The Value of Experience
Below are brief examples of how I used my experience, education and knowledge to assess my clients’ unique situations and provide them with favorable results that have saved them thousands of dollars that far and away exceeded my legal fees.
1. Client’s husband was not going to file bankruptcy and their combined income exceeded the means test. Through a thorough analysis and detailed review of household expenses and supported marital adjustment, we were able to address objections of US Trustee and qualify debtor for a Chapter 7, saving them approximately $18,000.
2. Client, a single parent of two and with a contentious divorce looming, needed to file bankruptcy but had income substantially over the means test that normally requires a chapter 13 and large monthly payments. Even though it usually makes sense to file divorce before bankruptcy, under these narrow circumstances, we actually waited until divorce was final. But debtor was also getting sued and was facing garnishment. While we waited for finalization of divorce, we, through knowledge of creditor law and process, bought the client several months of time thereby and avoiding judgment and garnishment. Once divorce was final we used child support payments and maintenance to qualify the debtor, who again, was way over the means test, for chapter 7, saving the client over $25,000.
3. Joint debtors were separating and perhaps divorcing. One spouse had a business that was expected to grow. If they filed prior to establishing separate households, they would have been a Chapter 13 based on combined income. By waiting until separating and then filing before spouse’s business turned a significant profit, both parties qualified for a Chapter 7 in their own separate cases. Savings for clients exceeded $10,000 to $20.000.
4. Client was behind in credit card payments but recently had sold real estate to family member for less than fair market value. Had debtor filed immediately, debtor would have faced penalty exceeding $10,000. Debtor had to wait 14 months to avoid this while simultaneously keeping creditors at bay. Through a solid understanding of the creditor process, we were able to buy debtor over 14 months, thereby avoiding penalty as well as garnishments.
5. Client had foreclosure impending and was preparing to move from home. Upon advisement, we filed the debtor before the last publication date in foreclosure process and enabling debtors to stay in home rent free for an additional five months, allowing them pocket several thousand dollars.
6. Client was over the means test and presumptively was required to file a Chapter 13. Through detailed analysis of expenses, we were able to increase allowable expenses due to handicapped children and purchase of life insurance to qualify for a Chapter 7.
7. Client moved to Colorado from out of state. Old state’s exemptions applied and had less generous auto exemptions than Colorado. By making sure the right exemptions applied, debtor sold the car and was able to pocket the proceeds prior to filing, saving client over $3,000.
8. Client was looking at potential (though not certain) pay raise. We rushed Chapter 13 filing prior to pay raise, which in fact did occur after filing date. This resulted in lower payments and saved the client over $10,000.
9. Client was required to file Chapter 13. Was able to get monthly payments of only $28.00 per month for two years through use of step-up…a later increase in payments only due when their truck was paid off, enabling client to complete a feasible plan in more palatable fashion.
10. Client had a car payment that exceed budget and wanted to surrender it and purchase a less expensive car after bankruptcy. Through key strategic advice and timing of case filing, we were able to allow client to keep the car for two months without cost, saving client nearly $700.
11. Client was well over the means test and had considerable consumer debt in the form of mortgage and car, both items creditor wanted to keep. Creditor also had over $300,000 in business debt. By advising on timing of consumer debt payments, I delayed the filing of BK, saved IRA assets and qualified client for a Chapter 7 by ensuring business accounted for more than 50% of total debt. Creditor had consulted five other attorneys before hearing of this solution which saved him thousands of dollars.
12. Client was well over the means test making $88,000 as a single parent. Over three month period I was able reallocate the client’s budget significantly through increases in retirement contributions, health insurance premiums and others to qualify for a Chapter 7, saving client at least $20,000.