Let Henry, DeGraaff & McCormick Help!
We have comprehensive solutions for our clients’ debt problems and always look for our client’s interests first. We know the law and keep abreast of all new developments. Since bankruptcy is constantly changing due to new law changes implemented in 2005, you need an attorney who focuses in this area and has not just graduated from law school. Bankruptcy is more than filling out schedules and listing your debts, especially if you have assets to protect.
We also have comprehensive attorney fee contracts, with no hidden fees. Even if you are convinced you do not have the funds to hire an attorney, we have strategies to help our clients pay our fee.
We support our clients through the bankruptcy process and after their bankruptcy is completed. Part of that mission is to assist clients with their post-filing credit improvement through tools, advice, and suggestions to help them rebuild their credit post-bankruptcy. If you choose Henry, DeGraaff & McCormick, P.S., we strive to make your bankruptcy a distant memory to future creditors within three years, not ten. Even in this difficult credit environment, we have clients who went through a home foreclosure and a bankruptcy, yet managed to purchase a new home within three years after their discharge with a credit score above 700. Results like this will not happen for all of our clients, but we strive to do everything in our power to make your financial future as bright as possible. When you come here, you will receive personal attention from three lawyers: Christina Latta Henry, Jacob DeGraaff and Brian McCormick. Having a team of lawyers on your side makes a difference.
Credit Reporting Issues
Filing bankruptcy will not ruin your credit for ten years. Creditors can be stopped from adding negative credit information after your filing and draws a line in the sand, allowing only new credit information on your credit report. Any 90 day late payment to a creditor will remain on your credit for seven years and affect your credit score. Any payment to a credit card in collection or settlement of a collection account will create a new event that negatively impacts your credit for an additional seven years after payment. A foreclosure or short sale will also stay on your credit report for seven years. If you have a 2nd mortgage and/or delinquent credit cards and other debt outstanding after a foreclosure or short sale your efforts to pay may create more harm to your credit score than a bankruptcy combined with a foreclosure or short sale.
Stopping Garnishments & Debt
Tax debt, student loans, property taxes, child support, or alimony doesn’t go away by filing, but there are many things we can do legally to prioritize those debts over other liabilities that are dischargeable. For taxes, bankruptcy may reduce or eliminate penalties and in some cases allow those taxes to be discharged if they are more than three years old. For student loans, bankruptcy can force a reasonable payment on an unreasonable student loan lender and in rare cases even discharge your liability. Garnishments for child support, lawsuits and student loan defaults can also be stopped with a bankruptcy filing. Even if the debt must be paid, a bankruptcy can provide a reasonable plan for repayment with terms the court decides, depending on your income and expenses.
Protecting Assets & Eliminating Debt
Bankruptcy will not force you to sell your house, your car and all of your property. But it will help you eliminate (“i.e. discharge”) your unsecured debt and manage your secured debt while protecting your valuable assets from creditors.
Bankruptcy = Possible Loan Modification
Many consumers will not qualify for a home loan modification if they have significant debt in addition to their home mortgage. Your lender will take payments to credit cards and other loans into consideration when determining whether or not you are a good risk on a loan modification. Many of our clients have only obtained loan modifications after obtaining a bankruptcy discharge of their unsecured debt.
Should I File Even If I’m Current On My Debts? Do I Qualify?
If you have more unsecured debt than you can reasonably eliminate in five years, you should consider a bankruptcy, even if you are current on all of your obligations. Depending on your income, you may have to pay a portion of that unsecured debt over a five year re-payment plan, but your interest rate will be 0% and you will be debt free in five years. If you are current on all your credit obligations, it may seem unreasonable to consider bankruptcy when you will take a severe credit score hit. However, consider whether tarnished credit is worth it if you can start paying into a 401K retirement plan, retire by 65, save for college expenses, afford health care insurance for your family, or eventually buy a house. The five year sacrifice of a bankruptcy may be more beneficial to your long term financial goals than an indignant desire to pay off all of your debts.