Finalizing the Chapter 13 Case

January 19th, 2017
So you have completed your final payments in the chapter 13 or about to make your last payment. What is next?  First, you need to make sure you have completed your second credit counseling course and that you have submitted your Certification re Domestic Support as further discussed below:   Upon receipt of the final payment, the trustee will begin the accounting process. About 2 months after your final payment has been processed, the trustee will issue an “Interim Final Report” of accounting.  Creditors have a month to object to the accounting.  About the same time as the Interim Report the Court will send out a document titled “Chapter 13 Certifications Regarding Domestic Support Obligations, Section 522(q) and Eligibility for Discharge” that you will need to review, check off a couple of boxes, and sign and return to us for filing with the court. After that has been filed and the month has passed since the Interim Report you can receive your discharge and your case will complete.  Please note that this is a general timeline and these are estimates only. Recently it seems as though the trustees offices have been particularly slow in completing their accountings and absent extraordinary delay we cannot expedite the process.

Written by Michael G. Doan- Owner of the Oceanside Bankruptcy Attorney office, Michael not only manages his business, but is also a highly skilled Southern California Bankruptcy Attorney with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in many fields, such as: insolvency, bankruptcy, consumer rights, debt negotiation, creditor collection abuse, estate planning, contracts, real estate, and tax. Michael is currently concentrating his practice solely in Bankruptcy Law and is a Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, one of only fourteen such attorneys in all of California. Mr. Doan also practices on the cutting edge of bankruptcy law, and was the first attorney in the entire Southern District of California to file the very first Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and very first Chapter 13 Bankruptcy under the new Bankruptcy Laws which went into effect on October 17, 2005.

REAFFIRMING A MORTGAGE

January 12th, 2017
CAN I REAFFIRM MY MORTGAGE IN BANKRUPTCY? We receive this question very frequently, and the simple answer is no.  It is absolutely, completely, 100% impossible to reaffirm a mortgage in California.  We have never heard of a case where a reaffirmation has been approved in California and every time we are asked this question we ask our client to ask the bank or mortgage broker for the name of a case where one of their mortgages was reaffirmed in California.  In more than 10 years no one has ever given us one. If someone is claiming a mortgage can be reaffirmed, please ask for the case number and district where they have an approved reaffirmation in California.  This would be a first. Bankruptcy removes personal liabilities, not liens.  Please understand that there is a difference between the “In Rem” liability that the Deed of Trust creates against the house (i.e., if the mortgage isn’t paid the house will be sold at foreclosure) and the “In Personam” personal liability (i.e., that you would owe any deficiency.)  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge eliminates your "In Personam” liability; it does not change the “In Rem” liability. You can keep your home so long as you continue to pay the mortgage. The reason mortgage companies do not report mortgage balances on credit reports after a bankruptcy discharge is that legally they can not.  The credit report is a report of debt you personally owe.  Since the bankruptcy eliminated your personal liability on the mortgage, the mortgage company can no longer report the balance personally due.  Notwithstanding, the lien still remains.  But again, the lien is not your lien, but the bank's lien.  The same happens when a car is not reaffirmed.  Even though you might be continuing the payments, the credit report will show a $0.00 balance since you personally no longer owe the debt. In fact, there is case law holding that reporting late payments on a discharged mortgage to a credit bureau is a violation of a debtor’s discharge, since such tactics are viewed as coercive efforts to force a debtor to pay and collect on a previously discharged debt.  Accordingly, since a mortgage company can also get sued for reporting delinquent post petition payments, mortgage companies generally comply with the law in not reporting any information. One of the key facts of the credit reporting laws is that creditors can only report accurate information. They are not, however, required to report all accurate information; they can instead chose to remain silent. It may possible, nonetheless, to still get your payment history included in your credit report as follows:
  1. Request a payment history from the mortgage company. (The mortgage company is required by law to provide one every year free of charge.)
  2. Then file a dispute with the three credit bureaus, attaching a copy of the payment history.
  3. The credit bureau is required to verify the accuracy of the debt with the mortgage company within 30 days.
  4. At that point, the mortgage company can either:
    1. Remain silent and then the credit bureau must accept the information provided by the client; or
    2. Respond that the debt was discharged and a $0.00 balance remains.
  5. You will need to repeat this process on a regular basis, as credit reports are constantly changing with new information, many times monthly.
  6. Additionally, you should keep the payment history, since that can be provided to anyone you’re applying to for new credit, as an alternate means of proof of prompt mortgage payments.
This process, while a headache, at least gives you a route to accomplish your goals. Additionally, for refinancing purposes, the payment history itself is often sufficient instead of the credit report at all. If your end goal is to refinance, please contact Attorney Steve Doan at our firm.  He is a Real Estate Broker and former Bankruptcy Attorney and most qualified in the nuances of real estate financing and former bankruptcies. Written by Michael G. Doan- Owner of the Oceanside Bankruptcy Attorney office, Michael not only manages his business, but is also a highly skilled Southern California Bankruptcy Attorney with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in many fields, such as: insolvency, bankruptcy, consumer rights, debt negotiation, creditor collection abuse, estate planning, contracts, real estate, and tax. Michael is currently concentrating his practice solely in Bankruptcy Law and is a Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, one of only fourteen such attorneys in all of California. Mr. Doan also practices on the cutting edge of bankruptcy law, and was the first attorney in the entire Southern District of California to file the very first Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and very first Chapter 13 Bankruptcy under the new Bankruptcy Laws which went into effect on October 17, 2005.  

