Going to Jail for Owing Money? Or, Bankruptcy?

There are not supposed to be debtor’s prisons in the United States. That’s what bankruptcy is for. However, debt collectors have found a legal dirty trick to send a debtor to jail. Though it doesn’t happen often, this is a technique they are using that you should know about, especially if you have succumbed to the allure of payday loans. This dirty trick is called a “body attachment.”

Body Attachment Defined

A body attachment, also called a “writ of bodily attachment,” is a type of court order that is usually used for people who are guilty of contempt of court. It is a lot like an arrest warrant. The rules for how a body attachment can be used depend on local laws. As an example, if someone is in contempt of court for missing a court date, a court can order a writ of bodily attachment. Once this order is issued, the court can authorize a sheriff to physically force a person to show up in court. Unfortunately, debt collectors have found a way to use body attachments to harass debtors.

Body Attachment Abused

A debt collector cannot threaten to throw a person in jail. However, debt collectors have been able to use body attachments to do just that. For example, they might get a judgment against a debtor. The collector can then summon the debtor to court. However, the debt collector will then summon the debtor to many, frequent hearings, or worse, they might even fail to notify the debtor of the hearing. As a result, the debtor misses their appointment, and the court issues a body attachment. The debtor then ends up in jail and often pays much more than he or she owes in bail money. If they don’t pay the bail money, they must sit in jail until the court date.

A Bankruptcy Filing Ends the Abuse

When you file for bankruptcy, debt collectors can no longer directly contact you. They must always go to your Minnesota bankruptcy attorney. In other words, when you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you have an advocate to stand up for your rights. If you’re being harassed and abused by debt collectors, call the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We’ll end their unwarranted abuse and work diligently to protect your legal rights.

Is Bankruptcy the Easy Way Out?

Has anyone made you feel that by filing for bankruptcy you are taking the easy way out? That judgmental attitude is not only incorrect, it can be harmful if it keeps you from getting the help you need. Bankruptcy is not a trivial thing. It can be a complex process that requires the skill of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. On top of that, bankruptcy can have serious consequences if it is not done right. For many people, however, it is the only choice they have.

Repercussions
Bankruptcy can have serious effects on your credit score. If you file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the bankruptcy may stay on your credit report for 5 to 7 years. You may need to disclose that you filed for bankruptcy when you apply for credit. Not only that, but can it turn up if you rent a house or apartment, get a cell phone, or apply for car insurance. With these possibilities, it is inaccurate to characterize bankruptcy as being an easy way out.

The Only Way Out
Through no fault of their own, people find themselves in bad financial situations. A job loss or sickness – they find themselves choosing between food and debt payments. They realize they will never pay off all their debts. For these people, bankruptcy is the only way out.

Get the Help You Need
At Behm Law Group, we understand that no one wants to file for bankruptcy. We’ll never make you feel like you’re taking the easy way out. We’ll treat you with the respect you deserve. Stephen Behm has the extensive experience, knowledge, and skill to guide you through the bankruptcy process with as little disruption to your life as possible. Contact us today to obtain the best results when you need to file a chapter 7, 12, or 13 bankruptcy.

Experience and Sensitivity Needed

When you hire a bankruptcy attorney, you are putting your financial future into that person’s hands. Not only that, but you will be required to show that person all of your finances. If you’re like many people, your finances are deeply personal and sometimes embarrassing. For those reasons, you want to make sure that you pick an attorney with both the experience and sensitivity to help and treat you with understanding.

Experience
If your attorney does not manage your case properly, you can lose your rights and property. Because bankruptcy can be a nuanced, detail-oriented and complex proceeding, you need to hire an attorney with the experience to handle your case the right way. At Behm Law Group, we limit our practice to bankruptcy law. That means that we can handle your bankruptcy case, no matter how complex.

Sensitivity
Have you heard the old adage, never lie to your lawyer? When you file for bankruptcy, you will have to show your attorney all of your finances: every debt, savings and checking accounts, stock accounts, and more. You will have to show your bankruptcy lawyer a list of all your assets. Every part of your financial record will be laid bare. The kind of trust to give to a lawyer is difficult, but necessary. That is why you need to find an attorney who is understanding and will treat you with respect.

Attorneys You Can Trust
At Behm Law Group, you will find the combination of experience and sensitivity that you need. Not only are we leaders in our field, we will treat you with the compassion and understanding you deserve!

Payday Loan Predators

When they hunt, predators don’t look for strong or healthy prey — they seek out easy, unsuspecting victims. This is true both in the animal world and in the financial world. When times get tough, unscrupulous lenders promise easy money in the form of payday loans to people who are in trouble. A payday loan might seem like an easy short-term solution. However, it will give a financial predator an opportunity to sink its teeth into you, and you will be in worse trouble than before.

