Author: Jessica Nomie

Covid-19 and Bankruptcy

Covid-19 and Bankruptcy

Question: Can I file for bankruptcy during COVID-19?

Answer: Yes.

The Oregon Bankruptcy Courts remain fully operational during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Oregon Bankruptcy Court was quick to react to the Covid-19 pandemic.  New court procedures have been implemented and continue to be improved.  This has allowed continued access to justice for all bankruptcy filers.  All court hearings are being conducted telephonically or via zoom video conference.  This includes the 341a Meeting of the Creditor Hearing that bankruptcy filers must attend after their Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed.

What does this mean?

  1. You can still file for bankruptcy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. You will be able to attend your hearings via a telephone conference line, rather than in person, until further notice.
  3. If you contact our firm, you will also have access to a virtual attorney, if that is your preference.

What if you are not comfortable with technology?

If technology intimidates you, we can help make the process easier.  We have been involved every step of the way to assist our clients with their Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.  During the pandemic, this has included facilitating the technological requirements for our clients in this unprecedented time.  We offer completely virtual representation, as well as safe in-person appointments.  At our firm, we guide our clients through technology such as printing, Zoom video conference calls and calling into the hearing conference lines. We do our best for our clients, including scheduling practice calls in advance of hearings to ensure that our clients are prepared for the technological aspect of their upcoming bankruptcy hearing.

It is certainly a unique time, but your access to justice and the bankruptcy courts remains fully available and functional.  If you are considering debt relief and bankruptcy options, then we recommend you consult with an attorney.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

There are three initial considerations for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

(1) Income:

To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy your gross income must be at or below the median household income for a household of your size. Sometimes this requirement is referred to as the “means test”. If your income is above the median household income for your state and household size, then with the help of a lawyer you might still be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or else you will need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

(2) Type of Debt:

Certain debts to do not qualify for discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Credit card, medical, auto loan deficiency, and lease break debts are common debts that qualify for discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy include, restitution, certain tax debts, child support and student loans. You may need to file a Chapter 13 to pay these debts.

(3) Equity in Assets:

You are allowed to have some equity in assets if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can have certain amounts of money in your bank account or may be able to keep your car. If your equity in assets exceed certain thresholds, then you could be forced to give up that asset in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To protect your property, you could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can keep all assets in Chapter 13 bankruptcy by paying back certain amounts of your debt back.

Call a lawyer:

There are several factors to consider when evaluating if you qualify for a Chapter 7.  Your particular case might be complicated or time sensitive. 

If you live in Oregon and have questions about bankruptcy, you can call our firm.  Jessica Nomie specializes in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We offer  in person and virtual bankruptcy representation for individuals throughout the state of Oregon.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Will My Bankruptcy Filing Impact My Spouse?

Will My Bankruptcy Filing Impact My Spouse?

Question: Can I File Bankruptcy Without My Spouse? Will It Impact Them?

Answer: Yes, you can file without your spouse. But, it might impact your spouse even if they don’t file for bankruptcy with you.

First, if you are married, you can file for bankruptcy without your spouse. They do not have to file with you.

However, if you file for bankruptcy without your spouse, then it could impact their credit if you share joint debts. If you and your spouse share debts, then your spouse would remain legally liable for the debt. That means, if they do not want their credit impacted by virtue of you filing for bankruptcy and they share an account with you, then they will need to make arrangements to continue payment on that debt.

Second, if you are married and your spouse does not file for bankruptcy with you, their income still matters. Even though your spouse does not want to file with you, and even if it makes sense that they not file, their income matters. What this means, is household income and budget are factors in your bankruptcy case. Determining whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or determining your payment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would require disclosure of your spouse’s income. So, while your spouse’s name would not appear in your paperwork, it would be required to report their income.

Third, while your bankruptcy filing might not impact your spouses’ credit, it still impacts the household. If you are in a Chapter 13 payment plan, then that would impact the household budget. Further, you may have to pay your tax refunds into your Chapter 13 case. For that reason, and many others not listed in this article, your bankruptcy filing could impact your spouse.

There are other factors to consider when you are making the decision to file for bankruptcy. There are additional considerations when you share debts with someone else or are married. It is a good idea to speak to a bankruptcy attorney before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy. Jessica Nomie Law offers in person and telephone meetings, as well as same-day appointments.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Improve Your Credit Score!

Improve Your Credit Score!

Your Credit Score – The three numbers that can impact your life greatly. 

