Voted Best Phoenix Criminal Defense & Bankruptcy Law Firm 2016–2021

Lerner & Rowe Law Group

Voted Best of Our Valley Phoenix Law Firm for Criminal Defense & Bankruptcy for 6th Year in a Row!

Best of Our Valley 2021

For the sixth year in a row, we are pleased to announce that our Phoenix criminal defense and bankruptcy legal teams were voted “Best of Our Valley” in AZ Foothills Magazine’s online reader’s poll contest.

It is an honor to be recognized once again as the best criminal defense and bankruptcy legal service providers to those who work and live in the Phoenix Valley.

Nailed for a DUI? Need assistance with a bankruptcy? Overwhelmed by debt? At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, our legal teams provide the best legal assistance around the clock. Just make one call to get the help you need and the best legal representation that you deserve.

Connect with us 24/7. Chat with a live representative now, call 602-667-7777  or submit a FREE online case review form.

Most Philanthropic Company 2018–2021

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Our law firm is also actively involved in giving back to local community members, groups and organizations through our non-profit foundation, Lerner and Rowe Gives Back.

In another momentous achievement, our legal team also won the “Best of Our Valley” category title for most philanthropic company. You can learn more about our community partners and how we give back at LernerAndrRoweGivesBack.com. Contact us today for more information.  You can find out more about our firm by connecting with us on Facebook or also on Twitter.

How To Stop Wage Garnishment in Arizona

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Facing wage garnishment in Arizona? You’re not alone.

According to a study conducted by Automatic Data Processing (ADP), more than 7% of Americans have had their earnings garnished by debt collectors. Losing part of your income is a terrifying prospect for many individuals and families, especially during the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

The most important thing to understand about wage garnishment is that you are not helpless to stop it. 

By educating yourself about Arizona wage garnishment statutes and consulting with a wage garnishment attorney, you can take control of your circumstances and turn your financial situation around. Learn more about how to stop wage garnishment in Arizona from the debt relief attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group.

How Does Wage Garnishment Work in Arizona?

Wage garnishment is the name given to the legal proceedings in which an employer is required by court order to withhold a portion of an employee’s wages in order to pay back a debt. Wages may be garnished for debts including child support payments, unpaid income taxes, defaulted student loans, credit card debt, outstanding medical debt, etc. In addition to wages, commissions, bonuses, and retirement or pension income may also be subject to garnishment.

Creditor Secures a Money Judgment

Before most wage garnishments can be carried out, the creditor seeking repayment must first secure a money judgment. A money judgment is an order signed by a judicial representative which awards money from one party to the other; in this case, from the debtor to the creditor. 

The court itself will not garnish your wages after a money judgment has been secured. It is the responsibility of the debt collector (also referred to as the judgment creditor) to obtain the debtor’s physical address and employer information in order to actually carry out the wage garnishment if the debtor (also called the judgment debtor) does not voluntarily make payments.

Note: While many debts require a money judgment, child support, unpaid federal taxes, and student loan debt do not require court approval before your wages may be garnished.

Employer Receives a Garnishment Notice

After a judgment creditor secures a money judgment, the judgment debtor’s employer (also referred to as the garnishee) will receive a garnishment notice or order. Within a week of receiving the garnishment order, the garnishee must confirm receipt of the notice and began withholding wages accordingly.

Three important things to note about garnishees:

  • Garnishees are required by law to carry out wage garnishments, so don’t try to negotiate with your employer to get them reduced or dismissed.
  • An employer cannot retaliate or terminate you solely because a single wage garnishment has been issued against you. However, if two or more judgment creditors have secured money judgments, you can be lawfully terminated from your job.
  • Employees may be able to challenge the garnishment, in which case the employer can send withheld wages directly to the court who ordered the wage garnishment until the dispute has been settled.

