Chip Parker is the managing partner of Parker & DuFresne, P.A., where he represents Northeast Florida businesses and consumers facing bankruptcy, and homeowners facing foreclosure. His firm files more homeowners in the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program than any other law firm in Northeast Florida.

Parker is the recipient of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid's prestigious Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Mr. Parker is an active member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.

 

Author: Chip Parker, Esq.

15 May Is Bankruptcy Right For Me?

I read Bankrate.com quite a bit, but not because it is such an authoritative source of personal finance information. Rather, I read Bankrate articles because my hometown newspaper reproduces them to fill its personal finance section with content, and they are usually decent, if not oversimplified, synopses of various topics. A recent Bankrate article reproduced in my paper suggests there are three components you should consider prior to filing personal bankruptcy: financial, emotional, and future consequences.
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04 May How Long Will a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Stay On My Credit?

Recently, I read an article published by bankrate.com which included significant misinformation about consumer bankruptcy. The article erroneously reports that a Chapter 13 personal reorganization bankruptcy appears on one's credit report for a period of 7 years from the date the case is completed. It warns that someone who successfully completes a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will have the "cloud" of bankruptcy for 12 years. This is absolutely false. According to Maxine Sweet, Experian's VP of Public Education, a Chapter 13 appears on a debtor's credit report 7 years from the date of filing. Since a Chapter 13 typically takes 3 to 5 years to complete, it will completely disappear 2 to 4 years thereafter. If a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is dismissed, it will still remain on a credit report for 7 years from the date of fling.
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30 Apr Is Bankruptcy the Right Decision? (Part 2)

In most every bankruptcy consultation, I am asked, "Do you think I should file bankruptcy?" Because it is assumed I have an economic incentive to push bankruptcy, I don't answer the question. Rather, I analyze the financial circumstances, and I advise what would happen to the financial circumstances if a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy were filed. I determine what, if any, non-exempt assets exist, and how much the bankruptcy will cost the prospective client. This process is a classic cost-benefit analysis. Having armed my consult with the facts and analysis, I ask the following question, "Can you devise a realistic plan for improving your financial circumstances in a reasonable period of time?"
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28 Apr More Older Americans Are Filing Bankruptcy

A recently released federal study found that baby boomers are filing more bankruptcies that ever before. According to John Golmant and Tom Ulrich, researchers at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the greatest increase in Chapter 7 filings between 1994 and 2002 occurred among people older than 55. Even though the study will be published in the May 2007 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, the data is already 5 years old. I remember, back in 2002, that many of my clients were filing bankruptcy as a result of 9/11/01. It was by far the single most stated reason for personal financial collapse.
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24 Apr Should I Borrow From My Builder’s Preferred Lender?

Almost without exception, every home builder has a “preferred lender” from whom the builder hopes you borrow your money, and incentives abound to sweeten the deal. Despite these sweet treats, is the “preferred lender” the right choice for you? The housing market “correction” has been in full swing for just over a year, and all the experts are screaming the same message, “It’s a buyer’s market!” Bankruptcy attorneys are seeing a record number of foreclosures, especially from buyers who purchased new homes or refinanced existing homes just a few years earlier. So, we’re screaming, “Buyer beware!”
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23 Apr ? You Need Less for Retirement Than Previously Thought

The conventional rule of thumb for retirement savings has been that you'll need annual income equal to 80% of your current gross income, assuming that you can survive on your current level of income. So, for an individual earning $50,000 per year, conventional wisdom was that he would need $40,000 per year of retirement. Well, now the Financial Planning Association has restated the suggested method for determining adequate retirement income. The FPA, in its recent report, suggests that individuals should give themselves credit for every dollar they save. For instance, if the $50,000 earner saves 10% of her salary, she is actually living on $45,000 per year. Therefore, according to the report, she needs $36,000 per year in retirement.
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