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Christian DiCicco

Bankruptcy

What Does Your Firm Do As A Debt Relief Agent In Helping People File For Bankruptcy?

We help save people drowning in debt. Bankruptcy in a powerful financial tool specifically authorized by the Constitution. We use this tool to give debtors a financial “fresh start” from the burden of crushing debts. Whether it be unmanageable medical bills, credit card debts, or mortgage and car payments that have become past due, we work to eliminate those debts and save people’s houses.

How Does Your Experience Set You Apart From Other Bankruptcy Attorneys?

I think I understand people better than most others. I appreciate that just because someone is having a bad day, that doesn’t make them a bad person. My motto has always been that I’m in the business of providing peace of mind. In the area of law that I practice, people are facing tremendous financial stress. The last thing they need is more stress from a meeting with the lawyer. People are generally intimidated by lawyers, and I find that to be disheartening. I prefer to be called counselor because it reflects the importance of our primary role of helping people. As a counselor, I strive to put everyone at ease from the moment we make contact.

How Severe Should My Debt Be Before Bankruptcy Is The Next Option Or The Next Step?

I don’t believe there’s a magic number. Most of my clients have debt in excess of $8,000. But, any amount that is causing stress, that is making it difficult to make monthly payments, pay bills, maintain a cost of living, or put food on the table, should consider bankruptcy as a viable option.

I’m Being Sued By A Credit Card Company. Is It Too Late To File For Bankruptcy?

It is never too late to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy protection immediately stops the proceeding in its tracks. Don’t let a credit card company get a judgment against you and seize your property. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible.

Should I Try And Work With The Credit Card Companies First Before Filing For Bankruptcy?

It’s very difficult to work with credit card companies. There have been some instances in which I’ve helped my clients work with credit card companies. However, for the vast majority of cases, filing bankruptcy saves my clients thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars. Many times, “working with a credit card company” only hurts the financial health of individuals who have been struggling to get debt free.

What Are The Major Differences Between Chapter 7 Bankruptcy And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy And How Do I Know Which One’s Right For Me?

The major differences between a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 is that a chapter 13 provides a way to catch up on debts owed through a repayment plan on property that you want to keep like a home, and car. It also allows you to pay back non-dischargeable debts, such as spousal and child support, and recent tax liabilities. A chapter 7 doesn’t give you a repayment option. It eliminates dischargeable debts, and leaves you to figure out how you’re going to catch up on your mortgage, child support payments, or car payments that you’ve fallen behind on. It leaves the consumer to deal with those lenders directly.

In order to determine which one you should file, I cannot stress enough the importance of discussing your situation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. The law is very complicated when it comes to determining whether you qualify for a chapter 7. As previously discussed, you may qualify for chapter 7 going into it not knowing that all of your property could be subject to liquidation by the trustee, and you could lose everything.

Will Filing For Bankruptcy Ruin My Credit Forever?

When you file bankruptcy, it remains on your credit report for 8 to 10 years. That being said, most of my clients see a significant increase in their credit score as a result of bankruptcy. Most lenders look at your debt to income ratio when deciding whether to extend credit. A bankruptcy can eliminate all of your debt thereby greatly improving your debt to income ratio which in turn drives up your credit score. Before most of my clients consider filing for bankruptcy, their credit score is already pretty shot. They show significant past due payments on credit cards and mortgage payments, and that really devastates their credit worthiness.

Also, in a completed chapter 13, you can demonstrate that you’ve made regular payments through your repayment plan. Future potential lenders will look upon that favorably.

All things considered, if you are considering filing bankruptcy, it is likely that your credit will actually be greatly improved as opposed to ruin as a result of a successful bankruptcy.

Can I Work With The Debt Consolidation Company Instead Of Filing For Bankruptcy?

My experience with debt consolidation companies has shown me they are nothing short of a disturbing scam being run across this country. Let me give you an example. I had a client a couple of years ago who came into my office. They were paying a debt consolidation company $800 per month to attempt to negotiate $30,000 of credit card debt over four different credit card companies. The company, sitting on picked one of the credit card companies and made a deal. That one credit card company was owed about $12,000. When the consolidation company had $5,600 of my client’s money, they offered the credit card company a $4,600 lump sum payment to wipe out the debt in its entirety. The credit card company agreed. It took the $4,600, and the debt consolidation company pocketed a $1,000 for its “efforts.” Then, the credit card company issued a 1099 to my client and reported $7,400 of forgiven debt to the government for which my client had to pay taxes on, because that’s how Uncle Sam treats forgiven debt as income, unless it’s done in a bankruptcy. By the way, the credit card company never removed the negative marks on my client’s credit report.

So, not only did my client now have a tax bill and d a lower credit score, she still had $18,000 of credit card debt owed to the other creditors. And, because the consolidation company did not deal with the three other companies, my client was sued by all of them. They all got judgments, and now my client was out $5,600, still on the hook for $18,000 plus attorney fees and court costs, a tax bill and poor credit. Consequently, she had to file for bankruptcy.

Is That Something That Commonly Happens With These Companies?

It’s a common practice for debt consolidation companies to find the largest credit card bill and work from the largest one down. They figure that the client would be happy if the largest amount is being worked on first. By the time they get to the credit card companies with the smaller balances, it’s too late. There is no requirement for the credit card company to stop collection efforts just because it’s working with a debt consolidation company. But, if you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, once a bankruptcy is filed, it stops all collection efforts. Even if you hire a bankruptcy lawyer and don’t file bankruptcy right away, notifying the credit card company that you’ve engaged a lawyer slows down the process, stops the harassing bill collectors and gives you time to get your documents in order so that you can eventually file for bankruptcy protection.

What Immediate Relief Will Filing For Bankruptcy Provide Me?

The magical term, and the power of the bankruptcy court is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay is the power to stop all of your creditors from any further collection efforts. It will immediately stop the credit card companies from filing a lawsuit or from collecting on a judgment. It will immediately stop a scheduled sheriff’s sale and save someone from losing their house. The power of the automatic stay can remain in effect the entire duration of your bankruptcy, regardless of whether it is chapter 7 or chapter 13.

What Is The Automatic Stay And How Will It Help Me?

The automatic stay is the ultimate power of the bankruptcy. It stops all collection efforts. It stops all creditors from proceeding with any collection efforts whatsoever. It even stops collectors from contacting the debtor. Once a bankruptcy is filed, the creditor is prohibited from trying to collect a debt or communicating with the debtor in relation to a debt.

I’m Already Working With A Debt Consolidation Company, Can I Still File For Bankruptcy At This Point?

If you are working with a debt consolidation company, please stop sending them any money and call an experienced bankruptcy lawyer right away. You have a Constitutional right to still file for bankruptcy protection. In fact, you may be able to get back some, if not all, of the money already paid to debt consolidation company.

Christian DiCicco

Call For A Free Consultation
(215) 795-5775