Back with a Bankruptcy
You know how that old horror story
goes -- it's 2020. Job prospects are at zero but credit card balances are far from that. Electric bills are through
the roof because of a never-ending heat wave. Landlords are patiently waiting for eviction moratoriums to expire because
people just aren't paying rent.
For some, unemployment provides brief but necessary respite from
creditors. But what happens when jobs come back, and unemployment benefits disappear without taking all of those bills
It is time to bury bankruptcy
taboo, for good. Long, long gone are the days of "debtor's prisons" and "poorhouses" -- mechanisms
for shaming people who could not pay their bills. United States bankruptcy laws were enacted to eliminate those methods
and protect those who are earning, and spending, but had a run of bad luck -- a medical issue; a divorce; a business venture
that did not work out; a pandemic.
We, as Californians, have had little control over what happened to us, and our state, this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic laughed at our collective efforts to work hard and earn income, and the recent fires (among other culprits)
have destroyed homes and businesses across our beautiful state.
None of this was your fault.
You worked hard, you filled out the paperwork, you hunkered down and tried to figure out what to do next. What you can
do now, though, is think about seeking federal bankruptcy protections, which the United States Constitution instructs Congress
to enact for this very reason.
It is time to realize that a bankruptcy discharge -- not stringing
yourself along on unemployment benefits -- is the way out of this nightmare.
For when it comes to bankruptcy, "F" does not mean failure. In
bankruptcy, "F" means Fresh Start.
In a typical Chapter 7
bankruptcy, unsecured debts -- such as credit card debt -- are discharged. In other words, personal obligations to repay
those unsecured debts are removed. If relocation (due to non-payment of rent or mortgage) is required, bankruptcy protections
may include a homestead exemption that may be applied to a new home for you and your family. In this way, a fresh start
in bankruptcy feels like fresh sheets -- a clean break from last week, last month, or even last year
My office provides free half hour, virtual consultations, during
which we consider a potential client's assets and liabilities to see if bankruptcy is a viable option. If it is, a bankruptcy
attorney will work to assist in every step of the bankruptcy process -- which typically lasts for just a few months. That
means, by early 2021, you could wake up from this nightmare with something unemployment benefits are hard-pressed to provide
-- a "reset" button on your finances.
Start the next decade with no debt. We can only go up from here.
Leah Michele Kaufman, Esq. is a Bankruptcy and business litigation
attorney at Kaufman & Kaufman in Santa Ana, California. She practices with her father and mentor, Leslie Keith Kaufman,
Disclaimer. The content of this
article is not legal advice, nor legal opinion, and should not be relied upon for individual situations. Legal counsel should
be consulted for legal planning and advice. No lawyer-client relationship with Kaufman & Kaufman will be formed, and no
information you want to keep confidential should be disclosed - through e-mail links or otherwise - to Kaufman & Kaufman,
until the firm has conducted a "conflicts check" and you and the firm have signed a retainer agreement or an engagement
Kaufman & Kaufman is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy
relief under the Bankruptcy Code, in the Central District of California. Kaufman & Kaufman does not practice or offer
legal services in jurisdictions where firm lawyers are not licensed.
Questions about this article
should be directed to Kaufman & Kaufman in writing.
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