November 3, 2011

Kim Kardashian Divorce

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:09 am by demetriagraves

After spending $10 million on a spectacular highly publicized wedding on August 20, 2011. Then a having dream honeymoon, its seems like its over for newlyweds Kim Kardashian, 31 and Kris Humphries, 26 after only 72 days of marriage. Perhaps Kim only wanted the big ring and the celebrity wedding for her reality show but didn’t think much about the actual realities of marriage because she has filed for divorce on Oct 31, 2011. It’s a good thing neither of them actually paid for the wedding, in fact they made more than $17 million out of their wedding in TV and magazine deals. There are rumors that the split comes from a difference of opinion on where the couple wanted to live. Kris was planning on settling down in Minnesota while Kim wanted to stay in California so she could be close to her family.

The reality star cited “irreconcilable differences” in her divorce papers and she is not asking for spousal support. She is also requesting that no spousal support be paid to her future ex. So the NBA star won’t be getting any of Kardashian’s money. Kardashian also asks that each party pay their own attorney fees.

Indeed, there’s a huge financial gulf between the future exes. Kim helped her family rake in $65 million in 2010 alone thanks to endorsement deals, a Sears clothing line, her own perfume and earnings from her E! reality shows.

By contrast, Humphries – currently not working thanks to the NBA lockout – made a reported $3.2 million a year as a forward for the New Jersey Nets.

There are rumors that the athlete was the victim of an “investment fraud,” thanks to Andrey C. Hicks, a scam artist and a guest at their doomed August wedding. Humphries is said to have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars for investing in Hicks’ bogus “billion dollar” hedge fund.

This is Kardashian’s second divorce, she wed music producer Damon Thomas in 2000 when she was just 19 and he filed for divorce two years later.

“I hope everyone understands this was not an easy decision,” Kardashian said, “I had hoped this marriage was forever but sometimes things don’t work out as planned.”

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What Can I Expect Before My Bankruptcy Case is Filed?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:57 am by demetriagraves

Last week I went over the whole timeline of a bankruptcy filing and how long the whole process takes. This week I want to provide more detail on the various stages of the bankruptcy process and I want to focus more on what happens prior to filing. Often, the scary part of bankruptcy is not knowing what to expect. There are a lot of bankruptcy myths out there that cause many people to not seek out bankruptcy help, even though it can really help them out of a tough spot. Having an accurate understanding of the bankruptcy process usually relieves a lot of stress and can help you work towards becoming debt free. Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases can basically be broken down into three parts: pre-filing, pre-meeting of creditors, and post -meeting of creditors.  In this article I will focus on the pre-filing stage of your case.

Usually the first step is the bankruptcy consultation. I, like many bankruptcy attorneys, offer a free bankruptcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation, go over the basics of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and determine if bankruptcy is a good option for you. Prior to your consultation it is helpful to have at least a general idea of what your debts are. Sometimes things have gotten so bad people have thrown their hands up and completely checked out when it comes to what they owe and who they owe it to.

There is a lot of information required to file a bankruptcy case. The typical Chapter 7 case is about 50-60 pages long when completed. Information like income, expenses, debts, assets, financial transactions, business information, contracts, and the like are required to be disclosed to the bankruptcy court. I work with my clients to gather this information and then prepare the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs.

Throughout this process it is vital that the information you provide to my office is accurate. I know this is a pain. Getting information on assets, debts, income, pay stubs, bank statements, etc. are time consuming and tedious. But the more accurate we can be in your bankruptcy filing the smoother the process will go for you once your case is actually filed. Also, be completely honest with your attorney. The penalties for failing to disclose an asset or transaction are severe. When it doubt, disclose. I promise, it will save you a lot of grief down the road.

Before your case can be filed you must complete a court approved bankruptcy credit counseling course. My clients are able to do this online and it takes a little over an hour. It is not a big deal, but must be done before I can file your case.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case you will be required to pay all legal fees and court costs prior to your case actually being filed with the court. I go over this at the initial consultation with clients so that arrangements can be made for payment in full prior to filing.