Up to 25% of Wages Are Garnished Until Debt is Repaid

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Wage garnishment in Arizona is limited in accordance with the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). This means that garnishees may withhold no more than 25%* of your non-exempt disposable earnings to be paid to a single judgment creditor.
It’s important to understand what is meant by non-exempt disposable earnings, as this can significantly impact how much of your wages can actually be garnished:

Exempt earnings—those which can’t be garnished—include Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veteran’s benefits, student assistance, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance.

Disposable earnings refer to the amount of your wages left after required tax deductions have been made, including federal taxes, state taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes.

The amount of non-exempt disposable earnings will determine just how much money is withheld from your paycheck. Keep in mind that disposable earnings don’t take into account your monthly expenses for healthcare, housing, food, or transportation, or clothing. 

A judgment creditor can continue collecting up to 25% of your garnished wages until your debt has been repaid in full. Some judgment creditors will only garnish wages for a set period of time and may terminate the wage garnishment before the debt is totally repaid.

Generally speaking, if multiple judgment creditors have secured money judgments against you, the creditor whose judgment was approved first will have full rights to up to 25% wage garnishment and the second creditor will have to wait until the first debt is repaid to begin garnishing wages. Occasionally, judgment creditors may each garnish a portion of your wages, so long as the total wages being garnished do not exceed 25% between both parties.

*Wage garnishment in excess of 25% of your wages may be enacted for child support debts and arrears or federal taxes.

What Can I Do To Stop Wage Garnishment in Arizona?

Of course, the best way to stop your wages from being garnished is to make good faith attempts to pay down your debt. If you are unable to do so, you should at least be on the lookout for any documents sent your way regarding complaints, summons or judgments—these are clear signs that a money judgment and wage garnishment could be forthcoming. It may be tempting to ignore these notices if you are feeling overwhelmed, but doing so wastes valuable time you could spend getting the lawsuit reduced or dropped.

In short, don’t give up too quickly. There are options for stopping or reducing wage garnishment.

Method 1: Challenge the Wage Garnishment Lawsuit in Court

When a creditor brings a lawsuit against you to garnish your wages from your employer, you have the right to contest the garnishment action. But in order to do so, you’ll need to follow specific steps within a strict time frame.

Firstly, you’ll need to ensure you have received the proper documents, including:

  • Writ of Garnishment and Summons
  • Initial Notice to Judgment Debtor of Garnishment
  • Request for Hearing on Garnishment
  • Notice of Hearing on Garnishment
  • Copy of the Garnishee’s Answer

Once received, you’ll need to note all pertinent deadlines and complete a Request for Hearing on Garnishment form (Form 8 or  Form 11, depending on your reasons for contesting the garnishment). The form must be filed with the court clerk and served to the judgment creditor. 

 You may object to the proposed wage garnishment based on one of the following arguments:

  • Wage garnishment would lead to undue financial hardship
  • Your earnings have already been subject to garnishment and you have no additional earnings left to garnish
  • The judgment creditor’s claim is invalid
  • Your income is exempt, or you do not earn any income

After doing this, you will need to gather supporting documentation to prepare for a court hearing. It is advisable to consult an attorney if you plan on doing this. You should also prepare to be asked questions about your financial situation by the judge.

One possibility, if a judge determines that wage garnishment will in fact place undue financial hardship on you, is that the percentage of your wages garnished will be reduced to a more acceptable level. Depending on why you are contesting the writ in the first place, the lawsuit could also be dropped altogether.

Method 2: File For Bankruptcy

wage garnishment in Arizona

Filing for bankruptcy is the most flexible option when it comes to stopping wage garnishment, since it can be initiated before your creditor secures a money judgment or after your wages have already been subject to garnishment. 

The automatic stay that goes into effect once you file for bankruptcy immediately halts any further attempts by creditors to collect debt from you. This can cut down on harassing phone calls from creditors and stop wage garnishment in its tracks.

If you have over $10,000 in debt, multiple kinds of debt, few or no financial resources, outstanding judgments that can’t be set aside, or have lost a considerable sum in the past three months of wage garnishment in Arizona, bankruptcy may be a viable option.