You need good credit to be approved for a home mortgage, receive low interest rates and be approved for higher credit card and loan limits.  Having a good credit score is critical for financial independence.  

Below are Six Tips for rebuilding your credit score.  Keep in mind, these are not the only steps you should take to improve your credit score.

 

1. Review your credit report for accuracy. 

The first thing you should do is pull your credit report and review it!  Make sure that everything being reported is correct.  What can you look for when doing this?

(1) Make sure the account open date is correct;

(2) Make sure the timeliness of your payments is correct; and

(3) Make sure all accounts being reported are really your accounts.

If something does not look right, then you should dispute it with the credit reporting agency where you found the mistake. Sometimes these mistakes can prevent your score from increasing. The mistakes can even cause your score to decrease over time.  You will need to file a dispute which each of the credit bureaus that list the error.

To file a dispute with Experian: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html

To file a despite with Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-dispute/

To file a despite with TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-disputes/dispute-your-credit

2. Keep your balances low. 

Credit usage makes up for 35% of your credit score.  That means you should keep your balances low.  As a general rule, you should keep your usage on each account below 25% of the total credit limit.

For example, if you were granted a limit of $1,000 on a credit card, try not to let your balance exceed $250. This keeps your usage at 25% or lower.

3. Pay your bills on time!  

Late payments can have a significant impact on your credit and make it harder to improve your credit score.  It is important to pay your bills on time. If possible, pay off the entire account balance each month. This will allow you to avoid paying any interest and you will save you money.  This is easier to do if you keep your usage low.

4. Become an authorized user.

Get added to someone else’s credit card.  If the account holder has positive payment history that gets reported to your credit, then this could be an effective tool to increase your credit score.

Be careful! If the primary account holder has poor payment history, high usage, and/or high balances then this could actually hurt you.  Some credit card issuers report negative account information along with the positive information for authorized users.  In other words, if there are late payments or high balances on the account then those will be reported onto your credit.  In that situation, being an authorized user could end up hurting your credit score instead of helping it.

5. Open a secured credit card.

Lend yourself the money to begin the rebuilding process.  A secured credit card is one in which you pay a deposit which becomes your credit line.  A secured credit card can start for as low as $200/$300 depending on the card issuer.  This is a great way for you to establish positive usage and positive payment history.

Be sure to pay on time and keep your utilization low.  Doing so will maximize the positive impact that this account can have on your credit score. Do your research to find a secured card that works best for you.

6. Minimize credit applications.

Do not overdo it! Do not apply for too many credit accounts. Each time you apply for credit, there is an inquiry into your credit score.  Inquiries can actually cause your score to temporarily decrease.  This is especially troublesome for people with lower scores who are trying to improve, because each point matters in the quest to improve your credit score.

Be selective when applying for credit. While it is good to have open credit lines, do not apply for too many accounts in a short period of time.

__

The six tips provided in this article are general information.  If you are looking for advice that is more specific to you, then you should consult with a professional.

At Jessica Nomie Law we work with our clients on credit rebuilding techniques and credit report disputes.  We help people rebuild their credit after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing. Even if you have not filed for bankruptcy, we may be able to help you rebuild your credit.

If you are looking for assistance with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and/or Credit Repair, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation.  We look forward to speaking with you to discuss whether we can help you achieve your financial goals!

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

 

Bankruptcy Success Story

Bankruptcy Success Story

Caller: “My friend filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and less than one year later his credit score is almost at 700. It made me realize that Chapter 7 bankruptcy might not be such a dreadful thing.”

This is true! Bankruptcy is not the end of the world. People often hear the word “bankruptcy” and they run. Sometimes it is out of fear. Other times it is on account of the many misconceptions and myths surrounding bankruptcy.

In reality, bankruptcy is meant to be a tool to help you through financial hardship. You may have heard the term “fresh start.” This is often used when referring to bankruptcy. That is because bankruptcy is meant to help you when you may be struggling with debt that you can hardly afford to pay, with little hope of getting out of the debt cycle. You may even be behind or delinquent on these debts and as a result your credit score has taken significant hits. If you continue in this cycle, it may take years to pay off your debt, collectors may continue to contact you for years, and you may never achieve the credit score and credit history needed for approval for a home mortgage.

While we certainly do not wish bankruptcy on anyone, for some people this is the right option for breaking the cycle and getting a second chance.