The final step before your bankruptcy case is filed is the review and sign. This is where we meet and go over all of the documents we intend to file with the court. The purpose of the meeting is two-fold: first, we want to make sure that all the information we are providing the court is thorough and accurate. Second, after your case is filed you will meet with your bankruptcy trustee and be required to testify under oath that you reviewed and signed the documents prior to filing. After this meeting you will have accomplished both purposes.

After all the work has been done in gathering information and preparing the documents the day finally arrives to file your case. At the final Review and Sign we will set a date when your case will be filed.

While this is just a brief overview of the pre-bankruptcy process, it is important to note that this is an important time in your case. The accuracy of the information we provide to the court will help in determining if your case will proceed smoothly or if you will have problems that will delay the final discharge.

June 23, 2011

Tips for Savvy Single Parenting

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:42 pm by demetriagraves

Here’s an interesting article my colleague Colleen Bushby, wanted to share with you. She is a single mom of 4, Lifestyle Transformation Coach, and Founder of SavvyDivorcedChicks.com.  She is passionate about helping women to live a life after divorce that is “better, not bitter!” Through her coaching programs, blog, teleseminars, and radio show, she empowers women with information and resources in all the areas  they navigate after divorce…personal development; health & wellness; finances; career & business; and relationships. To receive your Free Guide, “Jumpstart Your Life After Divorce…5 Savvy Steps You Can Take NOW!” go to www.SavvyDivorcedChicks.com.

Tips for Savvy Single Parenting

There is no doubt that single parenting is a challenge in life after divorce, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. I admit that when my marriage was coming to an end, I was petrified at the thought of raising four kids (three who are boys) on my own. I had grown up the oldest of four girls so I was pretty confident about raising my daughter, but raising boys was truly going to be a challenge!

Nine years later, I am proud to say that I think I have done a pretty good job with all four of my kids. I actually receive regular phone calls and text messages from my college-aged sons and I recently received a complimentary note, along with pictures from one of my son’s high school graduation, from my former father-in-law! This is not to say I have not had to deal with any challenges or that I have not made mistakes along the way because I definitely have, but my kids have thrived academically, emotionally and socially despite the challenges of a single parent home.

Here are my tips for having an awesome relationship with your kids…

Care For Yourself

When you are exhausted and overwhelmed physically and emotionally you are no good to anyone, especially your children. It is crucial that you maintain healthy habits by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising, and also give yourself some “mom time” without your kids. It is also crucial that you forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up for your failed relationship. Look instead at the gifts and lessons you can take from it. Part of caring for yourself is also asking for help when you need it. When you care for yourself, your children can see and feel the difference in your household.

Always Make Your Kids The Priority

Children in single parent homes may subconsciously feel abandoned, rejected, or incompetent. However, no one matters to your child more than you! Know your priorities and show your kids you believe in them and their abilities. Give them the power to believe in themselves. Help them to understand what a crucial part they play in the family by giving them responsibilities. Take an interest in their interests and be there to support them. You may walk out of the elementary school concert with a headache, but you wouldn’t want to miss that ear-to-ear smile when they walk off the stage the first time!

Expose Your Kids to Some Form of Faith

Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is important for kids to have some form of faith in their lives. They need to know that they are not their own highest being. They may choose to have different beliefs as adults, but they will never know unless they have some exposure earlier in life. Faith and spirituality also teach kids to be caring, compassionate, and contributing members of their community.

Set Clear Boundaries & Consequences

Though it may be tempting at times to be their friend rather than their parent, kids need discipline and limits. This not only helps them to keep out of trouble, but also leads to a feeling of self-control and ultimately higher self-esteem and a positive outlook. When our kids understand how to make lemonade out of lemons they are more equipped to handle the bumps in life which they will inevitably face as they grow older.

