About Our Firm

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Since 1997 we are Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Adoption, Bankruptcy & Mediation Services: practicing in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and all of Hillsborough County as well as for bankruptcy in all counties in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florda: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hernando, Polk, and Pasco Counties. Our lawyers have experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions, and name changes. We offer a free consultation and we are happy to discuss your case. Call or email to schedule a consult. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are people who file for bankruptcy "using the system"?

As a bankruptcy attorney, I was asked by a criminal law attorney whether I thought people were acquiring debt with the intention of discharging it in bankruptcy. I assured this attorney that this was NOT the case. The overwhelming majority of clients we have had and have are devastated by having to file for bankruptcy. There may be a few that “work the system”, but that is the exception.

Furthermore, I can also vouch through my experience that the majority of people who are on unemployment compensation would much rather be working. They are making a minimal amount of money on unemployment which doesn’t even begin to cover the income they received when they were working. Without even the income to pay their living and food expenses, unpaid debt starts accruing and creditors add fees and raise interest rates and the amount owed increases rapidly, making it even more impossible to pay back. It’s a no win situation.

My advice if you are falling behind on paying your debt is that you do not use equity from your homestead or use funds from your retirement accounts as both of these assets are usually exempt in bankruptcy. In essence, if you cannot pay your bills, do not devastate yourself even more financially by using up assets which you may keep if you must file for bankruptcy. I have seen too many clients who have done so and they are destitute. Many of these people should be retired, but they don't have the means to retire.

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams. Help is Free!

There is never a fee to get assistance or information about the Making Home Affordable program from your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor.

For a HUD-approved counselor, visit: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsq/sfh/hcc/fc

Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay a fee in exchange for housing counseling services or modification of a delinquent loan.

Beware of anyone who says they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.

Never make your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.