Do I have to give up everything I own to file bankruptcy? No!

property 2I am asked this question probably once a week.  Many people believe that they must lose everything they own to file for a bankruptcy.  This is not true.  I believe that this comes from some of the guilt and shame that people feel when they file.  They believe that they are doing something almost dishonest.  They believe that they must “honor” their debts.  The collection agencies that attempt to collect on these debts will encourage these feelings of guilt to dissuade people from filing for bankruptcy and to get people to pay them.

Many of my clients also believe that they have somehow failed when they file for bankruptcy and failure is just not accepted in this country.  They then try for years to pay debts that they cannot afford thinking that they will then not be failures.  I usually remind them that many successful companies have filed for bankruptcy over the years and individuals have the same right to do so.  In fact the filing of bankruptcy can get rid of debt and put an individual on the road to success.

The reality is that bankruptcy is a legal and moral solution to your debt problems and you can keep most of your property in the bankruptcy.  This is because there are very generous bankruptcy exemptions.  These exemptions allow you to keep a lot of stuff.  Your retirement funds can be kept with one exemption, your car with another, a certain amount of jewelry with another, and even “tools of the trade” if you own a business or use those tools in your line of work.

In addition there are homestead exemptions for equity in your house and the contents in your house, like our personal belongings and your clothes, can usually all be exempted.  Anything that exceeds these exemptions can be put into the $23,000 “wildcard” exemption which can be used for cash, stock, bonds, or anything else.

Insurance and social security money and your current income are also exempt so call a bankruptcy attorney if you need a bankruptcy and get a consultation about your property.  Most likely you can keep it.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver

Bankruptcy filings are down but they will rise after October 2013 when people realize that they can file again

bankruptcy 5Bankruptcy filings are down significantly across America.  I wrote about this in a previous blog.  Some areas have seen a drop-off of as much as 50% in the numbers of filings.  There Courthouse 2are many reasons for this.  One reason is that most homes that were in foreclosure after the recession began have now been dealt with one way or another.  Household debt is also down and household debt has always been an indicator of how many bankruptcies will be filed.

Some economists believe that there will be another wave of foreclosures that the banks have been holding off foreclosing until there are signs of an economic recovery.  But there is another factor out there that will hit this October.  In October 2005 millions of Americans filed for bankruptcy in order to get their filing done prior to the 2005 bankruptcy law change.

Bankruptcy underwent a major change in 2005 designed to make it harder for debtors to file a chapter 7.  As it turned out most people could still file even with the new “means test” that was added in the new law.  But the 2005 bankruptcy law change scared people into thinking that bankruptcy was not going to be an option so they had better file now.

So millions did and many of them probably should not have.  But after 2005 the country went through a major recession.  Jobs were lost, foreclosures were up, and debts could not be paid.  But one aspect of the new law was to increase the time between bankruptcy filings from seven years to eight years.

We are now about to reach the eight year mark in October 2013.  This means that if you filed bankruptcy before the law change in 2005 (and maybe didn’t need to) you can file again in October of this year (2013).  It is now okay for you to file again so if you need to contact an attorney about filing a second time.  Don’t worry about having to do it it’s okay.  No one could foresee the terrible recession of 2008 and it probably has left you will a lot of debt that you have not been able to pay.  Bankruptcy will again take care of this debt once and for all giving you a fresh start.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Bankruptcy photo courtesy of Stockmonkeys.com.  Courthouse photo courtesy of Robert Linder.

Forgive yourself for your debt. Debt forgiveness is in the bible and bankruptcy is the answer.

forgive yourself 3I have written in the past (here) about how bankruptcy is sanctioned by the bible.  In the old testament in the book of Deuteronomy (15:1) it states thatbible 2 debts must be cancelled every seven years.   The Jewish people considered it very important to forgive debt completely after seven years.  They realized thousands of years ago that it was good for people and good for society if people had no long-term debt.  If they could not pay the debt I seven years then it was better for all to have it forgiven and lifted off the shoulders of the people.

The Christians said the same thing in the New Testament.  The Christians believed in forgiveness.  Jesus himself emphasized its importance.  I believe this includes forgiving yourself for the debt you have incurred but you cannot pay.  You blame yourself and you hang onto the debt you incurred a long time ago thinking that you will be able to pay it one day.  But this goes on and on.

