Student Loan Debt

Student Loan Debt

Don’t Let The Burden Of Student Loans Hold You Back. I Can Help.

A college, technical, graduate or professional degree is an accomplishment that opens doors to career opportunities and many benefits. For many students today, the cost of obtaining higher education feels like it outweighs the advantages. Dealing with student loan debt is tough, and collection activities can be debilitating.

Hammond & Hammond, P.C., can help you take control of your finances. With more than 20 years of experience, I am a lawyer who knows how to use the personal bankruptcy process to help you obtain relief and get on with your life. Contact my law office in Jonesboro, Georgia, at 770-603-6572 to schedule a free consultation.

Bankruptcy Provides Big Picture Debt Relief From Student Loans

In general, student loan debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is a limited exception for those who can prove that the payments create an undue hardship, but the standard is extremely difficult to meet. This does not mean that you are out of debt relief options.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be an extremely effective tool for relief from burdensome student loans. The Chapter 13 process allows you to reorganize your debts into an affordable payment plan lasting three to five years. The plan not only takes into account your student loan debt, but any other liabilities as well.

Through the bankruptcy process, I can help you:

  • Prevent or stop garnishment of your wages or bank accounts
  • Stop creditor calls and collection activities
  • Exit bankruptcy in a financial position that makes paying student loans manageable
  • Start rebuilding your credit

Are You Ready For Relief From Student Loan Debt? Contact My Law Firm Today.

Do not wait another day to get relief from your student loan debt. Schedule your free initial consultation with me, attorney Allen Hammond. Contact my law firm at 770-603-6572, send us your information or simply stop by our office.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Life After Bankruptcy

Life After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Helps You End The Debt Cycle And Start Over

“Bankruptcy can give you a fresh financial start.” It is a message that is often repeated. It is done so because it is simply true. Some of the most financially successful people at one time filed for bankruptcy. Examples include Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company; H.J. Heinz, the founder of the Heinz brand; Milton Hershey, the founder of The Hershey Company; and even Donald Trump.

At Hammond & Hammond, P.C., we help consumers like you obtain meaningful debt relief through bankruptcy so that you can simply move on with your life. I have been a practicing bankruptcy lawyer since 1992. There is no debt issue I cannot handle. My law office is located in Jonesboro, Georgia, but I provide service throughout the South Atlanta Metro.

What Are A Few Tips For Life After Bankruptcy?

At my bankruptcy law firm, representation does not end with filing for bankruptcy. While I cannot promise wealth, such as the individuals above, I can help advise you on actions that you can take to establish financial security. Some financial tips include:

  • Rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy. Eliminating your debt through bankruptcy can increase your ability to repair your credit.
  • Investing in your own future. Spending money is not a bad thing. Spending it wisely, on furthering education, planning for retirement and a number of other ventures can make the difference.
  • Increasing your savings. Putting any extra money toward savings, even small amounts, can help you prepare for unexpected events.
  • Make purchase decisions carefully. It is very easy to purchase things we don’t need. When you want to make a large purchase, sleep on it. The extra time can help you weigh the pros and cons of the purchase.

Are You Struggling With Debt? Contact My Law Firm Today.

Call my law office at 770-603-6572 or send me your information online. I offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss your options for relief with an experienced attorney.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Bankruptcy Myths

Bankruptcy Myths

Don’t Let Misinformation Prevent You From Getting Your Fresh Start

Hammond & Hammond, P.C., is a law firm in Jonesboro that is devoted to helping people find meaningful relief from debt through bankruptcy. Over the past 20-plus years, I have helped thousands of consumers resolve very challenging debt problems in Georgia. Almost nothing could take me by surprise, but there is one problem that is extremely frustrating not only for me, attorney Allen Hammond, but also for any other bankruptcy lawyer.

During my career, I have seen a number of individuals forego seeking the debt relief that they need based on misinformation. Don’t let myths about bankruptcy prevent you from getting a fresh financial start.

Let me answer a few common questions about the bankruptcy process.

  • Will I lose everything? Exemption schedules allow you to keep many of your assets, including personal property such as jewelry and household items, public assistance benefits, wages, and pensions and retirement accounts. There is even a wildcard exemption for miscellaneous property.
  • Can I keep my house? There are certain rules that apply, but many people are able to retain ownership of their home.
  • Can I keep my car? Again, certain rules apply, but many people are able to keep their vehicle.
  • Can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy more than once? You will have to wait eight years after the last filing, but you can file under Chapter 7 more than once.
  • Can I file for Chapter 13 even if I have already filed under Chapter 7? Some rules apply, but a Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not prevent you from seeking relief under Chapter 7.
  • Will bankruptcy ruin my credit? Bankruptcy is reported on your credit history, but it is only one factor in the determination of your score. Eliminating your debt through bankruptcy can actually put you in a better position to rebuild your credit.

These are intended only as general answers and not legal advice based on your individual circumstances. You should always have a lawyer to guide you.

Do You Have Questions About Bankruptcy? Let Me Answer Them.

