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Tag Archives: Discharge

Removing Judgments from Court Records – Why Lakelaw Takes the Extra Step

Posted by Ryan Blay on November 10th, 2010 in Uncategorized, , , , ,

Suppose you’ve filed your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, attended your Section 341 meeting of creditors, completed your financial management course requirements, and received that piece of paper from the court called “Discharge of Debtor”. Congratulations, you are out of your bankruptcy and this discharge will be effective the date the judge enters the order.

Now let’s say you want to sell your home a few years later, and you are preparing for closing. A title company will do a search of any liens on your home and find a judgment lien from creditor ABC Company on your house. Why is that still there? Your bankruptcy attorney told you the debt would be wiped away in Chapter 7.

Well yes and no. You are no longer required to pay on the debt. But if a creditor received and docketed a judgment in your local circuit court because you defaulted on a credit card or couldn’t pay a hospital bill, that judgment is still on the court records. And it won’t be removed merely by filing a bankruptcy. There is another step to take.

We would take a copy of that bankruptcy discharge paper, attach a copy of the old judgment, write a respectful letter to the clerk of courts and ask that the judgment be cleared. The total fee for this: $5.00 plus a stamp. Send a courtesy copy to the old creditor and their attorneys and you should have little problem getting this done. If the creditor objects, they may be subject to violations of the bankruptcy discharge.

This extra step is important. Our offices received a call from a broker recently where a homeowner was facing this very problem in selling his home. He had filed bankruptcy over five years ago, yet he and his attorney didn’t take that final step. So he has had to postpone the closing to let us put this old matter to rest. If you want an attorney who will take that extra step and avoid these troubles years later, you will want to call 1-866-LAKELAW or 262-694-7300 in Wisconsin.

Will bankruptcy wipe out my debts? Some debts are not dischargeable.

Posted by David Leibowitz on June 3rd, 2009 in Uncategorized, , ,

The main reason to file a bankruptcy case is to discharge, eliminate and wipe out debt.  And of course, as we have explained in previous posts, in bankruptcy, an honest debtor can get a fresh start through the discharge in bankruptcy.

However, in bankruptcy, some debts are not dischargeable.  The reason for this can be found in Section 523(a) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Some debts are never discharged in bankruptcy.  A creditor doesn’t have to do anything  for these debts to remain valid after bankruptcy.  Here are some examples of non-dischargeable debt:

  • Certain types of taxes and particularly taxes where the debtor filed a fraudulent return tried to evade or defeat the tax and particularly income taxes less than 3 years old.
  • Debts which the debtor did not list in his bankruptcy papers in a case where the creditor might otherwise have recovered a dividend – commonly referred to as an asset case
  • Debts for a domestic support obligation – arising from a divorce or other family law sort of situation
  • Other debts, such as property settlements – arising from a divorce or other family law sort of situation
  • Most fines, penalties or forefeitures payable to a governmental unit
  • Student loans except in extraordinary cases
  • Personal injury claims arising from use of alcohol or drugs
  • Criminal restitution
  • Condominium or homeowner association assessments due after the debtor files his bankruptcy case.  For more information about post-petition liability to homeowners or condo associations, click here.

In addition to these problems, a debtor could be sued in a complaint to determine dischargeability of debt during the course of a bankruptcy case.  Debts for these types of claims are discharged in bankruptcy unless the creditor timely files and thereafter wins a lawsuit during the course of the debtor’s bankruptcy case.  The normal attorneys’ fee for the bankruptcy case will most certainly not cover the cost of defense.  A creditor can file a lawsuit to force the debtor to pay these kind of debts:

  • debts procured by fraud or false pretense
  • debts procured by a false financial statement
  • debt for luxury goods or services obtained within 90 days of a bankruptcy are presumed to habe been obtained by fraud or false pretense
  • cash advances for more than $750 within 70 days of a bankruptcy case are presumed to have been obtained without the intent to repay.
  • debts procured by breach of trust
  • debts arising from a willful or malicious injury to another or their property.  In this situation, the debtor must have had the actual intent to harm.  Mere negligence or even recklessness is not enough to make a debt non-dischargeable.

