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Bankruptcy Helps Unexpectedly Widowed Woman Start Over and Support Daughters

September 13, 2010

As Upland personal bankruptcy lawyers, we were pleased to see a positive story on bankruptcy recently -- a story showing that under the right circumstances, bankruptcy is the most responsible and smartest choice. The article comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reported Sept. 7 on the story of Renne Fortier, a 38-year-old mother of two who lost her husband unexpectedly. Mark Fortier was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of 2009 and died in March of 2009, leaving behind his wife and two daughters, ages 16 and 11. With him, the family lost 60 percent of its income, but was on the hook for $40,000 in medical bills and a monthly mortgage payment averaging $3,300. After a loan modification and short sale failed, Fortier eventually filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which she said was a relief.

Fortier said she did not originally consider bankruptcy because it had a stigma attached to it, at least in her mind. Instead, she asked for and received a temporary loan modification from Bank of America, which cut her payment to $2,200 a month. Even though she was enrolled in the program, however, the bank reported her as delinquent to credit agencies, causing her credit card company to more than double her interest rate to above 20 percent. This caused her credit card bills to skyrocket. Meanwhile, the loan modification was made permanent, but at a rate of $2,800 a month, equal to Fortier's take-home pay. Fortier considered a short sale, but ultimately contacted a bankruptcy law firm to discuss her options. Eventually, she decided to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as a "liquidation" bankruptcy because it sells off the filer's non-exempted assets in order to pay creditors. She lost the home, but was able to keep personal items like clothing and stop the financial stress.

Our Anaheim consumer bankruptcy attorneys know that not everyone would consider this a success story, but we do. Many people approach bankruptcy with a lot of emotional baggage, but we believe bankruptcy is best viewed as a business decision. If you cannot make a realistic plan to pay off your debts, it might make more sense to file for bankruptcy -- and take a seven-year hit to your credit -- than it does to continue putting your limited income toward making a small dent in it. This is especially true if you are trying to pay the debts by using assets that would be exempt in a bankruptcy, such as many retirement accounts. Unfortunately, many people don't consider bankruptcy because of how they approach it emotionally -- they view it as a failure or as an irresponsible attempt to dodge their obligations. These are widely held and understandable beliefs, but they often keep people from seeking bankruptcy or other help until they have suffered for months and run through all of their assets.

Based in Anaheim, Howard Law PC is a full-service bankruptcy firm serving clients throughout California. We help clients through every step of the process, from the initial financial analysis to counseling them on the tax and credit effects of a bankruptcy. Our West Covina individual bankruptcy lawyers start by sitting down with our clients and helping them calculate the benefits of bankruptcy, as well as which kind of bankruptcy is more likely to help them meet their financial goals. We then stand by our clients' sides through the initial credit counseling, listing of assets, court appearances and other steps in the bankruptcy process. If clients are harassed by debt collectors who violate the automatic stay on debt collection calls, we can and will sue those debt collectors for violating the law. And of course, we see to it that our clients' debts are discharged as fully as possible, without assets left behind or mistakes that can slow or stop the bankruptcy.

If you're tired of dealing with endless debt collection calls and you're ready to take action, you should call Howard Law to learn more about a bankruptcy filing. To speak with an experienced attorney, call us today at 1-800-872-5925 or send us an email.