Bankruptcy can help you (1) save money because you are no longer struggling with minimum payments or garnishments; (2) clear negative credit history, rebuild your credit and increase your credit score; and (3) eventually buy a home or finance a new car at lower interest rates.

Contact our office today to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation.  We offer in person and telephone meetings, as well as same-day appointments. We look forward to speaking with you to discuss whether we can help you achieve your financial fresh start!

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

How to Stop a Garnishment

How to Stop a Garnishment

Did you know?

If your wages or your bank account are being garnished, you can file for bankruptcy to stop the garnishment.  Even better, once you file for bankruptcy, you might be able to get some of your money back.

How can bankruptcy help with garnishments?

Are you being garnished right now? If so, filing for bankruptcy will immediately stop the garnishment. It may also help you recover certain funds that have been garnished before you filed for bankruptcy protection.

How? When a creditor has garnished more than $600 and that money was garnished in the 90 days prior to filing for bankruptcy, this is treated as a preference in bankruptcy. This means that after you have filed for bankruptcy, you can demand that this money get sent back to you. Yes, you can get your money back!

This rule is tricky and has certain requirements. First, the dollar amount must be more than $600. Second, that money must be taken within the 90-day period before your bankruptcy case is filed. Third, money garnished outside of that 90-day window cannot be recovered.

What if the creditor doesn’t send the money back? Even worse, what if they continue to garnish you after your bankruptcy is filed? You might be able to sue them!

If you are being garnished, or at risk of being garnished, then bankruptcy might be the right option for you. Filing for bankruptcy will impose an automatic stay which completely halts any collections or lawsuits that are against you. Whether your creditors are threatening a lawsuit, the lawsuit was just filed, there is a judgment against you, or the creditor is now garnishing your wages, these actions will stop once you file for bankruptcy.

I’m being garnished.  What should I do?

If you are being garnished or fear that you will be garnished because of unpaid debts, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. We help Oregonians stop garnishments and recover garnished money through the bankruptcy process. Contact us today for your free consultation.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyer

We can help all Oregon residents!

Question: Can Jessica Nomie Law help you if you do not live in Clackamas County, Oregon?

Answer: Yes.

As long as you live in Oregon, we can meet with you to discuss whether bankruptcy is the right option for you.

Jessica Nomie is a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon. This means that she can assist with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings for all qualifying Oregonians.

We offer free bankruptcy consultations. We are available to meet with you in-person or over the phone. In other words, no matter where you live within the state of Oregon, we are available to meet with you to discuss your bankruptcy options.

Please note that absent rare circumstances, you must live in Oregon at the time when you file your bankruptcy case in Oregon.  If you believe residency may pose problems for your case, then it is important to discuss this matter with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Jessica Nomie is a female bankruptcy lawyer in the state of Oregon who strives to offer all Oregon residents compassionate, competent and diligent legal representation.  Our office guides our clients through bankruptcy and credit rebuilding.

We look forward to speaking with you to discuss whether we can help you achieve your financial “fresh start”!

Contact Jessica Nomie Law today for your free consultation.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Clatsop County Bankruptcy Lawyer

Oregon Coast Bankruptcy Lawyer Coming Your Way!

Jessica Nomie Law is expanding its borders to the Oregon Coast. This expansion includes Columbia County, Clatsop County, and Tillamook County.

If you are looking for an Oregon bankruptcy attorney, you don’t have to drive to Portland to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney anymore! I now have an office in Seaside, Oregon so that Oregon Coast residents can meet with a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy options.

I’ve lived and worked in the Portland area my entire life; however, in the recent years I have noticed how much I have taken for granted by living in Portland. I have had clients drive from all over the state to meet with me because they do not have access to competent legal counsel in a town that is closer to home. Quite frankly, I don’t think that’s fair. While I can’t be everywhere, I am placing myself in Seaside, Oregon with the hope that this creates easier access to bankruptcy assistance for nearby residents. I am hopeful this Seaside bankruptcy office location will create convenience for Columbia County, Clatsop County and Tillamook County residents.

Below is a list of cities we hope to serve:

  • St. Helens
  • Scappoose
  • Astoria
  • Warrenton
  • Gearhart
  • Seaside
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Cannon Beach
  • Tillamook

Please keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list. If you are looking for an Oregon Bankruptcy lawyer, but do not live in these cities, I would be happy to meet with you to discuss whether I can help you file for bankruptcy protection.

