Bankruptcy Alphabet – A

Adversary Proceeding
Automatic Stay
Automatic Stay
Automatic Stay
Automatic Stay
Automatic Stay
Avoidance of Preferential Transfers

Bankruptcy Copy Fees Up 25%

Fees to download bankruptcy documents from the federal court increased 25% to 10 cents per page today. The fee is capped at $2.40 per document, there is no fee for access to court opinions, and fees are waived for users who incur less than $15 of use in a quarterly billing cycle.

All documents with the bankruptcy court are filed electronically using the Court’s case management electronic case filing (CMECF) computer sosftware. As each document is uploaded to the Court, it is docketed and an index of documents and events is created for the case. A copy of the filing is automatically sent to all the attorneys involved in the case and to interested parties who have requested notice. Individual documents can be downloaded by clicking on the hyperlinks in the case dockets.

You must have an account with the federal judicial system’s Public Access to Court Electronic Documents (PACER) system to download documents. You will log in to PACER to view the document or docket report links in the emails you receive and the fees will be assessed to your account.

Some courts allow PACER users to monitor cases by email via an RSS feed.  To learn if your bankruptcy court has implemented RSS, go to the PACER website and click on the RSS feed information. Kansas bankruptcy court does not yet offerRSS service.


Mark Neis Named Consumer Bankruptcy Super Lawyer


Mark Neis has been named a Super Lawyer in consumer bankruptcy law.

Super Lawyers magazine names attorneys in each state who received the highest point totals, as chosen by their peers and through the independent research. Rising Stars names the state’s top up-and-coming attorneys.

Super Lawyers magazine is published in all 50 states and reaches more than 13 million readers.

When Will My Underwater House Break Even?

Bankruptcy clients often wonder if they should keep their home when the mortgage balance is more than they can sell the real estate for.  Their heart says keep the home, their head says don’t — once they have the facts.

Here is a simple calculator from my friend, Cathy Moran at the Consumer Ledger, to estimate when an underwater house will be worth what is now owed.  Shocking!

Filing bankruptcy is an option that allows you to get out from under the mortgage debt but only if you give up the house.  As Jay Fleischman tells us on Bankruptcy Law Network, you don’t get a free house when you file for bankruptcy. Jed Berliner (a KU graduate) reminds us bankruptcy is not the end of the story — it is not so simple to give back the house to the mortgage company.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees Going Up

Starting November 1, 2011, the fee to file a bankruptcy case increases by $7.

The new filing fees are

  • chapter 7 $306
  • chapter 13 $281
  • chapter 11 $1046


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Bankruptcy Court Costs Going Up

Miscellaneous fees in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts increase again on November 1, 2011.  The filing fee to initiate a bankruptcy case is not changing.

Debtors will have to pay $30 to amend schedule d, e, f, g, or h, up from $26.  Creditors will have to pay $176 to file a motion to lift the automatic stay, up from $150.

Other fee increases:

  • Certification $11 from $9
  • Exemplication $21 from $18
  • Record Search $30 from $26
  • Document Filing / Indexing $46 from $39
  • Title 11 Administrative Fee $46 from $39
  • Record Retrieval $53 from $45
  • Returned Check $53 from $45
  • Notice of Appeal $293 from $250

Statutory authority for the bankruptcy court fees is 28 U.S.C. 1930.

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Also published in Bankruptcy Law Network.

Court Stops Mailing Claim Forms to Creditors

To save money, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Kansas has stopped sending blank proof of claim forms to all creditors with notice of every new bankruptcy case filing.

Proof of Claim forms can be obtained at the U.S. Courts web site, the Kansas bankruptcy court website or at any bankruptcy clerk’s office.


Photo Credit:  balance by William Hoffman


Bankruptcy Mortgage Project Website Launched by NCLC

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has created an online Bankruptcy Mortgage Project Website for courts, trustees, attorneys, mortgage servicers, academics, and consumers in the bankruptcy community. It organizes and provides access to more than 500 local rules, forms, general orders, and court opinions addressing a variety of mortgage issues in consumer bankruptcy cases across the United States. This free “one-stop shop” collection can be a resource for those interested in adopting new programs and local rules to assist consumers, their attorneys and mortgage creditors in addressing mortgage claims and seeking alternatives to foreclosure. Many of the website’s documents are not easily accessible using traditional legal research tools.  The website was funded in part by a grant from the Endowment for Education of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.

 The website is organized by topic: Loss Mitigation and Mediation, Cure Plan Requirements, Stay Relief Requirements, Lien Stripping, and Chapter 13 Plans. It is searchable by state, subject, court location (district and circuit), or document type. Visitors can also click on a map to pull up all relevant information for a particular state. Visitors can view and download all referenced documents. The URL is:

Source:  National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA)

Dodgers Good Company in Bankruptcy

Last week, I wrote about being in good company with many famous people when you file bankruptcy. Well, in comes the news today that the Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection. That’s darn good company if you ask me. There is no need to feel guilty.