Top Filers Third Quarter San Diego 2014

October 28th, 2014
Doan Law is one of California's Largest Family of Attorneys, and prides itself in exclusively protecting consumer rights through bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy alternatives.  It is also the only father-and-five-sons family of bankruptcy attorneys in the entire United States.  By combining traditional family values, superior legal representation, and un-compromised client care, the firm ranks at the top of Southern California Attorneys.   Presently, the Firm consists of the six Doan Partners and about 10 associate attorneys working under their direct supervision.  That's a combined total of over 150 years legal experience.  The firm has successfully filed Bankruptcy Protection for over 30,000 Southern Californians.  Attorney Michael Doan is a Board Certified Specialists in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, and one of only 13 in the entire state of California.  In fact, he filed the very first chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases in the Southern District of California in October, 2005, after the new BAPCPA Bankruptcy Reform Laws took place.   Experience matters.  Don't be fooled by the competition.  There are many recent law school graduates and other inexperienced attorneys switching to the bankruptcy field due to the economy.  We were founded in 1995 and incorporated in 2007 and for many years have been one of San Diego County's largest Bankruptcy Filing Firm.  The Judges and Trustees are well aware of the quality of our services and reputation.  This is precisely why our cases run so smoothly!   CURRENT TOP BANKRUPTCY FILING LAW FIRMS FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, FOR THIRD QUARTER 2014(Chapter 7):   FIRM NAME                           Cases Filed
Golden State Law Group 439
Doan Law Firm 428
Bankruptcy Law Center 403
Enciso 248
Varley 199
Chang and Diamond 136
Brian Whitaker 128
Mark Miller 111
Greaves 87
Styers 82
  We are not going anywhere and will continue to remain on the cutting edge of Bankruptcy Law and Bankruptcy Alternatives.  We are the only firm offering Fee Guarantees, Guaranteed Discharges, and potentially Free Bankruptcies with Money Back from Abusive Creditors.   More information on each attorney can be found by clicking the names to the side or CLICK HERE. Hablamos Espanol.

Top Bankruptcy Filing Firms San Diego County: 2nd Qtr 2014

October 28th, 2014
Doan Law is one of California's Largest Family of Attorneys, and prides itself in exclusively protecting consumer rights through bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy alternatives.  It is also the only father-and-five-sons family of bankruptcy attorneys in the entire United States.  By combining traditional family values, superior legal representation, and un-compromised client care, the firm ranks at the top of Southern California Attorneys.   Presently, the Firm consists of the six Doan Partners and about 10 associate attorneys working under their direct supervision.  That's a combined total of over 150 years legal experience.  The firm has successfully filed Bankruptcy Protection for over 30,000 Southern Californians.  Attorney Michael Doan is a Board Certified Specialists in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, and one of only 13 in the entire state of California.  In fact, he filed the very first chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases in the Southern District of California in October, 2005, after the new BAPCPA Bankruptcy Reform Laws took place.   Experience matters.  Don't be fooled by the competition.  There are many recent law school graduates and other inexperienced attorneys switching to the bankruptcy field due to the economy.  We were founded in 1995 and incorporated in 2007 and for many years have been one of San Diego County's largest Bankruptcy Filing Firm.  The Judges and Trustees are well aware of the quality of our services and reputation.  This is precisely why our cases run so smoothly!   CURRENT TOP BANKRUPTCY FILING LAW FIRMS FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, FOR SECOND QUARTER 2014(Chapter 7):   FIRM NAME                           Cases Filed
Golden State Law Group 315
Doan Law Firm 310
Bankruptcy Law Center 293
Enciso 185
Ramos 183
Varley 145
Chang and Diamond 92
Whitaker 86
Cowen 75
Mark Miller 71
  We are not going anywhere and will continue to remain on the cutting edge of Bankruptcy Law and Bankruptcy Alternatives.  We are the only firm offering Fee Guarantees, Guaranteed Discharges, and potentially Free Bankruptcies with Money Back from Abusive Creditors.   More information on each attorney can be found by clicking the names to the side or CLICK HERE. Hablamos Espanol.

