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18

Nov 2018

Three months later, Mike’s After Bankruptcy Credit Score is 681

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

Three months later, Mike’s After Bankruptcy Credit Score is 681

Last Friday, Mike sent me this screenshot, showing his after bankruptcy credit score is 681.

After bankruptcy credit score

Three months later, Mike sent me this screenshot.  Mike’s after bankruptcy credit score is 681.

 

 A 681 credit score is, barely, considered a “good” score by Experian and CreditKarma. 

Mike had filed bankruptcy with me in April and it was approved and done in September.  So his score was what many lenders would call “good” just three months after bankruptcy.

Mike and I did a little extra work to get there.

I tell people that your credit score two months after bankruptcy, should be between 600 and 640, according to studies done for the Federal Reserve.    

Mike’s score was a little low, so I told him to send me his credit report, so we could look at it together.  

Together we found the culprit.  His credit union reported him as late for the four months he was going through the bankruptcy.  Then they got it right.

It seemed like a small thing, but Mike and I disputed it.  

The 681 credit score was the result.

Your After Bankruptcy Credit Score is Part of My Five Year Warranty.

I encourage all my clients to send me their credit reports, if their after bankruptcy credit score is less than 600.

That’s part of my five year warranty. 

For most people, bankruptcy is a powerful tool for credit repair.  That’s why it’s so important for a bankruptcy lawyer to also understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  

If your credit report and credit score have after bankruptcy mistakes, then you haven’t really gotten the fresh start that’s your right under the bankruptcy law.

All I Do is Bankruptcy Law.

That includes checking your after bankruptcy credit report and after bankruptcy credit score.

 

 

 

 

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05

Aug 2018

How a cheap car payment can help you on the bankruptcy means test.

Posted by / in Before Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 /

How a cheap car payment can help you on the bankruptcy means test.

The 2005 Bankruptcy law, known BAPCPA or sometimes BARF, was designed to make bankruptcy much more painful for families making over the average income in each state.  For Virginia, in the summer of 2018, that’s $103,549 for a family of 4. Or $111,949 for a family of five. 

Bankruptcy means test applies to families of 5 over $111,949

Bankruptcy means test applies to families of 5 over $111,949

The bankruptcy means test determines whether families making over that average income can be approved for Chapter 7 anyway.  And if not eligible, how much they have to pay for five years in Chapter 13.

The bankruptcy means test formula is arbitrary.  It was designed to be arbitrary. Congress, and the credit card companies, thought that bankruptcy judges were too easy.

Most families around here, making too much to get approved for Chapter 7, end up failing at Chapter 13. Without careful Chapter 13 planning, the bankruptcy means test will put you into a Chapter 13 plan that you are not able to afford for five years.

Here’s one example where careful Chapter 13 planning can make all the difference. 

John and Tanya is live Woodbridge in a house they own with two children.  John is stationed at Joint Base Andrews; Tanya is home with the kids, one child needing special attention.

Trying to handle the debts, they have gotten by as a one car family, and John’s car now has 110,000 file on it.  

If John and Tanya go into Chapter 13 now, they get a budget allowance of $497 for the car payment (regardless of what the payment really is) and $221 for gasoline, car repair and car insurance.  It will be impossible for John to hold his car operating expenses, gas, repairs, insurance, below $221 for five years on a car that already has 110,000 miles.

John and Tonya  talk to me before their credit is totally shot. So I can point out to them that they are much more likley to survive Chapter 13 for five years, if they go out and get a low payment second car now.

Tanya buys a brand new Nissan Versa, sale price $13,500, at 4.5% for five years. Her payment is $227.00 monthly.  That $227 payment counts as $497 on the means test.  That frees up for the family budget $270 a month. (That’s $497 means test ownership allowance, minus the $227 actual payment.) That $270.00 can go to pay things like sports for the kids, which the bankruptcy means test budget does not allow.

And they get a second $221 monthly for operating expenses.  John drives the new Nissan Versa to work, and Tanya takes the older car for errands around town. They can hold their gasoline, repair and insurance below the new total operating allowance of $442.

(I should note here that it would be illegal for me to tell John and Tonya to go out and finance a car.  But it was legal for me to tell them that it’s legal for them to do it.)

People say that bankruptcy should be a last resort. But you don’t want it to be a last minute, last resort.  Careful Chapter 13 planning is very important for getting the best result.

 

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14

Jul 2018

Another Family Wastes Thousands with Freedom Debt Relief

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

Another Fairfax County Family Wastes Thousands with Freedom Debt Relief.

I filed a bankruptcy case this week for Alexander and Alina yesterday.
 
They had been enrolled with Freedom Debt Relief for over five years–the longest enrollment I ever heard of. And according to Freedom Debt Relief, they had only four monthly payments to go until everything was settled.
 
So why were they coming to see me? During that same five and a half years, they had two cars repossessed, and their townhouse went to foreclosure. Trying to “resolve” your credit cards when you can’t make the car payment is NOT a good idea.
 
But one other thing hit me. Although Freedom Debt Relief said all but one of the cards has been settled and paid, their credit report was very different. The Experian credit report showed only one card as settled, and the other five were still reporting monthly as late.
 
So whatever “settlement” Freedom Debt Relief did, it did NOT include getting the creditors to report paid in settlement on the debts. Seeing that credit report brought my low opinion of Freedom Debt Relief even lower.
 
(True story except I changed the names of Alexander and Alina.)

 

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA BANKRUPTCY LAW OFFICES