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5 Things to Know About Prebankruptcy Credit Counseling

Bankruptcy counseling

Bankruptcy counseling is required

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For those deep in debt and unable to stay head above water financially, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a viable option to address your dilemma. In addition to bringing in all of your financial documents to your attorney consultation, be prepared to take a prebankruptcy counseling course before you are allowed to file your petition. The course has been required by law since 2005 as part of the Bankruptcy Reform Act. Here are five things you should know about this course.

3 Reasons a Chapter 13 May Not Be the Best Fit for You

Mistake

Don't make a bankruptcy mistake

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Chapter 13 bankruptcy accounts for roughly one-third of all consumer bankruptcy filings, but you should know if you're considering Chapter 13, that's a tough road to make it to discharge. Often, filing a Chapter 13 may be a strategic move to forestall a foreclosure of a home or repossession of a car. But in some circumstances, it's best to bypass Chapter 13 and move directly to Chapter 7 to get complete debt relief. Here's three instances when a Chapter 13 may not be your best bet.

5 Ways a Greensboro Bankruptcy Can Help You Get Your Life Back on Track

Back on track

Bankruptcy can help you get your life back on track

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Many consumers in Greensboro, NC are struggling with their debts. If this is your circumstance, and you're behind on your bills, living paycheck to paycheck, and are dealing with debt collector threats, there is help out there for you. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are both viable solutions to get meaningful debt relief and solve your money problems. Here are five ways that bankruptcy can help you get your life back on track.

5 Things You Need to Know About Student Loan Default

default

Don't let your student loans go into default

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Student loans are a fact of life for 40 million American consumers. In North Carolina, 61% of graduates leave college with student loan debt and average more than $24,000 in student loans. But for many, the debt is much higher. In particular, for those who attended private schools or not-for-profit schools, college debt may be much higher. And if you can't afford your federal student loans, you face what can be a life-long battle to deal with the debt – particularly if you go into default. Here's five things you must know about student loan default.

5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Card Minimum Payments

Credit cards

Understanding credit card minimum payments can save you from a mess

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It's important that you understand what you're getting into when you make only minimum payments on your credit cards. Minimum payment levels are set strategically to maximize creditor profit off of your interest payments and keep you in debt as long as possible. Depending on your interest rate and balance, paying just the minimum can result in reducing your debt minimally (or not at all) each month. Here are five things you need to know about credit card minimum payments.

Some Types of “Student Loans” May Be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Trash your student loans

New ruling may help ditch some kinds of student loans

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Ask anyone and they'll tell you that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This is not entirely true. In fact, the government has recently loosened up standards on discharging federal student loans, but it is by no means a slam dunk. But there is another type of “student loan” that you may be able to discharge more easily in bankruptcy thanks to a recent court ruling in San Francisco, CA.

Can Your Bankruptcy Discharged Be Revoked? How You Can Lose Debt Protection After the Fact

Tug of war

Honesty is the best way to keep your discharge from revocation

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When you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you get the fastest and most complete debt relief possible under US law. However, part of the covenant of the protection is that you are completely honest with the court. If your are shady with the Trustee, submit phony documents or lie to the court, you can be denied a discharge or have your case dismissed with prejudice. You can even be subject to criminal charges for defrauding creditors and the court. But did you know your bankruptcy discharge can be revoked after the fact in some cases?

6 Dos and Donts to Keep from Damaging Your Credit Score

Six

6 ways to protect your credit score

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Your credit score is critical now and for the rest of your foreseeable life. A good credit score can lower many of the expenses you'll encounter and a poor credit score can be an obstacle to purchasing a house, car, or getting the job you want. You should know that not all debt is good debt and some actions you take in regard to your credit that seem like a good idea at the time can lower your score unintentionally. Here are six dos and donts to keep your credit score as high as possible.

Did Green Tree Service Your Mortgage? You May Be Owed Money Back for Abuse

CFPB

CFPB and FTC take on Green Tree Servicing and win big

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sued Green Tree Servicing LLC accusing the firm of abusing homeowners using illegal loan servicing and debt collection tactics. As a result, the FTC and CFPB allege, many homeowners improperly lost their homes to foreclosure, were damaged by negative employer action and credit report inaccuracies. Green Tree settled the case for $63 million - $48 million of which is earmarked for restitution to victims of its abusive actions. Here's a look at what Green Tree was accused of doing.