Doan Law Top Filer for 2013

October 28th, 2014
Doan Law is one of California's Largest Family of Attorneys, and prides itself in exclusively protecting consumer rights through bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy alternatives.  It is also the only father-and-five-sons family of bankruptcy attorneys in the entire United States.  By combining traditional family values, superior legal representation, and un-compromised client care, the firm ranks at the top of Southern California Attorneys.   Presently, the Firm consists of the six Doan Partners and about 10 associate attorneys working under their direct supervision.  That's a combined total of over 150 years legal experience.  The firm has successfully filed Bankruptcy Protection for over 30,000 Southern Californians.  Attorney Michael Doan is a Board Certified Specialists in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, and one of only 13 in the entire state of California.  In fact, he filed the very first chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases in the Southern District of California in October, 2005, after the new BAPCPA Bankruptcy Reform Laws took place.   Experience matters.  Don't be fooled by the competition.  There are many recent law school graduates and other inexperienced attorneys switching to the bankruptcy field due to the economy.  We were founded in 1995 and incorporated in 2007 and for many years have been one of San Diego County's largest Bankruptcy Filing Firm.  The Judges and Trustees are well aware of the quality of our services and reputation.  This is precisely why our cases run so smoothly!   CURRENT TOP BANKRUPTCY FILING LAW FIRMS FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, FOR THE  2013 (Chapter 7):   FIRM NAME                           Cases Filed
Doan Law Firm 1057
Golden State Law Group 965
Bankruptcy Law Center 689
Mark Miller 393
John Varley 384
Chang and Diamond 213
Brian Whitaker 188
Marion Mortazavi 140
Creig Greaves 111
Bruno Flores 91
  We are not going anywhere and will continue to remain on the cutting edge of Bankruptcy Law and Bankruptcy Alternatives.  We are the only firm offering Fee Guarantees, Guaranteed Discharges, and potentially Free Bankruptcies with Money Back from Abusive Creditors.   More information on each attorney can be found by clicking the names to the side or CLICK HERE. Hablamos Espanol.

Bankruptcy Audits

August 29th, 2014
In 2005, the Bankruptcy Laws were amended under BAPCPA and one of the new requirements are random audits.  These happen in about one of every two hundred fifty cases (1/250).  So the chances of audit are small, less than 1/2 percent.  But they do happen and are overseen by the United States Trustees Office.  In most cases it is not an indication that there are any problems or concerns with the case. These audits are usually totally random. So there is no need to be worried or upset! Procedurally, an audit firm will be selected to review the case. They will review the information provided in the petition and schedules filed in the case; and they may request additional documents or information. A Debtor MUST fully cooperate with the audit firm and promptly provide any additional information and records requested by the firm.  A Debtor has 21 days to send any requested items to the audit firm. In a typical audit, the audit firm will verify the income, expenses, and assets in the bankruptcy schedules and statements. There should be no costs for the audit, other than copying documents that the audit firm requests. The audit firm is looking for any material misstatements of income, expenses, or assets. Some examples of material misstatements include hiding assets and making false statements to the bankruptcy court. The audit firm has 21 days to complete the audit and submit its report or a "Report of No Audit" with the court. The auditing firm's report details the findings of the audit. The report is not a legal determination. It's up to the bankruptcy court to review the findings and determine if the debtor made material misstatements on the petition. Again, most audits are completely random and not indicative of any "red flags" or particular information in the bankruptcy case. The United States Trustee is required by law to randomly audit a particular number of cases each year. So long as all the requested information is provided, the audit will not significantly delay discharge.   Written by Michael G. Doan-  Owner of the Carlsbad Bankruptcy Attorney Office, Michael also manages his business and is a highly skilled San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney with over 18 years of experience as a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees increase June 1, 2014.

May 6th, 2014
The Judicial Conference approved new filing fee increases effective June 1, 2014, for BANKRUPTCY CASES.  The administrative fee and A.P. filing fee increases are as follows: The total new filing fee for each chapter will be as follows: •For filing a petition, or for filing a motion to divide a joint case, under Chapter 7: $335 •For filing a petition, or for filing a motion to divide a joint case, under Chapter 12: $275 •For filing a petition, or for filing a motion to divide a joint case, under Chapter 13: $310 •For filing a petition under Chapter 9, 11, or 15: $1,717 Other changes: •For filing a motion to divide a joint case under Chapter 11: $1717 •For filing an adversary complaint: $350 Old fees remain in effect thru the end of May, 2014. If you want to file under the old lower fees before the end of the month, please contact us  immediately!    

Time Period to Remove Second Mortgages

February 4th, 2014

Once a mortgage is paid or satisfied, the beneficiary under the deed of trust has 30 days to deliver all documents to the trustee to allow reconveyance.  California Civil Code Section 2941(b)1 provides:

(b) (1) Within 30 calendar days after the obligation secured by any deed of trust has been satisfied, the beneficiary or the assignee of the beneficiary shall execute and deliver to the trustee the original note, deed of trust, request for a full reconveyance, and other documents as may be necessary to reconvey, or cause to be reconveyed, the deed of trust.

This statute is most relevant in Chapter 13 Lien Strip Cases involving second mortgages.  There is a statutory duty for the second mortgage to remove itself from title at the end of the case.  Generally upon plan completion and discharge, the beneficiary of the deed of trust has 30 days to act or face damages.  Failure to act will result in statutory damages of $500.00, actual damages, and attorney fees and costs.

(d) The violation of this section shall make the violator liable to the person affected by the violation for all damages which that person may sustain by reason of the violation, and shall require that the violator forfeit to that person the sum of five hundred dollars ($500).

If you have recently completed a chapter 13 lien strip case and/or recently paid off or settled a second mortgage, be sure to confirm the lien has been removed by a reconveyance.  If not timely done, contact our office and we can pursue the offending creditor for damages. Written by Michael G. Doan-  Owner of the Carlsbad Bankruptcy Attorney Office, Michael also manages his business and is a highly skilled San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney with over 18 years of experience as a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.

Dont Pass Bounced Checks!

