Archive for June, 2017

Filing Without An Attorney

Monday, June 26th, 2017

So you are considering filing for bankruptcy because you are over your head in debt. So you may think that finding the cash to hire an attorney is difficult, if not impossible. You may think, so if I do it wrong, what are they going to do to me? I’m giving up all my assets anyway.

reverse mortgage person

This is not entirely true. The court must approve your application, and if you do it wrong, they might not approve it. If you are considering a reorganization filing, the odds are not in your favor if you file without an attorney. If you are filing and your chapter 7 application is not accepted, you extend the amount of time you have to deal with all the problems. If you make a mistake, that mistake might catch up with you in the future, when you thought all this was behind you.

Once you’ve made a decision to file bankruptcy the next thing you’ll need to do is find a bankruptcy attorney. Chances are, like most people, you’ve decided to file bankruptcy because you cannot meet your debts.

Why Having an Attorney is Important

Keep in mind, there are numerous people you’re going to deal with during the bankruptcy process. The Clerk of Courts, a Trustee and a Judge to name a few. However, none of these people are there to protect your interests nor are they there to provide you with legal advice. In fact, in nearly all cases, they are prohibited from offering you legal advice.

Unless you have a solid understanding of federal bankruptcy statutes as well as the state specific statutes that apply to your bankruptcy case, you need an attorney representing you and protecting your interests. Otherwise, you’ll have wasted not only time, but you’ll have wasted your filing fees and you could jeopardize your ability to file a new petition for bankruptcy. Keep in mind, a bankruptcy filing will also show up on your credit report – unlike a discharge of bankruptcy, if the bankruptcy petition is denied or otherwise terminated, it will show as an open bankruptcy.

The Legal Details of Filing for Bankruptcy

There are numerous issues which you must address when you’re considering filing bankruptcy. You must claim all of your assets as well as your debts. In addition, if you’re filing to have your debt reorganized, you can’t simply use random figures about what you think you can afford. The plan must be comprehensive and must be acceptable to the courts. Most of us, without proper legal training, will have a hard time creating an acceptable plan.

There are many details, which may seem minor, that must be addressed during a bankruptcy filing. Remember, you have to meet counseling requirements, if you’re filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. You’ll also need to complete a Debtor Education course before your debts can be discharged.  If you considering doing it by yourself, think again. It could be a costly mistake.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

New Types of Credit Scores

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

I are all familiar with the traditional methods of providing credit scores. But banks increasingly are relying on dozens of scores that reflect a variety of data sources, analytics and use of artificial intelligence technology.

collection people

The use of AI offers lenders the ability to get a precise look into someone’s creditworthiness and score those previously deemed unscorable.

But such scoring techniques also bring uncertainty: What it will take to convince regulators that AI-based credit scores are not a black box? How do you get a system trained to look at the interactions of many variables, to produce one clear reason for declining credit? Data scientists at credit bureaus and banks are working to find answers to questions like these.

The benefits of AI-powered credit scores

There are two main reasons to use artificial intelligence to derive a credit score. One is to assess creditworthiness more precisely. The other is to be able to consider people who might not have been able to get a credit score in the past, or who may have been too hastily rejected by a traditional logistic regression-based score. In other words, a method that looks at certain data points from consumers’ credit history to calculate the odds that they will repay.

Machine learning can take a more nuanced look at consumer behavior.”

Consumers with several chargeoffs in their histories would most likely be considered high-risk borrowers by most traditional models. But an AI engine might perceive mitigating variables; though the consumers might have skipped payments on three debts in the past 24 months, they have paid on time consistently for the past year and have successfully obtained new lines of credit.

It looks like that bad performance or bad history is in your past. That would be a simple example of how an AI world might help cast data in a more positive and more accurate light.

AI-based credit scoring models let Elevate make sharper predictions of credit risk, approve the right people and offer better pricing to people who deserve it.

Elevate is deploying its new, AI-based models gradually, starting with 1% of potential borrowers, testing the results, and gradually applying them to more people.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Can an Illegal Alien File for Bankruptcy?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Since the election of president Trump, immigrants and illegal aliens have been a frequent topic of conversation. Since there are 30 million people involved, obviously some of them would probably be interested in filing for bankruptcy. Do they have that option? Do they have access to Bankruptcy Courts in the United States?

bankruptcy court

The first place to start is Section 109 of the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. §109), aptly titled “Who May Be a Debtor.” In short, there is no requirement in §109 that an individual be a citizen, or even lawfully in this country. For obvious reasons, people who are in this country unlawfully are not likely to file Bankruptcy petitions. However, it is not uncommon for green card holders to file for Bankruptcy protection. As with any debtor in Bankruptcy, the person will have to provide the appropriate identification and meet all other requirements of the Bankruptcy Code.

However, another important issue has arisen in some cases – exemptions. The availability of exemptions pursuant to  is generally based on residency. Courts in Florida have addressed this issue in cases involving non-citizens. For example, in a recent case, the Court stated that in order to qualify for the Florida homestead exemption, a debtor must be a permanent resident of the state and intend to make the property in question his permanent residence. An alien can satisfy this residency requirement only if he has obtained permanent resident status or a “green card” as of the petition date.

Because the debtor in that case did not yet have a green card when his case was filed (he would receive it three months later), he could not satisfy the residency requirement to claim a homestead exemption under Florida law.

The Debtor’s immigration status is relevant to determine eligibility for the claimed exemptions. As previously stated, the Debtor and his wife are Canadian citizens and were Canadian citizens when the Debtor filed his bankruptcy petition. At all relevant times, the Debtor’s wife’s status in the United States is that of an undocumented alien…

Thus, the question remains whether the Debtor may avail himself of bankruptcy relief without having to subject his most valuable asset to the claims of all his creditors.

The Court finds it unnecessary to probe the depths of the tenancy by the entireties issue in this case for one simple reason: the Debtor may not use any state exemptions afforded by Florida law because at all relevant time periods the Debtor resided in the United States pursuant to a temporary visa. This fact prevents the Debtor from establishing domicile within the state which in turn precludes the Debtor from availing himself of the state exemptions.

These are just two examples from a state that has a relatively high percentage of non-citizen residents and extremely favorable exemptions, but they do illustrate issues that arise in these cases. Bankruptcy lawyers will carefully review the facts, state laws, and Court decisions in the district and circuit before filing these cases.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.