Once you decide to file Bankruptcy, whether it is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will need to decide if you intend on keeping your home. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing and you wish to keep your home, you will need to be current with your mortgage payment(s) and your homeowners’ association dues at the time of filing. As per federal bankruptcy law, you must remain current throughout the duration of the bankruptcy; this includes first, second, third mortgages attached to the home, as well as, your homeowner’s association dues. If you fail to keep current with your mortgage payment(s) or your homeowners’ association dues, the “relief from stay” can and most likely will be lifted and the mortgage company or the homeowner’s association may initiate foreclosure proceedings on the home.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, you will make monthly payments to the Trustee’s office. The Trustee will then distribute those funds to your creditors. The creditor payments are according to priority deemed by the Bankruptcy Court. Your mortgage lender is almost always one of the creditors at the top of the list. Therefore, you will not be making direct payment to your mortgage lender if you are behind on payments. This payment will be included in your Chapter 13 payment plan and the Trustee’s office will make the mortgage payment from the funds you send each month. An exception would be your homeowners’ association dues, which you will continue to make payment directly to the homeowners’ association. Also, in some districts if you are current on your mortgage payment the Trustee will allow you to make direct mortgage payments to the mortgage company.
Regardless of which type of bankruptcy you plan to file, if you want to keep your house you will need to continue to make your mortgage payments and stay current on your payments.
Almost all Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases are set for a period of anywhere from 36 to 60 months. As you can imagine, a lot change in a person’s life during a three to five year time frame, particularly in a somewhat unstable job market. Although a person may have a well-paying, stable job at the time their Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed, they may lose their job a year or two later while still in their bankruptcy.
If you lose your job while you are in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy and are no longer able to afford your Chapter 13 payments, you will need to contact your attorney immediately so that he or she can take the necessary steps to try to reduce your plan payment. It is important to know, however, that just because you lose your job, your payments will not automatically decrease.
For example, if you are only paying 2% back to your unsecured creditors (credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, etc.) and the rest of your plan payments are for your secured debts (mortgage, car loans, furniture, etc.) then the Trustee may not be able to lower your payment because she would not be receiving enough to make all of your secured debt payments every month. In other words, if by lowering your plan payment, the Trustee is not receiving enough money from you each month to pay all of your secured debts, then the Trustee will have to dismiss your case. The only option in a situation where most (or all) of your plan payment goes to your secured debts is to surrender one (or more) of your secured debts. For example, if you have three vehicles included in your plan payment, you may be able to reduce your plan payment enough for you to afford the plan payment by surrendering one of the vehicles.
Obviously, each situation is different when it comes to the plan payment and amount being paid to secured and unsecured creditors, so you will have to contact your bankruptcy attorney for specifics about your own situation. However, there is the possibility of at least attempting to lower your Chapter 13 plan payment if you lose your job while you are in bankruptcy.
Yes, most of the time. The federal bankruptcy laws allow you to protect certain property by using state exemptions to protect the automobiles. However, you can only protect up to a certain amount of equity in a vehicle. For example, North Carolina allows you up to $3500 in a motor vehicle exemption to protect one vehicle per person filing bankruptcy. Therefore you can have a vehicle that is bought and paid for to have a value up to $3500 using the motor vehicle exemption and protect the vehicle. What if you have two vehicles titled in your name that are paid in full and have a total value of $6000? Generally speaking you cannot protect, in full, both vehicles unless you have some “wildcard” exemption left over to use to help protect the second vehicle. This wildcard exemption will be discussed on another topic, but it usually allows $5000 per person filing the bankruptcy to protect “other” property. However there are exceptions, so check with an attorney at Duncan Law for specific advice.
Another unusual scenario is you hypothetically have ten brand new 2011 Mercedes each worth up to $100,000 each. However, you owe $100,000 on each vehicle. Therefore you have no equity in the ten vehicles. With no equity in the vehicles, you can have ten new Mercedes worth one-million dollars and be able to keep all the vehicles, as long there is no equity and you continue to make you payments on the vehicles. This is usually valid in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however most Chapter 13 bankruptcy Trustees will not allow you to keep excessive vehicles that you do not need.
What if you have an old run down 2000 Mazda that is paid off in full, worth only $4500. Remember, without your wildcard exemption you can only protect $3500 in value. Therefore you have $1000 in excess equity and the Chapter 7 could seize the vehicle and sell it. You would get the first $3500, the Trustee would receive anything in excess of $3500.