December 5th, 2013
Be careful of bouncing a check, as it could subject you to civil and criminal penalties.  If not properly dealt with, it could become very costly and land you in jail! CIVIL:            Per California Civil Code 1719, an NSF check creates a new liability in the amount of the check plus $25.00.  Moreover, if the check is not paid within 30 days of demand, then it also creates treble damages.  Accordingly, writing a $1000.00 NSF check could cost you $4,000.00, or more depending upon an attorney provision and cost clause! CRIMINAL:  Passing a NSF check is also a violation of Penal Code Section 476a.  The provisions of that section provide that a prosecutor could move for the conviction of a misdemeanor or felony,  A misdemeanor conviction subjects you to up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.  A felony conviction subjects you to up to three years in the California state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. In most cases, bankruptcy will eliminate bounced checks.  Nevertheless, bankruptcy is a civil matter and will not alleviate criminal prosecution.  Generally speaking, small checks are not prosecuted, but larger ones such as $100 or more, may be prosecuted.  Debtors prosecuted are encouraged to enter the check restitution program.   For more information about Debt Relief, please contact Doan Law Firm today.

WE MAKE CREDITORS PAY YOU

November 19th, 2013
WE MAKE CREDITORS PAY YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! We Protect You From Debt Collection Abuse! If you are receiving or have received creditor communications before, during, or after your bankruptcy, you may be entitled to statutory damages, actual damages and punitive damages. You should know your rights!  As a consumer, even if you should find yourself in financial distress, this does not mean creditors are permitted to abuse and harass you into paying a debt. It is ILLEGAL for creditors to: (1)        Communicate with you once advised that you are represented by Doan Law Firm (2)        Place multiple calls or other communications within a single day or time period (3)        Calls in the early morning (before 8:00 am) and late at night (after 9:00 pm) (4)        Contact family members, friends, neighbors, unless limited purpose verifying location information (your address) (5)        Contact your employer, unless limited to verifying location information (6)        Place harassing calls or communications (7)        Misrepresent the nature of the status of an account or collect more than you owe or fees that are not allowed (8)        Threats of violence, lawsuit, wage garnishment, negative credit reporting or arrest (9)        Use obscene language (10)      Communicate with you on your cell phone using automated dialers once you have revoked any prior consent If you receive any creditor calls, after you have mailed your cease and desist letters, answer the phone and give them verbal notice. This is why it is important for you to mail out the Cease and Desist letters. It puts all creditors on notice you are represented by Doan Law Firm and to stop placing any communications whether written or verbal and regardless if from a live person or Robo call. This is the reason you hired Doan Law Firm, we timely provide verification of representation to all creditors and again advise them to stop calling you directly. The creditors call us, not you. Doan Law Firm is one of the only bankruptcy law firms in San Diego County that will protect you from harassing creditor communications before you have even filed your bankruptcy and will also aggressively seek a monetary recovery on your behalf as against rogue creditors who disregard the cease and desist notice. In some cases, the monetary recovery our clients receive far exceeds what was even paid to file for bankruptcy. Doan Law Firm is here to protect you and put an end to these illegal communications. Contact our Doan Law Firm if you receive any creditor communications. We are here to make the difference and stop creditor abuse!

GETTING A BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE WITHOUT FILING BANKRUPTCY

October 31st, 2013
Yes, its possible.  If you are married, do not ever get divorced, and have no seperate property, you can get a Bankruptcy Discharge of all your dischargeable debts, if only your spouse files for Bankruptcy.  This is because California is a community property state.  All community debts are discharged in Bankruptcy and community assets can never be pursued. Thus, a creditor can no longer pursue community assets, but only seperate property.  Since earnings and virtually all property acquired during the marriage after the spouse's discharge are community property, (California Family Code §760),  a creditor is prohibited from pursuing the same.   And since F.C. §§910 generally provides that all community property is liable for debts incurred before or during marriage by either spouse, all of the community property belonging to both spouses are included in the filing spouse's bankruptcy estate and subject to the administration of the Bankruptcy Court.  See Section 541(a)(2).  The creditor can only pursue the non filing spouse's seperate property, which generally does not exist outside of divorce, death, inheritence, and other unpopular areas. "the Devil himself could effectively receive a discharge in bankruptcy if he were married to Snow White." Alan Pedlar, Community Property and the Bankruptcy Act of 1978, 11 ST. MARY'S L.J 349, 382 (1979); cf. Gonzales v. Costanza (In re Costanza), 151 B.R. 588, 590 (Bankr.D.N.M. 1993) ("I would add: if [the Devil] does not treat her better than his creditors, [Snow White] will, by divorcing him, deny his discharge."). "... According to Section 524(a)(3), after-acquired community property is protected by injunctions against collection efforts by those creditors who held allowable community claims at the time of filing.  This is so even if the creditor claim is against only the nonbankruptcy spouse; ..."  In re Kimmel, 378 B.R. 630, 636 (9th Cir.BAP 2007), citing Burman v. Homan (In re Homan), 112 B.R. 356, 360 (9th Cir. BAP 1989). The sole exception is seperate property.  The non-filing spouse's creditors are free to enforce their judgments against the non-filing spouse's separate property (if he/she should have any).  Although it is likely that the non-filing spouse will make sure that everything acquired during marriage is community property so that it is protected from creditors, in the event of divorce, any and all property acquired by the non-filing spouse in the divorce, as well as all income and assets acquired subsequent to separation, would be separate property and therefore, subject to enforcement by creditors.  All property would also become the spouses's separate property in the event of the filing spouse's death, unless certain estate planning measures have previously been engaged. For more information about our firm, contact Doan Law Firm today.  

