The Legal Scoop - Oregon

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.

Common Bankruptcy Questions & Myths

Common Bankruptcy Questions & Myths

Part 3. If I file for Bankruptcy will I lose my tax refund?

Short Answer: It depends.

If you are filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection, then you are likely able to keep your tax refund. Your attorney will list your refund in your bankruptcy schedules and then claim an exemption to protect your refund for you. In other words, you are allowed to have certain values of assets when you file for bankruptcy. Depending on your other assets, such as money in the bank, personal property, and more, you may be entitled to keep some or all of your tax refund. The rules around exemptions can be technical and complicated. It is best to consult with an attorney to ensure that your property is protected to the fullest extent possible. There could be situations when you must pay some or all of your refund towards your debts for the success of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Usually and in most cases, you will get to keep your full tax refund when you file for bankruptcy.

If you must file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, then the answer depends on your income and your bankruptcy plan. Generally, you are required to pay the full amount of your refund into your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case when you are in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This is part of your bankruptcy plan and required to be done to ensure the success of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In some cases, you may be able to protect a certain value of your tax refund each year while you are in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You can talk to your bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you are eligible for this protection of your tax refund. If you are eligible for this protection, then your attorney will discuss the details and requirements with you, including at what point you might be required to pay some of your refund into your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Since the rules around refunds and exemptions of your property can be complicated, you should consult with an attorney before filing for bankruptcy to determine whether you will be entitled to keep your tax refund.

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 2.  I need to file for bankruptcy protection.  Will I lose my car?

Short Answer: No.  It is not true that you must give up your car if you file bankruptcy.  When you file, you have the option to keep your car.

I’ve met with countless people who have stated that they’ve prolonged considering bankruptcy because they cannot “afford” to lose their vehicle.  The truth is, if you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy then in most situations you have the option to keep your vehicle.

If you own a vehicle and are considering bankruptcy, the first question I would ask you is whether your vehicle is secured by a loan.  In other words; is your car paid off? 

If you still owe money on your vehicle, then you would have the option to retain your vehicle in the bankruptcy and enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the lender.  You can also choose to surrender, or “give up”, your vehicle.  The choice is yours

If you choose to keep your vehicle and your vehicle is secured by a loan, then you would elect to retain your vehicle in your Statement of Intention which is part of your bankruptcy filing.  Your creditor would then send you (or your attorney) a reaffirmation agreement for you to sign and to be filed with the Court.  A reaffirmation agreement is essentially a new contract between you and your creditor that will survive the bankruptcy.  Simply put, you get to keep your car.

If your vehicle is secured by a loan and you do not want to retain your vehicle then you would indicate your intent to surrender your vehicle in your Statement of Intention.  In this situation, the creditor can obtain permission from the Court to repossess the vehicle while you are in the bankruptcy, or may choose to wait until your bankruptcy is over before repossessing the vehicle.  In either case, once the vehicle is repossessed and sold, the deficiency, or unpaid amount on your loan would be a discharged debt in your bankruptcy.

In some instances, you might have equity in your vehicle.  If your vehicle is paid off, then you have equity in your vehicle.  Similarly, if your vehicle is worth more than what is owed on it, then you also have equity in your vehicle.  In these situations, we would discuss the value of your vehicle.  In Oregon you are allowed to have $3,000 of equity in your vehicle that can be exempted in your bankruptcy schedules.  Under federal law, the exemption is $3,775.  In other words, your car can be worth up to the amount of the exemption and be protected.  If your equity in your vehicle is more than the allowable exemption, then you may qualify for a “wildcard” exemption to protect the remainder of the equity in your vehicle.  

There are situations when you might run into problems with the allowable exemptions.  For example, if you have a significant amount of equity in your vehicle, or if you own multiple vehicles. 

Even though it is a myth that you cannot keep your car when you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy rules are complicated.  If you have one or more vehicles and you are planning to file for bankruptcy, then you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine your options regarding your vehicle and to discuss the best ways to protect your assets when you proceed with bankruptcy.

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 1. I stopped paying my bills.  Can my creditor garnish my wages immediately?

Short answer:  No. A creditor must first sue you in court and get a judgment against you before they can issue a garnishment to your bank or your employer.

It’s a common misconception among consumers that I speak to, that as soon as they stop paying a debt, that their paycheck or bank account can automatically be garnished by a creditor.  While a creditor might scare you into believing that you must make a payment or else your next check will be garnished; the truth is that they cannot do this without first getting a judgment against you in Court.

What does this mean? The creditor must first file a lawsuit in court against you, serve you with that lawsuit and then go through the court system to get a judgment against you.  Once they have done all of that, then they need to find out where you bank or where you work.  Assuming they have (1) gotten a judgment in court; and (2)  found out where you bank or work, then they can send a garnishment to your bank or employer.  This process at the absolute quickest speed would take 2-3 months.

The bottom line is that, without a judgment, your creditors cannot issue a garnishment.  It’s as simple as that. 

You might ask, what about when your debt is transferred to a collection agency?  The answer is still no; not until they go through the courts to sue you and get a judgment against you.

Please note that for almost any rule there is always an exception.  It’s important to keep in mind that when you owe money to a government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service or your state taxing agency, they do not have to sue you first.  They can immediately contact your employer to start garnishing your wages.

If you can’t keep up with your bills, have stopped paying bills, have been served with a lawsuit or even a garnishment, or are not sure what kind of debt that you owe, then you should consult with an attorney about your options.  The sooner that you consult with an attorney, the better positioned you are to protect yourself from the harsh reality of a bank or a wage garnishment.

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.

Do you need a contract?

Do you need a contract?

In Oregon, most verbal contracts are binding. Does that mean that you don’t need a written contract1? I’d venture to say that if you are engaged in a business deal or arrangement with another person or business then you should have a contract that outlines the terms of your agreement.

You can think of a written contract as insurance. If all goes well you might feel you didn’t need it, but if something goes wrong then the contract is like your insurance. A well written contract will document all material terms of your agreement, including price, scope, payment arrangements, default, remedies, etc.

What does this mean for you? There are many situations that you have likely heard of that can arise to cause a contract dispute. Often times one party is not satisfied with the work that the other party did, or unhappy because the other party did not do the work at all.  Another common dispute between parties is when one party does the work that was agreed to and sends a bill, but does not receive payment at all, or at least not for several months or without bickering about the amount of the bill.  What do you do in situations like these?

If you have a written contract then ideally you can look at your contract to determine your options.  A well written contract will document what to do for payment if one party doesn’t complete the work or it will detail what happens if payment is submitted late, or a bill is not paid at all; or the contract might document whether a late fee or interest can be assessed  and if so, then when?

While the fact of having the contract might not resolve your dispute or compel the other party to do what they agreed to do when they signed the contract, it at least is written documentation of the intent of the parties when you first entered into agreement and can potentially help you enforce your contractual rights and remedies should you need to consult an attorney and/or take legal action.  While anyone can write a contract, it’s probably a good idea to consult with an attorney who is experienced in the field to assist you with your contract.

Ultimately you might feel that you do not need a contract because “a man is good for his word”, you “shook on it”, or you are dealing with family or friends.  These are all reasons you might feel inclined to keep things informal.  However, even family and friends can disagree, forget what they agreed to, or change their minds. It doesn’t hurt to have your “insurance” just in case.

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.