There are two main types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both chapters offer different benefits. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to have many of your debts discharged but lose some of your assets. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be useful if you have the means to complete a restructured payment plan since you’ll likely be able to retain your home and vehicle.

Where Can I Get Help Stopping Wage Garnishment?

If you have been notified that your wages will soon be garnished, it is important to act quickly and prudently to protect your current income and your financial future. If wage garnishment is on the horizon, or has already begun, a solid first step is to confer with a wage garnishment or bankruptcy lawyer who can review your case and lay out all your legal options.

At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, we offer free, no obligation consultations to all prospective clients. Our experienced legal team is well-versed in matters of wage garnishment and bankruptcy and will review the details of your case at no cost. 

You can schedule your free consultation today by calling us at 602-667-7777 (Phoenix) or 520-620-6200 (Tucson). Our bankruptcy attorneys are available to assist clients throughout Arizona, including those in Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, and beyond. 

Have questions? Get connected with a representative online using our LiveChat feature, or send us a message using this convenient form. Concerned about the cost? Find out more about filing a zero down bankruptcy and check out our affordable payment plans.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy FAQs

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What Is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and How Does It Work?

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Our team of qualified Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers can help guide you through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy is a proceeding under the federal law in which the debtor seeks relief. Chapter 7 bankruptcy deals with liquidation. The term debtor refers to a person who files a chapter 7 case. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must turn in his or her nonexempt property, if any exists, over to a trustee.  The trustee then converts the property to cash and pays the debtor’s creditors. In return, the debtor receives a chapter 7 discharge, granted approximately 90 to 120 days after the chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed by your Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer.

What is a chapter 7 discharge?

A chapter 7 discharge is a court order releasing a debtor from personal liability on dischargeable debts and ordering the creditors not to attempt to collect them from the debtor. Most taxes, back alimony, and child support are not eligible for discharge in a chapter 7. Secured creditors (i.e. houses and vehicles) must be paid if the debtors want to keep or retain the car or house.

How do I know I am able to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Any person who resides, or does business in, or has property here in the state of Arizona can file a chapter 7 bankruptcy; except a person who has filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 8 years. The law only allows you to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every 8 years. Additionally, to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, a person must go under a process called means testing.

What is means testing?

Means testing is a method of determining a person’s eligibility to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under means testing, with experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers, a person whose current monthly income from all sources multiplied by 12 exceeds the median annual income for the person’s state and family size, cannot file for a chapter 7. A person who is above the median must file for a chapter 13, if there is disposable monthly income available to be able to fund the chapter 13 repayment plan. Experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers will help determine if Chapter 7 is available for you.

May a husband and wife file joint under a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Yes. A husband and wife may file a joint chapter 7 bankruptcy case. In the event of a joint chapter 7 case, only one set of bankruptcy forms is necessary. The couple will only have to pay one filing fee. Both parties, the husband and his wife, must complete the required credit counseling before filing the case. Additionally, after filing the case, both must take and finish the required financial management course. A husband and wife should file a joint chapter 7 bankruptcy if both of them are liable for significant dischargeable debts. If both spouses are liable for a substantial debt and only one spouse files under chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors may later attempt to collect the debt from the non-filing spouse. The advice of an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer is essential in determining whether both spouses should file.

Reach Out to the Top Bankruptcy Lawyers in Phoenix

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a confusing process. This is why it is in your best interests to have a team of qualified Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers to guide you through the process. Lerner and Rowe Law Group has the bankruptcy lawyers to help you determine if bankruptcy, and what type, is right for you. Reach out to us, anytime 24/7, by dialing 602-667-7777. You can stop by our offices Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm. Or check out our convenient LiveChat feature on our website to start the process. We will give a free initial consultation and have flexible payment options available after we’ve successfully won your case. So don’t hesitate. Contact us today!

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Should I File for Bankruptcy?

