Bankruptcy and Utilities – Preventing Disconnection


image of a utility meterThe filing of a bankruptcy can help you to prevent your utility company from disconnecting your service, as well as to discharge any past due amounts. If you are behind on payments to your gas or electric provider, bankruptcy may provide a very useful remedy to you.

Wisconsin law states that if the utility service directly or indirectly affects the primary heat source of the home, consumers cannot be disconnected during the heating moratorium period from November 1 to April 15. But once April 15th comes around, if you are behind on utility payments, you are subject to disconnection.

The Bankruptcy Code specifically addresses utilities, and provides that a “utility may not alter, refuse or discontinue service” to a debtor who files for bankruptcy. In addition, the Bankruptcy Code allows you to discharge any amounts owed to the utility provider, and prevents that utility provider from disconnecting service as a result of those past due amounts. Continue reading

If You Are A Homeowner Facing Foreclosure


foreclosure-home-sale-signIf you are facing foreclosure, bankruptcy might be able to help. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide an effective solution to enable you to keep your home.

What is Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the legal process the lender must go through in order to take over ownership of a property after the homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments. The process involves numerous steps, and takes several months. The lender is required to notify you when the foreclosure process is initiated, and due to the length of the process you will still have time to consult with an attorney after a foreclosure is begun to see if Chapter 13 is a good option to keep you in your home. Continue reading

Improving Your Credit Report After Bankruptcy


Many consumers are under the impression that going through bankruptcy will ruin a person’s credit score. While it is true that the entry of a recent bankruptcy filing on a credit report may decrease the overall score, a consumer still has ways that he or she can improve that score. The person will want to take certain steps before and after filing for bankruptcy. Additionally, it would be wise for an individual considering filing for bankruptcy to do such with a reputable attorney. A reputable attorney will have the skills necessary to navigate the laws in a way that benefits the debtor. Continue reading

Combating Myths of Bankruptcy


bankruptcy-blackboardThere are a lot of things that people hear about the bankruptcy process that are simply not true. These are some of the most common myths about bankruptcy.

1. You will lose your house, car, and other assets if you file a bankruptcy. This is one of the most common things that we hear from potential clients at the Bankruptcy Law Center. The truth is that if you hire an attorney who knows the bankruptcy laws and how to protect your assets, like the attorneys at the Bankruptcy Law Center, you will be able to keep your house, car, and other assets and still be able to discharge your debts in a bankruptcy. Continue reading

Should I File for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?


bankruptcyIf you are having problems paying your debts and considering filing for bankruptcy, it is important to understand what bankruptcy actually entails. There are crucial differences between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy that must be considered before deciding which type of bankruptcy to file. Here at the Bankruptcy Law Center, we can assist you with learning about the differences between the two types of consumer bankruptcy and assist you with understanding how it impacts you in both the short and long term.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges your unsecured debts and allows you to continue to keep your secured debts like your house and your car. It generally takes about three months for you to receive your discharge order after you first file. You must meet certain income guidelines to qualify to file for Chapter 7. Certain types of debt including child support, federal student loans and taxes owed to the IRS are not discharged in bankruptcy. Unsecured debts such as credit card debts, medical bills, repossessions, evictions, and judgments are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Continue reading

Debt Free: A Fresh Start and a Sigh of Relief


debt-freeAre you struggling under a mountain of debt with no hope in sight? Well, there is hope. You can halt collections and foreclosures immediately, wipe out most if not all of your debts, and get a fresh start.

We are Attorney Kristie Radloff and Attorney James Stanek of the Bankruptcy Law Center, with offices in Milwaukee, Racine, Elkhorn and Port Washington. We have helped thousands of people like you to wipe out their debts and get a fresh start. We want to help you, too. Continue reading

Important Steps To Take After Receiving Your Bankruptcy Discharge

To rebuild your credit, we'll start with a bankruptcy worksheet

To rebuild your credit, we’ll start with a bankruptcy worksheet

Congratulations, you have successfully completed your bankruptcy and received a discharge of your debts. Other than not taking on any unnecessary debt, what should you do now in order to take advantage of your fresh start? After all, the goal is not just to get out of debt, but to thrive financially and create a better life for yourself. Here are a few steps you can take to rebuild your credit and maximize your chances of having a prosperous future:

1. Pay Your House and Car Payments On Time

If you plan to keep your home or car, continue to make your mortgage or car payments on time. The lenders will have retained their liens on the house and car, so if you want to keep them you must continue to pay for them, otherwise the lender will have a right to foreclose or repossess. And just as importantly, in order to begin rebuilding your credit, you want favorable reporting from these lenders, as house and car payments have a large impact on your credit score. Just by getting out of debt you have set yourself up to rebuild your credit within a relatively short time, and having favorable reporting from mortgage and car lenders will speed this process. Please note that if you did not reaffirm your mortgage or car loan, most likely your payments (or non-payments) will not be reported to the credit bureau. If that is the case, contact your attorney for further discussion on how to lessen the impact that non-reporting can have. If you obtained a car loan after your bankruptcy, be sure to make those payments on time, as that lender will most definitely report your payments to the credit bureaus. Continue reading

Income Tax Debt and Bankruptcy


IRS logo

Do you owe income tax debt to the IRS?

Income tax debt is a very specific and troublesome sort of debt to have, but even tax debt can be treated in bankruptcy to aid a person suffering from this burden. Generally speaking, most tax debts can’t be wiped out in bankruptcy — you’ll continue to owe them at the end of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or you’ll have to repay them in full in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. But there are situations when tax debt will qualify for discharge. Here are some general rules concerning dischargeability of tax debt:

When You Can Discharge an Income Tax Debt

You can discharge (wipe out) debts for income taxes in Chapter 7 bankruptcy only if all of the following conditions are true: Continue reading

Five Benefits To Filing For Bankruptcy


eliminate debt by filing for bankruptcyFor those who qualify, bankruptcy is truly a way out of trouble. You’ve been trying to ward off your creditors, and in doing so may be barely getting by, and living under extreme stress. Stop draining your retirement accounts and other savings and realize that bankruptcy can be very positive. Here are five benefits to filing for bankruptcy protection:

1. You Can Keep Your Home

While bankruptcy is handled through the federal court system, state law can come into play concerning your assets. Wisconsin residents filing for bankruptcy can take advantage of Wisconsin’s generous exemptions concerning the home in which they reside. If the net equity in your home is less than $75,000 ($150,000 for a married couple), you will not be in jeopardy of losing your home due to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. In addition, even if your equity exceeds the exemption amount, you can still keep your home by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A skilled bankruptcy attorney will be able to let you know exactly what options are available to you concerning your home.

2. Your Creditors Will Stop Hounding You

Continue reading

Stopping Wage Garnishments and Recovering Wages Garnished


wage garnishment dollars in envelopeWhen a bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect. This stops virtually all collection activity against the debtor. If a wage garnishment has been initiated, it now must stop. While it is always better to file the bankruptcy before any wage garnishment goes into effect, it often happens that the wage garnishment itself is what caused the debtor to finally seek bankruptcy protection. Once the bankruptcy is filed, the garnishment ceases immediately. It does not matter that the creditor doing the garnishment has obtained a judgment. That debt will be treated through the bankruptcy process regardless of whether or not it has been reduced to judgment.

In many situations, where a debtor has been garnished prior to the bankruptcy filing, the debtor’s lawyer is able to recover some or all of the debtor’s wages that have already been lost to garnishment. This is because laws that help bankruptcy trustees recover property for creditors can also be used to help the debtor. A skilled bankruptcy attorney will be well versed in these laws. Continue reading