Filing a Simple BankruptcyWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
We all know times are tough and, for some of us, bills are getting harder to pay each month. If debts you owe are more than what you can afford, you should read on.
Filing a bankruptcy can be answer to your problems. A bankruptcy is a way to discharge your debts completely so you can have a fresh start in your financial and personal life. You can only file a bankruptcy once every 6 years and once filed, it can become part of your credit history
Before filing, you want to know two things: 1) that your monthly expenses (i.e. rent, phone, medical payments and just about anything else paid by you for living expenses of you and your family) are more than your monthly net income and 2) that your assets (all property you own at its current market value) are worth less than your liabilities (that is, debts you presently owe and that you will list in your bankruptcy petition).
The next step in filing a bankruptcy is to have actual petition prepared. The petition is an extensive document listing all of your income, assets and liabilities as well as other information with respect to your financial history. You must list all of creditors that you owe money to and want to be discharged from that debt. Any creditor that you do not list will always remain your creditor. For example, you may want to keep one of your credit cards if you do not list that credit card company on your petition then you can continue to use that line of credit (of course, you will continue to make your monthly payments for that credit card).
Your petition will be filed in bankruptcy court for about a $150.00 fee. The moment your petition is filed an automatic stay is in place that means your creditors listed in petition must stop their collection procedures during your bankruptcy proceeding.
Stop Collection Agency HarassmentWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
Owing a debt does not automatically subject you to harrassing, threatening and other inappropriate collection agency behavior. Some collection agencies go too far with what I call "renegade collectors" they will repeatedly call you at your home and/or business, threaten to send a marshall over to serve you with lawsuit papers or send intimidating letters, appearing to come from an attorney or law firm, stating that you will lose your car, wages and other property if you do not pay your debt! It does not matter that you failed to pay a debt or that you can not afford to pay your debt at this time no one should intimidate, threaten or harrass you or coerce you to give out personal or financial information. Inappropriate collection procedures can intimidate you into paying for costs that may not even be your responsibility.You are protected by law from innapropriate collection procedures.
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, New York City Consumer Protection Law Regulation 10 and New York State Statute, General Business Law, Article 29-H, (the "State Statute") all prohibit threatening, harrassing and intimidating collection procedures. For instance, State Statute prohibits a collection agent from (a) threatening to communicate with your employer prior to that agent obtaining a judgement against you, (b) communicating with your family or household at such frequency or at such unusual hours as can reasonably be expected to be abusive or harrassing, or (c) simulating any legal or judicial process or appearing to be authorized, issued or approved by government or an attorney to collect a debt. Also, if collection agent sends you a letter demanding you pay without reuired notice under federal law regarding your confidentiality, your rights to dispute debt an dgiving you appropriate 30 days to respond, then debt collector is automatically liable to you for any damages plus three times amount of your damages. Each violation of State Statute is a seperate misdemeanor offense. You can file charges with State Attorney General or your County District Attorney and also request a restraining action against collection company to stop it from continuing abuse and harrassment.