I represent individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville and Rome. I publish several informative web sites, including www.atlanta-bankruptcy-attorney.com and an Atlanta bankruptcy blog, www.thebklawyer.com/thebkblog. Please mention Bankruptcy Law Network when you call.

 

Author: Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.

06 May What Can You Do About a Judgment Lien from an Out-of-Business Creditor

What can you do about a judgment lien filed against you by a creditor or debt buyer that is now out of business? Law firms like Mann, Bracken that have closed down, filed bankruptcy themselves, or otherwise disappeared still appear as judgment creditors on thousands of credit reports.  In many cases, you may have legitimate grounds to challenge these judgments:
  • bad service
  • insufficient documentation
  • incorrect identity
In other cases you may be willing to offer money to settle the outstanding debt so that the judgment will be removed from your credit report.
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06 Mar Can Bankruptcy Rescue You from a Financial Scam?

investment fraudHas anyone ever offered you $500, $1,000, $2,000 or more for you to sign your name - no strings attached? Assuming you are not a celebrity working an autograph show, cash offers like this are not likely to happen. Yet I hear stories about these “too good to be true” offers at least once or twice a year from my bankruptcy clients. And when I see this type of situation, I know that my client likely has a real mess on his hands. One of these cases from several years ago sticks out in my mind. I’m going to change the facts to protect my client’s privacy but the principle will not change. My client, Jack, worked in the billing department for a county government, and he lived in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Jack had no pressing financial issues.
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06 Feb Should You Try to Keep Your Home When You File Bankruptcy?

bankruptcy and my homeThis week an interesting article about Atlanta real estate appeared in a local business blog, and I think that the warning issued by the writer could apply to bankruptcy filers anywhere in the country. Entitled “Easy Money as Landlord of Cheap Homes Proving an Elusive Dream” explains how large investment funds purchased thousands of Atlanta area homes following the 2008 - 2010 real estate crash with the idea of renting them out, securitizing shares in the investment venture, then selling the properties six or seven years hence when prices rebounded. I had a first hand view of this business model because a close friend of mine in the real estate brokerage business worked with one of these investment firms and at times was writing hundreds of offers per week. Politicians and newspapers report that the housing market is improving and prices are headed back up, but no one is looking beyond the raw numbers.
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06 Nov Can Bankruptcy Help Solve Your Student Loan Problem Even if Your Student Loan Debt is Non-Dischargeable?

using bankruptcy to stop student loan collectionsAs a general rule, student loan debt is non-dischargeable. Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(8) provides that unless you can show “undue hardship” your student loans will survive your discharge. As my colleague Craig Andresen recently wrote on this blog, the Brunner case, which is the authoritative case defining undue hardship makes it almost impossible to meet this standard. Craig points out, correctly, that Brunner was decided at a time when the Bankruptcy Code did allow older (more than 7 years old) student loans to qualify for discharge based on their age and that the time has come to change this extremely difficult to meet standard. In any case, the harsh Brunner standard remains the law of the land and unless and until Congress or the Supreme Court changes it, student loan borrowers who are not on their deathbeds are going to have to find other ways to deal with crushing student loan debt.
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06 Aug Chapter 7 Debtor Waits Four Years for Trustee to Release his Money

chapter 7 trustee delaysYou may be wondering what happens if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you own assets that cannot be exempted or sheltered under the applicable exemption laws in your district. There may be instances where you need to file bankruptcy to stop a pending lawsuit but you do not have the income to support a Chapter 13. Chapter 7 functions as a liquidation type of bankruptcy. While it is true that most Chapter 7 debtors have no assets to liquidate (because those assets fit within the exemption provisions of the bankruptcy laws) there are some cases where the Chapter 7 trustee must function as a liquidation asset. A client of mine here in Atlanta faced this situation several years ago. He was employed at a relatively low paying job but had well over $50,000 in credit card and other unsecured debts. After we filed, my client discovered that he was a beneficiary of his great aunt’s estate - his portion was just over $20,800. Under the Georgia exemption law, my client had a potential “wildcard” exemption of $5,400. We had used up $3,200 in the original filing, meaning that there was $2,200 of the exemption left. I filed an amendment to Schedules B and C of his petition to declare the $2,200 as exempt. This meant that my client would participate in the liquidation of the bankruptcy estate.
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