Livonia Michigan Bankruptcy - Michigan Bankruptcy Blog

Livonia Michigan Bankruptcy

Michigan Bankruptcy Blog

New Bankruptcy Forms in Michigan!

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On November 20th

StartClient Thank You Cardsing December 1st almost all of the Bankruptcy Forms in Michigan are being revised.  Now more than ever it is important that if you decide to file for Bankruptcy to hire an attorney that practices exclusively in the field of Bankruptcy!  Hiring an attorney that files just one or two bankruptcies a month will likely result in having the wrong forms filed in your case and possibly your case being dismissed. 

 

Imagine that you finally decide to hire an attorney to file for Bankruptcy and the case is dismissed because that attorney did not know about the new Bankruptcy Forms being required December 1st!  That won’t happen if you hire us, not only is Bankruptcy all that we do, but we do it in personalized manner that is unmatched by any other Bankruptcy firms in the area. 

 

Just last week my wife and I spent an entire day at a Bankruptcy conference continuing our legal education on Bankruptcy.  Trust me, we know Bankruptcy and have helped thousands of people get a fresh start but Bankruptcy is an ever changing area practice of law.  We value staying current of the changes in the law so we can provide our clients with the best possible service.

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Livonia Bankruptcy Lawyers That Have Helped Thousands Receive a Fresh Start

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On February 24th

Peter Behrmann and Jeri Behrmann, attorneys at Phoenix Law, one of Metro Detroit’s leading bankruptcy law firms based in Livonia, have helped over a thousand families in and around Livonia receive a fresh start.

Livonia Bankruptcy Attorneys

Husband & Wife Lawyers Focused On You

“We are not one of the large firms the focus on volume, we have always focused on our clients.” Said Peter Behrmann. “We strive to provide personalized service unlike any other firm in the metro Detroit area. At our firm, you will meet directly with myself, we will prepare your petition, and I will go to court with you.” Peter continued. It is important to note that while other large firms advertise that they have filed over 10,000 cases, these cases have been filed by dozens of attorneys over dozens of years. Clients of those firms will get a bankruptcy, but then end up having different attorneys at every meeting and different attorneys at their court hearings. “The fact is having an attorney you have never met before show up to represent you at court really adds to the stress of an already stressful process.” Added Jeri Behrmann. “Our clients enjoy knowing that we will be the ones handling their cases from start to finish.”

Phoenix Law represents clients throughout the Metro Detroit area who are facing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well as those facing foreclosure to prevent it from happening. They also help clients struggling with credit card debt, car repossession, bad investments, and too many medical bills. Phoenix Law has been in business since 2008 and has helped thousands of people get the fresh start they deserve.

ABOUT PHOENIX LAW: From our Livonia, Michigan location, we represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw.

“S” is for Signs You Should Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On June 15th

“S” is for Signs You Should Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

 Filing for Bankruptcy can be a hard and emotional decision for most people. You did the best you could and never intended to incur debt like you have. After living with the debt load for so long, most people become numb to the amount. It takes a toll not only on your finances but your emotional health and personal relationships can suffer as well. You should consider speaking with a Livonia bankruptcy lawyer, if any of the following signs describe your situation.

  1. You are considering borrowing money from your 401(k) or cashing in your IRA to pay bills or credit cards.
  2. You are not paying for necessary prescriptions or medical needs in order to make your minimum credit card payments.
  3. Your reasonable and necessary monthly expenses are greater than your monthly income.
  4. You constantly worry your paycheck is going to be garnished.
  5. You go to sleep and wake up wondering how you are going to get ahead.
  6. You are behind on your mortgage payments and your home is worth saving to you.
  7. You are behind on your mortgage payments and your home is worth far less than what it is worth.
  8. You refuse to answer the phone because of the constant creditor calls.
  9. Your debts exceed the value of all your assets.  
  10. You have don’t have the ability to negotiate with your creditors.

          Most struggle longer than they should and by the time they realize the inevitable, they have lost the assets they could have used to start over after a bankruptcy. The purpose of a bankruptcy is to give the honest person a fresh start without the debt and the feeling of hopelessness that goes with it. The best time to file is when you are financially overwhelmed but still have some assets to protect.

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: ShellyS

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “S”

 

“R” is for Real Estate in Bankruptcy

In the early to mid 2000’s real estate was a solid investment.  The property values were always increasing where you could always tap into your home equity and in some cases even the future equity in your home.  Then came 2008, with the financial mess of Wall Street followed by the single most decline in real-estate values in your life time.   Today, most real estate listed in bankruptcy is under water, meaning you owe more on the real estate then it is worth. 