5 Ways to Ruin Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Timing

Don't make critical mistakes before your bankruptcy filing

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most complete legal relief available for those drowning in debt. If you are eligible for a Chapter 7, it can wipe out nearly all of your unsecured debt including medical bills, credit cards, and some income taxes. You may qualify for a Chapter 7, no matter how much you make, so long as you are unable to service your debts on that salary. You should not assume that you can't qualify for a Chapter 7 - no matter your circumstances. However, there are some things you can do that will either ruin your chances of qualifying for a Chapter 7 or of getting the best results from the bankruptcy. Here are five ways to mess up your Chapter 7:

High Interest on Your Greensboro Car Loan? North Carolina Bankruptcy Can Help

Car loan

Save your car with Chapter 13

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Let's face it, times have been tight in Greensboro and are still in the recovery phase. If your credit score took a hit during the recent recession, you may now be stuck with higher interest on credit cards, mortgage and even your car loan. High-interest car loans can make your finances tight, particularly if you are struggling under a load of other debt. If you are behind on your bills and need time to get caught up, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the solution Greensboro consumers need. And best of all, you can slash your high-interest auto loan with a Chapter 13.

5 Ways Divorce Can Hurt Your Credit Score

Divorce

Considering divorce? Also consider the hit to your finances and credit

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Divorce is a major life event that affects your emotions, your family and, very importantly, your finances. The divorce itself won't damage your score, but the way your debts are divvied up as well as any asset transfers, alimony, and child support that come out of the split can impact it. Today we take a look at five ways that divorce can ultimately impact your credit score, ruin your finances and increase your everyday expenses.

Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Right for You?

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Is Chapter 13 a good fit for your finances?

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If you're behind on your bills, late on your mortgage and struggling, you need a solution to get you back on track. Chapter 13 may be the answer, depending on your circumstances. The two common US consumer bankruptcy plans are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Today we'll look at when Chapter 13 is more appropriate and how to know if it's a fit for you.

Can You Add New Debts to Your Bankruptcy After You File?

Adding

You can add debts to your bankruptcy in some cases

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Bankruptcy, whether you choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is a great way to dig yourself out of a financial mess. But it's pretty much a one shot deal. Think of it as a garage sale for your debt – you have that one day to unload your stuff – and you can't go back and retroactively add anything to that garage sale. That's a broad idea of how debt in a bankruptcy works. All the debt you had when the bankruptcy is filed can be part of the bankruptcy and you can't go back and add any, as a rule. However, there are some exceptions.

Fall Is Coming! 5 Money-Saving Tips for all Your Back to School Needs (Plus Secret Teacher Tips)

Back to school

Doing back to school on a budget

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School starts soon all across North Carolina and that means school supplies, clothes and gear that could total to hundreds of dollars if you don't spend wisely. This year, the average family will spend more than $600 on school needs but, for many, this is just too much on their budget. Don't rack up credit card debt this Fall to get what your kids need for school. Check out these five tips to get back to school without breaking the bank - plus some we've got advice from a local school teacher on school supply secrets.

Celebrity Bankruptcy Alert: 7 Famous Singers Who Went Bankrupt

Celebrity bankruptcy

Even celebrities struggle with finances

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We like to do occasional celebrity bankruptcy news updates here, not to call attention to the misfortune of those struggling financially but, to show that debt can get the best of anyone. You likely won't go from millionaire to bust like these singing stars have done, but the lessons are the same no matter the level of wealth of the consumer. Here's a look at seven famous singers who went bankrupt...

Consumer Alert: Don't Fall for Student Loan Debt Relief Scam

Student loan hassles

Student loan debt relief firms are not needed - you can do it yourself!

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Ads continue to play daily on TV and radio and pop up in your email and while you're web browsing promising to eradicate your student loans full stop - or get you a drastically cheaper monthly payment. They imply that they have a system or some inside knowledge that is unknown to you or special contacts that can cut a better deal than you would get without them. These claims are very likely untrue - but there are options to reduce your payments that you can get for yourself. Read on!

Credit Card Debt is the New Normal for Gen X Consumers

Credit card debt

Do you take credit card debt for granted?

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You have to give Millennials credit for not using credit as much as their predecessors. A new study on debt and finances by Allianz Life Insurance shows that for Generation X (Gen X) consumers, debt is an accepted part of life and nothing to feel bad about - yet Millennials prefer debit or cash to get by. Baby Boomers also accept debt as inevitable and both demographics believe that their credit cards are essential to their way of life and don't mind carrying balances over. This is a disturbing trend that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

What Happens to Your Bankruptcy If You Get Married (or Divorced) During a Chapter 13?

Vintage wedding

How does changing marital status change a bankruptcy?

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Because a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts for three to five years, there's a chance that something significant can change during its tenure. What if the change is your marital status? Today we'll look at what happens to your Chapter 13 if you either get married or divorced after the start of your bankruptcy, whether it impacts payments, and what you need to do to get the best outcome for your bankruptcy case.

New Study Shows Americans In More Debt Than Ever

Long road

Debt can be a long road

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The Great Recession caused US consumers a variety of aches and pains. The unemployment crisis alongside excessive mortgage debt drove tens of thousands to bankruptcy and foreclosure. In the wake of the financial mess, many Americans tried to divest themselves of debt, choosing to use credit cards less and borrow more wisely. But now, a handful of years past the crisis, a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows we're getting in deep with debt once again.

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