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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Chapter 13: Fight the banks, eliminate your creditors, restore your equity

Posted by David Leibowitz on December 10th, 2009 in Chapter 13, Foreclosure - Saving Your Home, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense, Mortgage Modifications

Today I heard about a couple’s predicament:  They just had their second child.  Mom is staying home.  So the couple went from a two-income household to a one income household.  However, they did not go from a two-mortgage home to a one-mortgage home at the same time! As a result of the blessed event, they also faced big credit card and medical debts.  What to do?

Well, they could file a chapter 7 bankruptcy – if they qualify through the means test.  Their previous six-months income was still high, but that would change within a short period of time.  They could also try to defeat the presumption they are abusing the system by showing the permanent change in their income since Mom is staying home with the kids.

This would eliminate a lot of debt, but not the debt that’s giving them the most headaches:  Their second mortgage.  It’s a high interest home equity loan.  And the house is worth even less than the first mortgage. So we discussed Chapter 13 as an option.

Despite the huge influence banks have over Congress, the bankruptcy laws still allow a couple to eliminate the second mortgage in the Chapter 13 if the house is worth even less than the first mortgage.  This is fantastic news for our couple because they can stop paying their second mortgage, and pay their chapter 13 Plan instead.  That plan will mean that those creditors will be old news in 5 years, and so will that pesky second mortgage.    It may seem counterintuitive – paying more money saves you more money?  But sometimes that’s just the way it works out. 

For financial relief in Kenosha, Racine, Walworth or Milwaukee, call Lakelaw today at 262.694.7300 and ask for Attorney Ryan Blay or David Leibowitz

This post was written by Ryan Blay, Supervising Attorney in Lakelaw’s Kenosha office.


You can file your bankruptcy in Wisconsin even if you just moved here

Posted by David Leibowitz on December 10th, 2009 in Chapter 7, Exemptions, Wisconsin

You can file your bankruptcy case in Wisconsin even if you are relatively new to the State.  Suppose you move to Wisconsin after having spent the last several years elsewhere.  First, welcome to a state with wonderful people and a lot of reasons to stay.   But you might be moving to Wisconsin and be concerned about filing a bankruptcy.  This is where an experienced bankruptcy attorney can assist you.

You have some flexibility, just like the big corporations which file their cases in New York and Delaware.  Once you’ve lived in Wisconsin a little more than 3 months, you can file your case here.  Or you could file your case in Wisconsin right away if most of your property is now located in Wisconsin.

If you just moved to Wisconsin, you can’t use  Wisconsin’s exemption law to figure out what property you can keep.  Chances are, you’re going to use your old state’s rules.  The key factor is where you lived in the 180 day period before the last two years started.  If, like me, you moved recently from Illinois, spending the bulk of that 180 period in the Land of Lincoln, you’d be using the Illinois rules.  Sometimes, however, you may have to use the federal exemptions.  Make sure your lawyer asks you the right questions so that you can get the right answers.

For financial relief in Kenosha, Racine, Walworth or Milwaukee, call Lakelaw today at 262.694.7300 and ask for Attorney Ryan Blay or David Leibowitz

This post was written by Ryan Blay, Supervising Attorney in Lakelaw’s Kenosha office.


My bankruptcy case was dismissed! What can I do?

Posted by David Leibowitz on December 3rd, 2009 in Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy procedures

Another firm’s client paid over $26,000 in a chapter 13 plan.  He was late a few payments.  But he got a new job and had some money.  Unfortunately, his former lawyer told the court that he had no defense to the Trustee’s motion to dismiss.  The chapter 13 trustee was so concerned that he sent the client to Lakelaw to try to help.  What can be done?

If a court enters an order, sometimes, it can be modified or even vacated.  You have to act fast.  Under Bankruptcy Rule 9023, you have only 14 days to ask the court to vacate an order which you think it should not have entered.

This can’t be done in every case.  You have to have a good reason. The main reasons for changing an order are:

  • Serious mistake of fact
  • Serious mistake of law
  • Newly discovered evidence

There’s another Rule, Bankruptcy Rule 9024, which allows post-judgment relief.  But here, you would have to prove:

  • Mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect
  • Newly discovered evidence which could not have been discovered within 14 days of the order
  • Fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct by an opposing party
  • The judgment is void
  • The judgment is satisfied
  • Any other reason which justifies relief

At Lakeaw, we want you to get things things right the first time.  But if things go wrong, don’t give up.  You may have hope.  Call us at Lakelaw today at 1 866 LAKELAW (5253529)


"Leibowitz" – What's in a name?

