Understanding Assignment and Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

Businesses struggling with unmanageable debts have a range of options for debt relief at their hands. While debt consolidation and debt management plans are popular options that’ll keep a debtor’s overall credit in good standings, there are often situations when these debt relief options only act a bandage instead of a true healing process. When you’re unable to pay your debts and don’t have any way of increasing your income in the next few years, filing for bankruptcy is your best option. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the legal advice and assistance you need to successfully file for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

 

Bankruptcy is designed to help both debtors and creditors out of a sticky situation, but some creditors may try to dissuade you from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and instead liquidate your business outside of court with an assignment process.

 

ABC

 

Assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC) is an option for business debtors to privately sell assets and return the value of those sales to creditors. When creditors are awarded these sales, they’ll release debtors from payment obligations. This option might be a way to avoid attorney fees and court proceedings, but the process overall is more beneficial to your creditors than to you.

 

Why is Bankruptcy Better?

 

Filing for bankruptcy, despite its effect on your credit, is a better option for business debtors than ABC for a number of reasons:

  1. In bankruptcy, creditors are forced to allow asset liquidation for all dischargeable debts, but in an ABC, they can choose to forgo approval of discharge on debts higher than the secured collateral value. For example, if you owe $5,000 on an auto loan, but the car is only worth $4,500, the creditor would not have to discharge the debt in an ABC.
  2. Unincorporated businesses are not protected during an ABC against creditors seizing the business owners’ personal assets. This means you could be forced to liquidate your personal car or other property in an ABC. In bankruptcy, however, the debts and the assets of incorporated and unincorporated businesses are generally not involved with the liquidation of one’s personal property.
  3. Personal collateral guarantees and other forms of personal security interests on business debts are not removed in an ABC as they would be in bankruptcy. This means if your property was used to secure a loan, creditors can force you to liquidate that property even if it’s not connected to your business in other ways. Bankruptcy allows for exemptions to prevent you from losing your property even if it’s tied to your business debt.

 

ABCs have their benefits, but most of those benefits inure to your creditors. Filing a bankruptcy is the most effective way to remove debt with minimized liability to you and your property. To learn more about the advantages of filing for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN and to find out how we can help, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

 

Handling a Rental Property When Filing for Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

When filing for bankruptcy, you’ll have to take all your property into consideration. Your home, car, and even expensive jewelry are part of your bankruptcy estate and will be handled according to the exemptions you can claim, the equity in your property, and any additional claims your creditors make. Whether you file for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy or Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, there is a possibility that you might not be able to retain all of your property in the process. With the professional guidance of Behm Law Group, Ltd. attorneys, you can find the optimal solutions to resolving property issues and protecting your property when  filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN.

One of the biggest concerns for homeowners filing for bankruptcy is whether or not they’ll lose their home in the process. That’s where the homestead exemption comes into play, protecting most homes from liquidation during Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Because debts are restructured in a Chapter 13 case, homeowners generally don’t have to worry about losing their homes in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

However, there are cases where a filer owns multiple rental properties in addition to one’s principle residence. The homestead exemption you can use to protect your primary residence isn’t applicable to rental properties, so it can be more difficult to keep rental properties when filing for bankruptcy.

Rental Property in Chapter 7

If you have equity on your rental property and its value is higher than the debt you owe, you probably want to hang onto that property. To try and protect your rental property from liquidation during the Chapter 7 filing process, you have to assert an exemption claim. Because you can’t use the homestead exemption, your only choices include a portion of the un-used federal homestead exemption (up to $11,850) and the federal wildcard exemption (adding another $1,250). In Minnesota people can elect to utilize either the state or the federal exemptions, so it’s possible you can protect some value in your rental property depending on its worth versus how much debt is against it. If the value of your rental property is less than the debt against, the trustee will not attempt to liquidate it because the entire value is extinguished by the debt against it.  Essentially, the creditor that holds the mortgage or other secured lien has full and complete rights to it.  Generally, you can keep making mortgage payments on the rental property outside of bankruptcy.

