Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00

Student Loan Forgiveness

Student Loan Forgiveness

Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00

Student Loans

Student Loans

Student loans are very difficult, but not entirely impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.  To do this, you must prove that the payment of the debt “will impose an unwelcome and undue hardship.”

Courts use different criteria to evaluate whether a particular owner of debt has shown an undue hardship. If you can, with success, prove you have an undue hardship, your student loan can be completely canceled. Filing for bankruptcy to help with your student loan debt also automatically protects you from collection actions on all of your debts, or at least until the bankruptcy case is resolved or at least until the debt creditor gets permission from the court to resume collection again.

student loans | student loan debt relief | student loan debt forgiveness

Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Obtaining financial aid can be a daunting task. If a student looking for financial aid doesn't get guidance from a counselor or older sibling who is currently on a college campus somewhere, it can be extremely difficult to figure out how to find a starting point. There is good news. Chris Bush is here to help. With just a little research and an introduction to the basics of financial aid, you'll be using even the most obscure financial aid acronyms with ease.

financial aid | student loan debt relief | student loan debt forgiveness

A way to ensure you are being fairly treated.

When it comes to Student Loans, there is a Federal Agency dedicated to assist the financial consumer. With the growing amount of outstanding student loan debt, students, parents, colleges, universities, and our political leaders all must work together to be informed, have access to critical information as outlet to be heard. The CFPB offers free information regarding student loan servicing, private student loans, and the dangers of student loan debt relief companies.

Complaints about student loan lenders, servicers, and debt collectors can be submitted as well as any comments regarding student loan issues, improvements, suggestions, etc.  This information is then compiled and reports are generated and available to the public. This serves as a manner in which to keep every element in the student loan arena accountable.

For more information, please log onto:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

In a difficult economy, it can be very challenging for job applicants to distinguish themselves from other people applying for the same position. Often, people will pursue a degree in the field in order to be more qualified than other applicants. In many cases, these individuals do not have the resources available to fund their education, so they have to take out student loans.

Once they have finished their schooling, many people experience significant problems trying to find adequate employment. Some will take lower paying jobs in an effort to make ends meet, while others will remain out of work while they continue their search. Despite these challenges in finding suitable employment, these individuals will still have to make payments on their student loans once they become due. This can create severe financial issues for individuals who are already experiencing problems paying their bills.

Student loan debt is unique as it is often not dischargeable under the bankruptcy process, except in cases of undue hardship. This may be a difficult standard to meet. Bankruptcy may still allow these people an opportunity to organize their finances in order to repay their student loans.

Some legislators have been considering making some changes to the laws to require colleges and other secondary schools to have a more personal stake in the loans that their students take out. This would require the institutions to educate borrowers on the impact that the burden of student loans will have on their future. They would also mandate that schools with high rates of default on loans be penalized, which could force the schools to better assist their students with l adequate employment opportunities after they have received a degree.

Individuals who are not current with their payments may find themselves facing collections actions from their lenders or servicers. Borrowers need to take these notices seriously, as further financial problems can result. Additional fees, costs and interest will be incorporated into the balance which will create further hardship.

If you have questions about dealing with your student loan debt, you should discuss your concerns with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. An attorney will be able to provide you with an overview of all of the possible options that you will need to consider, and help you determine which course of action is best for your financial situation. Most importantly, do not delay or ignore your student loan debt.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:00

CHAPTER 13 RESOURCE LINKS

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United States Bankruptcy Courts 
The official website of the United States Bankruptcy Courts includes a variety of useful information about bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy glossary 
A glossary of bankruptcy terminology that explains, in layman's terms, many of the legal terms that are used in cases filed under the Bankruptcy Code.

Bankruptcy fees 
Bankruptcy filing fees, maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the U.S. Courts.

Bankruptcy forms 
Official Bankruptcy Forms, Procedural Forms and the Bankruptcy Forms Manual.

Chapter 13 basics 
General information about individual debt adjustment under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Bankruptcy information for consumers 
General information regarding consumer debt and bankruptcy from the American Bankruptcy Institute.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) 
The NFCC's website includes numerous educational resources including credit facts, budget calculators and more.

  1. Experian 
    Information for consumers about credit reports, establishing credit, risk scores and more.

Trans Union LLC 
Frequently asked questions about credit reports.