Contact my law firm to schedule a free initial consultation. You won’t have to wait days to sit down with me. I will meet with you as soon as possible. Call my office at 770-603-6572. You can also send me your information online and I will call you.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Until debt do us part? Understanding debt obligations when one spouse files for bankruptcy

Until debt do us part? Understanding debt obligations when one spouse files for bankruptcy

On your wedding day, you and your spouse promised that two individuals would become one in the bond of matrimony. Although you have remained unified as a couple, your spouse may now be seeking to break the bond of repayment to a creditor. Should your spouse file for bankruptcy, which assets are considered “fair game” to trustees?

If you are not declaring bankruptcy, there are facts you should know to help you maintain your credit score and retain your possessions.

Equitable division state

When considering the division of a couple’s assets, the courts first focus on the state of residence. In the United States, states either recognize community property or equitable distribution of assets. Community property procedure recognizes that ownership of marital property is equal even if only one spouse’s name appears on the property title. Georgia uses the guidelines of equitable division to determine ownership. If only one spouse were to file for bankruptcy, the assets under her name would be impacted.

How assets are impacted

In states that follow the rule of equitable distribution of assets, bankruptcy trustees could not touch the property under the name of the spouse not filing for bankruptcy. If both spouses had their names on a home or car title, a trustee would have to try to separate the property to reflect the portion owned by the spouse declaring bankruptcy. Should the situation arise in which the property cannot be separated, the trustee would need to show that selling the property has more financial benefits than drawbacks for the property owners.

Future financial status

Typically, the financial status of the spouse not filing for bankruptcy will not be impacted. If credit cards accounts did not have a joint status, the only spouse responsible for the credit card debt is the one whose name is on the account.

Individuals who file for bankruptcy will find that there are different benefits and drawbacks to protecting their spouse’s assets under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. It is recommended that those considering discharging their debts through bankruptcy contact a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that their spouse’s best interests are protected.

Could bankruptcy actually help your credit?

Could bankruptcy actually help your credit?

One of the biggest hurdles for many people to overcome when they are considering filing for bankruptcy is the thought that their credit score will be hurt. While this might be true in the short term, the long-term effect is often much more positive.

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Georgia, it is likely that your credit score is already suffering due to high balances and late payments on credit cards or other bills. It may be hard to break out of the debt spiral without taking some kind of action — action such as a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

A bankruptcy filing will stay on your credit report for a considerable amount of time: Chapter 13 for seven years, and Chapter 7 for 10 years. However, the further away you get from your bankruptcy, the less impact it will have on your credit. In fact, there are multiple factors that influence your credit score that you have more control over. These include, among others:

  • The age of your credit accounts
  • Your debt-to-asset ratio
  • Monitoring your credit report to have errors and misinformation removed
  • Maintaining “good debt,” or accounts on which you are in good standing

It only takes a few bad choices to end up with a poor credit score, but rebuilding your credit takes time and knowledge. A good place to find out more about how to ease your debt burden and work toward a fresh financial start is by speaking with an experienced South Metro bankruptcy attorney.

Can I discharge tax debt through bankruptcy?

Can I discharge tax debt through bankruptcy?

Do you owe a considerable amount in taxes? If so, you may be wondering if you can discharge your tax debt through bankruptcy. If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to eliminate some of the taxes you owe through the process. However, you need to understand what type of tax debt you can discharge under Chapter 7 protection.

Tax debt that is eligible for discharge

Whether or not you can discharge your tax debt will depend on several factors. First, the law only allows income tax debt to be discharged. You cannot discharge employment taxes, such as payroll taxes, or penalties associated with fraud.

Second, you must have filed a tax return at least two years before you filed for bankruptcy. The tax return must have been legitimate, and you must not have willfully attempted to defraud the IRS or evade your tax obligations.

Other factors that apply have to do with the amount of time you have owed taxes and when they were assessed. The tax debt you owe must be from a return you filed at least three years before you filed for bankruptcy, and the taxes must have been assessed at least 240 days before you filed for bankruptcy (some exceptions apply).

Tax debt you cannot discharge

As stated, the law only applies to income tax and does not include other types of taxes, such as withholding taxes, liens and certain penalties. If you have a tax lien on your property from before your bankruptcy filing, you will have to pay off the lien to clear the title before being able to sell your property.

You will also be responsible for any penalties you incurred on tax debt that is not eligible for discharge. Finally, you cannot discharge debt from erroneous or unfiled tax returns, nor can you discharge trust fund taxes.

What can I do about my tax debt situation?

Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides some protection for those who owe income tax, determining how best to proceed can be daunting unless you have extensive knowledge of the process as it relates to taxes. For this reason, it may be in your best interests to consult with an experienced professional. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can explain your options, determine how much of your tax debt is eligible for discharge and work with you throughout the process so that you can find relief.

Which is better: Filing bankruptcy or doing nothing?

Which is better: Filing bankruptcy or doing nothing?