Rental Property in Chapter 13

In Chapter 13, your property debts are reorganized with other applicable debts into a three to five year repayment plan. This means you’ll be able to keep your rental property and continue making the monthly payments on it.  However, you can only do this if there is equity or value in the rental property above the debt you owe against it and the property generates a positive income for you.  In other words, the income you receive from the rental property must exceed the associated monthly expenses (mortgage payment, utility payments, property tax payments, insurance payments, etc.). If the rental property generates negative revenue, however, you will be required to surrender it in Chapter 13. You may also be able to find options to cram down or strip liens off to keep a rental property that generates a negative cash flow.

Find Professional Help When Filing for Bankruptcy

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN and own rental property, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you work to retain that property during the bankruptcy process. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 for more information about filing for bankruptcy and how our expert bankruptcy attorneys can help you.

 

 

Judgment Liens and Handling Them With a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Fairmont, MN

Filing for bankruptcy is an option available to almost every consumer and business in the US. However, despite the layman’s access to filing for bankruptcy, the fact remains that it is a complex, highly nuanced legal process. While a debt from which a judgment lien is obtained is discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding, a judgment lien can still remain after a bankruptcy is concluded and a bankruptcy filer must take certain steps to fully remove it. This responsibility is best approached with the help of a professional. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the counsel of an expert bankruptcy lawyer in Fairmont, MN, throughout your petition.

 

What is a Judgment Lien?

 

In a state civil court case, after a judge or jury hands down a decision, or after a court-approved settlement, a judgment is entered by the court. As part of a typical judgment, the court orders the payment of money from one person to another. But the person who owes the money (the debtor) doesn’t always pay up. A judgment lien is one way to ensure that the person who won the judgment (the creditor) gets what he or she is owed. A judgment lien gives the creditor the right to be paid a certain amount of money from proceeds from the sale of a debtor’s property.

 

In Minnesota a judgment lien can attach to any real estate a person has an ownership interest in (farm, house, condominium, etc.).  A judgment lien is automatically entered against any real estate that a debtor (the person against whom the judgment has been assessed) owns in the county in which the judgment was awarded.  If the person owns property in another county, a creditor can take a judgment and docket or file it in that county at which time it becomes a judgment lien against any real estate a debtor owns in that county, too.  A judgment lien can last up to ten (10) years and it can remain a lien on a debtor’s real estate for that entire time.  A judgment lien can also be renewed for successive ten (10) year periods.  If a judgment lien is levied against someone’s real estate, any sale of the real estate can’t be completed unless the judgment lien is paid or expunged/removed.

 

Judgment Liens and Bankruptcy

A discharge obtained through bankruptcy nullifies the debt giving rise to a judgment lien.  However, a discharge does not require a judgment creditor to take affirmative steps to remove a judgment.  In other words, a creditor is not required to go to the county in which it obtained the judgment and ask the court to remove the judgment lien from a debtor’s real estate.  Thus, even after a bankruptcy has concluded, a judgment lien becomes a nuisance lien that still clouds title to a debtor’s real estate and prevents any sale of the real estate from being consummated.

 

In order to remove a judgment lien from the real estate, a debtor must, after the bankruptcy has concluded, file an application to discharge or expunge the judgment lien with the state court in which the judgment and judgment lien were obtained in the first place.  Generally, one can only do this with regard to a judgment lien on real estate that one owns and actually occupies as one’s homestead.  Minn. Stat. §548.181 is the statute that one must use to remove or discharge a judgment from real estate that one owns.  There is a specific protocol that must be followed.  Navigating the procedure and making sure it is done correctly is extremely difficult without the help of a knowledgeable, trained professional. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. and the expertise of a Behm bankruptcy lawyer in Fairmont, MN, filing for bankruptcy can be a successful experience that offers financial recovery. We can assist you with the removal of judgment liens following the completion of a bankruptcy case.  Contact us today at (507) 387-7200 today for more information.

