If I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where do I file my bankruptcy case?

All residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy file their case with the US Bankruptcy Court, Western Division located at 202 W. Washington St. Marquette Michigan.

Our law firm, Church and Korhonen, PC represents folks living in Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcra􀂉 counties.

We can process your case over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet. You do not need to travel to our offices in Marquette, MI to meet with an attorney or retain our firm.

There is only one time you must come to Marquette if you file for bankruptcy. It is for the 341 meeting, commonly referred to as a Meeting of the Creditors. Court rules require that a person filing for bankruptcy attend the 341 meeting in person. It is the only time your presence will be required in Marquette.

341 meetings are typically scheduled 6 weeks after you file your bankruptcy petition with the court.

If you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and are interested in learning more about your bankruptcy options, call Church and Korhonen, PC at (800)758-5611. An attorney will speak with you over the phone, at your convenience for free.

Call today.

Is there a minimum or maximum debt needed to file bankruptcy?

Many people wonder if their amount of debt is too little or too much to file bankruptcy. There are no restrictions or limitations about how much debt a person must have to  file bankruptcy.

Some people may have less than $10,000 debt living on a limited income. In this instance, filing bankruptcy may be the thing to do.

Other people may have $50,000 or more in debt with a good income. Depending on their speci c circumstances, bankruptcy may or may not be the thing to do.

If you are wondering if bankruptcy is right for you and you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, call Church and Korhonen, PC today to learn about your options.

We service clients in Sault Sainte Marie, Menominee, Calumet, Crystal City, Marquette, Escanaba, Manistique, Rapid River, Ishpeming, Gwinn and beyond.

Call me today to see if bankruptcy is right for you.

Cathy Church

(800) 758-5611

(906) 226-0001

Does filing bankruptcy wipe out past or future debt?

Some people experiencing financial hardship are also facing medical uncertainty and wonder if future medical expenses will be discharged if they file for bankruptcy now. This is a great question because it is such an important issue. The answer is simple: Filing bankruptcy wipes out, or discharges, debt that you acquired PRIOR to the date you file bankruptcy. Any debt you acquire AFTER filing WILL NOT be wiped out in the current bankruptcy case.

Here’s an example to simplify the answer:

John had open heart surgery in May 2012. His medical expenses from that surgery exceed $60,000. John has been told he will need at least one more follow up surgery sometime within the next year and that the cost of the new surgery will be $25,000. John has no insurance.

If John files bankruptcy on January 1, 2013 all of his medical expenses that he acquired BEFORE January 1, 2013 will be wiped out or discharged in his bankruptcy. His surgery expense from May 2012 will be discharged. If he has his new surgery AFTER the date he files bankruptcy, that new debt WILL NOT be wiped out in his bankruptcy. He will have to wait 8 years before he can file bankruptcy on the new surgery expense.

John may want to wait until after he has had the second surgery to file bankruptcy so he can wipe out the expense of both surgeries in his current bankruptcy.

If you are facing financial stress and medical uncertainty, contact a bankruptcy professional to determine your options. If you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, call me, Cathy Church (800) 758-5611 for a free consultation today.

Can I be fired if I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Many people worry they will lose their job if they file for bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Code specifically says you cannot be  fired solely because you file bankruptcy.

Section 525(b)() says, “No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or her been a debtor under this title…solely because such debtor is or has been a debtor under this title or has not paid a debt that is dischargeable in a case under this title.”

If you file bankruptcy and your employer  fires you simply because you  filed, your employer may be found in violation of the Bankruptcy Code and be liable to you for damages.

To date, Church and Korhonen has never had a client be fired from their job because they fiked for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy realize the Bankruptcy Code prohibits your employer from firing you simply because you filed.

Can I keep my car if I file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Yes! The answer is yes for most people. Under Michigan bankruptcy law you can keep up to $3250 equity in your car, more if you are married and filing jointly. As long as you keep current on your car payments and the equity in your car is $3250 or less, you may keep the vehicle if you reaffirm the debt.

Here’s an example. Let’s say I own a 2007 Ford Focus worth $5000 but I still owe the bank $2500. To determine my equity, I subtract the $2500 I owe from the $5000 value of the car leaving me $2500 in equity. As long as I continue to make my car payment and reaffirm my car loan with the bank, I can keep the car. If I don’t keep up on my payments, the bank could repossess the car so its important I keep making those payments.

Very few people own their cars outright, most have a car loan. To determine the equity you own in your car, get a value of your car through Kelly’s Blue Book and subtract the total amount you owe the bank from the value. The remaining balance is your equity. If you own less than $3250 in equity, you can keep the car even if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

One of the many questions we can help you with, we invite you to contact us today. For a free consultation about your bankruptcy issues, contact Church and Korhonen PC today at 1.800.758.5611.

