Behm Law Group, Bankruptcy Attorneys

Bankruptcy News & Recent Cases

Why Chapter 13 Is Less Common than Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN

October 15th, 2019 · No Comments

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, you’re not alone. Over 700,000 individuals file for bankruptcy each year in the United States. While those numbers have decreased significantly since the 2008 market crash, they still show that anyone can struggle financially in the face of many different factors. Filing for bankruptcy is a process designed to treat personal and business debts with a legal, federal court-administered relief program. However, filing for bankruptcy can also be a highly complex, nuanced system to navigate. The help of an expert bankruptcy attorney can turn a difficult case into a successful one with long-term debt relief. Behm Law Group Ltd. attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.

 

The two most frequently filed types of individual bankruptcies are Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to reorganize your debts into a manageable repayment plan suited to your income. This plan lasts three to five years depending on your income in comparison to the state average income of a similarly sized household. Chapter 7, on the other hand, works to liquidate your non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of your debts.

 

While both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are common bankruptcies for individuals, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed for much more frequently than Chapter 13. From 2006 to 2017, the ratio of Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 cases filed was on average 30% versus 70%. These ratios range from 75.09% of Chapter 7 bankruptcies versus 24.85% Chapter 13 bankruptcies in 2006, and 61.50% versus 31.94% in 2017 with fluctuations between. Historically, in the United States, every year’s total of cases shows more Chapter 7 bankruptcies than other type, and for good reason.

 

Bankruptcy isn’t something that people choose to go through if they can help it. Those who file for bankruptcy are truly struggling with debts and have other financial hardships, and they turn to bankruptcy as the best choice for help in resolving those issues. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you can understand the legal, mental, and general stress that those who file experience. On top of this, the most common cause of bankruptcy is unemployment. The stress of financial burdens and a typically lower income means that filers will more frequently qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a highly effective process for those with steady incomes. While you are more unlikely to have a significant amount of debt when you have a steady income, it’s completely possible to find yourself with heavy debts and a steady income. Typically, however, a low income is a primary cause of burdensome debt and leads to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case more often than not.

 

If you are struggling financially for any reason, filing for bankruptcy may be the best step to take for long-term debt relief. To learn more about Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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Top Three Causes of Bankruptcy in Waseca, MN

October 9th, 2019 · No Comments

Over 700,000 cases of bankruptcy have been filed each year since the 2008 market crash. Though this number has decreased since its peak in 2010, there are still thousands of cases filed across the country.

 

If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt payments, it may be time for you to consider joining others who have used bankruptcy as an effective debt relief option and gain long-term financial wellbeing. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. you can navigate the nuanced waters of bankruptcy in Waseca, MN and file a successful case for Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.

 

Bankruptcy is a process designed to support debtors, lenders, and the economy as a whole. Different systems of bankruptcy have been in place for centuries, and today’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court has several types of bankruptcy chapters established to treat individual and business debts.

 

For individuals filing for bankruptcy, the system provides solutions for the most common causes of their financial struggles. For many individuals, there are three primary sources that push them to the point of filing for bankruptcy.

 

  1. Medical Bills: Because the U.S. doesn’t provide national healthcare coverage, privatized health insurance companies are the only option for the majority of individuals. Because health insurance providers are private companies, they can be very expensive. In addition to this, medical care itself is very costly, from general check-ups to serious surgeries. For those who can’t afford health insurance, it’s nearly impossible to pay for any medical treatments. Several studies show that accumulated medical bills or sudden expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
  2. Unemployment: While the government provides support for the unemployed via unemployment compensation, it’s often not quite enough to make ends meet. Long-term unemployment will almost certainly create a situation of severe debt, especially if the individual has mortgages, credit card debt, or car loans to repay. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to help those without a steady income resolve debts that they cannot pay while unemployed.
  3. Divorce: The combination of legal fees, emotional turmoil, increases in living expenses, and a decrease in income as a result of divorce can all create a situation of financial struggle. The cost of divorce is high just in terms of court fees and legal representation, often meeting a minimum of $2,500. In addition, you lose the income of your ex-spouse, and your living expenses may actually increase. All of this makes divorce a main cause of bankruptcy, especially if the couple was facing financial struggles prior to the split.

 

If you’re considering bankruptcy for any of these reasons and more, you’re not alone. Choosing to take the next step and starting a bankruptcy petition will take you down a path to long-term financial stability. To learn more about bankruptcy in Waseca, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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How Minimum Wage Can Affect Bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN and Across the State

October 3rd, 2019 · No Comments

State economies are affected by a range of factors, both within the state itself and by national or global determinants. The condition of a state economy will have its own impact on the cost of living, availability of jobs, wages, and more. Minimum wage is directly affected by the state economy, which means it should change over time to accommodate employees fairly.

 

Any changes to minimum wage will impact workers and employers alike, though this effect may manifest in many different ways. For some employers, an increase to minimum wage may stretch their finances to a breaking point. If a recent change in minimum wage, in addition to other factors, has led your small business into dangerous financial waters, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you file for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN.

 

In January of 2019, Minnesota raised the minimum wage by 2.16% to a rate of $9.86 per hour for large employers and $8.04 per hour for small employers (and for underage employees). This change in minimum wage reflects the nearly annual changes in inflation, which means it will have positive and negative effects to all parties involved.

 

For employees, the increase in pay will have a very positive impact on their lives. For employers, on the other hand, even a small increase in minimum wage can impose a much higher cost of worker compensation.

 

For large employers, this increased expense doesn’t usually create a serious impact, but small businesses can take a hit. Businesses established as a sole proprietorship or a partnership in particular will have a harder time compensating for minimum wage increases over time because the owner’s personal debts include all their business debts.

 

If you own a small business as a sole proprietorship or partnership and are struggling with the changes to minimum wage in addition to other expenses, Behm attorneys can help you petition for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a debt reorganization plan that gives you a three to five-year repayment period and discharges portions of your debts. This type of bankruptcy also allows you to keep your business running with long-term stability.

 

Chapter 7 is a bankruptcy process available to all types of businesses, big or small. This chapter works to discharge debts in exchange for the liquidation of non-exempt assets. It’s one of the most effective bankruptcy processes in terms of concretely resolving debts, but it could require you to shut down your business for the foreseeable future.

 

Owning and operating a business is a difficult profession, and it can quickly become more difficult with small changes like the increase in minimum wage this year. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN to find debt relief for your business, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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Finishing Your Repayment Plan and What Happens after Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN

September 29th, 2019 · No Comments

There are many reasons why individuals might accumulate debt that they find unmanageable with their current income. Debt from even the most common sources such as credit cards, medical bills, mortgages, and car loans can escalate with little warning. If you are finding it impossible to meet every debt payment on time each month, or if your budget has been pushed to extremes, it may be time to consider bankruptcy as a debt relief possibility. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can build a strong and successful case for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, and receive long-term, effective debt relief.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works to reorganize your debts into a manageable three- to five-year repayment plan that is suited to your income and overall financial situation. With the guidance of a Behm attorney, you’ll create a repayment plan proposal with attention to your income and in fairness to your creditors.

 

When this repayment plan is accepted by the court, you’ll begin your repayment period, which means you’ll make monthly payments to your bankruptcy trustee (who is assigned to your case at the beginning of your petition). Your repayment plan may be adjusted at any point during that period based on income changes, such as a new job. Any significant changes to your income status must be reported to your trustee and to your attorney or you risk having your case dismissed.

 

But what happens when your repayment plan period ends and you’ve paid back the debt your plan requires? The process afterward involves basic confirmation and lots of paperwork, but luckily you, as a filer, won’t have many responsibilities during this time.

 

  1. Trustee Review: First, your trustee reviews your case to confirm that you’ve met the “Order Confirming the Chapter 13 Case” requirements listed in your repayment plan proposal. This can take up to 90 days, depending on the complexity of the case. Once confirmed, the trustee creates a report.
  2. Trustee Report: The trustee report causes the court to issue you a “Certification of Eligibility for Chapter 13 Discharge,” which you must return signed. This form allows for the discharge of any remaining debts and allows for the closure of your case.

 

In order for the court to finalize your case, you’ll have to complete a financial management course in a timely fashion (learn more about the course you must take here). Once the review and report have been completed and the certificate has been signed, your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is finished, and you begin your life free of the debts involved in your case.