FAIR DEBT BUYING PRACTICES ACT GOES IN EFFECT SOON

August 9th, 2013

The Fair Debt Buying Practices Act was passed on July 1, 2013. It will require purchasers of charged-off consumer debts to provide greater documentation and to inform debtors of their rights. Typically, debt buyers purchase defaulted consumer debts by the thousands for pennies on the dollar. Debt buyers then file a large volume of lawsuits on the alleged debts and claim to be the assignees of the debts. These debtbuyers prey on the uninformed and unrepresented.

They proceed with lawsuits in hopes that the consumer will not show up and then seek the entry of a default judgment. Once the default judgment is obtained, debt buyers proceed to collect on the judgment by levying bank accounts, garnishing wages, and foreclosing on real estate. This is regardless of whether the debt collection efforts were directed at the wrong consumer, for the wrong amount, or state time-barred debts no longer collectable due to statute of limitations.

The Act applies to consumer debt purchased after January 1, 2014. It applies to “debt buyers”, defined as a “person or entity that is regularly engaged in the business of purchasing charged-off ‘consumer debt’ (for personal, family or household purposes) for collection purposes, whether it collects the debt itself, hires a third party or hires an attorney for collection litigation.”

 Key provisions of the Act require: 1. Debt Buyers to provide documentation showing: a. The debt buyer's ownership of the debt (i.e. its authority to collect on the debt, such as a contract or document evidencing the debtor's agreement to the debt). b. The debt balance at charge-off. c. The date of the default or last payment. d. The names and addresses of the creditors at charge-off and of the debt buyer (and any other purchasers). 2. Debt Buyers must inform debtors of their right to request the required documentation and upon receiving a debtor's request must provide the information within 15 days. Additionally, written collection demands must notify the debtor of the consequences of nonpayment - whether, in particular, the debt is time-barred and whether it may be reported to the credit agencies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 3. All settlement agreements between a debt buyer and a debtor must be documented in open court or in writing. 4. A debt buyer who receives payment on a debt must, within 30 days, provide a receipt or statement showing the date, and amount paid, among other things. 5. A debt buyer is prohibited from initiating a suit to collect a debt if the statute of limitations on the cause of action has expired. 6. The Act prescribes penalties for each violation and provides that its provisions may not be waived. Penalties for violation of the Act in an individual action includes actual damages and statutory damages between $100.00 and $1,000.00, plus attorney fees. The Fair Debt Buying Act is a step in the right direction in helping consumers fight debt buyer collection abuse. It is a start towards addressing the problem that the Federal Trade Commission called, the “broken” debt collection litigation process. It will not only aid consumers, but the courts that are inundated with collection law suits. It discourages the use of false or confusing claims and reduces the number of unmeritorious claims that are crowding our judicial system. If you have been served with a lawsuit by a debt buyer or are being harassed or threatened by one, contact Doan Law Firm immediately for your free consultation. We are here to help protect your rights and we understand how burdensome debt related issues can be. For more information about our firm, contact Doan Law Firm today.

FIVE (5) WAYS TO DEAL WITH DEBT:

June 20th, 2013
Doan Law Firm is one of only a few firms in California that provides the Complete Package of Consumer Debt Protection Services: We provide both Bankruptcy and Non Bankruptcy Alternatives.  Depending upon your circumstances, Bankruptcy may or may not be right for you.  That is why in addition to Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy Relief, we also provide Lawsuit Defense, Debt Settlement, and Counter Lawsuit Services:   Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:  This is the most commonly filed Bankruptcy Chapter and usually provides the best protection.  In most cases, all debt is erased forever and all property protected from creditors. Most debtors qualify for Chapter 7 Relief, even homeowners with significant equity or those with significant income.  Moreover, Chapter 7 operates as a credit rebuilding tool in most cases by allowing a fresh start to credit that would not otherwise be available.  Most Chapter 7 filings result in increased credit scores, real estate purchases within 2 years, vehicle purchases within a month, and credit cards within 4 months.   Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Otherwise known as the wage earner plan or consolidation plan, all debt is discharged after a three (3) to five (5) year repayment plan.  Individuals that opt for Chapter 13 will choose so as a result of too much income, too much property, or in an attempt to save a house or car from foreclosure or repossession.   Lawsuit Defense:  Your lawsuit(s) may be defensible for a number of reasons, including but not limited to improper service, stale debt beyond the statute of limitations, lack of proper standing by the plaintiff or debt buyer, lack of evidence, etc.  As a result, Doan Law Firm successfully gets these lawsuit(s) dismissed, judgments vacated, bank levies/wage garnishments/liens reversed, etc.   Debt Settlement:  Depending upon the strengths of the lawsuit(s) or claim(s) if no lawsuit has been filed yet, the debt can be negotiated to pennies on the dollar.  By forensically analyzing the defects in the underlying claims and threatening Bankruptcy if the creditor(s) refuse to negotiate, creditors and debt buyers are very cooperative when it comes to accepting significantly reduced settlements from Doan Law Firm.   Counter Lawsuit Services: There are many State and Federal Consumer Protection Laws that your creditors do not want you to know about.  These Consumer Protection Laws are designed to protect consumers against debt collectors who engage in unfair and deceptive acts and practices.  Many debt collectors disregard these laws and continue to engage in illegal and prohibited conduct because they know they can get away with it and it generates significant revenue. They figure that you or your attorney are ignorant of their violations, and where they do get caught, the amount they pay in penalties is still less than the revenue collected.   Unfortunately, due to the unsophistication of most debtors and attorneys, these violations continue and Doan Law remains one of the few Law Firms available to stop such conduct.  Nevertheless, each year Doan Law Firm forensically identifies thousands of these violations and recovers Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars arising from such conduct. Even better is that there is NO COST TO YOU. If we prevail against your creditor(s), they must pay our fees, in addition to your damages.  If we do not prevail, THERE ARE NO FEES.  Its not uncommon for our clients to see individual awards of $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, or over $80,000 for such violations!   For more information about our firm, contact Doan Law Firm today.

