Archive for March 2020

What To Do If I Was Laid Off In Bergen County, New Jersey Due To Statewide Coronavirus Closures?

Many households have lost 50% of their household income as a result the Coronavirus.  Panic is taking over.  We all need to take a D-E-E-P breath.  (This is something I say a lot.)  Our HEALTH and the health of our family is most important. 

People most often file for bankruptcy in Hackensack, Teaneck, and Dumont New Jersey due to loss of income, underemployment, illness, divorce, or a death in the family.  These things are beyond your control.  It is not  your fault and you must give yourself a break.  With the Coronavirus halting just about everything in our lives and making so many people seriously ill, I fully expect that bankruptcies filings will sky rocket later this year.

1.) Prioritize the bills you pay.  Many times people are so focused on the paying something to everyone that it cause them to thereby fall behind on everything.  I almost always recommend paying your mortgage or rent first and then making any car payments.  Food, health insurance, medicine and utilities are of course high priority.  Credit cards and unsecured loans are last on the list.

2.) Cut all non-essential expenses.  Being a little uncomfortable now will make you less anxious later on when you begin digging out.  Stop unnecessary reoccurring payments.  Pause or cancel gym memberships.  Cancel movie/program subscriptions you don’t use.

3.) Try to reduce your electric bill by turning on lights and computers when not in use.

4.) Do not order out if you can help it.  Not only is it safer to eat at home with the looming threat of the Coronavirus but it is cheaper.  Not working allows you the “luxury” to cook at home.  The way I look at it is if there is no money coming in then very little should be going out.

5.) Try not to rob Peter to pay Paul.  This always turns into a house of cards.  Taking out personal unsecured loans to pay down credit cards is not advised.  That pattern is circular in fashion.  Very often I am retained by clients who took tens of thousands of dollars in countless separate unsecured personal loans before they realize they are on the hamster wheel running and going nowhere fast.  It is human instinctive to want to pay your bills and pay on time.  However, being realistic will help you in the long run.  Try to look at your personal finances as a business and determine what the business should do.  What would you recommend a friend do if they were in your situation?  With the help of a Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney you can come up with a plan.  Bankruptcy attorneys do not always advise that consumers file for bankruptcy.  Each case is fact specific.

 

6.) Please do not go to the so called “debt consolidation companies” which are usually owned by the credit card companies.  Many of my clients spend thousands on debt consolidation plans that were never realistic from the start.  Learn from their mistakes.  Speak to a Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney today so they can advise you more specifically on what bills to pay, when, and how much to pay you if your income is not sufficient to cover your expenses.  Bankruptcy gives consumers the chance to get a fresh start.  You and your family deserve a fresh start!

 

Things You Should Consider When Choosing A Hackensack, New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney

Choosing a Bankruptcy Attorney or any attorney for that matter can be daunting.  Perhaps, the search for an attorney seems as overwhelming as your debt.  Just take a D-E-E-P breath!  Below are a few things you should consider before choosing a bankruptcy attorney.

Client Reviews – Of course, today the first thing we do find an attorney, restaurant, doctor or a hotel is a Google search.  When you do a Google search for an attorney you, of course, you want to pay attention to how many reviews does the attorney have?  Read the reviews – all of them.  Do the reviews pertain to the area of law which you are searching for an attorney?  For example, if the attorney has great family law reviews but you are searching for a bankruptcy attorney then you probably should keep searching.

Recommendations by Friend and Families – Many times clients choose an attorney based on a recommendation by a friend or family member.  The friend or family member may have based the referral of a positive experience with an attorney handling for example, a family law case NOT a bankruptcy case.  Unfortunately, clients come to me after retaining a family law attorney to file their bankruptcy.  You would not go to a dermatologist for problems you are having with your heart.  Same rule applies in law.

Attorneys with very few exceptions cannot distinguish themselves as experts or certified in a particular area but the attorney your considering has a website which should speak for itself.  Most Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys are small boutique firms.  Many large firms often take a small amount of consumer bankruptcy cases but beware because if it is not their primary area of practice they may not be as knowledge on recent court rulings that could positively or negatively effect your case.  You should generally stay clear of an attorney or law firm that handles too many areas of law.

Experience and Qualifications – How long has your attorney been practicing law in the area you are searching?  Has the bankruptcy attorney spoken at seminars?  What percentage of the attorneys law practice is currently devoted to.  Websites like Avvo provide detailed attorney profiles, client reviews and even denote whether the attorney is in good standing and/or whether the attorney has had ethical violations.  If the attorney you are considering has prior or current ethics violations you should keep looking.  There are more than enough attorneys without any ethics violations to choose from.

Go With Your Gut – Many clients come to me after disastrous results while working with their prior attorney.  Most of them say that they were not comfortable at some point in time during the representation.  Many times their gut tells them at the outset that it is not a good fit but because they are stressed and under pressure they move forward with that attorney with hind sight being 20/20.  When in doubt always go with your GUT!

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