Our new office location is: 1580 N. Roosevelt Drive Seaside, OR 97138.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

 

What Can Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Help With?

What Can Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Help With?

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can actually pave the way for a brighter future.

If anything in our society has a bad reputation, it’s “Bankruptcy”. The “B” word is not something many people throw around lightly. When they need to file for bankruptcy, they keep it to themselves. They often hesitate to pursue this solution to their financial problems. Often, they heavily resist going down this path to the extent that they struggle for years before they finally pursue this option. But why?

It’s true, bankruptcy is not an ideal financial situation for anyone.  It’s also true that it will be reported on your credit and may cause your credit to take an initial hit.  However, bankruptcy is meant to help people. You may have heard of a financial “fresh start”. This is a term that is often associated with bankruptcy. It may be cliché, but it is very true.

Bankruptcy is meant to be a tool to help you get a clean slate and rebuild your credit for a brighter and healthier financial future. After filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will begin to increase and you will eventually have the financial options that are not available to you right now.  As you rebuild your credit, you may qualify for better interest rates on cars and loans, and even have the opportunity to purchase a home.

Bankruptcy is meant to help, so you don’t have to struggle forever. Bankruptcy is not a bad thing. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Life “happens” to good and responsible people. When life “happens”, you deserve a second chance.

What can bankruptcy help with?

The list below is not exhaustive and it does not address the specific rules regarding each particular debt and how it is treated in bankruptcy. Depending on what kind of debt you are facing, this may impact whether you will need to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You will need to speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about the specifics of your case.

A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can help with:

  • Wage and Bank Garnishments
  • Creditor Lawsuits
  • Harassing Phone Calls from Creditors
  • Identity Theft
  • Car Repossession
  • Home Foreclosure
  • Tax Debt
  • Unmanageable Credit Card and Medical Debt
  • Auto Loan, Lease and Other Loan Defaults
  • License Reinstatement
  • Other Government Related Debts
  • Credit Repair and Rebuilding

Contact Jessica Nomie Law today for your free and confidential bankruptcy consultation.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

Common Bankruptcy Questions & Myths

Common Bankruptcy Questions & Myths

Part 4.  I hired a bankruptcy attorney, so I filed for bankruptcy. 

Short Answer: No. This is NOT true.

You have not filed your bankruptcy until your petition, schedules and other required documents have been filed with the bankruptcy court.  Simply hiring a bankruptcy attorney or declaring that you “are filing for bankruptcy” does not mean that you have filed for bankruptcy protection.  

How do you know if you filed for bankruptcy protection?  If you have met with your attorney to sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules, then this is a good indicator that your case has been filed or is about to be filed.  If you are unsure, you should ask your attorney when your case will be filed.  Sometimes, your attorney will have you come in to sign your petition and schedules; however, will tell you that your case won’t actually be filed until a later date.  You might know your case has been filed because you have a case number.  Again, you can ask your attorney for your case number if you think your case has been filed. If you are confused or unsure whether your bankruptcy has been filed, then you should immediately consult your attorney for clarification.  There is a critical distinction between having hired an attorney and actually filing your bankruptcy case.  This distinction includes different legal protections that are offered to someone when they have hired an attorney, and when they have actually filed for bankruptcy.

You do not have the protections of bankruptcy such as the imposition of the automatic stay, unless and until you have an active bankruptcy filing.  In other words, you are not protected by bankruptcy law until you file your bankruptcy case.  The automatic stay of bankruptcy, which prohibits creditors from collecting from you during your bankruptcy case, does not become effective simply because you have hired an attorney and/or declared your intent to file for bankruptcy protection.  The reality is that you must actually file your case with the Court before you are entitled to the protections of bankruptcy, and before you are “in” bankruptcy.  Once you have filed your bankruptcy case with the court, the automatic stay that is described above will take effect and act as a prohibition on all pre-petition creditors from attempting to collect from you.

This brings up a point that is commonly misunderstood by consumers who will be filing for bankruptcy.  Declaring your intent to file, such as telling a creditor that you are going to file for bankruptcy, will not stop that creditor from taking collection action against you.  Until you file for bankruptcy protection, a creditor can continue collection activities against you, including sending statements, calling you, and even pursuing legal action against you.  In some situations, your attorney may be able to stop harassing phone calls from creditors even though you have not yet filed your bankruptcy.  Jessica Nomie Law can help with this. 

As always, if you ever have questions or concerns about your case status, then you should consult with your attorney.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.