The first rule on real estate in bankruptcy is you have to list it.  If you have any interest in any real estate, it needs to be listed in your bankruptcy.  This includes times shares, redemptive rights in properties that have been foreclosed on, and real estate that family members have added your name to for estate planning purposes. 

Next, I often file bankruptcies for people who are behind on their mortgage payments for their real estate.  In bankruptcy, you can limit your liability on your real estate debt, or you can use a bankruptcy to cure a deficiency on your mortgage payments on your real estate.  If you own an investment property, we can even use a bankruptcy to lower the amount you owe on the property to current fair market value.

Everyone situation is different; however, real estate can plan an important part of any bankruptcy filing.  At your free consultation, we will discuss all real estate that you own and what your options are in bankruptcy. 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the Letter “R”

“M” is for Median Income in Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 20th

“M” is for Median Income

 

Come May 1, 2012, the Median Income for Michigan used for bankruptcy eligibility will be changing once again.  The Median income figures are used in figuring out the first part of the “Means Test” that is required when figuring out if you are eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, or for figuring out in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if you will be required to commit to a 36, or a 60 month repayment plan.

 

Michigan Median Income Figures:

 

Family Size

 

1 Person

2 People

3 People

4 People

After May 1, 2012

$45,056

$51,660

$60,313

$72,454

Current Median

$42,562

$50,738

$60,161

$71,758

*Plus 7,500 for each person over 4

 

Chapter 7 – Median Income

 

In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the Median Income figure is used to see if you pass the first part of the Means Test.  For example, a single guy making $60,000 per year would not pass the Median Income portion of the Means Test and would most likely have to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Whereas, a family of four people making $60,000 per year would most likely pass the Means Test and be eligible for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 13 – Median Income

 

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Median Income figure is used to determine your commitment period to the bankruptcy.  For example, a single guy making $60,000 per year would have a commitment period of 60 months if he was to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Whereas, a family of four people making $60,000 per year would have a commitment period of 36 months if they were to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Impact of the New Median Income Figures

 

The impact of the new Median Income figures is that more people will now be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy then prior to May 1, 2012.  For people looking to do a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, more people will be eligible for a shorter 36 month, over the longer 60 month commitment period. 

 

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Photo Credit: ChrisinPlymouth

 

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “M”

      

 

 

 

“L” is for Limits of Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 16th

“L” is for Limits of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a very powerful tool that allows honest people a fresh start. A bankruptcy discharge eliminates a person’s legal obligation to pay a debt that is discharged. Most, but not all, types of debts are discharged if the debt existed on the date the bankruptcy case was filed.

Limits of Bankruptcy – Debts that are automatically not discharged in Bankruptcy!
Some of the most common types of debts which are not discharged in bankruptcy or may be held non-dischargeable are:

  • Debts for most taxes;
  • Debts incurred to pay non dischargeable taxes;
  • Debts that are domestic support obligations;
  • Debts for most student loans;
  • Debts for most fines, penalties, forfeitures, or criminal restitution obligations;
  • Debts for personal injuries or death caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while intoxicated;
  • Some debts which were not properly listed by the debtor;
  • Debts that the bankruptcy court specifically has decided or will decide in this bankruptcy case are not discharged;
  • Debts for which the debtor has given up the discharge protections by signing a reaffirmation agreement in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code requirements for reaffirmation of debts;
  • Debts owed to certain pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, other retirement plans, or to the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees for certain types of loans from these plans;
  • Debts incurred on the basis of fraudulent acts;
  • A debt from willful and malicious injury to another or another’s property, or an intentional tort (conversion, assault, battery, etc.);
  • Debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of trust; and
  • Debts arising from a marital property settlement agreement or divorce decree.

If you have any of these debts it is very important that you disclose these debts with your Bankruptcy Attorney so he or she can fully advise you on how the bankruptcy will affect the status of these debts that are limited from Discharge in your Bankruptcy.

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds
Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “L”:

“K” is for Knowing What Bankruptcy Attorney to Hire!

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 9th

“K” Knowing What Bankruptcy Attorney to Hire!

OK, you have now decided that you need to file for bankruptcy. Now, how do you find the proper attorney for you? You need to KNOW what to look for in finding a well-qualified bankruptcy attorney. Here are several tips in helping you find the best attorney for you:

 

Cheapest is not always best.