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Help! Should I File for Bankruptcy?

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

Buried in debt in Arizona? At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you – and if it is, which type would be best. We can help you answer the question: should I file for bankruptcy?

The following are 10 questions to ask yourself before you file. And as the whole process can seem a little intimidating, one of our bankruptcy lawyers is available to speak with directly to provide further clarification.

1. Is filing for bankruptcy the right thing to do?

In some cases, it may not be. For example, if you are collection proof because you have no assets that are eligible for seizure, you may be able to avoid bankruptcy altogether.

2. Which type of bankruptcy is right for me?

It depends on your specific circumstances.  Numerous factors such as monthly income, the type of debt you owe and your desired outcome will determine what chapter of bankruptcy is best for you.  Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

3. What are the benefits of bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy gives you a clean financial slate once the process is complete, and the ability to “start fresh,” free from debt.

4. Are there any debts that won’t be forgiven?

Bankruptcy generally wipes out all debt with the exception of certain kinds of debt, like alimony, child support, student loan, or tax debt.

5. Will I get to keep my house, car and other assets?

Most people get to keep their house car and other personally assets as long as the bankruptcy case properly planned before filed.  You should speak with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys to ensure your assets are protected.

6. Are my retirement accounts and pension safe?

Qualified retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, profit-sharing plans and defined-benefit plans are protected in both types of bankruptcy. Our experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorneys will review your retirement accounts to ensure protection and recommend a course of action before filing a case if they determine a particular account is not protected.

7. Will my credit card debt disappear?

Most debts discharge in a bankruptcy with the exception of debts specifically exempted from discharge under the bankruptcy code.  Debts incurred under the pretense of fraud or debts incurred with no intent to repay can be exempted from discharge.

8. Is there anything that would make me ineligible for bankruptcy?

Generally, any individual can file a bankruptcy, however certain situations can affect when you can file a bankruptcy and what chapter you are eligible to file.  For example, if you previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge you must wait 8 years to file another Chapter 7.  With a high enough income, you might need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 7.

Your best option is to discuss your specific circumstances with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

9. Does filing for bankruptcy cost a lot?

No. At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, we offer low fees and reasonable payment plans.  We understand how difficult your situation is and want to help you get a fresh start.  For the cost of reasonable attorney fees you can often wipe out your debt for pennies on the dollar and avoid wage garnishments.  Call us for a free consultation.

10. How long does it take?

Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases complete after 6-12 months, while Chapter 13 cases can take up to five years. or more.  However, you receive immediate relief from your creditors after filing your case; that means wage garnishments and foreclosure actions cease.

Should I File for Bankruptcy? We Can Help

Don’t let crushing debt ruin your life. Let one of our highly skilled bankruptcy lawyers in Phoenix help you answer: should I file for bankruptcy. Just make one call to 602-667-7777 to put yourself on a path towards financial freedom.

Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium to GSE-backed Single-family Mortgages

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GES-backed foreclosure and eviction moratorium

Due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium. FHA’s foreclosure moratorium will extend to at least  August 31, 2020 and applies to homeowners with FHA-insured, Title II single-family forward and home equity conversion mortgages. Legally vacant or abandoned properties are excluded from this moratorium. 

“While the economic recovery is already underway, many American families still need more time and assistance to regain their financial footing,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Our foreclosure and eviction extension means that these families will not have to worry about losing their home as they work to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.”

On that same day that the FHA made their announcement, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend their single-family moratorium on foreclosures and evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic until at least August 31, 2020. FHFA’s moratorium only applies to government sponsored enterprise (GSE)-backed, single-family mortgages.

“To protect borrowers and renters during the pandemic we are extending the Enterprises’ foreclosure and eviction moratorium. During this national health emergency no one should worry about losing their home,” said Director Mark Calabria.