A payday loan is easy to get. All you usually have to do is show the lender your pay stubs to prove you have an income. Payday loans, though, often come with extremely high fees, sometimes up to 30% of the loan. For example, say your paycheck is $1,500, and you borrow $300. When you get paid again, the lender takes back the $300 plus a fee of up to $90 so that only $1,110 remains. Most likely, that $390 shortfall will leave you with not enough money to pay for all of your expenses. Therefore, you are forced to go back to the payday lender and get another loan, and your debts can quickly spiral out of control.

If you are in financial trouble, don’t go to a predator. Find someone who wants to help you, such as a financial counselor. Sometimes, though, not even a financial counselor can help, and you need the services of an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy attorney. Unlike the payday loan predators, a bankruptcy lawyer can help put an end to the cycle of borrowing and debt. At Behm Law Group, we specialize in assisting people through their financial troubles. Bankruptcy is our specialty, customer service is our passion. Give us a call and see how we can help.

Are All Debts Discharged After a Bankruptcy?

When faced with crushing debt and no light at the end of the financial crisis tunnel, many folks turn to bankruptcy in order to protect themselves from over-zealous creditors, collection agencies, and the possibility of being sued. While many types of debt can be discharged during a bankruptcy, the slate may not be totally wiped clean when it comes to debt.

There are certain types of tax debt that cannot be discharged during a bankruptcy. In spite of the fact a tax debt may feel beyond your means to repay, bankruptcy may not erase that debt. Another required payment that cannot be discharged is child or spousal support. When you have been determined as legally obliged to make these payments, a bankruptcy cannot remove that obligation. Student loan debt can add a serious amount of stress to a financial predicament, but in many cases that debt cannot be discharged through a bankruptcy.

Another area which can provide severe difficulty during a personal financial crisis is any type of debt that a person has sustained as the result of damages they have been ordered to pay, resulting from an injury they were judged to have caused. If a judgment was reached against you, and damages were awarded to another party as a direct result of your actions, that debt cannot be discharged through a bankruptcy proceeding.

While many of the previous reasons why a debt may not be discharged sound solid, there can be other factors which require consideration before a determination can be rightfully reached regarding a particular type of debt. These types of debt can be quite complicated and require the skills of a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you are contemplating bankruptcy and wondering if you have a debt that you may not be able to have discharged, give us a call at Behm Law Group and we can help you sort through you options and provide the best results obtainable regarding your case.

Have You Had Enough?

You’ve suffered a financial crisis and there’s much more worry and uncertainty than money. The collection agencies call every day, especially at the wrong times. The phone begins to ring soon after you wake up, or after you come home from work, or while you are eating your dinner, and often the calls don’t stop when it’s bedtime. They even call you at your place of employment. But not only are they calling you, they’re calling your friends and relatives as well. Your mailbox is stuffed daily with threatening letters. They make you feel like a freeloader or a dishonest loser. They harass you as much as they feel is legally possible. However, they may be actually breaking the law in doing so. Have you had enough?

When collections against you get this bad it’s time to act and protect your rights. When you file for bankruptcy relief, your creditors can no longer harass you. The annoying phone calls and threatening letters stop. This relief occurs when your bankruptcy attorney files a bankruptcy petition on your behalf. A bankruptcy petition is your official application to declare bankruptcy. After your attorney files the bankruptcy petition, your creditors are only allowed to communicate directly with your attorney. If they happen to call you before they receive official notice of your bankruptcy filing, you are entitled to inform them you have filed and you may direct them to contact your attorney. Any further direct communication with you from that point on is illegal and your creditors can be liable for damages and attorney’s fees.

How much harassment can you take? How much is enough? Have you done your best but feel you are out of options? You don’t have to take it any longer. Our trained and highly experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Behm Law Group have helped hundreds of people like you. We help stop the harassment and we can help you get a fresh start. Protect your rights, protect your future, and protect yourself. If you are tired of the harassment, give us a call.

Will Bankruptcy Destroy My Credit Score Forever?

If you are in financial distress and considering filing for bankruptcy, you are no doubt wondering what bankruptcy will do to your credit score. Will it permanently damage your credit score? How long will the bankruptcy stay on your credit report? Can you ever be free from the black mark of bankruptcy? If you are wondering how bankruptcy will affect you, there’s good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news first.

Bad News

Filing bankruptcy is not something you should take lightly. Bankruptcy will negatively affect your credit score. However, one who needs to file for bankruptcy relief may already have bad credit. Bankruptcy will not make a credit score worse, in such a case, than it already is. Bankruptcy can stay on your credit report anywhere from one to ten years. That mark may influence the decisions creditors make about you as long as the bankruptcy shows up on your credit report. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, your Minnesota bankruptcy attorney will tell you how bankruptcy will affect your credit score.