In conclusion, it doesn’t seem fair, you could lose the one old car that is paid for, but keep the ten new Mercedes since there is no equity in the vehicles. That’s why you need help from Duncan Law.
In North Carolina, when you attend your creditors’ meeting you will see a number of different types of “court” officials. The creditors’ meeting isn’t really a court hearing but it is somewhat similar to court. The main types of representatives at the creditors meeting are the Debtor and Debtor’s attorney, any potential creditors, the Trustee and the Bankruptcy Administrator or someone from the Bankruptcy Administrator’s office.
The Debtor is the person who owes money, the creditors are the people who money is owed to and the role of the Trustee has already been discussed. According to the Federal Courts, the Bankruptcy Administrator or their designated representatives’ job in North Carolina is to, “oversee the administration of bankruptcy cases, maintain a panel of private trustees, and monitor the transactions and conduct of parties in bankruptcy.”
In other words, the role of the Bankruptcy Administrator is to ensure creditors’ meetings run smoothly and any potential conflict between the Trustee (representing the creditors) and the Debtor and the Debtor’s attorney is kept to a minimum. This usually isn’t a problem since the creditors’ meetings tend to be non-adversarial meetings.
Also, the Bankruptcy Administrator has the ability to ask questions at the creditors’ meeting. Generally speaking, the Bankruptcy Administrator’s office will ask questions if your case is being converted from one type of bankruptcy to another or if they believe the Debtor(s) do not fall below the Means Test.
The Bottom Line: The Bankruptcy Administrator’s office handles administrative matters throughout the bankruptcy process.
A lot of people are concerned with who will find out about their bankruptcy if they choose to file bankruptcy. That is a legitimate and understandable concern. Once a bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court it becomes public record. If a person is determined enough, the information can be obtained. However, to find out if someone has filed for bankruptcy the person would need to sign up for an account on PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) and could be required to pay money to view the necessary information. For the most part, the only people that will be notified of the bankruptcy are the people that you are in debt with and/or owe money too.
Understandably, the main concern for people is family and friends finding out about their bankruptcy. The only way that they will be notified of your bankruptcy is if you owe money to them. They will have to be notified under federal law as creditor. Also, if you are paying child support and/or alimony the recipient will have to be notified of your bankruptcy. The reason for this is if you were to fall behind on a payment with child support and/or alimony then that could affect the outcome of your bankruptcy.
Another concern that clients have is if their employer will be notified. They payroll department of your employer will likely be notified in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because at least a portion of your monthly payment will be deducted from your paycheck. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy there is no reason the employer would find out about the bankruptcy unless they pulled your credit report.
Again, it is rare that people would be able to find out if you have filed bankruptcy. Unless you choose to tell people about your bankruptcy, most people will never find out.
When a baby is injured at birth those injuries can often times lead to a life long injuries. A birth injury occurs when a newborn is injured during the labor process. There are several types of birth injuries, some minor and easily remedied and some more serious. Many birth injuries can be prevented by proper medical care and adhering to the appropriate medical standards. There are many birth injuries, most of them minor, which can occur without any malpractice from the attending doctor. Others are more serious and are caused by negligence or fault of the doctor, for these reasons it is important to consult an attorney on the specific facts of your case.
Many birth injuries affect the head and shoulders of the baby, since these are the parts of the baby’s body most affected during labor and the actual birth. One minor birth injury is bruising on the baby’s head that can occur naturally from either the birth canal or the mother’s pelvic bones. It is also common for a baby to have bruising if forceps or a vacuum are used to extract the baby during delivery. These are tools commonly used during a delivery and rarely cause serious injury. In rare situations, the forceps may actually fracture the skull of the infant and surgery may be needed to correct the injury. Another common birth injury caused by a vacuum extraction is caput succedaneum, or a severe swelling of the child’s scalp; this usually disappears in a few days. Another typical head injury is cephalohematoma, or a bleeding between the bone and it’s fibrous covering. This will typically heal within a few weeks to a couple of months.
Sometimes during childbirth, the baby’s shoulder can become impaired and cause nerve damage in the area that controls the movement of the arms and hands. This is known as Erb’s Palsy, an injury to the brachial plexus nerves in the neck and shoulder. Normally, the injury will heal within a few months but occasionally there will be permanent damage and surgery will be needed. The severe cases of brachial plexus nerve injury are most often reviewed as possible medical malpractice by the obstetrician or midwife, since the potential for injury should often be identified during the labor process.