Ten Bankruptcy Myths That Are Simply Not True

People are often wary about filing for bankruptcy, often based on stories they have heard about the process. In most cases, those stories are nothing more than myths and once the air is cleared, they find that bankruptcy is not only not scary, it was the best thing they ever did. Here are ten bankruptcy myths that are just not true.

Bankruptcy brings shame – this is perhaps the worst myth of all. Bankruptcy is there for a reason – to help people when they need it most. Do you recognize any of these names – they have all filed for bankruptcy? President Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, Larry King,

Mickey Rooney, Burt Reynolds, Kim Basinger, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wayne Newton, M.C. Hammer, Continental Airlines, General Motors and US Airways (twice).

You’ll lose your job – the court will not notify your employer of your bankruptcy petition. In fact, you may have several work colleagues who have filed for bankruptcy – you just never know, and they won’t know about yours either.

You’ll lose everything – the majority of bankruptcy cases now involve debtors with few if any eligible assets. Most people are discharged from bankruptcy having lost nothing but their credit score, and that was on the way down anyway through overdue debts.

You have to be flat broke to file – income has little effect on your ability to file for bankruptcy. If your income is not large enough to cover your debts, then you may need to file. Your income will determine which Chapter you are eligible to 􀂆le under.

You need a lot of debt to file – the amount of debt you carry is not important. As mentioned, it’s whether or not you have sufficient income to service your debts, that’s what’s important.

Bankruptcy destroys your credit – bankruptcy will effect your credit. In the eyes of some lenders, you’re a better risk after bankruptcy than before. Your credit score will return to normal if you are wise with your future spending and credit activities.

Your spouse must file as well – another myth is the opposite, you and your spouse have to file separately. The truth is, if you are legally married, then it’s your decision whether to file jointly, or for only one of you to file.

You’ll lose your house in bankruptcy – you can only lose your home through bankruptcy if you have a lot of debt and a lot of equity in your home. In most states, there are large homestead deductions in place that protect homes. Bankruptcy will stall foreclosure, however, bankruptcy will not clear your mortgage debt. Few people lose their homes because of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy will take my pension plan – the vast majority of pension plans are protected in bankruptcy. You may have difficulties if you have drawn large amounts out of your plan, or made very large payments into your plan just prior to bankruptcy, otherwise, your pension plan is perfectly safe.

Bankruptcy effects citizenship status – bankruptcy has no bearing on your current or future citizenship statues provided there is no fraudulent acts discovered through bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is fairly easy process if your engage the services of an attorney first. Rather than listening to what others have to say about bankruptcy, get the real facts from a real attorney – remember, every person’s situation is different.

What Monthly Expenses Am I Allowed in Bankruptcy?

Before you sign your bankruptcy petition, you must review everything for accuracy. One of the schedules, called “Schedule J – Current Expenditures of Individual Debtor(s)” is where your monthly expenses are listed. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what their monthly expenses are, and what is allowed. A commonly asked question is, “What monthly expenses are allowed while in bankruptcy?”

Here are some personal monthly expenses that are allowed in bankruptcy: work expenses, ongoing legal fees, bank charges (monthly checking account fees, ATM fees), hair care and personal grooming products, annual tax return preparation fees, accounting fees, summer camp and summer activities, school lunches, sports fees, school uniforms, Christmas and birthday gifts, pet grooming and care, pet food, veterinary visits, oil changes for your car, cigarettes, car washes, and parking expenses.

Other allowable monthly expenses while in bankruptcy include: college expenses, home landscaping & lawn care, home alarm system and maintenance, annual registration cost for motor vehicles, postage, EZ Pass costs, OnStar system payments, vision care, doctor visits, dental visits, charitable donations, eyeglasses (care and replacement, including contact lenses and saline solution), home office supplies (including computer toner, ink, paper, and software), non-prescription medications, and shoe shines. Additional allowable monthly expenses include: monthly website subscriptions, monthly magazine and newspaper subscriptions, antacids, gym/YMCA fees, toothpaste, tooth whiteners, brush and floss, pain killers, cold/sinus/allergy remedies, vitamins, weight loss programs and aids, books, and music lessons.

Some expenses are easy to determine and record – fixed expenses such as mortgage or rent payments, car payments, health insurance, child support, and cable. Variable expenses are harder to determine since the payment amounts fluctuate. These expenses include food, electric costs, gasoline, day care, and phone. To determine your variable expenses, review the past year’s expenses and divide by 12 to calculate the average monthly cost. Don’t forget to include periodic expenses, such as clothing, medical expenses, and insurance.

Life is not Fair: Bankruptcy levels the playing field

Each year, millions of Americans decide that bankruptcy is the right choice for them, and the majority turn to Chapter 7 to help eliminate their debts. Chapter 7 is designed to wipe out unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, and some personal loans.