I see signs on the side of the road “Bankruptcy $500!” Let me be upfront, I do not do bankruptcy for $500.00, if this is what you are looking for than I wish you the best of luck. Keep in mind like anything; you get what you pay for.

 

Don’t hire a “Jack of All Trades Attorney”

Take a look at the attorney’s website, do they practice bankruptcy exclusively? Do you really want someone who does Criminal, Family, Personal Injury, and Immigration doing your bankruptcy? The answer is simply NO. Bankruptcy is a very specialized area of law and you want an attorney that practices exclusively in the field of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Don’t hire an attorney that just files Chapter 7’s or Chapter 13’s

A lot of attorneys just file Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Why? Chapter 7’s are easier and maybe they do not know how to do Chapter 13’s. Some attorneys just do Chapter 13’s, why? You can make more money on Chapter 13’s. If you happen to meet with one of these attorneys you will either be sold a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 based on what that attorney exclusively does. You want an attorney that files both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, when you meet with me at your free consultation we will review the pro’s and con’s of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 together. Then you will be able to make an informed decision with my advice on what is the proper bankruptcy for you in your particular situation.

 

Don’t hire a Bankruptcy Mill

Metro Detroit has a few bankruptcy firms with dozens of attorneys. They advertise as being the biggest and best bankruptcy law firms in Metro Detroit. The issue with these large firms is you lose the personalized service, and you are just a number to them. At these firms, you will meet with one attorney during your initial consultation and someone else (maybe a paralegal) will prepare your case. At court, you will find another attorney, someone you have never met before, there to represent you. At our firm, you will work with me and my wife exclusively, we both work on every case together (two sets of eyes are better than one) and we represent you at court.

 

Personalized, Professional Service is Needed!

Bankruptcy can be a very stressful process. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be working with that law firm and staff of 3 to 5 years. You want to make sure the firm you hire is friendly to work with, how do they answer the phone? Do they keep their appointments with you on time? Does the attorney rush you through the initial consultation and not take the time to truly understand your situation? Do the attorneys and staff talk to you with respect, and not talk down to you? At my office, we pride ourselves in providing personalized service to our clients, after all, our clients are the reason we are here and they deserve respect and an attorney to take time to explain things to them.

 

Initial Disclosures required under the Bankruptcy Code

A great test to see if you should trust the attorney you are meeting with is do they immediately provide you with a set of Initial Disclosures that are required to be provided to any potential client under the Bankruptcy Code? I cannot count the number of clients that I have had consultations with, where I am the second or third attorney they are consulting with, but I am the first to provide them with the Initial Disclosures required under the Bankruptcy Code. If the attorney you are having a consultation with does not provide you with the Initial Disclosures, DO NOT HIRE THEM, they obviously have not read the bankruptcy code and you do not want them filing your bankruptcy.

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney. From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: TooFarNorth

 

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “K”:

“J” is for Joint Bankruptcy in Michigan

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On April 5th

“J” is for Joint Bankruptcy Filing

 

When a married couple comes into my Livonia bankruptcy office to learn about bankruptcy, we complete a full analysis to determine what course of action is best for their particular situation.  Sometimes, we file just the husband, sometimes just the wife, and sometimes we take advantage of being able to file both as a joint bankruptcy.   

 

A joint bankruptcy is by no means required in Michigan.  Sometimes, one person has all of the debt, or one person may have to0 many assets to make a bankruptcy practicable in their situation.  In your Free Consultation, we will review your family situation to determine if it makes more sense to do a single bankruptcy, a joint bankruptcy, or maybe even no bankruptcy at all. 

 

A joint bankruptcy filing is only available to married couples in Michigan.  You are not eligible to file a Joint bankruptcy unless you are legally married.  One of the greatest benefits of being able to file a joint bankruptcy is cost.  At my office it costs the exact same to file a bankruptcy for one spouse, as it does to file a bankruptcy for a married couple.  I do not charge my clients anything more because they are a joint bankruptcy.  If you are interested in learning more about a joint bankruptcy, please give our office a call to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Peter Behrmann is a Livonia Bankruptcy Attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Foreclosure Prevention.