The Dodgers bankruptcy filing comes in the wake of a bitter divorce between the owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, which makes another point: bankruptcy and divorce go hand in hand.

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Famous Shed Debt, Move On Successfully – You Can, Too

You have plenty of good company if you are feeling alone or depressed because of debt problems.  Here is a list of some of the famous people who have filed for bankruptcy or had financial problems.  Note that many of these people had great success and fame AFTER they shed their debts.

Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas‘s mother files chapter 13 bankruptcy. Wrestler Rulon Gardner, winner of the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, filed bankruptcy after being defrauded by a business partner.

US Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte’s parents home is in foreclosure.

Jose Canseco, 1988 American Baseball League MVP

NFL player Warren Sapp filed bankruptcy.  His collection of 240 pairs of Air Jordan shoes are being auctioned by his bankruptcy trustee.


Donald Trump, financier; Michael Jackson, singer; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; Kim Basinger, actress; Mike Tyson, boxer; Mark Twain, humorist; Burt Reynolds, actor;

Thomas Jefferson, patriot and president; Gary Coleman, child actor; MC Hammer, rap singer; Willie Nelson, country singer; Lorraine Bracco, “The Soprano’s” actress; Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber; PT Barnum, circus promoter; L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; Mathew Brady, Civil War photographer;

Oscar Wilde, playwright; Jerry Lee Lewis, rock singer; Rembrandt, painter; Henry Heinz, ketchup magnate; Milton Hershey, chocolate magnate; Henry Ford, auto magnate; Johnny Unitas, football player; Wayne Newton, entertainer; Mickey Rooney, actor; Debbie Reynolds, actress;

John Connally, former Texas governor ; Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse; Mick Fleetwood, rock singer; Merle Haggard, country singer; Ulysses S. Grant, president and Civil War general ; Dorothy Hamill, figure skater; Larry King, talk show host; Bowie Kuhn, former baseball commissioner; Stan Lee, comic book creator of “Spider Man”.

Other famous debtors in bankruptcy or having financial problems:

Lorrie Morgan, country singer; Robert Stephan, former Kansas Attorney General; Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., largest U.S. bankruptcy; Tribune Company, owner of Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Tribune & other newspapers, and Chicago Cubs; Enron; Interstate Bakeries Corp., maker of Wonderbread and  Hostess Twinkies; KB Toys; General Motors; Ford; Chrysler; Linens ‘N Things;

Ed McMahon, Tonight Show host; Michael Vick, NFL football player; Dreir, LLC, law firm; Dave Ramsey, author of Total Money Makeover, radio/TV personality; Poloroid Corp.; numerous mortgage lenders; Archway Cookies; Circuit City, electronics retail stores;

Parent Co., the owner of; Bill Blass, Ltd., fashion manufacturer; Recycled Paper Greetings, Inc., 3rd largest U.S. greeting card maker; Flying J travel plazas; LyondellBasell Industries, chemical maker; Goody’s Family Clothing Inc., retail clothing chain; Waterford Wedgwood PLC, china and crystal; Creative Memories, scrapbooking; Gottschalks department stores; Merisant Worldwide Inc., Equal artificial sweetener maker;

Nortel Networks, Canadian telephone company; Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper; Hartmarx Corp., clothier to U.S. President Barack Obama; Brighter Minds Media World of Goo computer puzzle publisher; Spectrum Brands, Inc., makers of  Rayovac batteries, Remington shavers;

S&K Famous Brands men’s clothing; Crescent Oil Company, Inc., Independence, KS, oil supplier; Muzak Holdings, LLC, maker of elevator music; Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., St. Joseph, MO, box manufacturer; My Rich Uncle, student loan lender; and Charter Communications, cable and internet.

Peanut Corp. of America, salmonella in peanut butter; Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., Atlantic City casinos; Forward Foods LLC, Detour bars maker; Saab, Swedish auto maker; Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., publisher of Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspapers; Ritz Camera Centers Inc.; Blockbuster, video rentals; Changing Worlds Technology, Inc., Carthage, MO, biofuels plant; Mark Shale men’s clothier; Six Flags amusement parks.

MC Hammer musician; Extended Stay Hotels, LLC; Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum; Eddie Bauer; Crabtree and Evelyn, Ltd., soap and toiletry retailer; Michael Jackson‘s parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson;

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How to Get Your Credit Reports

You are entitled to a free credit file disclosure (credit report) once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  We recommend you monitor your credit by pulling one of the three reports every four months.