Understanding Bad Faith Cases When Filing for Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, there are a number of ways you can prepare your financial situation before you file a bankruptcy petition that can help your case and bring about the best results for you. Many of these preparation techniques are acceptable methods for improving the possible outcome of your bankruptcy case—for example, choosing a certain time to file or avoiding certain financial obligations. However, there are instances when certain actions done before filing for bankruptcy or during a bankruptcy case can result in the dismissal of your case on the grounds of “bad faith.” Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance to help prevent a potential bad faith bankruptcy case when you’re filing for bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.

While there are legitimate means of preparing for filing for bankruptcy or altering your finances to your advantage before you file a bankruptcy case, some such techniques could be considered bankruptcy “red flags” and prompt your bankruptcy trustee to determine that your case has been filed in bad faith. When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must meet the “good faith” requirement in order to proceed. If there are aspects of your case that suggest you may be trying to take advantage of the bankruptcy system, your bankruptcy trustee or even one of your creditors could view your case as having been filed in bad faith and could ask the bankruptcy court to dismiss your case.

Examples of common actions or circumstances that could be construed as bad faith include:

  1. The filer hid certain assets, like keeping cash in a coffee jar or in a safe in one’s home, and did not disclose the cash in one’s bankruptcy petition.
  2. The filer has little to no cash flow and is not registered as being unemployed with the government (this could alert a trustee to think that there is hidden income somewhere – the trustee could conclude that you are working for cash only and not disclosing it).
  3. The filer had a job change during the bankruptcy period or recently prior to filing for bankruptcy and did not reveal an income increase to the trustee.
  4. The filer made one or more large luxury purchases prior to filing for bankruptcy (vacation expenses, electronics, and jewelry are common examples).

Another common occurrence that may lead to a dismissal for bad faith is an attempted conversion from a Chapter 13 case to a Chapter 7 case.

Chapter 7 Conversion When Filing for Bankruptcy

If a filer is in a Chapter 13 repayment plan, one may attempt to convert that case to a Chapter 7 case if one can no longer pay the monthly Chapter 13 plan payments. This can occur if the filer had a job change, experienced a temporary period where one was unemployed, or incurred unexpected large expenses. However, if the filer begins to convert a case to Chapter 7 and one’s situation improves during that time (for example, one gets a better paying job, or a family member gives one a large sum of money through inheritance or otherwise), one’s case could be dismissed for bad faith.  In short, it would be seen that one would be inappropriately trying to convert to a chapter 7 case – essentially indicating that one does not have the financial ability to make any payments to one’s creditors – from a chapter 13 case.  Given the receipt of a large sum of money from a relative or given a higher paying job, the trustee and the bankruptcy court would conclude that one would have the ability to continue making payments to one’s creditors and should, therefore, be required to stay in a chapter 13 case.

There are other examples of why your case may be dismissed for bad faith, and you can learn about all the additional circumstances that may lead to bad faith in the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal.

Find out more about filing for bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN with the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. and contact us today at (507) 387-7200.

Possible Plan Outcomes with Chapter 12 Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

The seasons of winter and spring in Minnesota are the most difficult times for farmers who support their households with income from agricultural sources. In fact, it’s a time when bankruptcies filed by family farmers spike across the country. In 1987, Chapter 12 bankruptcy was added to the bankruptcy code to help family farmers recover from extreme financial difficulties through the process of debt restructuring and debt consolidation. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance for farmers who are considering filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN.

The process of Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to that of Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, but offers specific benefits tailored to fit the financial circumstances of a family farming household. The process of Chapter 12 takes a filer’s debts and restructures them to create a new payment plan that can last 3 to 5 years. This plan requires a full repayment of priority unsecured debts, such as tax debts, and, generally, a specific percentage (0%-100%) repayment of all other debts.

The outcome of a Chapter 12 bankruptcy case can be decided in one of five ways:

  1. Converted: If your household income is low enough to pass the Means Test and you have either failed to propose a repayment plan or your proposed plan was not confirmed by the bankruptcy court, you can have your case converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation case.

 

  1. Confirmed without discharge: If your repayment plan proposal is accepted, your plan will be confirmed or approved by the bankruptcy court. Depending on the amounts you owe and the types of debts you have, you may not actually receive a discharge of your debts and you may only need the assistance of a chapter 12 bankruptcy proceeding to simply restructure or consolidate your debts.