Photo Credit: MrMark

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the letter “J”: 

  • Joint Bankruptcy Filing  – Southgate, Michigan Bankrutpcy Lawyer, Christopher McAvoy               
  • Joint Debts – Hawaii Bankruptcy Attorney, Stuart T. Ing            
  • Joint Filing – Marin County Bankruptcy Attorney, Catherine Eranthe
  • Judgment – Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell
  • Judgment Debtor  – San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney, Jeena Cho 
  • Judgment Liens  – Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig 
  • Judgment Liens  – Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Lawyer, Chris Carr               
  • Judicial Lien – Cleveland Area Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bill Balena  
  • Jurisdiction  – Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein               
  • Justice in Bankruptcy – Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney, Mark J. Markus          
  • Justify – Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran    
  • Your Personal Finance Lawyer – New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman               
  • Jail  – Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bret Nason            

“I” Is for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Debt in Bankruptcy

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On March 30th

“I” Is for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Debt in Bankruptcy

Debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Michigan can be discharged in bankruptcy in certain situations!

One of the most common misconceptions about personal income tax debt owed to the IRS is that is cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. 

 However, IRS tax debt can be discharged in a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 Bankruptcy if the following five part rule is met:

  1. The due date for filing a tax return is at least three years before you filed bankruptcy.  This means that as of April 16th of this year any taxes owed from 2008 backwards could be completely discharged in bankruptcy.
  2. The tax return was filed at least two years prior to you filing bankruptcy.  This means if you were filing bankruptcy on April 16th of this year to discharge 2008 taxes, you would have had to file your 2008 taxes before April 15th of 2010.
  3. The tax assessment is at least 240 days old.   Under normal situations, this is not an issue, because most taxes are assessed when filed, or soon thereafter.  This would be an issue if you were recently audited and just received an assessment, or have been attempting to do an offer in compromise with the IRS then you might have to wait the required 240 days before you could discharge your tax debt in bankruptcy.
  4. The tax return is not fraudulent.  Just like in bankruptcy normally, debts created by fraud are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. 
  5. The taxpayer is not guilty of tax evasion.  Basically, you cannot be intentionally trying to avoid your tax liability, and then file bankruptcy. 

Keep in mind that these rules only apply to personal income tax debt.  These rules do not apply to trust fund tax debt (Sales tax, payroll taxes, etc) as these are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Further, if the IRS has filed a tax lien on your property the filing of your bankruptcy will not remove the tax lien, it will just remove your personal liability on the debt owed to the IRS, meaning you will still have to pay off the tax lien in order to sell your property in the future. 

In certain situations where you are not eligible to discharge tax debt in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 repayment plan may better treat your situation.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we can treat your recent tax debt to the IRS and the State of Michigan in a repayment plan where the tax debt is paid back at 0% interest over a three to five year period.  This is often a much better choice then directly paying the IRS, because they continue to incur interest and late fees that they are prohibited from doing when you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Photo Credit:  Leo Reynolds

 

Peter Behrmann is a Michigan bankruptcy attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the Letter “I”

“H” is for Household Median Income

Posted by Peter Behrmann, Esq. On March 19th

“H” is for Household Median Income

 

Household median income is an important part of any bankruptcy analysis.  During your free consultation at my Livonia, Michigan Bankruptcy Law Office, I always figure out what your household income is to determine how your income relates to the Household median income for the state of Michigan.

 

The following are the current household median income figures for the state or Michigan.

 

Michigan Household of 1$43,677 Household of 2$50,079 Household of 3$58,467 Household of 4$70,237

 

 *Add $7,500 for each individual in excess of 4.

 

Your household income is important in both a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

 

In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, your household income is the first test in figuring out if you are even eligible for Chapter 7 relief.  For example, a single guy making $65,000 per year is most likely not eligible for Chapter 7.  However, a married couple with three children making $65,000 per year should be eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy relief.

 

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your household income is the first test in figuring out if you Chapter 13 payment plan will be 36 or 60 months.  For example, a single guy making $65,000 per year would be in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for 60 months.  However, a married couple with three children making $65,000 per year could complete a Chapter 13 in just 36 months.

 

Like anything in Bankruptcy the above are not bright line rules, there are exceptions and this is just one of the reasons you should consider using a law firm like ours that practices exclusively in the field of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 

 

Photo Credit  TooFarNorth

Peter Behrmann is a Michigan bankruptcy attorney.  From my Livonia, Michigan location, I represent clients throughout Metro Detroit and beyond, including Garden City, Wayne, Westland, Redford, Dearborn, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Northville, Novi, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Canton, and the Counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw. My practice is limited to helping consumers like you file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

 

Other Bankruptcy Attorneys Blogging on the Letter “H”