 

To learn more about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200.

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Why Many Local Restaurants File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jackson, MN

September 24th, 2019 · No Comments

Running a business is a difficult endeavor, especially if it’s a young company. Maintaining a steady income and company growth means battling on several different fronts and working through many different expenses. Not only do the local economy and your business marketing endeavors affect your business standing, but also the national and even global economy play a role as well. Additionally, some businesses are even more difficult to run than others. Restaurants, for example, are notoriously difficult to maintain successfully. Behm Law Group Ltd. has helped many people work through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, and the surrounding area.

 

If you find yourself facing a business bankruptcy after your restaurant becomes impossible to maintain, you’re not alone. Every year, many restaurants close due to bankruptcy, each case with its own unique set of circumstances. Despite the differences among cases, we can often highlight several common factors that played a part in the situation leading up to a bankruptcy.

 

Common Factors Playing a Part in Bankruptcy

 

  1. Capital: Restaurants require a lot of capital to operate. Not only does this include expensive kitchen equipment, restaurant-specific building systems, staff facilities, a large supply of furniture, registers/accounting systems, uniforms, and many other concrete items, they also include a range of food types with varying shelf lives. Building maintenance and restaurant operations are more expensive than almost any other service company.
  2. Licensing and Property: Liquor licenses, health inspections, zoning laws, rent, property taxes, and many other restaurant requirements are sky-high for restaurants. With the food service industry booming in the United States, state and municipal governments put restrictions on opening restaurants with these licensing and property expenses. In addition, federal health and food safety certification requirements put further strains on business incomes.
  3. Market Saturation: Another effect of the booming restaurant industry is market saturation. Restaurant customers are picky and they are eager to try new things and they are constantly demanding newer options and better quality. This results in a restaurant market that is highly saturated with many different types of restaurants that provide stiff competition to anyone else trying to make a living in the area. All of this means it’s extremely difficult to succeed based on market saturation alone, let alone in addition to other obstacles.

 

All these factors make restaurants a unique business in the fact that they are more difficult to run and more likely candidates for bankruptcy than most other companies.

 

Restaurant owners who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will face the good and bad of their situations. Chapter 7 works to liquidate some business assets in exchange for the discharge of debts, including mortgages, personal loans, equipment debts, and more. However, in many cases, this discharge comes with the reality of having to close down operations. It’s not impossible to reopen a restaurant again in the future, but for the time being, filers usually shut down their businesses.

 

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about restaurant bankruptcy cases.

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How Filing for Personal Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN Affects Your Community

September 18th, 2019 · No Comments

If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt payments and feeling the weight of your financial difficulties, it may be time for you to consider some form of debt relief. For many individual consumers and businesses, filing bankruptcy is a highly effective form of debt relief that provides long-term beneficial results.

 

It’s true that bankruptcy has some negative side effects, specifically to your credit, but the advantages far outweigh these effects in the vast majority of cases. Filing may be your ticket to a better financial situation that lasts the rest of your life. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. bankruptcy attorneys, you can determine which type of bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN is right for your situation, and you can put together a successful case that gives you the best results possible.

 

Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help debtors and creditors alike. It’s a system that recognizes the situation that debts have put filers in but also understands that creditors deserve some kind of recompense for debts owed. This balance of treatment to creditors and debtors that bankruptcy creates is because it’s structured on a nuanced, complex system intertwined into the economic structure at all levels. This means that, overall, bankruptcy provides a support system for every party involved  including borrowers, lenders, and all other financial people/organizations at every financial level.

 

If you choose to file for bankruptcy, the following parties will be affected (not including you and your creditors), both directly and indirectly:

 

  • Family/Friends: Both emotionally and financially, your friends and family may be affected by your bankruptcy. This may appear in several ways depending on your situation. First and most directly, any personal loans you owe to family and friends may be discharged or reorganized into a repayment plan, making whichever loved one that gave you the loan into a creditor involved in bankruptcy. This can put serious stress on a personal relationship, but in addition to this, your loved ones will most likely be made aware of your financial status.

 

  • Local Economy/Government: In many ways, even one bankruptcy affects a municipal government and, in turn, a local economy. No matter the size of your rural or urban area, citizen finances are tied together, which means a bankruptcy in the area will reflect on the local economy. Your bankruptcy may be one of few, but more bankruptcies mark a potentially struggling economy and a local government that will have increasing difficulties in supporting its community. This system is all cyclical, but bankruptcy plays a part in returning that cycle to a positive side.

 

Bankruptcy can also affect the global economy in ways as well, but like many other financial matters, everything occurs on a gradual and cyclical scale.

 

To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

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Understanding and Navigating What You Might Face after Filing Bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN

September 6th, 2019 · No Comments

Life has its ups and downs, which is a cliché, yes, but clichés are often rooted in simple truths. While some individuals and businesses won’t experience as extreme a financial event as bankruptcy, it certainly affects those who do file in many ways. The emotional and mental stresses of financial struggles aside, bankruptcy has its own effects on a filer’s life before, during, and after a case is closed. If you are considering filing bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you build a strong petition, meet pre-bankruptcy requirements, follow through with your case, and complete the process successfully with as little stress as possible.

 

Behm attorneys are skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced in handling a wide range of Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 12 cases, and we have the means to protect and help you through your entire case.  After a bankruptcy is completed, however, you may face a few challenges.

 

As with people who have not filed for bankruptcy relief and who may have bad credit, there are three instances when bankruptcy filers can be discriminated against.

 

  • Loans: Your post-bankruptcy credit scores will not be what they were pre-bankruptcy. Your scores will take a hit, but you can still build up your score over time. Despite this, you may have a hard time getting new loans after filing. Lenders can turn you down for loans or charge higher interest rates on an accepted application. If you are in a credit counseling program, you may experience difficulties getting financing as well.   Many people who file for bankruptcy relief may actually have great credit scores.  However, they are typically unable to do anything even with great credit scores because their debt to income ratio is so skewed.  Simply put, any great credit scores are entirely illusory because people simply have too much debt already and they do not have sufficient income to materially reduce that debt.  Creditors will not make further loans to you when they see that your income is insufficient to pay and materially reduce the debt that you already have.  After a bankruptcy is completed, you may have a poor credit score but, paradoxically, you may be more credit worthy than you were before.  In many ways, bankruptcy “leans you up” debt-wise because you get rid of most, if not all, of your debts.  In many ways, you are like Pinocchio because you don’t have any “debt strings” or you have a lot less of them.  Additionally, you will not qualify for bankruptcy relief again for several years.  Oftentimes, creditors, even the ones you may have included in a bankruptcy case, see this and they are incentivized to work with you again.   They understand that they would get to be first or second in line to get paid by you after a bankruptcy instead of being tenth or fifteenth in line to get paid before a bankruptcy filing.  They also understand that they could garnish your wages and levy on your bank accounts if you don’t pay them and that you would not be able to do anything about it because you would not qualify for bankruptcy relief again for several years.  Therefore, even after a bankruptcy filing, creditors often consider you a very attractive credit risk.

 

  • Employment: Unfortunately, private employers can pass judgment on your application if they know you have filed for bankruptcy or see that you have a lower credit score than other applicants. Most employers wouldn’t want to hire people who are handling a personal issue as significant as bankruptcy or poor finances as there is a chance the financial issue will affect their job performance. Being open and straightforward with employers can help you get through this prejudice, but sadly, it won’t always help them ignore your circumstances.  However, this also happens frequently with people who have poor credit scores and who haven’t filed for bankruptcy relief.  Often, potential employers will see that your situation is more manageable and secure after a bankruptcy than it was before and that you have been freed of the mental anguish and emotional stressors that you had before.  They know that they will not be served with a garnishment summons on your wages because your debt issues have already been taken care of.

 

  • Renting: Like lenders and employers, landlords may also tend to discriminate against potential renters based on their credit scores or recent bankruptcy cases. Understandably, landlords need tenants to pay rent on time. This means they may place judgment on potential renters based on their credit scores. In the eyes of a landlord, it’s simpler and easier to judge based on credit scores than the many other factors that could be involved.