Some more serious birth injuries include brain damage from a lack of oxygen that can be caused by an umbilical cord or blood loss. This type of injury can cause cerebral palsy, seizure disorders or mental impairment. These injuries can often be avoided with proper monitoring during the labor process.
Birth injuries are more common in larger babies (over 9 pounds) and in premature babies. A long or difficult childbirth also correlates with more birth injuries. If a woman has had a difficult birth in the past, it is important to alert the doctor of this history as soon as the mother becomes pregnant. In these cases, the mother and child should be closely monitored throughout the pregnancy. Often the doctor may recommend a Cesarean section rather than a vaginal birth to avoid possible injury in difficult pregnancies. A doctor not taking appropriate action either in anticipation of the likelihood of a difficult birth or after birth injuries have been detected is when medical malpractice becomes an issue.
This is something you will want to discuss with your attorney in more detail prior to filing bankruptcy. However, generally speaking, you will not lose your home if you file bankruptcy as long as the equity in your property is fully exempt.
In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you want to keep your house, you must be current on your mortgage payments on the date that you file your bankruptcy and remain current. It is very important that you continue to make your monthly house payments on time and comply with the terms of your loan if you wish to keep your house. If you get behind on your payments the mortgage company has the right to file a Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay with the Court asking for permission to foreclose on your home.
In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure on your house. If you are behind on your mortgage, there are options under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that would allow you to catch up on the payments even if your house has gone into foreclosure.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will be paying back your secured debts (i.e., mortgage payments and car loans), what you were behind on your house prior to filing bankruptcy, and a portion of your unsecured debts over a 3 to 5 year time frame.
If there is excess equity in your property that is not fully exempt you may still be able to keep your home by filing a Chapter 13 instead of a Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 you would be required to pay back the non-exempt value to the creditors listed in your bankruptcy over the three to five years through your monthly payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee.
This is a question we are asked all the time. Each bankruptcy attorney probably has his or her own opinion on which type of bankruptcy is best for your credit report. After filing thousands of bankruptcies over the years, we don’t believe that there is that much, if any, difference between a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Some attorneys argue that a Chapter 7 may be better because you can get a discharge more quickly that you can in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That, in turn, will allow you to have more disposable income that allows you to obtain more credit. On the other hand, other attorneys will argue that in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are paying back a portion of your debts, which will look better to a potential lender. The reality is, we haven’t seen much of a difference at all.
The typical duration of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing usually lasts approximately four to six months from the time your petition is filed with the bankruptcy court until the time you receive your letters of Discharge of Debt and Final Decree. Once you receive your Discharge and Final Decree, you may immediately start to rebuild your credit.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing consists of a payment plan in which you are obligated to make a monthly payment to the Trustee’s office so that the funds may be distributed amongst your creditors each month. The Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing usually lasts anywhere from three to five years and then you receive your letters of Discharge of Debt and Final Decree.
A bankruptcy typically stays on your credit report for seven to ten years. After the seven-year point, you should contact the credit reporting agencies with a letter indicating that the item has been on your report for seven years and request the agency to remove the poor mark from your credit report. They could deny your request but we suggest that you at least try to get the bankruptcy removed.
There’s no doubt about it, bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit. Anyone who tells you differently isn’t being completely honest with you. However, your credit probably isn’t all that great immediately before filing the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will give you the opportunity to get a fresh financial start and then rebuild your credit. Regardless of which type of bankruptcy you file, rebuilding your credit will take sticking to a budget and being purposeful in how you seek credit moving forward.
Cerebral palsy usually develops during the fetal development of a child, during the birth of a child, or shortly after the birth of a child. The injury is usually caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, or some type of trauma to the brain of the child. Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition that does not improve; however, with advanced treatment and therapy, many children may live productive lives.
Sadly, some children that develop cerebral palsy must receive 24-hour care for the rest of their lives and may not live to a “normal age” due to other medical problems as a result of the cerebral palsy.
Many times the brain injury of the child is caused by the medical negligence of a physician before, during, or immediately after the birthing process of the child. If you believe your child’s physician committed medical malpractice in the care and birth of your child, and this caused the cerebral palsy birth injury, you should contact an attorney who deals with medical malpractice and birth injuries to further explore your options.