We Help Clients Across Chandler and the greater phoenix area Obtain a Fresh Financial Start
At Agins Law Firm, PLC, we know that financial hardship can force you to fall behind on paying your debts. When this occurs, it can be difficult for debtors to determine the best course of action to get their finances back on the right track. Our legal team proudly uses our years of experience to help clients who are struggling with debt regain financial security. We have a stellar reputation for working with precision and for assessing our clients’ particular situations so that we can provide them with insightful counsel.
Contact us today at (480) 447-9058 if you need help getting out of debt or protecting your home from foreclosure.
Debt Relief Services We Offer
Bankruptcy is not the only method of debt relief, although it can be the best solution depending on your situation. One thing remains clear: if you are too far behind on your debts, then anything short of full repayment will have credit reporting consequences. Whether you decide to file for bankruptcy or choose default negotiation, debt forgiveness, or consolidation, your credit rating will be impacted.
With that understanding, let's explore some of the non-bankruptcy options that are available to help you obtain debt relief:
- Default: If you don’t pay the debt because you are unemployed, your creditor might decide to write-off or charge-off the debt, reporting it as unpaid. In certain instances, it can be more economically advantageous to the creditor than incurring collection fees. If the creditor chooses to sue you and obtains a judgment but you have no income or available assets to garnish, the judgment will sit unsatisfied for up to 20 years without detriment to you (provided that your insolvency continues) or benefit to your creditor. However, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a judgment can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years from the date of the judgment “or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is the longer period.”
- Debt Negotiation: You can try to negotiate your debts with creditors. This requires individual negotiation with each creditor and can have varying results depending upon the amount and nature of the debt. Creditors might offer long- or short-term repayment plans ranging from one to five years. Their repayment departments can also offer you various options with different interest rates. If you can show with reasonable certainty that they will receive at least a substantial repayment, chances are good that they will entertain a repayment plan.
- Debt Forgiveness: If you don’t have a current source of income and it appears that you won't have one for the near future, you can ask your creditors about debt forgiveness. If they forgive the debt, you will not have to repay your creditors. But you will have forgiveness of debt income, which is taxable. (This does not happen when you file bankruptcy.) If the amount of debt forgiven exceeds $600, the creditor must report it to the IRS on a Form 1099-C (cancellation of debt). If the amount of your debt is greater than the amount of your assets, you don’t need to report the income.
- Debt Consolidation: If you are currently employed, or are unemployed but will soon resume working, then debt consolidation might be your best option. Debt consolidation is similar to a repayment plan. Under one scenario, you sign-up with a debt-consolidation service to which you make a single monthly payment. They then distribute that amount to your creditors and over time, your debt is paid in full. However, there are often problems with these services because either their fees are high, or they are otherwise disreputable. Under another scenario, you can take all your consumer debts that carry high interest rates and consolidate them into a home equity line of credit (HELOC) at a lower interest rate. The problem with this is that you essentially are converting general unsecured debts into a secured debt for which the collateral is your home. This requires careful thought, as it is risky.
For homeowners who are upside-down on their mortgage, a short sale might provide the best way to get out from under a burdensome mortgage debt while avoiding the need for foreclosure and the related adverse credit reporting effects.
A short sale is negotiated with your mortgagee so that they allow you to sell your home to a purchaser for less than the amount outstanding on your mortgage. In certain instances, you can even receive some "move-out" money. A short sale requires the expert guidance of both an experienced realtor and a debt negotiation attorney, such as those at Agins Law Firm, PLC.
Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?
If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which will trigger an “automatic stay” that immediately goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits lenders from moving forward with foreclosure proceedings while you are still in bankruptcy and working to pay off your mortgage payments.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as reorganization bankruptcy, allows debtors to eliminate mortgage debt and other types of debts by organizing set payments for a set period. These payments usually last between 3-5 years. Over the course of the repayment plan, most Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers end up paying only a fraction of their overall debt.
Agins Law Firm, PLC is here to guide you and provide the information you need to make informed decisions about which of these options would be best to tackle your debt. When you choose our firm to represent you, you can rest assured that we will provide you with the personalized and prompt service you deserve. Our friendly legal professionals strive to maintain open lines of communication with our clients at all times, and we want you to feel confident your best interests are protected.
How we do itAgins Law Firm is a local firm focused on the needs of our neighbors. We are committed to helping you realize your goals in caring for seniors and special-needs family members, protecting your assets and conveying them to future generations, taking advantage of various business opportunities and coping with financial problems involving debt relief and filing for bankruptcy.
What we doWe have chosen to focus our practice in the specific areas of estate planning/elder law, business law and bankruptcy/debt relief. We are a full-service firm that is equipped and eager to help our neighbors throughout the East Valley with comprehensive business and personal legal services.
Who We areWe have dedicated ourselves to gaining substantial expertise in our chosen practice areas and concentrating our efforts in those areas to provide you with current, focused and prudent legal counsel.