You should discuss any of these situations with your bankruptcy attorney.  Some of these debts might be dischargeable in chapter 11 or chapter 13.  Other remedies might be possible to help you address the problems you face from otherwise non-dischargeable debt.

Lakelaw represents people in bankruptcy.  Not only do we defend people against claims that their debts are not dischargeable, we also pursue claims asserting that debts might be nondischargeable.  

For help with potentially nondischargeable debt, call Lakelaw now at 1 866 LAKELAW (1-866-525-5359).

I gave my bank a financial statement – is this a problem? Your debt may be non-dischargeable.

Posted by David Leibowitz on June 3rd, 2009 in Bankruptcy Crimes, Bankruptcy Legislation, Business Bankruptcy, , ,

Banks may care about what you say on the financial statement in your loan application.  When you apply for a loan, the bank asked you about your assets and liabilities.  If you told the bank you have less than you actually own, this may not be a problem. Some financial statements create problems.  Here are some common problems in financial statements:

  • You claim to be the owner of something you really don’t own
  • You claim to own something outright when you really own it with your spouse
  • You claim to own something in joint tenancy when you really own it as tenants in common
  • You overstate the value of your personal property
  • You overstate how much you have been earning.

If the bank or another lender justifiably relies on something you put in a financial statement, you could be in trouble  if you knew your statements were material and not true when you made them. A bank might seek to bar dischargeability of your debt even if you do file a bankruptcy case.  Sometimes a bank might try to bar your discharge altogether. A bank may threaten to prosecute you for bank fraud.

Banks today are under severe stresss.  If you plan to file a bankruptcy case, you should consider how a bank might react to your filing.  Tell your bankruptcy lawyer everything you told your bank when you took out your loan.  It will help your lawyer advise you and help you to be ready for any claim a bank or other creditor might make against you during the course of your bankruptcy case.   

For more information, check Bankruptcy Code section 523(a).

Lakelaw defends people against complaints under Bankrutpcy Code section 523(a) to determine dischargeability of debt and against complaints under Bankruptcy Code section 727 to bar discharge.

For more information about discharge in bankruptcy, click here

Call Lakelaw now at 1 866 LAKELAW (1 866 525-5359).

Can bankruptcy help me with my student loans?

Posted by David Leibowitz on March 26th, 2009 in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Chapter 7, ,

Clients ask me “I have big student loans – can bankruptcy help?”  Frequently, student loans are only a part of the client’s problem.  People also have a great deal of credit card debt to go along with the student loan.

Sometimes, the client’s education has paid off.  The client has a high-paying job.  Such clients need to consider filing chapter 13 if they can’t keep up with their debts.  In chapter 13, they can establish a monthly payment to the chapter 13 trustee.  Over a period of five years, the unsecured debt will be satisfied.  And progress will be made on the student loan.  With other unsecured debt satisfied, the debtor can concentrate on paying the student loan.

Sometimes, the client’s education has not paid off.  The client has a low paying job or no job at all.  Chapter 7 can eliminate the non-student loan debt.  However, unless the debtor is facing a “substantial hardship” the debtor is still obligated to pay the student loan – possibly for a very long time.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to establish a “substantial hardship” – essentially the debtor has to be in such bad straits that he or she will never be able to satisfy the loan – usually because of a serious disability.  

To establish this condition, you literally would have to sue your lender.  You’d have to contend that you can’t live, even minimally, while paying the loan, and that your situation is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.  It’s a catch-22.  You can’t afford to pay the student loan.  And you can’t afford to pay an attorney to file a suit to establish that you can’t pay the student loan.

If student loans are part of  your problem, don’t be afraid to call us – we can be part of the solution.


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