If I Do Not Pay, Will I Go To Jail?

June 5th, 2013
Outside of rare exceptions such as with child support, taxes, and other government fines, jail is not an option when consumer debt is not paid.  The United States eliminated the imprisonment of debtors under federal law in 1833.  So if Debtor's Prisons no longer exist, whats the harm in not paying consumer debt? The harm is that the creditor can eventually sue over the debt.  Once a lawsuit is filed and the complaint served on the defendant, a response must be filed in 30 days to avoid a default.  In the event of default or in the event one does not prevail in the lawsuit, Judgment will be entered and then will be executed on.  Execution of a judgment may result in: * LEVY of Entire Bank Accounts; * GARNISHMENT of 25% of Paychecks; * FORECLOSURES on Real Estate; and/or * SEIZURES of Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, Stocks, and other Personal Property.   IF you or someone you know were recently served with a lawsuit, you need to act immediately to avoid the forfeiture!  For more than 20 years, California's Largest Family of Attorneys has helped tens of thousands of clients eliminate lawsuits and get out of debt, ending their sleepless and worrisome nights. * We WIPE OUT debt forever with BANKRUPTCY, Chapters 7 & 13. * We provide affordable NON-BANKRUPTCY alternatives like DEBT-SETTLEMENT. * We COUNTER-SUE creditors to ELIMINATE debt and obtain CASH FOR YOU!   Creditors can be ruthless, but we can be worse.  If they have already begun enforcing a judgment (garnishing wages, levying bank accounts, etc), we can often STOP IT immediately and even REVERSE IT in some cases to get the property back! But one needs to ACT NOW before it's too late!! OUR MISSION is to see our clients DEBT-FREE so they can redirect their energy toward the more important things in life; such as physical and spiritual health, family, friends, and work.   For more information about our firm, contact Doan Law Firm today.

Recent 9th Circuit Decision Takes a Step Back on Discharge Credit Reporting

May 21st, 2013
One of the ultimate goals for a bankruptcy practitioner is to obtain a “fresh start” for their debtor clients through a bankruptcy discharge. Sometimes that fresh start is frustrated by creditors who continue to report negative entries to credit reporting agencies for debts already discharged in bankruptcy. The frustration is magnified when credit reporting agencies do not correct the error. In the case of Radcliffe v. Experian Info. Solutions Inc., 11‑56376, 2013 WL 1715422 (9th Cir. Apr. 22, 2013) plaintiff consumers, that had gone through bankruptcy, sued the three major credit reporting agencies for issuing consumer credit reports containing negative entries for debts that were discharged under the Federal Credit Reporting Act. The district court approved a $45 million settlement of the class action suit. The settlement fund was to be distributed to the class members on a tiered basis, with the class representatives getting a $5,000 incentive award if they supported the settlement. The class representatives suffered actual damages ranging from $750 to $26, making the incentive an inducement to class representatives to put their interest in receiving $5,000 over objectivity to the merits of any settlement. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s approval of the settlement finding that the absent class members weren’t adequately represented by either the class representatives or class counsel. The panel concluded that the incentive provision was supposed to encourage the class representatives to support the settlement. That incentive, the court held, changed the motivation for the class representatives. “Instead of being solely concerned about the adequacy of the settlement for the absent class members, the class representatives now had a $5,000 incentive to support the settlement regardless of its fairness and a promise of no reward if they opposed the settlement.” The incentive created a conflict of interest and undermined the adequacy of the class representatives. The court also expressed concern about the disparity in the size of the incentive awards, stating that this alone might be reason enough to disqualify the class representatives. “There is a serious question whether class representatives could be expected to fairly evaluate whether awards ranging from $26 to $750 is a fair settlement value when they would receive $5,000 incentive awards.” Finally, the court held that class counsel was not adequate to represent the class. Counsel had a fiduciary responsibility to represent the interests of the class as a whole, and the conditional incentive rewards created a conflict of interest between the class representative who would receive the incentive award and the absent class members who would not. Because of the actual conflict, they were not entitled to the $16 million in attorneys’ fees for their legal efforts during the conflicted representation. The case has been remanded for further proceedings. Meanwhile, discharged debtors will have to wait to get their true Afresh start.  

What Happens If I Do Not Respond To A Lawsuit?

