Frequently Asked Questions

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Bankruptcy Frequent Asked Questions

Yes. They can take up to 25% of your take-home pay. Filing bankruptcy can stop the wage assessment and probably wipe out the creditor's claims entirely.
Yes. No creditor may contact you in any way after you file your bankruptcy petition. In most cases, your attorney will notify your creditors prior to filing the bankruptcy petition so the creditors stop calling you.
In a Chapter 7, you attend the 341(a) Meeting of the Creditors approximately one month after you file your bankruptcy petition. You then receive the discharge about two months after that. In a Chapter 13, you attend the 341(a) Meeting of the Creditors approximately 45 days after your bankruptcy petition is filed. The Confirmation hearing may be between 7 and 45 days after the 341(a) Meeting of the Creditors, depending on where your petition is filed. Once your plan is confirmed, you make your payments for three years and then receive the discharge. Note: In either chapter, you will need to complete a pre-petition bankruptcy counseling session before you file bankruptcy and you must complete a debtor education course in order to receive a discharge on your bankruptcy.
No. Sometimes only one spouse files, but that is an exception. You may be able to file without your spouse if you have been married a short time or have all the debt in your name alone. Your spouse will be involved in a Chapter 13 whether his or her name is on the petition or not.
Yes. Whether you file a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition, you have to attend a § 341(a) Meeting of the Creditors in either chapter. These usually last less than one hour, but can last all day in a Chapter 13.

Divorce Frequent Asked Questions

Spousal support, as it is now commonly called, used to be known as "alimony." Spousal support is not mandatory in most states, but can be ordered by a judge under certain circumstances.
You and your spouse can dismiss the divorce after the papers have been filed. Simply request a dismissal form from the county clerk anytime before a judgment has been entered. If no response has been filed, the petitioner alone can file the dismissal form. If a response has been filed, both spouses must sign the dismissal form.
Under most state laws, a divorce (or "dissolution") action must be filed and decided in court. Many states have a "no-fault divorce" policy. In other words, the courts are not concerned with which spouse was guilty of marital misconduct.
The parents must decide on the custody of any minor children. Custody is divided into physical custody (where will the children live) and legal custody (who will make important decisions regarding the children's health, education, etc.). Both physical and legal custody can be either joint or sole. Even if one parent will have sole physical custody, the other parent still has visitation rights, if requested.
Most state laws have guidelines to determine child support payments. The payment amount is based on each parent's income and the amount of time he or she spends with the children. The guidelines also provide for add-on amounts for the following expenses: Child care Health care and health insurance Special educational or other needs Travel-related visitation Parents can increase or decrease the guideline amount if the following conditions are met: Both parents acknowledge they are fully informed of their rights under state law and the amount of child support is mutually agreed upon Both parents declare that the agreed upon amount is in the children's best interests and will adequately meet their needs and For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county, and neither parent has a public assistance application pending Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorce proceedings are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. They can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit.

Foreclosure Frequent Asked Questions

Your lender may modify your loan if you have an adjustable rate mortgage or if you are several months behind on your mortgage. Call and ask to speak to your lender's loan modification or loss mitigation department. The lender may accept partial payments for a few months (though you may have to agree to make up the difference later), accept a late payment, or agree to modify the terms of your loan.
If the sales price you are offered falls short of the amount you owe the lender -- called a "short sale" -- you need to get permission from your lender. This is because your lender is not required to release its lien on your home unless the mortgage is paid off in full. You'll need to negotiate with your lender to get them to agree to release their lien for less than the amount you owe. No purchaser will want your home unless they get clear title to the property, free of liens from your lenders.
Bankruptcy can delay a foreclosure, but won't stop it permanently. Here's how it works: When you file bankruptcy, the court automatically issues an "automatic stay." The automatic stay directs your creditors to cease all collection activities and foreclosures immediately. If your home is scheduled for a foreclosure sale, the sale will be postponed while the bankruptcy is pending -- typically for three to four months.
With a deed in lieu of foreclosure, you give your home to the lender (the "deed"), and in exchange, the lender cancels the loan rather than foreclosing on the property. In most states, a lender is allowed to sue you to recover any remaining deficiency--the difference between what the lender can sell the house for and what you owed on the mortgage. Before you agree to a deed in lieu of foreclosure, make sure that the lender agrees, in writing, to forgive any deficiency that exists. Deeds in lieu of foreclosure are not possible if there is a second mortgage, unless the same lender owns both loans.
Before May 20, 2009, most renters lost their leases upon foreclosure. The rule in most states was that if the mortgage was recorded before the lease was signed, the lease would be wiped out when a foreclosure occurred. Tenants would then become month-to-month renters whose tenancy could be terminated with proper notice (usually 30 days, but 60 days in California). On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. Under this new federal law, leases aren't automatically terminated by a foreclosure. Instead, tenants have the right to stay until the end of their lease term, and month-to-month tenants must receive a 90-day notice before having to move out. One exception: if the new owner intends to occupy the foreclosed home (in other words, the new owner isn't the lender or an investor), the lease may be terminated with 90 days' notice. Child care Health care and health insurance Special educational or other needs Travel-related visitation Parents can increase or decrease the guideline amount if the following conditions are met: Both parents acknowledge they are fully informed of their rights under state law and the amount of child support is mutually agreed upon Both parents declare that the agreed upon amount is in the children's best interests and will adequately meet their needs and For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county, and neither parent has a public assistance application pending Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorce proceedings are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. They can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit.