Arizona Bankruptcy http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy JacksonWhite bankruptcy law services. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:09:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Stop Wage Garnishment in Arizona http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/09/16/how-to-handle-wage-garnishment-in-arizona/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/09/16/how-to-handle-wage-garnishment-in-arizona/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2011 17:00:05 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=1737 Many people in Arizona are struggling to pay their bills right now. And when it comes down to feeding your family or paying the credit card bill, many choose to feed the family. However, as is usually the case, once the credit card company goes long enough without payment, they take you to court. This allows them to get a judgment and begin garnishing wages or bank accounts.

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UPDATED: August 2013

Many people in Arizona are struggling to pay their bills right now.  And when it comes down to feeding your family or paying the credit card bill, many choose to feed their family.  However, as is usually the case, once the credit card company goes long enough without payment, they will take you to court.  This allows them to get a judgment and begin garnishing wages or bank accounts.

If it was hard to feed your family before, it is even harder to do so when upwards of 25% of your paycheck is being taken away, or when you get a notice in the mail that your bank account has been drained.  In these instances, you need a quick solution.

Steps to Take During Wage Garnishment

First, it is important to determine whether the source of your income is garnishable.  For example, if your income is from unemployment or social security, your money is protected and you can get the creditor to stop the garnishment and possibly even return the funds.

Of course, the easiest way to stop the garnishment is by paying the bill.  However, you may not have the means to do so.  If you have enough means to enter a settlement for less than what you owe and the creditor is amenable, this could provide meaningful relief.

Get the Financial Relief You Need

If none of these options are available to you then you may want to consider filing bankruptcy. An experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney can help answer your questions about a garnishment or bankruptcy.

Call (480) 422-3440 today for your FREE bankruptcy consultation.

 

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How Much Does it Cost to File Bankruptcy in Arizona? http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/05/19/how-much-does-it-cost-to-file-bankruptcy/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/05/19/how-much-does-it-cost-to-file-bankruptcy/#comments Thu, 19 May 2011 16:34:07 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=1425 Technically, aside from a few court fees, filing for bankruptcy in Arizona is completely free if you want to do it yourself. The problem with filing for bankruptcy yourself is that bankruptcy law is very complicated. Often, people who go it alone are overwhelmed by the complexity of the process, and it is very easy to make a mistake which could result in your case being thrown out. So although doing it yourself saves money, the cost of stress and personal burden can be very taxing, which in many cases, simply isn’t worth the frustration. Arizona Bankruptcy Costs Explained So...

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Technically, aside from a few court fees, filing for bankruptcy in Arizona is completely free if you want to do it yourself.

The problem with filing for bankruptcy yourself is that bankruptcy law is very complicated. Often, people who go it alone are overwhelmed by the complexity of the process, and it is very easy to make a mistake which could result in your case being thrown out.

So although doing it yourself saves money, the cost of stress and personal burden can be very taxing, which in many cases, simply isn’t worth the frustration.

Arizona Bankruptcy Costs Explained

So while you may be able to file for bankruptcy for free, you may want to consider hiring an experienced attorney if you are at the point that you desperately need help with your finances.

The cost of an attorney, according to many past clients, far outweighs the risk of having your bankruptcy case thrown out, or simply not getting the effective outcome  you desire.

By hiring the right bankruptcy attorney, you can feel confident in having someone with you when it comes time to meet with creditors and someone to give you legal advice every step of the way.

How Much are Lawyer Fees for Bankruptcy?

Most attorneys charge anywhere from $250-350 an hour for their services. JacksonWhite Law is unique in that we charge a flat rate for our bankruptcy services. The flat rate depends on what chapter of bankruptcy you are filing, which is typically a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: $1,695 flat fee which covers the 5 month process.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: $3,500 flat fee that covers the 3-5 year process.

We understand that if you are going through bankruptcy the last thing you need is another bill, but when comparing our flat rates to the hourly services of other local firms, you’ll find our services are significantly more affordable.

World-Class Bankruptcy Help in Arizona

Though our fees are lower, our level of quality services surpasses those of our competition. In fact, we spend more face-to-face time with our clients than most firms. You’ll get the dedicated support you need at an affordable rate, giving you the best chance of success post-bankruptcy.

Call JacksonWhite today at (480) 422-3440 for your free consultation.

 

 

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What are the Different Types of Debt? http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/05/13/what-are-the-different-types-of-debt/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/05/13/what-are-the-different-types-of-debt/#comments Fri, 13 May 2011 18:06:28 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=1384 All debt can be classified in one of two different ways. Debt is either considered to be secured, or unsecured. In order to understand the impact that each type of debt can have we need to understand what constitutes both secured and unsecured debt. What is Secured Debt? Secured debt is any debt that requires collateral in order to obtain a loan. Examples of secured debt include: A home mortgage Home equity line of credit Car loan Credit card with a secure line of credit A lender will always see a secure loan as a lower risk loan. Due to...

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All debt can be classified in one of two different ways. Debt is either considered to be secured, or unsecured. In order to understand the impact that each type of debt can have we need to understand what constitutes both secured and unsecured debt.

What is Secured Debt?

Secured debt is any debt that requires collateral in order to obtain a loan. Examples of secured debt include:

  • A home mortgage
  • Home equity line of credit
  • Car loan
  • Credit card with a secure line of credit

A lender will always see a secure loan as a lower risk loan. Due to the fact that there is collateral behind what is being loaned, the lender generally will feel more confident in approving the loan. If a debtor fails to make payments the lender holds the right to reposes the item that was purchased with the loan. For example, the lender may reposes a vehicle, or foreclose on a home if payments are missed.

What is Unsecured Debt?

Unsecured debt is just the opposite of secured debt, and involves receiving a loan or line of credit with no collateral. Examples include:

  • Credit cards
  • Department store cards
  • Signature loans
  • Telephone bills
  • Health club fees
  • Magazine club fees

Money that is loaned without collateral is usually loaned on a much smaller scale than secured loans. The lender is at a higher risk because if the debtor defaults on payments there is no way to for the creditor to take back any item and regain the money they loaned.

Trouble Handling Your Debt?

Most people get in over their heads with unsecured loans because they don’t keep a close eye on them. They stretch themselves too thin and soon are unable to make payments. When they find themselves struggling to stay afloat they may want to consider bankruptcy. There are different types of bankruptcy to match the type of debt that you have. Bankruptcy is a way to start fresh in life and have your debt completely removed!

If you are struggling with debt you need to contact JacksonWhite, experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney today to discuss what your options are, and see how bankruptcy can help you.

Call Ben at (480) 422-3440 for your free consultation.

 

 

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The Timeshare Trap & Bankruptcy http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/03/11/the-timeshare-trap-bankruptcy/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/03/11/the-timeshare-trap-bankruptcy/#comments Fri, 11 Mar 2011 15:43:22 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=1076 UPDATED: July 2013 Each year, thousands of bankruptcy cases involve timeshares, and one of the most common questions asked of bankruptcy attorneys and trustees is: “What happens to my timeshare after I file for bankruptcy?” There tends to be misinformation about timeshares and bankruptcy, perhaps because every bankruptcy case is different, as are timeshares and the maintenance fees associated with them. When you own a timeshare and file bankruptcy, here’s what you’re likely to face. How are Timeshares Affected by Bankruptcy? There are two types of timeshares: A timeshare in which you have real property ownership, A timeshare in which...

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UPDATED: July 2013

Each year, thousands of bankruptcy cases involve timeshares, and one of the most common questions asked of bankruptcy attorneys and trustees is: “What happens to my timeshare after I file for bankruptcy?”

There tends to be misinformation about timeshares and bankruptcy, perhaps because every bankruptcy case is different, as are timeshares and the maintenance fees associated with them. When you own a timeshare and file bankruptcy, here’s what you’re likely to face.

How are Timeshares Affected by Bankruptcy?

There are two types of timeshares:

  • A timeshare in which you have real property ownership,
  • A timeshare in which you have ownership interest that gives you the ability to use a property.

The way bankruptcy will affect your timeshare depends on the type, as well as the type of bankruptcy you’ll be filing.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcies

If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the timeshare is considered non-exempt property, and if you own the timeshare outright, you have two options: pay the value of the timeshare, or surrender it to the bankruptcy trustee, which will then try to sell it and use the proceeds to pay off your creditors.

Unfortunately, surrendering to the trustee doesn’t mean its guaranteed to be sold, as they will have just as difficult a time as you would trying to sell your timeshare. Because they are considered poor investments, they are typically difficult to sell during the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcies

If you’re filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll retain all of your assets, including the timeshare. However, you will be required to repay the value of the timeshare to your creditors over the life of the bankruptcy, which is 3 – 5 years.

In this case, you’re legally eligible to keep your timeshare, but you also must make the decision of whether or not your timeshare is an investment worth keeping.

Surrendering Your Timeshare During Bankruptcy

If you owe money on your timeshare or can’t afford the yearly maintenance fees, you can surrender your timeshare back to the lender during the bankruptcy process. This allows you to minimize the overall costs you’ll owe, and you won’t have any future liability toward the timeshare.

For most bankruptcy clients with timeshares, this tends to be the option they choose. Between the cost of yearly ownership and the time it takes to use timeshares, many clients simply don’t see their timeshares as a priority during or after bankruptcy.

Why Timeshares are Poor Investments

A while back I was attending a court hearing at the bankruptcy court while the bankruptcy trustee was questioning a person who had filed for bankruptcy.  He asked this particular debtor if he had a timeshare.

The debtor replied that he did, and the trustee replied sarcastically, “I think owning a timeshare is a required qualification for filing bankruptcy!”  While somewhat rude and definitely condescending, the trustee was bringing to the light the fact that many people own timeshares and that such purchases – in the long run – don’t turn out to be good investments.

This is because most timeshare owners don’t seek a positive return on their purchase – it’s considered more of a lifestyle choice rather than a sound financial investment.

How a Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help with Your Timeshare

During the bankruptcy process, your attorney will advise you on the options you have available for your timeshare. Your legal team will include the timeshare in your overall financial outlook and provide you with a plan of action that’s best suited to your situation.

At JacksonWhite, we’ll show you how to surrender your timeshare, if necessary, or plan for a budget that will allow you to keep your ownership.

Need to Discuss Your Financial Plans?

If you have questions about timeshares and bankruptcy, contact JacksonWhite Law.

Call JacksonWhite at (480) 422-3440 to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation. 

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Bankruptcy and Your Tax Refund http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/03/08/bankruptcy-and-your-tax-refund/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/03/08/bankruptcy-and-your-tax-refund/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:33:58 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=1066 As tax season is rolling around I get a lot of questions from those who need to file bankruptcy but are expecting to get a tax refund soon. The simplest advice I can give is if you are looking to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy then you should file your taxes, get your refund, spend it, and then file for bankruptcy. If you file your bankruptcy case before you get your refund, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will be able to take a good portion of it and pay it to your creditors. If you follow this advice...

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As tax season is rolling around I get a lot of questions from those who need to file bankruptcy but are expecting to get a tax refund soon. The simplest advice I can give is if you are looking to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy then you should file your taxes, get your refund, spend it, and then file for bankruptcy. If you file your bankruptcy case before you get your refund, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will be able to take a good portion of it and pay it to your creditors.

If you follow this advice and get your tax refund prior to filing bankruptcy, this naturally leads to the next question – what can you spend your refund on? As weird as it sounds, you should not use your tax refund to pay your debts – especially debts owed to family members or friends. Debts that are paid immediately prior to your bankruptcy filing can be considered a preference or a fraudulent transfer that can result in your bankruptcy trustee seeking to recover those funds and pay them pro rata to your creditors.

So where can you spend your refund? Here is a list of places where it would be appropriate to spend your money:

  • 401(k) or IRA accounts contributions
  • Groceries (you can actually purchase up to 6 months of groceries and fall within Arizona’s exemption limits)
  • Utilities
  • Bankruptcy attorney’s fees (this one is self serving, but a tax refund helps a lot of people pay their legal fees and the court costs associated with filing for bankruptcy)

While it is best to get your tax refund prior to filing for bankruptcy, I have a lot of clients that come in and are dealing with a wage garnishment, foreclosure, or law suit that simply can’t wait.  If that is the case then it will be necessary to file your bankruptcy case as soon as you can to stop the collection efforts against you.  You will lose a portion (most) of your tax refund, but if you look at the big picture, most people are able to discharge/eliminate tens of thousands of dollars of debt and in return you will lose what is usually less than a $5,000 refund.  Bankruptcy aside, if I told you that all of your debt could be eliminated if you gave up your tax refund there likely isn’t a person out there that wouldn’t take that deal.

Also, if timing is important for your bankruptcy filing, at my office we will get started on preparing the paperwork for your bankruptcy for as little as $250 down, then you can file your taxes, get your refund, and then be ready to file your bankruptcy as soon as possible.

I offer a free bankrutpcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. I can be reached at (480) 422-3440.

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Medical Expenses and Bankruptcy: Arizona Bankrutpcy Attorney http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/02/01/medical-expenses-and-bankruptcy-arizona-bankrutpcy-attorney/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/02/01/medical-expenses-and-bankruptcy-arizona-bankrutpcy-attorney/#comments Tue, 01 Feb 2011 15:58:27 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=782 A fair amount of my clients have dealt with an extended illness that caused them to incur significant medical bills.  In my own experience it seems that the health insurance premiums keep rising but the level of coverage keeps decreasing.  Because of this it is not unusual to see people with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  While it is my experience that the medical community is less aggressive on the collection side of things as compared to credit card companies, if  medical bills go unpaid long enough many doctors are sending the accounts to a collection agency. ...

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A fair amount of my clients have dealt with an extended illness that caused them to incur significant medical bills.  In my own experience it seems that the health insurance premiums keep rising but the level of coverage keeps decreasing.  Because of this it is not unusual to see people with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  While it is my experience that the medical community is less aggressive on the collection side of things as compared to credit card companies, if  medical bills go unpaid long enough many doctors are sending the accounts to a collection agency.  I am even seeing accounts at a collection agency where there is very little owed ($200-$500).

Medical bills are unsecured debts and much like credit card will be discharged/eliminated through a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.  Medical debts can also be dealt with in a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing but during the the chapter 13 bankruptcy process there is typically some paying back of the debt required.

Two issues come up with medical debt and bankruptcy that we don’t really worry about with other types of unsecured debt.  First, there is the concern that the doctor will no longer provide services to them.  This is a valid concern.  If you discharge a debt owed to Dr. Smith it is likely that Dr. Smith will not want you as a patient in the future.  If you anticipate either wanting or needing to receive medical care from a doctor in the future you ought to approach the doctor about your current financial situation and see if an agreement can be reached.  This may require you to pay all or a portion of the debt on a voluntary basis after your bankruptcy is completed.  Or, you could even offer to reaffirm the medical debt with your doctor during your bankruptcy case.  To reaffirm a debt is to simply agree in writing that you are still contractually bound to pay the underlying debt.  It will be necessary to get the bankruptcy court to sign off on the reaffirmation agreement.  Before taking this drastic step it is important to discuss the matter with a bankruptcy attorney as reaffirming a debt can have serious consequences.  If you live in a smaller community this issue comes up more often due to the limited number of doctors in the area.  If you live in the Phoenix metro area there are other doctors who you can go to for medical treatment.

Next, I am always concerned with the timing of a bankruptcy if a client is continuing to receive ongoing medical treatment that they will not be able to pay.  For instance, is a person has a disease such a cancer, and we know there will be significant, expensive treatment in the coming months, it will likely be better to wait until that treatment has been completed prior to filing for bankruptcy.  In a chapter 7 bankruptcy only those debts incurred prior to filing your case with the bankruptcy court are eligible to be discharged or eliminated.

It is important to distinguish between waiting to file bankruptcy until your medical treatment is completed and incurring debts under false pretenses with no intent on paying.  Debts incurred in this manner may be deemed non-dischargeable by the bankruptcy court – meaning that they will not be discharged, ever.  Bankruptcy courts have been good about distinguishing between debts incurred for needed medical treatment and those debts incurred immediately prior to filing bankruptcy for things like vacations or a credit card shopping spree.

If you have significant medical debt that you are having trouble paying,  I offer a free bankrutpcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. I can be reached at (480) 422-3440.

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How Much Can I Spend on Groceries While in Bankruptcy?: Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/01/31/how-much-can-i-spend-on-groceries-while-in-bankruptcy-arizona-bankruptcy-attorney/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2011/01/31/how-much-can-i-spend-on-groceries-while-in-bankruptcy-arizona-bankruptcy-attorney/#comments Mon, 31 Jan 2011 16:08:26 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=777 For those who file a chapter 13 bankruptcy case you are required to propose a plan to the court and your creditors as to how you will be handling various types of debts.  A big part in determining how much you will be paying your creditors has to do with how much disposable income you have at the end of the month.  In order to put together a realistic plan it is necessary to carefully account for all of your income and expenses. Too often when I ask clients to put together a monthly budget for their expenses they omit expenses which...

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For those who file a chapter 13 bankruptcy case you are required to propose a plan to the court and your creditors as to how you will be handling various types of debts.  A big part in determining how much you will be paying your creditors has to do with how much disposable income you have at the end of the month.  In order to put together a realistic plan it is necessary to carefully account for all of your income and expenses.

Too often when I ask clients to put together a monthly budget for their expenses they omit expenses which results in a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan that is not realistic.  You will be required to pay all of your disposable income to your creditors during your bankruptcy case.  If you omit a significant monthly expense it will appear that you have much more disposable income than you really have thus making the monthly chapter 13 plan payment difficult to make when those unaccounted for expenses roll around.

When accounting for monthly expenses you should take into consideration items that you will need to pay for during the year but don’t necessarily pay for on a monthly basis.  For instance, I have six children (I know, SIX!), and while my wife and I don’t buy them new clothes each month we will usually buy them new clothes at the beginning of the school year.  In my case I would want to take what it will cost to clothe my children, divide it by 12 months, and then provide for a monthly allotment for clothes in my budget.  If we spend $500 on school clothes in August, then I would want to provide for a monthly clothing budget of at least $42 ($500 ÷ 12 months) for my chapter 13 bankruptcy.

For many, budgeting is not an regular practice and is a skill that is learned through the bankruptcy process.  Many are not sure what an appropriate amount is to allot to their various expenses.  Locally here in the Phoenix area the two chapter 13 trustees have provided guidelines for what expenses are appropriate.  You can access it here: TrusteeExpenseGuidelines2008.9-25-08 .  These are just general guidelines and actually are much higher in some areas than a lot of people spend.

If you are preparing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, take the time to really evaluate your monthly expenses.  It will not only improve your chances of success in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case but will help you as you move forward in improving your financial future.

I offer a free bankrutpcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. I can be reached at (480) 422-3440.

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Workin’ For a Livin': Commission Based Pay and Bankruptcy http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2010/09/02/workin-for-a-livin-commission-based-pay-and-bankruptcy/ http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/2010/09/02/workin-for-a-livin-commission-based-pay-and-bankruptcy/#comments Thu, 02 Sep 2010 01:35:09 +0000 http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/?p=400 For those of you that earn a living in a commission based job (Realtors, car sales, insurance sales, etc.), bankruptcy can cause difficulties if not well planned.  The treatment of your pay depends upon the chapter of bankruptcy you file, so I will break it down into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Commission Based Pay and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In a chapter 7 bankruptcy we determine your income by taking an average of your pay over the last six months.  This means that if you have a very high or very low month in comparison to your normal...

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For those of you that earn a living in a commission based job (Realtors, car sales, insurance sales, etc.), bankruptcy can cause difficulties if not well planned.  The treatment of your pay depends upon the chapter of bankruptcy you file, so I will break it down into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

Commission Based Pay and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy we determine your income by taking an average of your pay over the last six months.  This means that if you have a very high or very low month in comparison to your normal wages, it may impact your monthly average either up or down.  In order to qualify to file a chapter 7 bankrutpcy you must have an income at or below the average income for a family of your size in your area.  Thus, the average of your last six months of income will determine whether you qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy or not.

In chapter 7 bankruptcy, generally your wages or pay you receive after your bankruptcy is filed is of not much concern to the bankruptcy court or your trustee.  However, if you have unpaid commissions, that have been earned, just not paid, that are due to you prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case, the trustee assigned to your case may be able to assert a claim on those commissions and seize them to pay your creditors.

For instance, if you are a realtor, and you have done everything that is necessary to sell/buy a property, and are merely waiting for the closing date to arrive, if you receive your commission after the filing of your bankruptcy case the trustee may be able to seize it.  If you receive the commission prior to your bankruptcy filing, you will be able to use it for your living expenses.  Because of this, it is important to have an open discussion with your attorney as to any commissions that you will be entitled to after your case is filed.  This is especially important if you are an insurance agent who receives renewal commissions.

Commission Based Pay and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy we also look for an average of your last six months of wages.  In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you will be making a monthly payment to your creditors.  The amount of this monthly payment is going to partly be based upon your income minus your monthly expenses.  The result of this calculation is your monthly disposable income.  Thus, in many cases, if your monthly income is higher, your monthly disposable income is higher, resulting in a greater monthly chapter 13 payment.

Where commission based pay comes into play is that many times those who earn commissions have pay that is highly variable.  One month you may make $1,000 and the next month $10,000.   So for instance, if during the six months prior to filing bankruptcy you had five months of $1,000 per month in pay, and one month of $10,000, your average monthly pay would be $2,500 — even though you typically only make $1,000 per month.  From this example you can see that it may be better to wait to file your chapter 13 bankruptcy case if you have a month with an unusually high commission, as this will raise your monthly average and correspondingly raise your monthly chapter 13 plan payment.

I offer a free bankrutpcy consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. I can be reached at (480) 422-3440.

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