May 8th, 2013
It is not uncommon that we see numerous lawsuits in our Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Alternatives Practice.  The bigger problems arise when Debtors ignore these lawsuits and they escalate.  If a responsive pleading is not filed within 30 days, the creditor will request the Court to enter default, and your wages and assets will be at immediate risk. If you are ever served with a lawsuit, you Need to take IMMEDIATE STEPS to PROTECT YOURSELF before its too late!! Unless you act within 30 days of service of process, the creditor will eventually Confiscate your Property in the following ways until the entire Judgment Amount is paid: * Levies of Entire Bank Accounts * Garnishments of  25% of each paycheck * Foreclosures on Real Estate * Asset seizures of Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, Stocks, and other Personal Property TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!  For over 20 years, Doan Law Firm has been using both State and Federal Laws to: Eliminate Judgments, Stop Bank Levies, Stop Garnishments, Stop Foreclosures, Prevent Asset Seizures, and Counter Sue Creditors.  At Doan Law Firm, all we do is ELIMINATE DEBT.  Doan Law Firm prides itself in providing Bankruptcy and Non-Bankruptcy Alternatives to once and for all eliminate Debt!  Yes we COUNTER-SUE creditors in many cases without the need to file for Bankruptcy! For more information about our firm, contact Doan Law Firm today.

How Do You Stop Unauthorized Bank Charges to Your Account and Dispute the Transaction?

April 26th, 2013
Has a creditor ever added charges to your account, without your permission, or sent a bill for merchandise never order or services rendered? If so you need to know your rights under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (“EFTA”). If you suspect, there has been an unauthorized transactions on your bank account, you have rights, but the time frame is limited. Under the EFTA, you must write or call the bank immediately, but no later than (60) days from the date of the statement reflecting the unauthorized charge. Your bank has a duty to investigate and promptly correct any unauthorized transactions that you report. The bank must resolve the dispute within (45) days. Moreover, if the bank takes longer than (10) business days to complete its investigation, it must put the funds back into your account while it finishes the investigation. The bank must also notify you of the results of its investigation and promptly correct any errors. If the bank should find there was no error, it must explain in writing why it believes there was no error. It is also important to be aware of your potential liability if your debit card is lost or stolen. On a debit card, your liability for an unauthorized withdrawal may vary. The best advice is to act quickly because this will limit your liability. Your loss is limited to $50.00 if your notify your bank within two days. However, if you notify the bank after two day period, your liability can be up to $500.00. If you fail to notify your bank within a 60 days after the receipt of the statement showing the unauthorized transaction, you risk unlimited loss on unauthorized transfers. This should be contrasted with a credit card. If your credit card is lost or stolen, your liability is usually limited to $50.00. If your bank does not (1) provisionally re-credit the money to your account during the 10-day period; (2) does not make a good faith investigation of the alleged error; or (3) knowingly and willfully concludes that the consumer account was not in error when such a conclusion could have been reasonably drawn from the evidence, your bank may liable for treble damages (three times your actual damages). If you having problems with an unauthorized bank transaction, Doan Law Firm can help you not only recover the funds, but you may also be entitled to tremble damages under the EFTA. Tips:
  1. Always review your monthly banking statements.
  2. Promptly notify your bank of an error.
  3. Put the bank on notice in writing of the unauthorized charge.
For more information, please contact Doan Law, and click here.    

BEWARE OF LAWSUITS FILED BY DEBT BUYERS!

April 9th, 2013
HAVE YOU BEEN SUED BY A DEBT BUYER, NOT YOUR ORIGINAL CREDITOR? MAKE SURE THEY REALLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO COLLECT THE DEBT AGAINST YOU   In the context of debt collection and debt collection lawsuits, a “debt buyer,” sometimes also referred to as a “bottom feeder,”  can be a company, individual, or even a law firm who buys charged-off debt. Usually, these accounts are purchased by junk debt buyer for pennies on the dollar from the original lender who wrote off the debt as a loss and tax deduction. The debt buyer then turns around and attempts to collect on the full face value of the debt, including interest, late fees, penalties, etc. Encore Capital (“Midland Funding”)  and  Portfolio Recovery are just a few of the largest debt buyers. They purchase large portfolios of charges-off debt, usually thousands of accounts from major banks and credit card issuers, such as Chase, Citi and Capital One. They systematically score these accounts on the probability of collection, whether or not the debtor has assets and file thousands of lawsuits every year against unknowing consumers to collect on these debts.   You need to know your rights. This industry is ruthless. They often try to collect against the wrong consumer and for the wrong amount. They often collect on time barred debt. Such actions are not only unlawful, but may also entitle you to compensation for actual damages, statutory damages, attorney fees, and costs.   Debt buyers take very little risk and profit off the misfortune of other. They often abuse the legal system and if you have been sued, you should immediately contact Doan Law Firm. We are here to protect your rights and aggressively defend against nefarious debt collection lawsuits.  We can get you the compensation you deserve for the unlawful harassment.   What you should know: 1.      Do not ignore a debt collection lawsuit! 90% of these nefarious debt collection lawsuits are won by default. Call Doan Law Firm for your free consultation to see if a counter-suit is available.   2.     Check the documentation of the debt buyer! Most of the time,  they have none or very little. You need to confirm you owe the debt and the amount is correct.  Again, Doan Law Firm can counter-sue and recover damages if they are attempting to collect on a debt no longer permitted by law.   3.      Be leery of any settlement that is not documented in writing. Before signing or paying anything to a debt buyer, make sure you know who you are paying and carefully read the terms of the settlement.  Again, Call Doan Law Firm for your free consultation before doing anything.   For more information on "bottom feeders," please contact Doan Law Firm today.