 

  1. Confirmed with discharge: The most common outcome for approved Chapter 12 cases includes a repayment plan that is confirmed by the bankruptcy court and provides for the restructuring or consolidation of some debts and for the discharge or other debts. Debts that are often discharged in a Chapter 12 bankruptcy include medical bills and credit card debts. This is the optimal outcome of a Chapter 12 case.

 

  1. Dismissed before confirmation: If your Chapter 12 case is filed in bad faith, or if you have engaged in other fraudulent behavior either before or after your case is filed, your bankruptcy case could be dismissed before you begin the chapter 12 plan confirmation process.

 

  1. Dismissed after filing: If you engage in fraudulent behavior within the 3 to 5-year repayment plan period, your plan can be dismissed, even after you successfully get the bankruptcy court to approve or confirm your chapter 12 plan. This can result from a number of different circumstances, for example, if you hide additional income or attempt to convert your case to Chapter 7 in bad faith.

 

If you’re a local family farmer and struggling to meet debt payments and daily financial obligations, Chapter 12 bankruptcy might be a way to recover. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today for more information about filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN.

How a New Job Affects Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

If you’ve been struggling with extreme financial difficulties, bankruptcy is a way to find relief and recovery. If you have a low income or are unemployed, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to help your situation. For individuals, Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy. It’s applicable to most situations for unemployed filers, low income filers, and high debt filers. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides expert counsel if you’re considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

The most important thing to be aware of when filing for bankruptcy is that honesty counts in every aspect of your case. The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and bankruptcy trustees are highly experienced and trained in examining bankruptcy cases and detecting mistakes and fraudulent behavior. With the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney, you can more effectively lay out your financial circumstances establishing your need for Chapter 7 relief.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires you to pass the Means Test to determine if your income is too low to make debt repayments possible. If you pass this test, your income is either lower than the state median income of a similar household size or the total amount of your debt is exceedingly high.

After you’ve passed the Means Test and qualified for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you’ll begin to work through the process of discharging certain debts, exempting certain properties, and figuring out the details of your bankruptcy estate. In most cases, a filer’s job status doesn’t change during the bankruptcy process. However, there are some times during the pendency of a case when some filers have employment or other income changes.

New Income

If you have a change in employment during the pendency of your bankruptcy case, it’s likely that your income will change as well. If this happens, the best thing to do is to immediately notify your attorney. This change in income may significantly alter your case.  New income can affect your case in several ways:

  1. Your case can be converted to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and you could enter a restructured debt repayment plan that could last three to five years.
  2. If you receive income from lawsuit settlements, lottery winnings, divorce settlements or if you inherit any money or property within 180 days after your case is filed, such income could be used by the bankruptcy trustee administering your case to pay your creditors.
  3. Your case may be dismissed because of your lack of disclosure of any income changes or for other fraudulent behavior.

Other sources causing an income change are also taken into account in a Chapter 7 case, and you should be open and honest about all alterations to your financial situation. For more information about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

Understanding the Predischarge Debtor Education Requirement for Bankruptcy in Luverne, MN

Whether you file for liquidation or debt reorganization bankruptcy, it’s likely that one or more of your debts will be discharged in the process. Discharging debts in Chapter 7 serves to simultaneously relieve debtors of unmanageable financial hardship and allow fair treatment of creditors despite a lack of full repayment. In a Chapter 13 case, certain debts can be discharged through a repayment plan. Foreseeing which debts will be discharged can be difficult, and organizing your case without the help of a professional may change that outcome. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance if you choose to file for bankruptcy in Luverne, MN.

In addition to the many requirements involved in bankruptcy cases, filers who will have debts discharged must undergo predischarge debtor education before the bankruptcy process can be completed and before the bankruptcy court can issue a discharge order.

Predischarge Education

The predischarge debtor education requirement was established with the purpose of advising those who’ve fallen into debt and filed for bankruptcy on how to better manage their finances. This course is different from the credit counseling requirement which debtors must undergo prior to filing a bankruptcy petition. Instead, debtors must go through a predischarge education course after their petition is filed but before they’re granted a discharge on any debts.