You may request your free credit reports online at You will be asked questions to authenticate your identity such as creditor names, loan payment amounts, employers and addresses. Please work through the screens, then view and print out all three credit reports. You’ll need lots of paper and ink.

Other Internet sites advertising “free” credit reports are not free. If you have to give a credit card number or sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service, you are on the wrong website.

If you cannot obtain your free credit reports online, you may request your report by phone or request your report through the mail. Free credit reports requested by phone or mail will be processed within 15 days of receiving your request.

To request your credit report by phone, call 1-877-322-8228. You will go through a simple verification process over the phone. Your reports will be mailed to you within 15 days.

To request you credit report by mail, download the request form, print and complete the form, mail the completed form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

When you file bankruptcy through our firm, you should bring any credit reports you have with you to your appointment with our attorneys. With your written permission, we will run your credit reports through our vendor, which downloads the data from Experian and Transunion to our software.  The charge for the download is $26 for one person or $45 for a married couple.

Free credit reports do not contain your credit scores.  You can estimate your credit score for free, instantly and anonymously, by using a web tool, Credit Score Compass, on the website.

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Can I Owe Too Much for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is officially called an adjustment of debts for individuals with regular income. This relief is limited to people who have debts under the limits, but you have to owe a lot of money before you become ineligible.

What are the current chapter 13 bankruptcy debt limits?

UPDATE: As of April 1, 2013, § 109(e), eligibility for Chapter 13 is capped at the allowable unsecured debt limits increase of $383,175 and secured debt limits increase of $1,149,525.
These limits change every three years.  The next change will be April 1, 2016.

If you are not eligible for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might be eligible to get help under another chapter of the bankruptcy code.

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How Medical Bills Hurt Your Credit Rating

How Could Your Medical Bills Be A Credit Problem?
Do you have insurance that pays your credit card bills? Me neither. Do you have insurance that covers your medical bills? Yeah, me too. So, should these bills look the same on our credit reports? Read Kurt O’Keefe’s post on Money Health Central

Reaffirmation Requires More than Checking a Box

Much has been written on this blog about reaffirmation. BLN author Jed Berliner makes a compelling argument that reaffirmation in Chapter 7 is a bad idea – why should you assume personal liability for a debt and forgo up to 8 years of bankruptcy protection on the hope that time Full Article…
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What Causes an Emergency Bankruptcy?

I wanted to write something about what makes those who procrastinate file bankruptcy. First of all, procrastination and bankruptcy often go hand in hand. The unknown is scary and making a move during a period of insecurity is hard. Bankruptcy often feels optional at the beginning. Full Article…
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Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy


Debt Settlement Scams

You are an honest person. You are desperate to find a way to pay your bills, but your paycheck just doesn’t stretch far enough.  You are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

You see commercials on TV and the Internet promising to solve your financial problems. Your guts tell you the “solution” is too good to be true, but you go against your instincts.

You were right! It is too good to be true!

Most of the debt settlement companies you see on TV or the Internet are illegal. Only a Kansas attorney or a credit services organization approved by the Office of the Kansas State Bank Commissioner can legally perform debt management services for a Kansas consumer. About 30 companies are approved. Most are not.

It is illegal for an unlicensed company to charge you a fee to take your money, hold it in escrow, not pay your creditors, then, once the debts are unpaid and delinquent for months, offer your creditors a partial lump sum settlement of the debt. These are debt settlement scams!

I posted about the Kansas consumer protection law on the Credit Law Network and the Bankruptcy Law Network.

Don’t despair. If you are paying an illegal debt settlement company, you might be able to get your money back. We can help you stop the automatic withdrawal from your bank account. We can demand a refund for you.

Legitimate Debt Management Plans

If you able able to pay your bills back through a debt management plan, contact Kansas consumer credit counseling services. Don’t send your hard earned money to out of state strangers you find on TV and Internet!

Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., in Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc., in Salina and Wichita

These two agencies can help you analyze your realistic ability to pay and can give you a frank assessment of your likelihood of success. They might be able to get creditors to voluntarily reduce interest, stop late fees and reduce monthly payments, but they probably won’t be able to get creditors to take less than you owe. Creditors cannot be forced to participate in a plan. Some creditors refuse. If you are lucky enough to have creditors who will cooperative, and you can pay your debts back at a`monthly rate you can afford, and you will have the bills paid off in a reasonable period of time, then you should consider a debt management plan through a Kansas credit counselor.

But if your creditors won’t agree to a debt management plan or the plan leaves you insufficient money to pay your necessities such as your housing, food, health care and transportation, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. You can expect these Kansas agencies to be be honest with you, even when they have to give you the bad news that a debt management plan won’t work for you. Both agencies are approved by the U.S. Trustee to issue bankruptcy certificates.


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