Copyright © 2019 Chris Bush, Attorney at Law.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:00

REBUILDING YOUR CREDIT AFTER BANKRUPTCY

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Bankruptcy has a long-lasting impact on a person's credit rating and on his or her ability to obtain credit in the future. The impact is not entirely negative. In some cases, filing bankruptcy may actually improve a bad credit rating. In addition, there are a number of steps a person can take to improve his or her credit after bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy attorney at DebtDoc in San Diego, CA, can offer valuable advice about how credit can be improved after a bankruptcy, and how to work for a better financial future.

Discharge results in an improved debt-to-income ratio

Most of the debtors who consider filing bankruptcy already have poor credit histories. Their credit ratings have suffered because of slow payments, late payments, repossessions, extended credit, charge-offs, foreclosures or judgments. After their bankruptcy, however, the discharged debts will no longer count against their income, so their credit may be better after the discharge than it was before. In addition, while a bankruptcy case will remain on an individual's credit report for up to ten years; late payments stay on for up to seven years, so the effects are similar. Bankruptcy, however, gives consumers a chance to improve their credit faster because they will have an improved debt-to-income ratio after discharge.

Using credit cards wisely

In some cases, individuals may be able to keep one of their credit cards even after bankruptcy. They may retain a card that they already have but that has no debt on it, or they may reaffirm a debt on a card, which means that they sign a contract with the credit card company after filing bankruptcy that says the debt will be paid anyway if the holder is allowed to keep the card. Some companies are willing to agree to this arrangement because they will be paid for the debt, whereas without reaffirming the entire debt could be discharged in the bankruptcy proceeding.

A secured credit card is another option for rebuilding credit after a bankruptcy. A secured credit card is issued by a bank and backed up by money that is kept on deposit with the bank that issued the card. The bank account is the security for the card. If the bill for the credit card is not paid on time, the bank may use the money in the account to cover the payment. The limit on the card can be increased by increasing the balance in the linked bank account. The issuers of secured credit cards report about their customers to the credit bureaus, just like the issuers of other credit cards, so any subsequent positive payment history will be available to future creditors. The interest rates for secured credit cards are often higher than the rates for non-secured cards, but they still can be worth the extra cost by virtue of the redeeming value of the new and reported financial stability.

Co-signed loans

Still another way to re-establish credit after a bankruptcy is to obtain a loan with a co-signor whose positive credit convinces the bank or other lender that the loan is a safe bet. As payments are made on the cosigned loan, the positive credit history affects both borrowers.

"Credit-repair" services

One "credit repair" method to avoid after bankruptcy is seeking help from an unscrupulous "credit-repair service." Many consumers pay substantial sums of money to so-called "credit clinics" to "fix" their credit reports when, in actuality, only time can improve bad credit. A credit repair service or clinic can legally do nothing that a consumer cannot do on his or her own, for free. Some credit-repair companies actually encourage consumers to commit fraud by attempting to create a second identity. The Federal Trade Commission has investigated these often-fraudulent services and warns consumers to be wary of promises that seem shady or too good to be true.

Speak to a bankruptcy lawyer

In order to make the most of a bad situation, debtors must learn from bankruptcy and demonstrate greater financial responsibility in the future. A lawyer experienced in bankruptcy law at DebtDoc in San Diego,CA, is in a strong position to advise consumers not only before and during the bankruptcy process, but also after, guiding them through the necessary steps to improve their credit ratings and avoid future financial catastrophes.

Copyright © 2019 Chris Bush, Attorney at Law.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Wednesday, 09 July 2014 00:00

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY - AN OVERVIEW

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The bills are stacking up, demanding calls and letters are arriving with increasing frequency and despite the best of efforts, the overdue debts just cannot be paid. In such cases, filing bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code may provide a solution to what seems like an insurmountable problem. Once considered a last resort, bankruptcy has evolved into an accepted method of resolving serious financial problems. If you are facing serious financial challenges, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney at DebtDoc to determine whether filing under Chapter 13 is right for you.

Q: How does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case work?

A: Chapter 13 of the federal Bankruptcy Code allows a consumer to repay all or a majority of his or her debts through a payment plan approved by the Bankruptcy Court. When the plan is in place, creditors generally are prohibited from collecting debts directly from the debtor. Instead of paying his or her creditors directly, the debtor pays a certain amount every month to the Chapter 13 Trustee, and the Trustee distributes the money to the creditors, as provided in the Chapter 13 plan. When the last payment is made, the debtor is no longer liable for the remainder of his or her dischargeable debts.