The financial management education course must be provided by a court-approved agency within a forty-five day period after the meeting of the creditors. The course lasts around two hours and covers materials that teach debtors how to improve their financial situation after bankruptcy. Topics include effective budgeting practices, handling taxes sensibly, and other court-required material.

You’ll certify your fulfillment of the predischarge debtor education requirement with bankruptcy Form 423, and if you file a joint bankruptcy petition, you and your spouse must both take the course. Additionally, the agencies that provide the necessary predischarge debtor education course don’t have to follow the same non-profit regulations as credit counseling providers. This means you may have to pay a fee to take the required course.

If you’re contemplating filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to consider fees for requirements like predischarge debtor education and other milestones in your case before you begin. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers assistance at every step whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Luverne, MN. Contact us at (507) 387-7200 today for more information.

 

Repayment Plan Periods and Their Role in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN

As an individual consumer, you have two options if you choose to file for bankruptcy. You can—if your income fits the requirements of the Means Test—file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have many of your debts discharged in the process. However, if you do not pass the Means Test, your second option is to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this case, your debts are restructured into a new payment plan that better suits your financial situation. Because the process of Chapter 7 liquidates most nonexempt property and because it can be difficult to pass the Means Test, many debtors opt to file for Chapter 13. If you plan to file for bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you navigate the complexities of a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 case.

Because the conditions of each filer are unique, each Chapter 13 case is different in its own way. These differences depend largely on the types of debts a filer owes. These debts determine how a repayment plan will be structured. Another aspect of the filer’s situation that determines the repayment plan is one’s income.

Income plays a key role in determining the length of time a repayment plan period will last. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, repayment plans can last three to five years.

Three-Year Plan

Simply put, if your monthly income when you file your bankruptcy petition is lower than the median income of a Minnesota household the same size as yours, your Chapter 13 repayment plan can last either three years or up to five years. While one would most likely choose the three-year time period because one would complete one’s plan, get one’s discharge and exit bankruptcy sooner, one could voluntarily choose a time period longer than three years, but not longer than five years, if one needs a longer time period to pay off tax debts or mortgage delinquency debt.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to keep people with low incomes from continuing the same financial struggles they faced before filing for bankruptcy.

Five-Year Plan

If a three-year plan is based on income lower than the state median, the opposite determines a five-year plan. When your current monthly income is higher than the median income of a similar Minnesota household, your Chapter 13 repayment plan must be five years. The five year commitment period is mandatory.  This plan period was designed by the drafters of the bankruptcy code as a compromise regarding the debts of a higher-earning filer and the fair treatment of creditors.  The rationale is that higher-earning debtors should have the ability to pay proportionately more to their creditors than lower-earning debtors.  Additionally, the rationale is that higher-earning debtors probably incurred higher levels of debt prior to a bankruptcy filing and, therefore, they should be compelled to pay more back to their creditors.

Current Monthly Income

Your current monthly income includes all income from your wages or salary and it also includes all other sources like pensions, annuities, and tax returns. Additionally, it’s based on the income of the most current month, which may vary from your average income over the past 12 months. This means that if your income changes significantly while you are in bankruptcy, your three-year plan could be extended if you experience an income increase or your five-year plan period could possibly be shortened if you experience an income decrease.

For more information about repayment plans and filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200.

 

 

 

Risks of Filing for Bankruptcy Without a Bankruptcy Attorney in Waseca, MN

If you’re struggling to meet loan payments and bills alongside daily living expenses, bankruptcy is an option for individuals, business owners, and corporations alike. Designed to liquidate assets, discharge debts, reorganize expenses, and generally give the filer a fresh start while maintaining the fair treatment of creditors, bankruptcy in the U.S. is a process that can fix a lot more than most realize. As American citizens, our freedoms extend to self-representation in all courts of law, including the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Utilizing the counsel and support of Behm Law Group, Ltd.’s bankruptcy attorneys in Waseca, MN when filing for bankruptcy, however, can protect you from the potentially costly errors you may make through self-representation.