DOES AN INDIVIDUAL BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE ALL MARITAL DEBTS IN CALIFORNIA?

March 27th, 2013
The short answer is community debt will be discharged but not the non-filing spouse's individual debt.  Yet, it is not uncommon for only one spouse to file for Bankruptcy Protection. This frequently takes place where the other spouse has very little debt, is simply an authorized user on the account, or only has community debt.  For instance, if $45,000 is owed by one spouse and only $3,000 by the other, it often makes sense only for one of the spouses to file and the other to keep the $3,000 in debt for Credit Reasons. The Bankruptcy Estate of an individual spouse filing in California includes that individual's assets, as well as most if not all of their spouse.  This is the Bankruptcy Estate also includes community assets and California is a community asset state.  Community assets are property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except by gift, inheritance or as income from property owned prior to the marriage.  Thus most Debtors are surprised when they are advised to list in their Bankruptcy Petition all assets that were incurred during the course of the marriage, including those of the other spouse, without some other intervening event (premarital agreement, post marital agreement, separate property inheritance/gift/etc). Likewise, they are also surprised that they must also list most if not all of their spouses debts incurred during the marriage since those debts are also generally community debts, even if only one of the spouses signed for the debt.  The exceptions are debts incurred for the purchase of real estate, leases, and guarantees on debts which must be signed for by both spouses.  Yet the good news is that the non-filing spouse receives a discharge of the community obligations without even filing! Community Discharge: Subsection (a) of 11 U.S.C. §524 addresses the split discharge, when only one spouse attains a discharge in bankruptcy in California. The legislative history of this section says that "if community property was in the [bankruptcy] estate and community claims were discharged, the discharge is effective against the community creditors of the nondebtor spouse as well as of the debtor spouse.  House Report No. 95-595, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 365-6 (1977), Senate Report No. 95-989, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 80 (1978). § 524(a)(3) provides the nondebtor spouse a discharge in a community property state when the nondebtor spouse is liable on the community claim, but does not file for bankruptcy petition.  The marital community continues as long as the husband and wife remain married, neither dies, and they live in a community property state. In re Kimmel, 378 B.R. 630 (9th Cir. BAP 2007); Burman v. Homan (In re Homan), 112 B.R. 356, 360 (9th Cir. BAP 1989).  As commentators have stated: ...the Devil himself could effectively receive a discharge in bankruptcy if he were married to Snow White. If [the Devil] does not treat her better than his creditors, [Snow White] will, by divorcing him, deny his discharge.  In re Kimmel, 378 B.R. 630 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). Authorized User Discharge:  Authorized users on accounts are also not liable on the accounts since they never co-signed for the debt.  Therefore they are never entitled to a discharge since only the signing party receives a discharge.  Notwithstanding, if the authorized user is the spouse of the filing party, as is often the case, then that party would receive the benefit of the community discharge as well for reasons noted above.  As a side note, as a matter of practice an individual that files for bankruptcy that has authorized user debts should list those debts to avoid any later liability that might arise if they were mistaken as to their authorized user status. So the good news is that in California, often only one spouse needs to file for bankruptcy protection and can obtain a discharge for the non-filing spouse.  Of course the exception to this would be if some accounts are directly owed by the other spouse either Individually or Jointly. Written by Michael G. Doan-  Owner of the Carlsbad Bankruptcy Attorney Office, Michael also manages his business and is a highly skilled San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney with over 18 years of experience as a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification.      

Have You Recently Been Denied A Bank Account?

February 26th, 2013
If you have recently been denied a Bank account, chances are you are being reported by ChexSystems.  The ChexSystems, Inc. network is comprised of member Financial Institutions that regularly contribute information on mishandled checking and savings accounts to a central location. ChexSystems shares this information among member institutions to help them assess the risk of opening new accounts. ChexSystems only shares information with the member institutions and does not decide on new account openings.   But just like with Credit Reporting Agencies, they too are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  As such, you have the opportunity to request a free report once per year.  More importantly, you also have the ability to dispute the information contained in the report.  Generally speaking, once information is disputed, an investigation into the disputed information must take place within 30 to 45 days and results provided.  If the disputed information can not be confirmed, it must be deleted.   Investigated information can only be added back to your report if the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. If ChexSystems claims the information was verified as being inaccurate, and nothing was deleted, then you can send a Procedural Request letter. When the investigation is complete, ChexSystems must provide you with the results, in writing, and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. They must also send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.   In the event that ChexSystems does not respond to you within the 30-45 days of receiving your dispute, you can take action by sending a Demand for Removal letter to ChexSystems. No response indicates that confirmation of the information may not have been conducted; therefore, the information must be removed from your report.   If an investigation does not resolve your dispute with ChexSystems, a brief written statement can be added to your report explaining your dispute. For more information about ChexSystems and correcting your report, please contact Doan Law, and click here.
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