Keep Communication Open

Children learn early on if you are an approachable and emotionally safe parent. Live true to your values and be a good role model. Know your kids’ friends and their families. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your kids about the issues that concern you. Acknowledge their accomplishments and great choices, yet support them with teachable moments when they make mistakes as they test the limits (because they will!). It is also extremely important to acknowledge any negative emotions and affirm how well they are handling them. Open communication with your kids will only improve your relationship.

Make Memories That Will Last

My grandparents were married 57 years and I learned from them the importance of family memories and relationships. Every Sunday after church all 20 grandchildren and our parents would go to my grandparents for “sticky buns and orange juice.” The boys (and occasionally some of the girls) would all play football on their lawn. We can spend all the money in the world on our kids, but if they don’t have strong family relationships they will never truly know how to relate with others. I know my kids will always remember fondue and board games on New Year’s Day, holidays & summer vacations with extended family, and the 2700 mile RV trip I took them on!

Give Lots of Hugs and I Love You’s

What you give, you get back! Don’t be afraid to show your kids, even your teenagers, affection. Though it may be challenging with the media and the values that are portrayed to our kids as important , teach your children about love and respect for others. They will learn to value not only themselves, but also life and will truly enjoy it. Be sure to show them that happiness comes from within and not from anyone or anything else. In the end, happiness is a choice!

Take the High Road With Your Former Spouse

This is probably one of the most challenging parts of being a single parent…the fact that you parent in your home and your former spouse parents in theirs and that there are probably negative emotions that will always linger on some level. If you can at all be on the same page with expectations, privileges and consequences, it will only benefit your children. Kids in single-parent households need permission to talk about the other parent. Be honest and age-appropriate in your discussions, though also use discretion… some things should be left between adults. As difficult as it may be, it is best that your children not hear you disparage the other parent. This only hurts their self-esteem.

Single parenting can be a lonely and exhausting job, but if approached with a positive and open mindset we can empower our kids to develop into happy and competent young adults. When we look back years from now, hopefully we see that the time, love, happiness, and tears were worth it and we can be proud of the impact our kids have had on the world with their unique gifts.

April 14, 2011

Estate Planning Issues Following Divorce

Posted in Divorce, Uncategorized tagged at 2:52 pm by demetriagraves

This week I’d like to feature the following article on Estate Planning following Divorce by Charlene L. Usher, Esq.

The emotional turmoil of divorce can be overwhelming or liberating depending on one’s perspective. While it is commendable and responsible for families to do estate planning, there are some issues to be considered following divorce.

In most cases, the husband and wife seeking to dissolve their marriage are no longer interested in their ex-spouse being the beneficiary to their estate OR leaving their children in a position to be disinherited due to the fact that their ex-spouse may re-marry following the divorce. If their original plan was to leave everything to their spouse and then to their children, their spouse may still get everything if they do not modify their estate plans following divorce.

Beneficiary Designations

Following a divorce, the items below should be amended unless one chooses to leave everything to his/her ex-spouse:

1. Beneficiary designations for the following financial instruments:

• Employer retirement plans

• Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)

• Life insurance

• Annuities

• Health savings accounts

2. Transfer on Death (TOD) investment accounts

3. Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts

4. Will

5. Health care powers of attorney and living wills

6. Powers of attorney

7. Revocable trusts

8. Advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable trusts

Medical & General Powers of Attorney

Generally speaking, if one has chosen to no longer be married to their spouse, they usually no longer want to leave their health care or financial decisions in the ex-spouse’s hands. It is therefore imperative that amongst the documents to be amended are Advanced
Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney.

Guardianship & Re-marriage issues

In a perfect world, if something happened to one parent, the other parent would assume guardianship of the minor child. However, that assumes that the non-custodial parent desires to raise the child and is fit to do so. If the ex-spouse is likely to assume guardianship, they will be responsible for providing a residence for the child, provide for care and support and education.

