Highland Debt Relief Attorney
Until recently, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act protected Lake County families from debt collectors. In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court substantially watered down the FDCPA’s protective provisions. As a result, many Indiana debt collectors are now more aggressive than ever. After just one or two missed payments, regardless of the circumstances, they call constantly and threaten further adverse action, like foreclosure or repossession.
If you are in this situation and you do not know where to turn, reach out to the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt. Our experienced attorneys will listen to your problems and then show you a way out. Federal law gives families just like yours the breathing room they need to pay off secured debt delinquencies. These same laws allow families to get out from under burdensome credit card and other debt. All these things give you a fresh start.
The Automatic Stay in Indiana
Once creditors begin foreclosure procedures or lawsuits, it is possible to stop them in civil court. However, the applicant must demonstrate good cause. In a bankruptcy proceeding, the Automatic Stay is just that. In most cases, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code immediately stops all forms of adverse creditor action, including:
- Wage garnishment, and
Creditors cannot undertake these activities while the bankruptcy is pending unless they get special permission from the bankruptcy judge. If the debtor has filed bankruptcy within the previous year, the Automatic Stay may have only a limited effect.
Debt Mediation Services
Bankruptcy is a last resort for most people. Before they file, they have already asked for revised payment terms, partial loan forgiveness, payment deferral, and pretty much every other form of relief. Most creditors almost always deny these requests, usually without even seriously considering the matter.
These negotiations take on a much different look once the debtor files bankruptcy. If the judge sends the matter to mediation, which is typical, the creditor has a duty to negotiate in good faith. That responsibility means several things. First, the creditor must listen to the debtor and seriously entertain the request. Additionally, if the creditor denies relief, the creditor must have a good reason for doing so. Failure to qualify under some random internal rule is not good cause. Finally, the creditor must be willing to make sacrifices in order to settle the matter.
Bankruptcy debtors have an edge in these negotiations. Your bankruptcy attorney is also a good negotiator who takes care of everything.
Debt Discharge in Indiana
There is more. At the end of the bankruptcy, the judge eliminates most unsecured debt. This category includes things like:
- Credit Card Debt: The average household has between $5,000 and $7,000 in high-interest credit card debt. The minimum payments are usually hundreds of dollars a month. Think of all the things you could do with that extra money.
- Medical Bills: After a brief decline during and after the Great Recession, medical inflation is on the rise again. Even if the family has insurance, copays and other out-of-pocket costs could total thousands of dollars. No wonder medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in Indiana.
- Government Debts: Small Business Administration loans are almost always dischargeable regardless of amount or other facts. Student loans are dischargeable if the debtor has a hardship, and back taxes are dischargeable after a waiting period.
Bankruptcy ends the debtor’s legal obligation to pay the debt, but not the collateral consequences. So for example, if the IRS filed a tax lien, the debtor must take care of the lien even if the judge discharges the debt.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney
Federal law offers several different debt relief and debt management options. For a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Dyer, contact the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt. After hours visits are available.