Good News

Though it’s true that bankruptcy can hurt your credit score, it isn’t something you cannot recover from. After you file for bankruptcy, you will be in a better position to start rebuilding your credit. And even with a bankruptcy on your record, with good financial habits, you can re-establish yourself as a good credit risk. That means you can eventually be able to get a credit card, a car loan, or even purchase a home. Bankruptcy isn’t the end of your financial life. In fact, it can be a new beginning.

Starting Over

At Behm Law Group, we limit our practice to bankruptcy law, which means we specialize in helping people just like you. If you need a new start, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Can Bankruptcy Keep Me From Buying a House?

After the mortgage crisis of a few years ago, it is more difficult for people to obtain a home loan. This is especially true for people with credit issues. So if you aren’t a home owner and are considering filing for bankruptcy, you might be concerned about your chances of buying your own home. Though having a bankruptcy on your credit report might be a set back, it is not something that can keep you from ever owning a home.

Unfortunately, many lenders will not give someone a loan for two or three years after they’ve filed for bankruptcy. However, think of this as an opportunity. After the financial relief that bankruptcy offers, you will be in a much better financial position. You can take advantage of the two-year waiting period to rebuild your credit. You can also use that time to save money for a down payment on your home loan. A good down payment can help increase your chances of getting approved for a home loan and may even get you a better loan rate. On top of that, having a down payment means you will start off with equity in your new home, which will make it easier to resell, if that is what you want to do.

Filing for bankruptcy, while serious, is not the end of the world. It does not mean the end of your dreams, even the dream of owning a home. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call us. At Behm Law Group, our attorneys specialize in helping people just like you get back on track to achieving their dreams.

When You Can’t Afford Your Payments

You’ve heard it stated time and time again until it repeatedly drones in your head like a mantra; just make a budget and live within your means. At Behm Law Group we agree that everyone should live within their means and that keeping a budget makes financial sense. It sounds simple enough – just spend less than you make. But for some folks, through no fault of their own, it isn’t just that simple. What do you do when you add up all of your expenses and find your income is simply not enough? How do you decide between paying a bill, buying groceries, or getting a prescription refilled? Who can you turn to when an unexpected medical situation puts your thousands of dollars into debt? These are serious problems, but there are options you can pursue if you find yourself in these situations.

There are organizations that can negotiate with your creditors to reduce your payments and interest. However, you have to be careful that the organization you choose is legitimate. Also, depending on the amount of money you owe, the newly negotiated terms might still be more than you can afford, assuming that your creditors are willing to negotiate. While this option works for some people, it isn’t for everyone.

Another option is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy might be the last thing you want to do but the only viable option available to help you emerge from beneath a mountain of debt. At Behm Law Group we understand that bankruptcy is not something you should enter into lightly. However, bankruptcy law was created for people such as yourself―people in a bad situation who need a fresh start.

No matter how frugally you live, your bills can still overwhelm you. Getting out of your financial distress is not as simple as repeating a mantra. Sometimes you need help from someone who cares. At Behm Law Group, LTD, we limit our practice to bankruptcy law. Our Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys will treat you with the respect you deserve.

The Dangers of Filing Pro Se

We live in a do-it-yourself society. You can find information on the Internet for doing everything from changing your engine oil to playing a jazz riff on the piano. However, there are some things you probably don’t want to do yourself—things only an expert should do. Unless you’ve been trained and have the right tools, you wouldn’t replace the transmission on your car. You definitely wouldn’t want to pull your own wisdom teeth. Likewise, just because do-it-yourself information and kits are available doesn’t mean filing for bankruptcy is something you should attempt on your own. If you file and proceed through bankruptcy without an attorney, you will be attempting to wade through the legal process on your own behalf, known in legal terms as Pro Se.

Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process. There are many legal hoops to jump through and pitfalls to avoid as you maneuver through the process. If you don’t do everything absolutely correctly, you can lose your rights, your property, or even have your case dismissed. Do you know with absolute certainty if you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? Do you know if you passed the means tests for Chapter 7? Have you completed the pre-filing credit counseling? Are you aware of the things you can or cannot do before or during a bankruptcy that can create additional legal problems?

Why try and go it alone through the legal system when a bankruptcy lawyer can help you avoid actions that will get you in trouble or even land you in jail. As your representative throughout the entire process, Behm Law Group will ensure that you have completed all the necessary steps to navigate and finish the bankruptcy successfully.

While filing Pro Se might seem like a way to save some cash, it is not worth it. Instead of going Pro Se just go with the proven professionals. At Behm Law Group we limit our practice strictly to bankruptcy law. It is stressful enough to be in financial distress. You don’t need the added stress of filing on your own and representing yourself. You can rely on Behm Law Group to make your filing successful and as stress-free as possible.