Arizona Eviction Assistance During Coronavirus Pandemic

Depending on your individual financial circumstances, a local Arizona bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you find a level of financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact a member of our Arizona bankruptcy legal team today for a free consultation by calling 602-667-7777. You can also reach us through our convenient online LiveChat or secure web form 24/7.

Is Bankruptcy Right for Me?

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If you are struggling to make ends meet and think bankruptcy might be the right option for you, contact the experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney at Lerner & Rowe Law Group.

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Declaring bankruptcy is a major financial decision that can have significant, long-term effects. However, when you feel overwhelmed with debt and do not see any improvement in your ability to repay these debts in the foreseeable future, filing bankruptcy may be the best option. Discussing your bankruptcy options with experienced Arizona bankruptcy lawyers can help you decide whether bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

Which Type of Bankruptcy?

The two most common types of personal bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both are a legal process provided by the bankruptcy court designed to help individuals having difficulty paying their debts. Chapter 7 discharges or eliminates most unsecured debt with certain exceptions. Chapter 13 is debt reorganization and requires a monthly payment for up to five years to a court appointed Trustee. Generally, only a portion of the unsecured debt is eligible for repayment. Which one is right for you depends on your personal financial situation and ability to repay your debts.

Our Arizona bankruptcy lawyers can guide you through all your options and help you make the best decision based on your unique situation.

Reasons to Consider Bankruptcy

When you are struggling financially, but keep falling further behind, bankruptcy may still seem like an extreme solution. However, it can be a faster, better way to reach financial freedom. Bankruptcy can stop harassing collection calls, lawsuits, and wage garnishments, because it eliminates your debts. Surprisingly, it also often does more good than harm to your credit score. While bankruptcy is not right for everyone, it might be the right option for your financial future, if you are:

  • More than one month behind on your mortgage payments. Or, you have already received a notice of your home’s impending foreclosure. Bankruptcy can delay or stop the foreclosure process. A chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to catch up on your mortgage.
  • Behind on your vehicle payments and unable to catch up or you have already received a notice of repossession. Bankruptcy can delay or stop repossession or help you catch up on payments.
  • Afraid to answer your telephone due to harassing calls from creditors. Bankruptcy prohibits creditors from contacting you in any attempt to collect a debt, initiating or continuing any lawsuits against you, or pursuing any wage garnishments.
  • Unable to afford to make more than the minimum payments on your debts or taking out cash advances or high interest loans just to make minimum payments. Bankruptcy can allow you to make a fresh start.
  • Unable to meet your basic monthly expenses without using credit to pay for items like housing, utilities, groceries and other living expenses. Bankruptcy may eliminate other debts to free up funds for standard living expenses.
  • Suffering from poor credit, because your credit report is full of late or missed payments or multiple charge-offs being reported to the credit bureaus each month. Bankruptcy can help stabilize your finances and reestablish your credit.

First Steps

Before filing bankruptcy in Arizona, you must complete simple bankruptcy credit counseling to evaluate your personal financial situation and discuss alternatives to bankruptcy. Before your debts are discharged, you must also complete a debtor financial management program. This aims to teach you how to develop a budget and manage your money and credit wisely. Your bankruptcy fees include your credit counseling and financial management. Our Arizona bankruptcy lawyers will be here to help guide you through this process.

Hire Top Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyers

If you are struggling to make ends meet and think bankruptcy might be the right option for you, contact the experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney at Lerner & Rowe Law Group. We can examine your financial situation, determine your eligibility to file bankruptcy and explain your options. We offer a free initial consultation and affordable payment plans. Visit our office Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Or call us anytime at 602-667-7777.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Arizona Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Available Now

Lerner & Rowe Law Group Arizona Pandemic Unemployment Insurance

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The following Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) information was created to help increase awareness on how a person can file for these benefits in the state of Arizona. Our law firm does not assist with filing an initial application for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or PUA benefits. We also do not assist with filing an appeal for benefits if a person has been disqualified/denied benefits.

We can, however, offer guidance to whether or not a person who is suffering overwhelming financial losses may benefit from filing for an Arizona bankruptcy.

Arizona Pandemic Unemployment Insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe financial impact on millions of people in Arizona. While many have turned to unemployment insurance benefits for temporary relief, some have had their applications rejected, while others haven’t applied because of the nature of their employment. Thankfully, the state has implemented the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program to help people with non-traditional jobs.

Aimed to assist those that do not qualify for Arizona unemployment benefits under normal circumstances, PUA provides financial assistance to self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig-economy workers, and more.

What Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expands the breadth and reach of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). In addition to the standard unemployment insurance benefits and the additional benefits supplied by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act, PUA allows the state to help more people and provide additional financial aid.

According to the DES website:

PUA is a new program that provides benefits to individuals who are not otherwise eligible for Unemployment Insurance.

Pandemic unemployment benefits are available for weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020 through the week ending December 26, 2020. PUA provides a benefit ranging from $117 to $240 per week, for up to 39 weeks. Individuals receiving PUA benefits will also receive an additional $600 weekly in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits between the weeks of March 29, 2020 and July 25, 2020.

Arizonans may apply for PUA starting the week of May 12. If your application for unemployment insurance benefits was rejected at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, you may qualify for benefits under the PUA expansion. If that’s the case for you then you’ll need to update your claim file and certify for the weeks that you were unemployed.

Arizona freelancers, self-employed individuals, and gig workers have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, since they have not been able to turn to the government for support. Hopefully the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program can extend a lifeline to these Arizonans.

Contact Lerner and Rowe Law Group

Unfortunately, there will be some Arizonans that will suffer overwhelming financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. For some people, filing for bankruptcy may be the most viable solution. The attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group are here to help you through every step of the bankruptcy process. Contact our team of compassionate and skilled legal professionals so that you can get back on the path towards financial stability.

You can reach Lerner and Rowe Law Group 24/7 by phone at 602-667-7777 and through the Internet via LiveChat and secure online form.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Has the Arizona Coronavirus Outbreak Affected Bankruptcy Proceedings?

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Has the Arizona Coronavirus Outbreak Affected Bankruptcy Proceedings?

If you’re worried about filing for bankruptcy or managing your bankruptcy proceedings during the Arizona coronavirus outbreak, please be assured that the bankruptcy attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group are here to lend a hand. Our staff is available 24/7 to assist with your bankruptcy case.

Although many businesses have temporarily closed and Governor Doug Ducey has issued a stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bankruptcy courts in Arizona remain open. Our legal team is ready to serve you during this unprecedented time. Please contact us immediately so that we can evaluate and help you resolve your financial situation.

Procedural Changes Due to COVID-19

In order to comply with federal and state social distancing guidelines, United States Bankruptcy Courts in Arizona are doing everything possible to limit in-person interactions. The courts are using teleconferencing and videoconferencing as much as possible.

Additionally, 341(a) Meeting of Creditors are not being conducted in person until further notice. However, bankruptcy trustees are also using alternate technology to ensure timely access to the Bankruptcy Courts.

Similarly, Lerner and Rowe Law Group is also leveraging these forms of communication. Our staff will work with you remotely in order to collect the pertinent details of your case and file bankruptcy on your behalf. While this is a challenging time filled with a lot of uncertainty, you can be sure that our proficient attorneys will handle your bankruptcy case with the attention and care that you deserve.

Coronavirus Outbreak Bankruptcy Proceedings Court Changes

The United States Bankruptcy Court has extended several deadlines under Rules 4004, 4007(c) and 1017(e). For all bankruptcy cases filed with 341(a) Meetings of Creditors (MOC) scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 10, 2020, the order extends as follows:

  • Deadline to file a complaint under Section 727 objecting to discharge is extended 60 days from the date of the continued 341(a) MOC
  • Deadline to file a complaint under Section 523 objecting to discharge of a specific debt is extended 60 days from the date of the continued 341(a) MOC
  • Deadline to file a 707(b) Motion to Dismiss for abuse is extended 60 days from the date of the continued 341(a) MOC
  • The foregoing extensions are subject to further orders of the Court 

Please keep in mind that further extensions may follow to adapt to the national and state coronavirus situations. Be assured that the bankruptcy attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Group remain vigilant so that we can pass the most up-to-date information regarding Arizona bankruptcy courts on to our clients.

Contact an Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult situation. When you compound that with a global pandemic, matters can be even more stressful. Let the bankruptcy lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Group handle your bankruptcy case. When you work with us, you can be assured of being treated with the respect and compassion that you deserve. Furthermore, our attorneys have a proven track record of getting favorable bankruptcy terms for our clients.

You can contact us 24/7 by phone at 602-667-7777 and through the Internet via LiveChat and secure online form. Please stay healthy and safe.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

How to Spring Clean Your Finances

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Spring cleaning is usually associated with thoroughly organizing and cleaning your house—but if your finances are less than sparkling, it might be time to take a closer look at your debt while you’re at it.

If you’re struggling just to pay your monthly bills, your financial goals may seem out of reach. Whether you’re behind on your car payments, your mortgage, or credit card bills, the stress of large amounts of debt can be debilitating. Throw in harrassing calls from creditors, and you may not want to get out of bed, let alone spring clean anything.

If you’re on the verge of losing your home or car, you should know that you have options to avoid repossession. Although filing bankruptcy in Arizona may seem intimidating, an experienced Phoenix or Tucson bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through the process and help you get the fresh start you’ve been looking for. 

How Filing Bankruptcy in Arizona Can Help

Bankruptcy allows you to either eliminate or consolidate significant amounts of debt related to car payments, home loans, medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, and more. Dischargeable debt refers to types of unsecured debt that can usually be reduced or eliminated completely in a bankruptcy. 

Although secured debts (such as a mortgage or car loan) may not always be dischargeable, many times they can be restructured into more affordable monthly payments.

There are two types of personal bankruptcy you can file in Arizona: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Choosing which bankruptcy type to file comes down to your individual circumstances and your financial priorities—that is, whether it’s more important to you to get rid of the most debt or keep as many of your assets as possible.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally best for anyone with large amounts of unsecured debt and low income, although it may result in the liquidation of assets to pay creditors.

You may be able to retain certain assets such as your home or vehicle by utilizing Arizona’s homestead and motor vehicle exemptions. A bankruptcy attorney can help you protect your assets while discharging the most debt possible when filing bankruptcy in Arizona.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy aims to restructure your debt into affordable monthly payments over a three to five years period to a bankruptcy trustee. It can also help you catch up on missed or late mortgage payments to prevent a home foreclosure or even strip a 2nd mortgage from your home. 

Additionally, most Chapter 13 bankruptcies require very little repayment to unsecured creditors such as credit card companies. 

Is bankruptcy right for you? Find out now.

Tips to Keep Your Finances Spotless This Spring

While filing bankruptcy in Arizona can be a powerful tool, it may not always be the most strategic choice for you. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney is a great first step towards understanding your financial options and making an informed decision.

In the meantime, here are some great tips to keep your finances spotless this spring.

Determine Your Financial Goals

As you take stock of your finances, the most important thing to keep in mind is what your short-term and long-term financial goals are. If you have more debt than you’re comfortable with, make paying down your debt your primary focus. 

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If you’re worried about saving for retirement, maybe it’s time to look at retirement accounts and investing options. Decide what’s important to you before you make any big financial decisions.

Create (Or Evaluate) Your Budget

Creating a realistic budget is crucial to being able to manage your money effectively. If you don’t have a budget (or it’s been a while since you updated it), take some time to go through your income and expenses over the last few months. 

Determine where you can curb your spending and devise or revise a budget that’s both reasonable and in line with your goals.

Organize Your Financial Documents

If you do decide that filing bankruptcy in Arizona is right for you, getting your financial documents organized is crucial. When you file bankruptcy, you’ll need all the proper paperwork and documentation to support your case. 