If the client is concerned that monies left to a child may not be used as the client wishes if the ex-spouse has access, the client can designate in the Revocable Living Trust (RLT) that the client’s successor trustee provide for specific items out of the funds of the trust such as private school tuition, extra-curricular activities, a car at a certain age, college applications and tuition. A parent can protect a child’s inheritance by having an RLT in place with a trustee to carry out the grantor’s wishes as specifically designated. The money would not be paid directly to the guardian, but would truly be for the benefit of the child. This also protects the grantor’s assets, which should be for the benefit of the children, from getting into the hands of the client’s ex-spouse’s new spouse should he or she remarry.

One should also consider naming successor guardians in the event the ex-spouse does not want to raise the kids or is otherwise unavailable.

Re-marriage

Perhaps a newly-divorced parent has a significant other in his or her life, and remarries. This situation could result in a parent unintentionally disinheriting existing children. Without legal documentation to indicate otherwise, a spouse is generally entitled to one-half of the deceased spouse’s estate. The second spouse may not be the resulting caretaker of the former step-children, particularly if another guardian has been named, yet he or she has received half of the assets intended to provide for them.

A divorced parent may typically desire to leave assets to care for BOTH the new spouse and the children. In such a situation, the parent should sit down with a financial advisor and an estate planning attorney to assess the options. An easy solution is the use of additional life insurance to assist the parent in his or her wishes to provide for both the minor children and the new spouse. Term insurance can be a low-cost solution to provide these benefits until the children reach adulthood, assuming the parent is insurable.

In most cases, changing these items is as simple as requesting, completing and filing the appropriate form. Since retirement & employer plans often represent the most significant portion of an individual’s net worth and liquid assets, it is particularly important to amend the beneficiary designations on these accounts.

Because assets passed to a named beneficiary pass under operation of contract, this designation supercedes the person’s will and state intestacy statutes. If no changes are made, the ex-spouse who was originally designated as the beneficiary will be entitled to the benefit, despite the existence of a will or trust designating otherwise or a new spouse. Beneficiary designation will always trump a will
or intestacy laws.

Complex changes

Advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT’s), Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT’s), and charitable trusts may be very difficult, if not impossible, to amend, since the original intent of creating these structures was to make an irrevocable election, usually structured to benefit both husband and wife together. Should the husband or wife assume the
power to change the irrevocable election, the tax advantages gained by the structure may be destroyed. It is imperative
that one works closely with his/her attorney, as well as the trustee, to explore possible options.

One should also keep in mind that most states have an “elective share statute” which provides that one’s spouse (whether estranged or not) will automatically be entitled to a certain percentage of the estate. However, through proper planning, there are a number of ways to avoid or limit the assets which are subject to the elective share, and to provide that the estranged spouse does not receive more of the estate than one wants him or her to. This is another reason it is imperative to re-visit one’s estate plan following divorce.

In many cases, a family law attorney is not as well-versed in estate planning issues. Their focus is to help the client dissolve the marriage and make decisions regarding asset distribution, custody, child-support and such issues. However, beyond that, it is advisable that one revisit his/her estate plan with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney to help address the issues raised in this article. Estate planning attorneys can work closely with family law attorneys to conclude this final step of the dissolution process.

March 19, 2011

Hyphenating Your Name

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:17 am by demetriagraves

Here’s an article by Janelle Harris that I found interesting on hyphenating your last name when you marry.

Conversations with my man about our future always produce juicy material that I turn around and exploit for purely editorial — and, OK, sometimes basic entertainment — reasons. A recent chat about hyphenating my last name kicked up dust as we talked about my dreams of finishing (which means I’d actually have to start) my PhD within the next five years.

In the heat of my daydreaming, I took my would-be name for a test drive. “Dr. Janelle Harris-Williams,” I swooned like a giddy extra in the “Beauty School Dropout” scene of Grease. Boyfriend 4.0 jutted his bottom jaw, something he does when he’s about to serve up a verbal smackdown. “Harris-Williams!” he scoffed. “I think you mean Dr. Janelle Williams.”