Q: How long does it take to complete a Chapter 13 plan?

A: A Chapter 13 plan lasts for three years (36 months) unless the debtor can pay off all debts in less time. Under certain circumstances, the court may approve a plan that lasts as long as five years.

Q: How is Chapter 13 different from Chapter 7 from the point of view of the debtor?

A: The essential difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is in the handling of the debtor's property. In a Chapter 7 case, all nonexempt property owned by the debtor is sold, and the proceeds are used to pay as many of the debtor's debts as possible. In a Chapter 13 case, a debtor's income is applied towards payment of as many of the debtor's debts as possible, but a Chapter 13 debtor typically retains more of his or her nonexempt property. In addition, the discharge issued in a Chapter 13 case is usually broader than a Chapter 7 discharge, and will relieve the debtor of liability for several types of debts that are not discharged by a Chapter 7 case.

Q: Why would a debtor choose Chapter 13 over Chapter 7?

A: Chapter 13 is the preferred choice for a person who wishes to repay most or all of his or her unsecured debts, and whose income is sufficient to allow him or her to do so in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, if the debtor has a considerable amount of nonexempt property, or a lot of valuable exempt property used as security for debts, this property could be lost in a Chapter 7 case, and so Chapter 13 may be the preferred option. Some other types of debtors, whose debts might not be discharged under Chapter 7 and those with one or more large debts that may be discharged only under Chapter 13, might opt for Chapter 13 over Chapter 7.

Q: What debts are paid by a Chapter 13 plan?

A: The plan may pay any and all debts of the debtor, including secured and unsecured debts, and even debts that are non-dischargeable, such as student loans and spousal and child support.

Q: How much must the debtor pay to the trustee?

A: The law says that all of a debtor's "disposable income" received during the time of the plan must be paid to the trustee. The law defines "disposable income" as all income earned or received by the debtor that is not reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and the debtor's dependents.

Q: Who is the trustee?

A: The trustee in a Chapter 13 case is someone who is appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to receive the regular payments from the debtor, distribute those payments to the creditors according to the Chapter 13 plan and administer the bankruptcy case until it is closed. The debtor is always required to cooperate with the Chapter 13 trustee.

Q: May a self-employed person file under Chapter 13?

A: Yes. A self-employed person meeting the eligibility requirements may file under Chapter 13 and may continue to operate her or his business during the resolution of the bankruptcy case and the completion of the plan.

Q: Should a married couple file a joint Chapter 13 petition?

A: If both the husband and wife owe a significant amount of money, they may wish to file jointly under Chapter 13, even if only one of them has income. Otherwise, the non-filing spouse could still be liable for the unpaid debts.

Q: May a debtor convert a Chapter 7 case to a Chapter 13 case?

A: Yes. A Chapter 7 case may be converted to a Chapter 13 case at the request of the debtor at any time before the case is closed, unless the case was converted previously from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7.

Copyright © 2019 Chris Bush, Attorney at Law.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

When a Chapter 13 debtor enters into a wage-earner plan, he or she commits the next three years' disposable income — that portion of the debtor's income not required to meet the necessary needs of the debtor and his or her dependents — to the repayment of debt. Often, a debtor's income will increase after the plan is in place, and the question arises as to what becomes of this increase in income. A lawyer at DebtDoc in San Diego, San Diego, can answer these and other Chapter 13 questions as they arise, providing information, reassurance and competent and zealous advocacy throughout the bankruptcy process.

The debtor may be allowed to retain the increase in income unless the increase is significant and there are no offsetting increases in expenses.

The Bankruptcy Code requires that the debtor contribute his or her projected disposable income toward the plan payments for the first three years (36 months) of the plan. Although the Code imposes this requirement only when the trustee or a creditor demands it, in reality the trustee always requires it, at least at the beginning of the plan. Whether changes in salary will change the payment plan depends on a complete consideration of all of the relevant circumstances.

It is possible that a debtor's income could change after he or she files the petition, but before the court has confirmed the plan, which makes it binding on the creditors. A debtor may change jobs, get a raise or start a second job. During the time between filing and confirmation, the trustee will watch the debtor's disposable income to make sure that the payments fit with the debtor's income level and make any changes to the plan.

