Bankruptcy as a First Option, Not the Last
Make Filing For Bankruptcy A First Option, Not a Last Resort
We believe that bankruptcy is a way out, a way to a fresh financial start just as Congress intended, not the nasty “B” word that creditors would have you believe. Many people have misconceptions about bankruptcy. By calling Seelinger Law, you can meet with one of our bankruptcy attorneys to talk about your situation. We will assess your case without any strings attached. Your meeting will be relaxed and without commitment, and that’s a guarantee.
Call us today to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation
Why Debt Consolidation Companies are not a Good Alternative to Bankruptcy
Debt consolidation companies tell you that they can make deals with the banks and settle your credit card debts. Understand that they start taking your money even before they make any contact with the banks. There is absolutely no guarantee that the banks will take their offer. These salespeople take your money and promise to “try” to negotiate deals for you. Understand that credit card companies will probably not want to negotiate; and, even if they do agree to negotiate, they can always change their minds later and sue you for the full amount. Be wary of these companies as they are very good at making promises but very rarely do they follow through.
I have many clients who come to me after paying a lot of money to these companies only to be hit with a lawsuit from one of their creditors. After clients are sued, they are shocked and feel betrayed as they thought that the debt consolidator had it all under control. Then they find out that after 6 months of payment to the debt consolidation company, the consolidator has not made any headway on their case and all of their creditors are looking to take more aggressive steps.
As an attorney, I can make the lawsuit stop. The reason that this company told you not to file bankruptcy is because it doesn’t have lawyers so they cannot offer you bankruptcy services.
Unlike Debt Consolidation, Creditors are Required to Accept Your Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will immediately stop creditors from harassing you, stop wage garnishment, repossession and foreclosure. The law provides an “Automatic Stay,” which is a statutory injunction prohibiting creditors from beginning or continuing with most forms of collection activity (there are some very specific, limited exceptions). Any creditor who takes action in violation of the Automatic Stay after being notified of the bankruptcy filing may be held in Contempt of Court, and penalties may be imposed on a creditor who disobeys the Automatic Stay. Creditors do not have the right to refuse to honor the effects of a bankruptcy filing, nor can a creditor refuse to be named as a creditor in a bankruptcy case.
A creditor who believes that it should be permitted to begin or continue action to collect on a debt, such as a car lender who is not being paid when a Chapter 7 case is filed, may petition the Bankruptcy Court for relief from the Automatic Stay in a pleading called a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. However, the debtor has the opportunity to oppose such action and obtain a Court hearing before the creditor may be granted such relief. In Chapter 13, the debtor may propose to catch up on missed payments over three to five years, and such a proposal can result in the Court denying a request by a car lender to proceed with repossession based on missed payments.
Your attorneys at Seelinger Law can provide you with more examples of how the Automatic Stay works in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
When Should I consider Bankruptcy as an Option?
In the simplest terms, the sooner the better. The stress of debt can interfere with your marriage and home life, your career, your business, and even your health. It is worth it to seek legal advice and your free consultation at Seelinger Law sooner rather than later. If you are already seriously considering filing, it will save you money immediately. You are probably still attempting to make some payments, even if they are late, or not full payments. If you kept this up for a year before filing bankruptcy, you are throwing your money away on debts that could have been discharged already. Even if bankruptcy may not be the best option for you right now, you should educate yourself as to the Do’s and Don’ts before filing and engage in some pre-petition planning.
Many people consider trying to get themselves out of this hole by borrowing money from a parent, sibling, or a friend. There are some things that you should consider before borrowing this money. First, some people are very charitable, even if it is to their own detriment. They may help you out even if they really can’t afford to do so. Second, there is a mixed bag of emotions that go with owing money to people with whom you are close. Are you willing to deal with the consequences of owing them money? Third, and probably most important, is that if a loan from a friend or family member is simply putting off the inevitable bankruptcy filing, you are borrowing money and possibly putting a hardship on them that could have been avoided by simply filing sooner.
Do not take money out of your retirement plan to pay your credit card bills. This money will be protected in your bankruptcy and you need this money for your future. You are an individual with unique challenges; do not let anyone tell you how to live your life. You never anticipated that you would be in this unfortunate situation. You need to take care of yourself, your spouse, your children, your elderly parents, and your medical issue. Those things are all more important than some outsider’s critique.
It is a myth that bankruptcy is a bad idea. I have never had someone tell me afterward that they wish they did not file.In fact, every one of my clients tells me that they feel relieved and their only regret is that they did not file sooner!
call us today for a free consultation
5148 Peach Street, Suite 330
Erie, PA 16509
847 N. Main Street, Suite 003B
Meadville, PA 16335
322 N. Shore Drive
Building 1B, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15212