged in full at the conclusion of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Some other factors to know if you’re a senior considering bankruptcy are that Federal law protects Social Security money from garnishment, whether seniors file for bankruptcy protection or not. But debt-plagued seniors who choose not to file still need to protect their Social Security money, at the time a creditor obtains a judgment, they will just garnish your bank account. This means the creditor will have no way of figuring out that the Social Security income has been deposited in the bank account and exempted. Therefore, it’s a good idea for seniors to keep Social Security money in a separate account, and they should notify creditors in writing that the account contains only Social Security money. In addition, there’s a new rule effective in May 2011 that is designed to help prevent financial institutions from just handing over account money to creditors.

Like Social Security, most retirement vehicles such as 401Ks and pensions are exempted under federal bankruptcy law. That means creditors can’t touch those assets in a bankruptcy. Seniors with particularly hefty pensions however, may not be eligible for Chapter 7 liquidation, so this is why it’s important to seek advice from an attorney. Put another way, some seniors may have too much income to qualify for Chapter 7, but not enough cash flow to pay off their debt and take care of living expenses.

Seniors who have IRAs are treated a little differently in bankruptcy. Federal law exempts IRAs up to $1,095,000. But seniors filing in states with a higher exemption can use their state’s statute to increase their exemption. Thankfully, most state exemptions are large enough to cover most, if not all of a person’s specific retirement accounts.

No matter what your age declaring bankruptcy is not something that you’d want to attempt on your own and it’s important to get all your question answered. I offer a free 30 minute telephone bankruptcy consultation where we can discuss your debt situation and you can get your questions answered. So what are you waiting for?

Charlie Sheen Divorce Final

Posted in Celebrity Divorce tagged at 7:40 am by demetriagraves

Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller are now officially divorced, after the papers were finalized recently. They’ve been living apart since Christmas 2009 and they were finally granted a divorce by an L.A. Superior Court judge. They filed for divorce in November 2010 after Sheen was arrested the previous Christmas over domestic abuse charges.

According to court documents, the former Two and a Half Men star will pay Mueller $55,000 per month in child support. It also stipulates that “under no circumstances shall the child support paid by Charlie for Bob and Max be less than the child support paid by Charlie to Denise Richards for Sam and Lola.”

Mueller, 33, also received a lump sum of $757,698.70, a 2009 Mercedes and $1.2 million for her share of the family home, which Sheen gets to keep. The two will split all profits earned from baby photos sold to the media, and Mueller waived her right to ever seek spousal support.

The former couple will share joint legal custody of the nearly two-year-old twins, with physical custody going to Mueller; Sheen, 45, was granted visitation rights three weekends a month. Sheen recently lost his bid for physical custody of the twins.