Representing yourself and filing your own bankruptcy petition is an option, but it can mean you’ll be taking many risks. At the very least, it can be difficult to reach optimal results in your bankruptcy case without the help of a trained professional.

Filing your own bankruptcy petition means you risk case dismissal or court prejudice and forgo the protection of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Mistakes When Filing for Bankruptcy:

Mistakes on the required paperwork are the most common reasons a case is dismissed. Gathering the necessary information about household or business income sources, debts, loans, assets, properties, and expenses can be a difficult process. Bankruptcy attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to put together a flawless petition with no room for inaccuracies. Self-representation, on the other hand, offers countless opportunities for small mistakes that may lead to case dismissal. Misrepresentation of finances can appear as fraudulent and can provide a basis for the court to reject your bankruptcy petition.

Protection When Filing for Bankruptcy:

One of the roles of a bankruptcy attorney is to provide legal protection for clients. Business or individual, all filers may be experiencing aggressive collection action from lenders. The automatic stay in a bankruptcy case halts collection action for a period of time, but some creditors may petition the bankruptcy court for the lifting or termination of the automatic stay for certain debts. If approved, those creditors can collect or repossess collateral. A bankruptcy attorney can protect a client from harassment and aggressive actions by creditors, collection agencies, debt collectors, and any other lenders before the automatic stay is lifted.

Above all, a bankruptcy attorney offers expertise, experience, knowledge, and legal protection. Forfeiting your right to attorney protection and guidance may result in a less than successful bankruptcy case.

We’ll take a critical part in creating a positive outcome for your case from beginning to end. Relieve the stress of managing your own bankruptcy case and eliminate risks of failure. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 for more information about working with an expert bankruptcy attorney in Waseca, MN.

 

 

Limitations of the Automatic Stay When You File for Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

Whether you file for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy or Chapter 13 debt reorganization bankruptcy, you benefit from the immediate action of the automatic stay as soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed. The automatic stay is a wonderful tool designed to prevent creditors from collecting on debts that may be discharged or restructured during the bankruptcy process. It also prevents collections and blocks harassment from your creditors during the period of your bankruptcy case. If you’re struggling financially, the short-term effects of the automatic stay and the long-term effects of bankruptcy as a whole might be a viable option for recovery. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers legal advice and assistance when you file for bankruptcy in Windom, MN.

The automatic stay provides a wide range of advantages (link to blog post “The Power of Automatic Stay When You File Bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN”) along with its ability to prevent your creditors from collecting debt payments during the stay period. In addition to the many ways the automatic stay can help you, however, there are some things it cannot do, including:

1. Halting certain lawsuits.

Lawsuits that affect minors (i.e. children of the parties involved) are protected against most financial proceedings, including bankruptcy. For example, the automatic stay cannot stop a lawsuit that involves paternity or child custody tests, nor can it stop a lawsuit that attempts to modify, collect, or confirm child support payments.

2. Halting certain tax requirements.

The automatic stay can’t alter or prevent IRS tax audits or issues regarding tax deficiency. Additionally, the automatic stay cannot prevent the IRS from demanding your tax returns and demanding payment for taxes owed.

3. Halting wage garnishment for pension loan repayment.

If you took out a loan from your retirement pension, the automatic stay doesn’t stop the garnishment of your income (including wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and any other sources of income) for the repayment of that loan. This is the only condition where the automatic stay is not effective in preventing wage garnishment.

4. Halting criminal sentence proceedings.

If you’re in the process of undergoing criminal proceedings involving debt, or otherwise, the automatic stay is only able to impact the conditions of your sentence that involve debt repayment. The automatic stay does not change the parts of your sentence that involve community service, therapy, jail time, or other requirements.

Despite the many advantages of the automatic stay, these situations remain unchanged during the stay period when you file for bankruptcy. Additionally, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy the previous year, the automatic stay period will end after 30 days, unless you can prove the need for an extension.

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN, and want to learn more about how the automatic stay can apply to your situation, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd., at (507) 387-7200 today for more information.