 

In general, you can avoid these post-bankruptcy issues, but if you do experience them, there are ways to navigate these difficulties. To learn more about the process of filing bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN, and life after filing, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

 

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Resolving Medical Bills and Other Debt Relief in Mankato, MN, with Bankruptcy

September 4th, 2019 · No Comments

In the United States, the cost of healthcare is high, even with medical insurance. This expense is often a cause of much hardship for those who encounter medical costs of any kind, expected or otherwise. These expenses put pressure on household finances during an already stressful and often emotional time. If you are facing unmanageable hospital bills and medical expenses on top of other common debts (e.g., credit cards, mortgages, car loans, taxes), you can find debt relief that offers long-term, effective results by filing for bankruptcy. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can file a successful case and receive debt relief in Mankato, MN, from your medical bills and other debts.

 

While filing for bankruptcy may seem drastic, it is the most effective and direct way of resolving your medical expenses in addition to many other debts. Instead of working through the red tape of most hospital administrations without the assurance that your debts will be resolved at all, consider filing for bankruptcy, which kills several birds with one stone with the treatment of many debts and a guarantee that your medical bills will be completely dissolved.

 

Because medical bills are considered an unsecured debts, they will be fully discharged in any type of bankruptcy you can file for as an individual.

 

Chapter 7

As a liquidation type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 discharges debts in exchange for the liquidation of your non-exempt assets. In most cases, the bankruptcy exemptions that are available to you are more than sufficient to protect all of your property from liquidation.  Unsecured debts such as credit card debts, and of course, medical bills, are discharged in full. Chapter 7 is the quickest and most expeditious type of bankruptcy to treat unsecured debts because the process usually takes only three to four months to complete.  However, you must pass the Means Test in order to prove you qualify for chapter 7 debt relief by showing that your household income is not greater than the state median income for a household of your size.

 

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is a debt reorganization form of bankruptcy. Also referred to as wage-earner bankruptcy, Chapter 13 is an option available to those with an incomes too high to file for Chapter 7 or for those who want to protect their non-exempt assets from possible liquidation.  Chapter 13 reorganizes your debts into a manageable three- to five-year repayment plan. This means that you will pay your unsecured debts what you can afford to pay for a limited time with no interest, no late fees and no penalties.  At the end of your three- to five- year plan, whatever amounts of your unsecured debts that remain are discharged.

 

In a nutshell, filing for bankruptcy will ensure your relief from medical bills, and in most cases, many other debts as well. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy and receiving debt relief in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.

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When and Why Bankruptcy Might Be Your Best Option for Debt Relief in Worthington, MN

September 3rd, 2019 · No Comments

In today’s fast-paced consumer world, it might seem easier than ever for businesses to thrive. Despite the increased spending most individuals and households have been doing, especially since the advent of online shopping, many businesses are still struggling with the debts that have existed for years on top of the new financial obligations of the technological age.

 

Debts like building mortgages, equipment expenses, online hosting subscriptions, credit card readers, licenses, and more are all part of running a typical business today. Because of the additional expense that technology requires and the high cost of owning a business, it’s not unexpected that most would benefit greatly from debt relief. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you determine if filing for bankruptcy is a form of debt relief in Worthington, MN, that’s right for your situation.

 

Bankruptcy as a form of debt relief can be highly effective for businesses in many different financial situations, but it’s not always the right option. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may be more detrimental because of the effect it has on your credit and the potential loss of some of your business or personal assets, especially if you want to keep your business operating as usual.

 

Considerations for Debt Relief from Bankruptcy

Often, however, businesses considering bankruptcy at all will likely benefit greatly from the process. To understand if you should think about bankruptcy as a viable option, there are several red flags that can give you an idea of your business’s financial standing:

 