Posted by David Leibowitz on December 2nd, 2009 in Uncategorized

My grandfather Jacob was born in Romania.  There, he was known as Jakub Lebu.  That’s because he was Jacob, the son of Leb.  Had he been born in Germany, he’d be Jakob Liebsohn.  In Romania, the “u” at the end of the name is the same as “son” in English.

When he arrived at Ellis Island, they changed his name to Leibowitz – to make it more “American” sounding.  Now that’s pretty funny.  People tend to have a hard time with my name, even though it’s rather common now.

There are a lot of people named David Leibowitz around.  There’s a journalist in Phoenix and a stock analyst in New York.  There’s a pastry chef and quite a few physicians too.  There’s even a bankruptcy lawyer named David Leibowitz in London and a state representative named David Leibowitz in San Antonio (his middle name is McQuade – and he’s a personal injury lawyer too – very Texas) – I bet he has a black San Antonio cowboy hat and boots to go along with it.  You’re more likely to find me in hiking boots and a baseball cap.  There’s also a David Leibowitz who is an Assistant United States Attorney in New York.

People spell Leibowitz in a lot of interesting ways:

Like these:

  • David Leibowitz
  • David Liebowitz
  • David Lebowitz
  • David Lebowicz
  • David Libowich

Lots of people want the “w” in my name to be a “v” and they pronounce it that way too.  Like this:

  • David Leibovitz
  • David Liebovitz
  • David Lebovitz
  • David Lebovich

Some people think my name is “David Lee Woods” but most of those people come from the South.

In Chinese, it’s hard to say my name, so they use three Chinese utterances:

  • Li
  • Bo
  • Tze

Here are helpful hints on how to say my name:

It has three parts:

  • “Lee”
  • “Bow”
  • “Itz”

The emphasis is on the first syllable.  Most people can say these three syllables.  And most of my friends and clients can say the whole thing together too.

We at Lakelaw have had the honor to represent people of every nationality imaginable.  We are interested in knowing you and also where your family came from.  We want to know your customs and culture because we want to give you the best possible representation.  If we can, we’ll speak your language.  So just like we want you to know what’s in our names, we want to know what’s in your’s too.  One recent Saturday, we saw people from Mexico, Armenia and India as well as people of Irish and Italian ancestry. 

Lakelaw offers solutions to bankruptcy problems for  people from all over the world – no matter what your name might be.


Keep more property when filing bankruptcy in Wisconsin

Posted by David Leibowitz on December 2nd, 2009 in Exemptions, Wisconsin

You can keep exempt property in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case.  Thanks to a new Wisconsin law going into effect on December 16th, you’ll be able to keep more of your property if you have to file for bankruptcy.

Under 2009 Wisconsin Act 90:

  • The homestead exemption is raised to $75,000 and each individual in a marriage may use this $75,000 exemption.  Prior to this change, the exemption was limited to $40,000. 
  • Equipment, inventory, farm products, and professional books used in the business of a debtor or a debtor’s dependant is doubled from $7,500 to $15,000.
  • Household goods and furnishings are now protected up to $12,000, up from $5,000.  This includes wearing apparel, keepsakes, jewelry, appliances, books, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, animals, and other tangible personal property.
  • Protection in the equity of a motor vehicle rises from $1,200 to $4,000 in value.  Moreover, any unused portion of the Household goods exemption can be applied to the car protection.  
  • Bank accounts can now be protected up to $5,000 instead of $1,000.  These are only for personal use and not business. 
  • Exemptions for personal injury claims double from $25,000 to $50,000. 

In Wisconsin, you can select either state or federal exemptions.  Sometimes, federal exemptions are better for you.  So always consult an attorney before selecting the exemptions for your bankruptcy petition and schedules.  What you protect from your possessions and estate can mean the difference between peace of mind and a trustee demanding that you turn over the things you need for a normal life after bankruptcy.

For financial relief in Kenosha, Racine, Walworth or Milwaukee, call Lakelaw today at 262.694.7300 and ask for Attorney Ryan Blay or David Leibowitz

This post was written by Ryan Blay, Supervising Attorney in Lakelaw’s Kenosha office.


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