It’s time to forgive yourself for charging up the credit cards, or returning an automobile you could not afford, and especially for medical debt which you cannot pay.  You may have thought you would have the money to pay it later but the money never came.  And now the debt is still there and the collectors are calling every day for you to repay it.  Some of them may even have sued you for it.

But the repayment doesn’t happen and it probably won’t happen.  So it’s time to forgive yourself for getting into debt in the first place.  Forgive yourself like you forgive others.  It’s in the bible.  In the New Testament.  You have all heard the saying; “to err is human but to forgive divine”.

freedom 4 Once you forgive yourself for the debt then maybe you can take the next step to rid yourself of it which is to file for bankruptcy to cancel your debts.  A bankruptcy discharge will lift your debt burden and let you get a fresh start and give you the freedom from your debt burden.  This freedom will allow you to live like you should and not be burdened by debt.  People have known for thousands of years how important this is.  Debt forgiveness was good enough for the ancient Jewish people of the bible and it’s part of Christianity too.  Bankruptcy is your legal, moral, and ethical pathway to debt forgiveness talked about in Deuteronomy.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com .  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

“Accidents” photo courtesy of merfam.  Holy bible photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass. Freedom photo courtesy of Josef Grunig

Is there currently a mancession? How about a shecovery? How can this be a good thing?

workmen 2There has been a lot of talk since the recession started as to whether the economic downturn has hit men harder than women thus creating womana “mancession”.  Even Wikipedia states that unemployment for men has been 10% while unemployment for women was only 8%.  There are even articles about a “shecovery” which occurs when areas of the economy that are dominated by women recover and male dominated areas don’t.

The recession hit areas harder that employed men in greater numbers than women.  Construction and manufacturing were all hurt badly in the recession and more men than women were employed in these areas.  Men were therefore impacted more greatly in the economic downturn.

As one online article in Nation magazine points out women make up already half of the workforce in America today which is up from 30% in the 1940s.  Women also have more jobs than men in areas like retail sales and healthcare and they have half of the middle management jobs according to the article.  I would also add to this list areas like education and the media where women outnumber men.  And these areas tend to either be growing or not shrinking as fast as male dominated areas of the economy.

We already know that women outnumber men in colleges these days by almost 60% to 40%.  They have also caught up in graduate schools as now women are graduating in numbers for the most part equal to men in medical and law schools.  These schools are pushing these grads out into the job market every year.  So women are also getting the degrees which will help them land the good paying jobs in the future.

Many of these articles are written by women and they describe this situation as women “winning” some kind of job struggle.  Some even say that women are just more suited to the modern economy.  A new book is even entitled “The end of Men”.  Does anyone see a problem with this besides me?  Men being cast off as outmoded, outdated, no longer useful to society.  Is anyone concerned with where they will go and what they will do?  It is indeed disturbing.

We have always been concerned in the past about some group that is disadvantaged, falling, behind, or left out.  We have always seen the danger and unfairness in this and we have always in the past made some attempt to address it for the good of everyone.  Now with half of society being looked upon as at least falling behind (and at worst defunct) we do nothing.

Do we believe that men somehow deserve a mancession?  Is is payback for some past crimes?  I say what about the future?  There is a whole new generation of men that must find their way.  I have seen the men in my office that have lost their jobs years ago and still can’t find something even close to what they used to do if they can find something at all.  They then must face foreclosure, eviction and all the serious financial problems of having little or no income.

As a bankruptcy attorney I want to say to the men that if they are still unemployed or underemployed and they have debts they cannot pay then they should look at bankruptcy as an option to get out of the debt.  They can then begin to rebuild their lives with out the debt burden often incurred prior to this recession when things were better.

But we are all in this thing together and if men are falling behind and if their is indeed less and less need for them in the future it is a problem for everyone.  The Nation article asks if women are “really victors” in the new economy.   I am reminded here of a line from the movie “The War of the Roses” where Danny DeVito’s character tells Michael Douglas’ character that “there is no winning only degrees of losing”.  We are all in the same boat in society and when men lose we all lose.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Men photo courtesy of Roger Blackwell.  “I won” photo courtesy of Search Engine People Blog.