  1. Long-Term Standing: If your income-to-debt ratios show that even a long-term income wouldn’t be sufficient to rebalance your budget and cash flow your business, bankruptcy might be the right choice. Revenue is something that fluctuates throughout the year for every business, but if your bad month turns into a bad quarter, year, and so on, your long-term standing is precarious, if not nonexistent.
  2. At-Risk Assets: If your business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, as many small businesses are, your personal assets may be at risk if you’re unable to repay your business debts. Creditors can take action to seize your personal property as well as your business assets to repay your debts. If you file for bankruptcy, you can halt any collections with the power of the automatic stay injunctive mandates of 11 U.S.C. §362.
  3. Other Options: There are options outside of bankruptcy that may provide the debt relief you need. Debt consolidation or settlement, negotiating with creditors, and other options may be more suitable to your situation than bankruptcy. However, non-bankruptcy options are often uncertain and precarious because your creditors are not required to work with you and they’re not required to stop collection efforts while you’re trying to work with them.  So-called “debt consolidation companies” who advertise very aggressively on the internet and who purport to deal with your creditors on your behalf are especially troubling.  They have no special influence or legal authority over your creditors and they can’t make your creditors do anything at all.  Often, the only parties who benefit from such non-bankruptcy “debt consolidation plans” are the debt consolidation companies themselves.  Often, people will pay into these plans for months and years only to have their creditors garnish their wages and freeze their bank accounts anyway.  Often, people will not be able to get the money back that they’ve paid to a debt consolidation company because the contracts they sign with such companies provide that the payments first go to satisfy the fees charged by the company before anything gets paid to creditors.  If you’ve considered all other options and still aren’t finding the relief you need, it may be time to think about bankruptcy.
  4. Post-Filing Plan: If you’ve considered bankruptcy and find you’re able to picture filing and establishing a long-term plan, it’s likely you can gain many benefits from filing a bankruptcy case. Behm attorneys can help you build your case and create a post-filing plan for reorganization after bankruptcy is concluded.

 

If you’re looking for debt relief in Worthington, MN, and are considering bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today to learn more.

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Why Student Loans are Leading to Increased Rates of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN

August 28th, 2019 · No Comments

In many countries across the world, a college degree is considered necessary to enter a majority of job markets, and a bachelor’s degree is often viewed as the minimum standard for education. In the U.S., over 65% of high school graduates attend college, university, or other forms of higher education. The experience and certifications higher education provides are important to many students, but with the rising cost of tuition, a college degree can lead to financial troubles down the road.

Under the weight of large student loans, many college graduates are finding it difficult to keep their heads above financial waters. If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt requirements for any reason, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice. If you’re considering filing, our expert attorneys can guide and protect you from start to finish during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.

Student loans rates have increased significantly over the past ten years in the U.S. A recent study showed that 32% of yearly bankruptcies in the U.S. were driven primarily by student loan debts. Those that filed on the basis of student loan debts reported that almost 50% of their debt was made up of federal or third-party student loans. The total of U.S. student loan debt in 2019 is hitting a record high at $1.5 trillion and averaging at about $30,000 per student.  According to a July 24, 2018 Forbes article, the cost of attending a university and obtaining a degree has increased 8 times faster than wages.

With the highly competitive job market and the requirement of even further education within many career paths, new graduates are struggling to repay loans while facing the additional financial requirements of adult life. For many individuals, this struggle meets a breaking point, and bankruptcy or other forms of debt relief must be considered.  According to a May 24, 2012 Forbes article, the cost of higher education has risen 500% since 1986.

 

Student Loans and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In any type of bankruptcy, it is possible to discharge student loans. However, the process can be protracted, difficult and expensive.  In order to have student loans discharged in bankruptcy, you must actually sue the student loan lender in bankruptcy court and alleged uncommon financial and personal circumstances which would demonstrate undue hardship.   If one proves up circumstances demonstrating undue hardship, the bankruptcy court will discharge one’s student loans.  Typically, the process is unavailable to someone, however, because of the costs and time involved. So why would filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy help college graduates with 50% of their debt in student loans?

 

Put simply, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges the majority of other common debts, including credit card debt, car loans, mortgages, medical bills, and personal loans. The process resolves these debts with a liquidation of non-exempt assets in exchange for debt discharge. Typically, in most cases, the bankruptcy exemptions one has available in bankruptcy are very generous and are sufficient to protect all of one’s property and the only things that one loses in bankruptcy are ones debts.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly filed and the most directly effective process of debt relief. However, it’s not a process everyone qualifies for. To be eligible for Chapter 7, filers must pass the Means Test to prove their debt-to-income ratio is severely out of balance. With the high numbers student loans censuses show, almost all college graduates struggling financially can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

 

If you’re having a hard time meeting your debt payments due to student loans or other factors, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.

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