Avoiding Bankruptcy

The economic collapse of 2007 produced four successive years of increased personal bankruptcy filings, peaking at 1.59 million in 2010 before dropping slightly in each of the past three years, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Despite the increase in both personal and business bankruptcies, the concept of having your unsecured debt discharged and restarting your financial life through bankruptcy continues to carry a strong negative stigma.

While filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on an individual's credit report for 10 years, it is often possible to begin rebuilding your credit rating and receive credit at reasonable interest rates within two years of your bankruptcy's completion.

At the Law Offices of Geoffrey A. Planer in Gastonia, North Carolina, we understand why you may be reluctant to file bankruptcy even when faced with what appears to be insurmountable debt. That is why we carefully review every client's situation and recommend an alternative to bankruptcy if one makes sense. Options include:

  • Debt consolidation or debt settlement — Some creditors will negotiate a payment plan or a reduced lump sum payment. We will help you explore this option. It is important to note here that you should be wary of so-called debt consolidation companies that promise to negotiate agreements for you to pay off debts for "pennies on the dollar." Often, these companies produce no agreements with your creditors and you end up paying for services that did not achieve your goals.
  • Creditor lawsuit defense – Some creditors take legal action to enforce the collection of debts they claim are owed. In filing a lawsuit the creditor may obtain a judgment against you for the value of the debt, the cost of the lawsuit and high attorney fees. A judgment lasts for 10 years in North Carolina and can be renewed for an additional 10 years. In addition, a judgment accrues interest from the date the creditor lawsuit was filed. We will review your options in defending against creditor lawsuits to prevent a creditor form obtaining a judgment against you.
  • Liability and debt exposure analysis – If you have a business that is failing or if you have a fallout or dispute with a business partner, you may have financial exposure that puts your personal assets at risk. We will evaluate and discuss your potential financial exposure, as well as develop a strategy or possible workout agreements that satisfy the creditor while protecting personal property.

Our experience allows us to consider all options available to handle your debt when initially assessing your unique situation.

We will take the time to explain all of your options completely and provide both the short- and long-term ramifications of each. We invite you to call 704-864-0235 or email us to schedule a free consultation in which we can review your financial situation and recommend the best steps to resolve your financial woes.