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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

SCOTUS: Debt collectors seeking expired debts don't violate FDCPA

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in a fascinating case -- Midland Funding LLC v. Johnson -- examining whether debt collectors who attempt to collect on expired debts during the bankruptcy process are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The case in question revolves around Johnson, an Alabama woman who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection back in 2014. During this time, Midland Funding, a debt collection firm, filed a claim seeking to recover $1,879 in credit card debt that was incurred by Johnson over ten years prior to her bankruptcy filing.

Can a bankruptcy discharge be revoked?

There is perhaps no better feeling for those who have made the decision to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy than the day their discharge becomes official. Indeed, this means they are no longer under any legal obligation to pay the specified debts while their creditors are forbidden from taking any collection actions.

As liberating as the notion of securing a fresh financial start can be, it's nevertheless important for individuals to understand that there are circumstances in which the discharge can actually be revoked. 

How consumers can help keep their medical debt in stable condition

If asked to identify the leading source of money woes for Americans, chances are good that people would list everything from mortgages and student loans to car payments and, of course, credit card debt.

While these are all excellent guesses, they are actually off the mark. Indeed, the unfortunate reality is countless studies have found that medical debt is the primary source of financial problems for people across the nation.

Understanding when a Chapter 13 hardship discharge may be an option

It can prove to be a truly glorious day when an individual who has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy makes the final payment under their repayment plan. That's because they are now only a few relatively simple steps away from securing a discharge, meaning released from all of the debts covered by the plan and free from the watchful eye of creditors.

Indeed, the Chapter 13 discharge will be granted provided that the individual is able to demonstrate the following to the bankruptcy court after making the final payment: satisfaction of all domestic support obligations, no prior discharge within a certain timeframe (4 years prior for Chapter 7, 2 for Chapter 13), and completion of an approved financial management course.  

The surprising reason why credit card debt sinks so many households

Recently released data from the Federal Reserve reveals that the default mode of payment for most Americans remains their credit card.

Indeed, the Fed found that the total amount of credit card debt in the U.S. has now surpassed an astounding $1 trillion, marking the highest post-recession level. As if this wasn't shocking enough, research has also shown that the average household carries a credit card balance of roughly $16,000. 

Why more seniors are encountering credit card problems

When a person makes the momentous decision to retire after spending 30-40 years in the workforce, they understandably envision embarking on a new lifestyle that is largely stress-free. Indeed, they may see the years ahead as being filled with new hobbies, dream vacations, family visits and, of course, days of leisure.

Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that many seniors are finding their post-retirement dreams becoming something of a nightmare owing to skyrocketing credit card debt. 

How your tax refund might be your ticket to a fresh financial start

Last week, our blog spent some time discussing how those who discount bankruptcy as an option owing to the size of the filing fees might want to reconsider their position due to the availability of both fee waivers and installment payments.

Interestingly enough, experts indicate that there is another source of income to which people can look to cover all of the costs of filing for bankruptcy that might not otherwise be obvious: tax refunds.

Managing bankruptcy filing fees: Installment payments and fee waivers

In our last post, we discussed how the first budget proposal released by President Trump earlier this month contained a provision calling for bankruptcy filing fees to be increased by almost $150 million "to ensure that those that use the bankruptcy court system pay for its oversight."

We also discussed how there was no reason for individuals to be discouraged by this as of the moment given that 1) there is no guarantee that the provision will be included in the final version of the budget, 2) the provision doesn't expressly reference consumer bankruptcy, and 3) the availability of fee waivers or installment payments for those unable to afford filing fees of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

What does the president's budget proposal have to say about bankruptcy?

It perhaps wouldn't come as too much of a surprise to learn that bankruptcy reform has not exactly emerged as a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill over the last few months. Indeed, both Congress and the Trump Administration have been more than occupied by debates concerning everything from immigration and health care to the longstanding Supreme Court vacancy.

Interestingly enough, however, there was at least one noteworthy bankruptcy-related provision included in the first budget proposal released by President Trump just last week.

What you need to know about bankruptcy fraud

While the notion of securing a fresh start via bankruptcy is undoubtedly an appealing proposition to those in dire financial straits, the process of actually getting to this point can seem more than a little intimidating. Indeed, that's because those filing for Chapter 7 will see some of their assets liquidated, while those filing for Chapter 13 will see themselves tied to a three- to five-year repayment plan.  

While this feeling of intimidation is certainly understandable, it's important for people to remember that any difficulty experienced in regard to Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will be short-term, while the relief offered by either process will be long-term. It's also important, however, for people not to let their fears get the best of them such that they engage in bankruptcy fraud.

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