Chapter 7 can be a relatively quick and painless process. The average Chapter 7 case is over in as little as four months.

The majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers are suffering from credit card debt, medical bills or payday loans.

In order to take advantage of this tool, you’ll need to determine if you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7 using the means test, which compares your income to your state’s median income.

If you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,  find out if you can file during a free Chapter 7 case evaluation with a lawyer from Church and Korhonen, PC. Get answers about how filing could effect you and your future. Your lawyer will take you through the process step-by-step and show you how filing Chapter 7 could effect your future.

Call us directly at 800-758-5611. Church and Korhonen, PC is YOUR Bankruptcy Legal Team.

Isn’t it time someone was on your side?

What You Need to Know Before You File for Bankruptcy

People facing bankruptcy are often confused about how they even got there in the first place, let alone what they need to do to get out. Fortunately, our kind bankruptcy lawyers at Church and Korhonen, PC have put together a trove of pertinent information regarding what you need to know before you file for bankruptcy to help guide you in the right direction. You may feel like there is no hope now, but there always is – all you need is a little help and support from someone who understands and cares.
Declare Everything
One of the biggest mistake consumers make when filing for bankruptcy is not declaring all of their debts to the bankruptcy court, attorney, or trustee, which makes sense since you can’t expect to be relieved of debt that you don’t formally claim. When filing for bankruptcy, you need to declare absolutely everything. Knowing how much of which types of debt you owe to who is the first step to finally realizing financial freedom.
File Correctly
Unlike trained bankruptcy lawyers, debtors are much more likely to make costly filing errors, including failing to file all the required documentation or meet federal bankruptcy criteria. These types of mistakes can significantly delay or even jeopardize your bankruptcy case, which is why if you are not 100% confident you can file correctly you need to reach out to qualified bankruptcy lawyers for legal assistance.
File Sooner
Note: filing sooner does not mean rushing through the process; it just means that you should not put off filing. Many people fear bankruptcy and will try to hold off as long as possible because they believe if they can just get that break they need, they can climb out of debt independently – but what they don’t understand is that bankruptcy is the break they need. Filing for bankruptcy sooner rather than later can ensure that you are able to start repairing your credit faster and can even result in the forbearance of certain monthly expenses associated with your debt, like medical bills or credit card payments. It can also protect you from collector harassment and wage garnishments with an automatic stay.
Final Thoughts?
The last thing you must know is before you file for bankruptcy, although it may fade from your credit history in 7 to 10 years, bankruptcy will remain on your record permanently – so filing without proper consultation is not advised. If, however, you’re struggling to feed your family and are tired of constantly dodging phone calls from debt collectors over bills you cannot pay, bankruptcy may be able to dramatically improve your life.

Filing Bankruptcy Stops Foreclosure, Repossession, Garnishment and Creditor Harassment

The minute an individual debtor’s bankruptcy petition is filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, all creditor contact MUST stop. This means creditors cannot contact the debtor, sue them or garnish their wages. Filing bankruptcy provides protection from foreclosure, repossession, creditor harassment and garnishment.

  • Stop Foreclosure: Save a Home- Under certain circumstances,  ling bankruptcy prevents a mortgage lender from foreclosing on a home. Under Chapter 13, a debtor can reorganize their debt into a manageable repayment plan, including low monthly payments that allow a home to be saved.
  • Stop Repossession & Garnishment: The second a bankruptcy is filed, all pending repossession and garnishment activity against the debtor must stop. With limited exemption, bankruptcy’s automatic stay creates a legal bar to all creditor activity. Bank accounts can no longer be seized, wages cannot continue to be garnished and repossession activity must stop.
  • Stop Creditor Harassment: The minute a bankruptcy is  led, the debtor has the right to demand that all creditor harassment cease. The automatic stay of bankruptcy, which goes into effect the instant the bankruptcy is filed, makes all forms of debt collection illegal. Until the bankruptcy is dismissed or discharged, the debtor is protected and no creditor is allowed to contact them.

We are the Upper Peninsula Bankruptcy Lawyers: Church and Korhonen, PC. a dedicated team of bankruptcy professionals who live and work in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We understand that life in our current economy is getting more and more difficult for the average person. Some of the roadblocks that prevent financial freedom and stability are rising interest rates, predatory loans, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, unethical and illegal debt collection agencies, rising medical costs and rising unemployment.

We are here to help guide individuals through these roadblocks and when necessary, file a bankruptcy petition to restore financial freedom and stability to our clients.

If debt repayment and bills are too much to handle, bankruptcy offers a fresh start.

Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will analyze each case and provide our insight and experience on the best course of action to take.

The call is free and the information valuable. Don’t wait another day, call now.

Call (906) 226-0001