Seems he takes offense to the idea of me tacking his last name on to the one I already have. The move — according to him — says I’m wishy-washy about my commitment and (gasp) that I’m not ready to leave my family and be a wife. When I introduced the subject for discussion on Facebook, turns out plenty of folks from both genders side with his opinion. I didn’t tell him that, though.

There is no level-headed reason why a woman should have to abandon her family’s last name in order to prove her fidelity and allegiance to her man. None whatsoever. The concept is as archaic and patriarchal as, oh I don’t know, forgoing your dreams to be an apron-sporting housewife a la June Cleaver or pretending to be an airhead to appease your guy’s fragile ego. Puh-lease.

According to the recently released 2010 Real Weddings Survey from The Knot, only 6 percent of newlywed women opted to hyphenate their names — the same number reported on the stats from the year before. Responses from the roughly 20,000 brides polled overwhelmingly favored taking their hubby’s name, to the tune of 86 percent.

So it’s not necessarily a fire-hot trend. So I’m in a bit of a minority. At least I’m not flying completely solo. “We definitely see the conversation because everyone has an opinion on it. No one is really right because it’s such a personal decision,” offers Anja Winikka, an obviously brilliant individual who happens to be an editor at The Knot. “As years go by and couples wait longer to get married, more women are choosing to hyphenate because of their careers, especially when people are looking for them on Google.”

Indeed, those of us who have worked hellishly to build up some steam in our respective careers also have professional grounds to hold on to our original surnames. If Eva Parker or Jada Smith had a new flick coming out, the crickets would be chirping and we’d gloss over them like they were as generic and nondescript as Jane Jones. But add the “Longoria” and the “Pinkett,” respectively, the bells and whistles of familiarity go off, and the general public might contemplate going to see the movie. Might.

Because the average age of the American bride is now 27 (up from 25 last year, but who’s counting?), many women don’t want the hassle of converting their longstanding professional identities — email addresses, monogrammed attaches, and all — to a whole new name. “Most of my clients are businesswomen, speakers, or high-level professionals and have built a brand with their names,” says Christine Pembleton, an author who is also president of the aptly named relationship coaching firm, Ready to Be a Wife. “However,” she adds, “I had no problem changing my name. In fact, it was one of the things I looked forward to when I got married.” Hmph.

So exactly what does a man have to give up in order to marry a woman? Yet we’re expected to disassociate ourselves from the very families who shaped us into the women men fall in love with and want to marry. If I had been born male, I would’ve had no choice but to carry on the Harris name. But because I have an innie, not an outie, I’m forced to show my Post-Marital Pride by sloughing off part of my identity.

Not I, said the brown cow. Can’t my hyphen rep for both my past and my future — and have a nice ring to it in the process?

December 3, 2010

Holiday Gift From Demetria

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:48 pm by demetriagraves

Every year we take the time to send all of all clients and colleagues a very special Thank You during this time of year.  But this year, I thought it was more important to GIVE in a very special way to show you how important you, your business and referrals are to us!

Today, I am writing to announce (with much enthusiasm) our firm Holiday special which will run from December 6, 2010 through December 31, 2010, everyone MUST mention the Holiday Special when contacting the firm!  We are very aware of the hard economic times and wanted to spread a little Holiday Cheer!

Are you Ready??? Ok…For all of those who would like to make a “fresh start” for 2011, we are offering 50%…yeah I know I went mad!…but yes 50% of the cost to do an entire Chapter 7 Bankruptcy from Start to Finish!  A total savings of $1,250!!

And for those who waited so long to start their divorce proceeding, modify their current child support and/or child custody and visitation orders due to financial constraints…this is an offer you cannot refuse….we are offering to start either a divorce proceeding or modification for just $1,000!  This is a total savings of $2,000!