Shred outdated documents you no longer need, and make digital copies of as many documents as possible. This will make it easier to have everything you need at your fingertips. Additionally. make sure you securely store digital documents that contain sensitive information. 

Take Control of Your Financial Future

Filing bankruptcy in Arizona is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. For solid legal advice regarding your bankruptcy case, contact the qualified Arizona bankruptcy attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group, where we’ve helped hundreds of clients just like you get the financial fresh start they needed. 

Speak with one of our bankruptcy professionals today by calling one of the numbers listed below. You can also chat with a live representative online now, or submit the details of your case using our secure and confidential contact form.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Can I Stop My Car Payments If I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Lerner & Rowe Law Group car payments in chapter 13
car payments in chapter 13

When it comes to bankruptcy, one of the most common questions people ask is what will happen to their home or vehicle. The answer varies considerably depending on which type of bankruptcy you file, the exemptions you claim, and the extent of your debt. 

Before you consider filing bankruptcy in Arizona, you should take stock of your financial priorities. For example, some people prefer to give up some of their property in order to discharge the maximum amount of debt. Others would rather set up a repayment plan so that they can retain as many assets as possible.

While it is common for bankruptcy filers to surrender their vehicle in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy so as to stop making car payments, the situation is a little more complicated when you file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To answer your questions, the Arizona bankruptcy attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group have put together this helpful guide to car payments in Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: An Overview 

In comparison to Chapter 7, in which most or all unsecured debt is discharged by the bankruptcy court, Chapter 13 seeks to restructure existing debt into affordable monthly payments. A repayment plan approved by the court could span anywhere from three to five years and allows filers to retain their assets. 

While Chapter 7 is the most commonly filed type of bankruptcy, it isn’t for everyone. Whether you don’t pass the bankruptcy means test or you have assets you’d like to retain, Chapter 13 is a solid, if slightly more complicated alternative to a liquidation bankruptcy. 

Car Payments in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you have fallen behind on your car payments and are at risk of losing your vehicle, bankruptcy is one way you can potentially avoid repossession. Once you file a bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay usually goes into effect. 

The automatic stay essentially blocks your creditors from attempting to collect on your outstanding debts usually for the entire duration of the bankruptcy process, including your car. In some cases, a skilled bankruptcy lawyer can even help you get your car back if it has already been repossessed.

In addition to saving your vehicle from repossession, filing Chapter 13 can also allow you to catch up on delinquent payments in reasonable monthly installments included in your approved repayment plan. If your vehicle is worth less than what you owe, you may even be able to reduce the amount of your car loan to match the actual value of the vehicle.

car payments in chapter 13

Surrendering Your Car in Chapter 13

If you have determined that you are unable to afford a monthly car payment and want to stop your car payments, you have the option to return your vehicle to the creditor in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are several reasons why it might make more sense to surrender your car as opposed to making car payments in Chapter 13.

  • The loan balance is much higher than the car’s actual value and you are unable to negotiate better loan terms
  • You don’t have enough disposable income to include a car payment or other car-related expenses in your repayment plan
  • Your car is in poor shape or requires expensive repairs

If you find yourself in any of these circumstances, you have the option of letting the bank repossess your vehicle as a part of your repayment plan. Surrendering the collateral backing the secured car loan (the car itself) converts any remaining deficiency balances into unsecured debt, which you are less likely to be held liable for, since paying back secured debts take priority in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Contact Lerner and Rowe Law Group Today

If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt related to credit cards, medical bills, tax penalties, or any other kind of debt, contact the Phoenix debt relief lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Law Group. Our professional and compassionate legal team can help you get a fresh financial start.

Call us today at one of the numbers below, chat with a representative online now, or submit the details of your case using our secure contact form. Consultations are free, and we offer affordable payment plans.

Phoenix

602-667-7777

Tucson

520-620-6200

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.