Before You Say “I Do”: How Your Future Spouse’s Credit Affects You

You might wonder why someone with virtually no debt and with good credit would contact a bankruptcy attorney. Ah ha, when that person is considering marrying someone who’s got credit problems. Thus, if you’re looking to get married to someone who’s dodging creditors, how is bankruptcy going to affect you? There’s good news and bad news to my answer. The … Read More

A Debt Calculator For Unsecured Debts

I subscribe to a lot of blogs relating to personal finance and bankruptcy law. And I’ve known about the for some time now. This website has a lot of information and advice for people with debt problems. But I didn’t know about their debt calculator, which I just learned about today, and which I find extremely nifty. Here is … Read More

Cancellation (and Collection) of Debts at the Same Time?

It boggles my mind that banks and other creditors can still collect on debts that they have “cancelled” for tax purposes. You might not know about the “cancellation of debt”, but you can read here about what the IRS says about it. First, I need to explain what this whole concept in tax law actually is. Basically, let’s say that … Read More

10 Big Changes that the Bankruptcy “Reform” Law Brought

Happy 8th Birthday to the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, also known as BAPCPA (pronounced “BAP-SEA-P-A”, if you’re interested). Enacted by Congress in 2005, it became effective on October 17, 2005, so virtually every bankruptcy lawyer in Pittsburgh, and for that matter, in America, was working day and night on the week prior to the law change. So, why … Read More

Does My Spouse Have to File Bankruptcy With Me?

No, Your Spouse is Not Required to File Bankruptcy With You This is a common question.  Often, we will have a prospective client who really wants to file bankruptcy and get a fresh start, but his or her spouse is adamant about not filing.   Don’t worry, the spouse is not required to file.   Of course, each case is different and … Read More

An Update on How Long for a Mortgage Foreclosure in Pennsylvania

Back in 2010, I wrote about how long mortgage foreclosure takes in Pennsylvania. Again, here are the basics. In Pennsylvania, we have a judicial foreclosure system, which means that foreclosure cases must be filed in Court. Still, there are specific steps to follow: 1) Notice of Intention to Foreclose, which is a letter sent to the homeowner by the mortgage … Read More

How are Missed Chapter 13 Payments Made Up?

This is a frequent question, and it’s best understood by learning more about the concept of the “plan base”. Let’s say that your Chapter 13 plan is for 60 months and that the payment is $1,000 per month. Then your plan base is $60,000. Obviously, this is a total of all of your payments over the course of the plan. … Read More

Who’s the Guy Outside my House Taking Pictures?

I get this question a lot from clients who are either in foreclosure or mortgage default. Just who is this person with the camera in my front yard? The answer is that your mortgage company is permitted to inspect your home if you fall behind (the technical term is “to default”) on your mortgage loan. I’ll bet you that right … Read More

Treating Student Loan Claims in a Chapter 13 Plan

Given that so many people have student loan debts these days, I’ve been meaning to write something about this topical issue. And particularly, I wanted to write about how student loans are treated in Chapter 13 here in Western PA. Quickly, here’s a review: in Western Pennsylvania, we have a conduit trusteeship that requires secured loans to be repaid inside … Read More

4 Reasons that your Chapter 13 Plan Payment Increased

I wrote earlier about 12 tips to better understanding the Chapter 13 plan payment calculation process. Here’s some more insight into just how your Chapter 13 payment might be increased during your plan term. And please remember that Western Pennsylvania has a “conduit trusteeship” which means that all secured loan payments are to be made through the Chapter 13 plan. … Read More