And for all of you who graciously refer us clients on a regular basis…for every client you refer and retains our services, there is something special in store for you (make sure your referrals mention your name)!

So yes I have went mad! But if you, a friend or a colleague would like to participate in the Holiday Specials listed above, be sure to call us by December 30, 2010!  The Special ENDS at 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2010!

Should you have any questions or just want to chat, please feel free to call me directly with questions at (818) 649-7559, email me at demetriagraves@yahoo.com or visit www.attorneygraves.com.

Thank You for your continued support and we hope you enjoy your Holidays!  If there’s anything I can do on my end to help you, in any capacity, please let me know.

Warmly,

Demetria

Holiday Gratitude & Appreciation

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 3:45 pm by demetriagraves

During the holiday season, often it’s a time to reflect on who we are, what we want, and how to get it.  We make resolutions, go on diets, work out at spas, take long walks, develop a positive attitude, and make new friendships.  During the year, often we’re all so busy with work, children, and everyday life that we may forget to be kind and considerate, whereas the holiday season tends to bring this out in us. Be creative and disciplined and uncover your true self.  This is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and to others.  Concentrate and make an effort to turn selfishness into selflessness.  When we help others we become immersed in the depth of wisdom, change, and inner awareness.

Over the holidays learn to cultivate your mind with positive thoughts and actions. Make a conscious note of how you treat others and don’t forget that Golden rule of treating others the way you’d like to be treated and your life journey will be smoother.

What are Gratitude and appreciation? Basically they both mean being thankful and expressing that thanks. Gratitude is a fundamental component of a growing body of research suggesting that better sleep, fewer physical ailments, and a greater ability to cope with tough situations becomes easier and smooth.  Gratitude elevates you as it also energizes, inspires, and brings out the most creative you.  Mental and physical health expand to their optimum.  Try a gratitude journal as this will help you feel more satisfied with your life and the people in it.  Recognize that someone benefited in some way from your positive thoughts and speech, and therefore see the connection to yourself.  Stay in the present to see what is really happening in your life and fit yourself into the bigger  picture.

Holidays can be the time to put aside past regrets, rejoice in the present and make plans for your future. Focus on the elements of your life, experiences, and people and things that have touched you.  Take time on a regular basis to mentally note your blessings as this will keep you grounded and pointed in the right direction.  Pause after each reflection that you take, integrate and appreciate feelings, and fulfill yourself with the world at large.

November 12, 2010

401K Loan & Bankruptcy

Posted in Bankruptcy, Uncategorized tagged at 10:33 am by demetriagraves

If you have a 401k loan and are considering bankruptcy here is a brief outline of what generally happens to your 401k loan. Basically a 401k loan allows you to borrow money from your 401k funds and repay it over a certain amount of time. In order to get a 401k loan, you do not have to have a credit check, and you do not need to have a certain income level. Even though it is referred to as a 401k loan, creditors do not necessarily consider it a loan. Because you are basically borrowing money from yourself with this type of loan. This means that you will still have the 401k loan even if you go through bankruptcy.

A 401k is an employer sponsored retirement plan and is generally exempt from bankruptcy. If you have a 401k loan, you have actually borrowed against your own 401k retirement account. This kind of loan is quite popular because it is easy to get, there is no need for a credit check and the interest rate is low. Filling out an application is easy and if you look at it, the interest you would be paying for the loan would actually go to yourself.

If you are unable to repay a 401k loan as per schedule, it will be automatically seen as a withdrawal from your retirement account and you will be taxed accordingly and you will be charged an additional 10 percent of the unpaid amount as penalty if you are less than 59 ½ years of age.

Therefore, if you are considering bankruptcy, unpaid 401k loans may cause problems because they are not seen as debts and cannot be forgiven. However, the monthly payments may be exempted from the means test computations for disposable income in bankruptcy.