Although it’s true that bankruptcy does wreak havoc on your credit score and can prevent you from obtaining loans for a period of time, you should know that doing nothing is oftentimes considered far worse than filing bankruptcy. Here’s why:

Wage garnishment. If you fall behind in payments on your debts and take no action or speak with your creditor about solutions, your creditors may file a lawsuit against you to collect on your debt. If the court rules in favor of your creditors, then a judgment will be filed against you, which allows a creditor to garnish your paychecks.

You may be able to stop wage garnishment before it occurs if you take the right legal actions and are eligible to do so. Otherwise, filing bankruptcy can put a stay on garnishments, giving you time to assess your situation and make informed decisions about what to do next.

Vehicle repossession. If you fail to make a payment on your loan for a vehicle, but do not negotiate with your lender for reduced payments or a different payment schedule, then your lender may decide to repossess your vehicle. They might even do so without giving you notice or sell your contract to a third party, explains the Consumer Trade Commission.

Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file and your loan status, bankruptcy may be able to help you keep your vehicle or, at the very least, buy you time to find another form of transportation.

Foreclosure. Falling behind in your mortgage payments can lead a bank or financial institution to send you a notice of intent to foreclose. If you do not respond to the notice by disputing the claim or curing the default, then your lender can move onto the next steps, which can eventually lead to foreclosure and the sale of your home.

Prior to a foreclosure sale, a petition for bankruptcy will halt foreclosure proceedings from advancing, potentially giving you time to come up with money to make your payments current or make other arrangements with your lender.

Which is better: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

Which is better: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

The most prominent among these is the two most common forms of consumer bankruptcy, not just in Georgia but around the nation: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. While each one has its benefits, multiple factors can play into which path individuals end up taking. The answer to the question “Which option is best for me?” is going to have a different answer for everyone.

While both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have features in common — most importantly, a discharge of debt at the end of the process — the machinery behind each of them is significantly different.

One obvious difference is the length of time each one takes. Under Chapter 13, people who file enter into a payment plan to pay back a portion of what they owe. This plan usually takes 36 to 60 months, or three to five years, with payments due every month, and those who file generally keep their assets. By contrast, those who file for Chapter 7 often have some of their assets sold in order to pay immediately toward their debts. It takes considerably less time to emerge from bankruptcy, however.

In many cases, the best way to figure out how your bankruptcy might be handled is to speak with an experienced Georgia attorney about your situation.

Are Medical Bills Dischargeable In Bankruptcy?

Are Medical Bills Dischargeable In Bankruptcy?

Before you file bankruptcy, it’s important to evaluate all of the options available to you. Those options may include Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy and debt consolidation.

Here is an overview of how those three options work:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers 100 percent discharge of medical debts if you are eligible. It also allows you to discharge other types of debt such as credit card debt.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reduce your outstanding debts to an amount you can afford to repay over a three- to five-year period. Any debt remaining at the end of your payment plan would be discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a good option if you are not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you have assets you would lose in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
  • Debt consolidation may be an option for some people who do not wish to file bankruptcy. However, debt consolidation or negotiation may be costly and not offer the relief you need. Any debt that is forgiven would be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service.

Before you take any actions, it’s important to discuss all your options with an experienced attorney. An option that works for one person may not be the best option for another. Hammond & Hammond, P.C. in Jonesboro offers a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.

Will I lose my Home in Chapter 7?

Worried about losing your home? It may not happen in Chapter 7

Most people make an effort to manage their debt by making regular, on-time payments. But as you know, the sudden loss of a job or an unexpected injury or serious illness can wreak havoc on these carefully laid plans. What was once a manageable situation may quickly grow out of control, leaving you worried about your financial future and your family home.

In many cases, bankruptcy can be your best solution to debt problems. But, a lot of people are scared of bankruptcy because they’ve heard they could lose their home and other assets. In reality, this rarely happens. And in some cases, you may be able to keep your home.

Filing bankruptcy and keeping your home

Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as  “liquidation bankruptcy.”  Chapter 7 discharges debts and, in exchange, debtors can be required to sell some property to pay back their creditors. Because your home is typically your biggest asset, it’s easy to see why you’d be concerned about having to sell it to pay back creditors. But if you’ve kept up on your payments and depending on your home’s equity, you may be able to write your home off as an exemption.

Bankruptcy and the homestead exemption

Determining whether or not your home is exempt in bankruptcy, meaning it does not need to be sold to pay back creditors, depends on your home’s equity. Equity is the fair market price for your home less the balance of your mortgage or home equity loans, explains an article for FindLaw. If your home’s equity falls below Georgia’s exemption limit and you are up to date on your payments, you may be able to keep your home.

Even though Chapter 7 may not be the best option for you if you’re facing foreclosure, there are other ways to resolve this problem, which you can talk to an attorney about.

Contact a lawyer and know your options

It’s important not to let the fear of losing your home to bankruptcy stop you from getting relief from your debt. In many cases, filing bankruptcy is the best option. For some, it isn’t. In order to know if Chapter 7 is the right option for you, talk to a bankruptcy lawyer who can explain your options and help you choose the one that’s best for you. An attorney can also explain the homestead exemption process and whether you are eligible, which will put you in the strongest possible position after bankruptcy.