If the debtor's income changes within the first three years (36 months) of the repayment plan, it may not be necessary to make changes to the payment amounts. However, if the debtor's income increases by a significant amount, the trustee may ask that payments be adjusted accordingly. The trustee generally is not responsible for closely monitoring the debtor's income. After three years of a confirmed plan, if the plan even extends that long, there is no specific requirement in the Bankruptcy Code that disposable income be contributed to the plan, so an increase in income at that point in time would probably make little difference.

The trustee will consider not only the salary increase, but also whether there has been a corresponding increase in disposable income on which the payments are based. Disposable income is the amount of the debtor's salary that is left after deducting all reasonable living expenses. If the debtor's expenses increase along with his or her salary, the debtor's disposable income may not change and the payment plan will not change either. If the debtor's disposable income increases by a substantial amount, the trustee may ask for the payments to also increase. If the plan goes beyond 36 months, the increased payments may actually reduce the length of the plan. This would mean that the debtor has paid off his or her debts sooner and would receive a discharge earlier.

Speak to a bankruptcy lawyer

It could be disheartening to a debtor to receive a raise and have to turn it all over to the trustee for debt repayment, but that is not always the effect of a salary increase. A lawyer at DebtDoc in San Diego, CA, can put your mind at ease when questions about a Chapter 13 bankruptcy arise.

Copyright © 2019 Chris Bush, Attorney at Law.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Auto Loan Delinquency Rising

Late Car Payments?

The number of people 90 days late in car payments approaching peak levels since the subprime crisis of 2010.

If you’re late on your car payments, come in for a Chapter 13 consultation!

Compassionate. No-nonsense. Great job. Saved me $85K!

I had three choices: two large groups, or DebtDoc. I chose DebtDoc because of their numerous excellent reviews from clients as well as other attorneys. Also, I wanted someone to provide personal service and have a vested interest in my difficult student loan case.

I certainly made the right choice. DebtDoc's attorneys personally answered two of my phone calls and regularly answered my emails, even on one Sunday evening.

After 30 years of student loan "prison", he got me freedom AND he even got the US Dept. of Justice to dismiss 25% of my loans, which saved me $85K.

I feel like I have a new lease on life because of DebtDoc. I wish I could recommend 10 stars.

Client Testimonial

To whom it may concern,
DebtDoc's attorneys are extremely knowledgeable with the complexities of Federal Student Loans.
I went from a thriving career to full medical disability, ending with an SSDI placement. Unfortunately, I lost everything and became unable to continue making the student loan payments, so it was in deferment for over five years. When the SSDI settled I tried to negotiate an affordable payment plan with the loan holders but they refused my efforts, instead demanding over twice the amount I could afford.
I contacted DebtDoc and found them to be courteous, responsive and quick to assess my situation. They were sure they could help and took time to answer all questions, which relieved much anxiety. Within months they successfully resolved the debt! With much confidence, I highly recommend DebtDoc.
Sincerely,
 CJWaldenSignature
CJW

Clients with Student Loan Debt

Clients with Student Loans

Some information I need to evaluate your Student Loan options is contained in your National Student Loan Data System Report. Instructions for obtaining this report are available on my web site at sandiegostudentloanlawyer.com/nslds-report. Simply print/save the reports as a PDF, of all pages. Please DO NOT "DOWNLOAD" THE REPORT from the link - this creates a text file that is very difficult to read; please print the web page as a PDF file - the summary page of all loans AND the individual reports for each loan. Samples of these pages can be viewed by clicking the respective links in the previous sentence. I look forward to reviewing this report with you and assisting you with the management of your Student Loan debt.

I have prepared a brief questionnaire for you to fill out to provide me most of the information I will need. Please click this questionnaire link and provide me with the information listed. I would also like to see copies of your most recent pay stubs or other income information.

My office is located at 2727 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 135, San Diego, CA 92108. The main entrance to the building is on the right/west side. I am on the first floor; when you enter the building, turn right and I’m in the suite at the second door on the left. If the suite door is locked, please call or text at 619-678-1134 and I will let you in. (Unfortunately, I usually can’t hear a knock at that door.) I look forward to meeting with you and assisting you on your path back to financial freedom.