This computation is employed to determine if your income is sufficiently low to qualify you for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. What this means is that the unpaid monthly amounts for your 401k loan that are considered for tax purposes as your income need not be included when calculating your disposable income to test whether you can file for Chapter 7. If your income is less than the median income for your state, then you are automatically qualified to file for Chapter 7.

When considering filing for bankruptcy there are many factors that need to be taken into account. This is why it’s important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney who is experienced in dealing with bankruptcy. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get all you questions answered so you can determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best option for you.

November 5, 2010

Should I Consider Bankruptcy?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:07 pm by demetriagraves

Recently with the increase in unemployment rates and harder economic times many people are turning to the option of filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to give them some financial relief. Some of the most common reasons for considering bankruptcy are excessive credit card debt and large medical bills but there are all sorts of situations where filing for bankruptcy may be an option for you. There are many considerations that must be contemplated when deciding whether to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or not. Some of these include the costs to file, will filing affect a new job, and how medical coverage is affected.

Bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding that might allow a person with large debts to get a “fresh start” by freeing them from many or all of their debts. At the same time, a trustee of the court can sell the person’s property (unless it’s exempt) and divide the proceeds to pay off the person’s creditors.
While it is possible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy without a lawyer it is wise to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney. This is because without a attorney an individual may have to fight with creditors and may not have a clear understanding of all the court processes involved with filing this type of bankruptcy. A much worse situation may occur if a discharge of debts is not obtained.

People who are unemployed and file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy do not have to fear a garnishment of wages. This also applies to people who are employed because an automatic stay on all collections against the filer is put into affect by a judge once bankruptcy is filed.

It is your statutory right to declare bankruptcy. However, the exercise of that right may have consequences. Even though it is illegal for any federal or state agency to discriminate against you for exercising your right to declare bankruptcy private agencies can, and often do, discriminate against people who declare bankruptcy. So it’s important to have all the facts and make sure that you understand what is involved in the process.

If you want to find out if bankruptcy is the right option for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered

May 24, 2010

Tips for Finding the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

Posted in Bankruptcy, Uncategorized tagged at 11:10 am by demetriagraves

Unfortunately bankruptcy filings in the U.S. continue to rise, therefore the demand for good, qualified bankruptcy attorneys has been stronger than ever. But as a number of unscrupulous individuals rush to capitalize on this trend, being able to find a good bankruptcy attorney can be a challenge. It’s important to do your homework in this area as an experienced and qualified bankruptcy attorney can help you successfully navigate state and federal bankruptcy laws to obtain much-needed debt relief. Here are a few tips for selecting the right bankruptcy attorney, including a description of what a bankruptcy attorney does.
Before beginning the search for a bankruptcy attorney, it is important to understand what such a legal professional does. Some of a bankruptcy lawyer’s responsibilities include:
  • A bankruptcy attorney will work with the client to determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best option and which chapter (type of bankruptcy) is the most appropriate.
  • A bankruptcy attorney will ensure that the case is conducted in accordance with state and federal laws. He/she will also make sure that all paperwork is completed properly and filed in a timely manner.
  • A bankruptcy attorney will accompany the client to creditor meetings.
  • Finally, a bankruptcy attorney will sometimes represent the client in bankruptcy court. This depends on the situation.
Experience counts when it comes to bankruptcy. The longer an attorney has specialized in bankruptcy, the more complex situations they will have encountered. An experienced attorney can make the difference between a favorable outcome and a disastrous outcome, especially if your bankruptcy case gets complicated. Most importantly, one should look for attorneys who have experience working with consumer bankruptcy cases.
When looking for the right bankruptcy attorney it is important to conduct an interview with the person to make sure that the fit is right. Make sure that you make a list of all the questions that you have regarding your financial situation and any questions you have about bankruptcy. Consider which attorneys gave the most informative and easiest to understand answers. Once your bankruptcy is underway, you’ll likely have additional questions. Thus, it is vital to find an attorney who can explain things to you without confusing you even more. Other important questions to ask are:

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