City of Topeka utility disconnections resume

Shutoffs start June 30

PRESS RELEASE: The City of Topeka Utilities Department will resume utility disconnections next week. Utility accounts not in good standing may be subject to disconnect. We encourage customers wanting to make payment arrangements or having difficulty paying their bills to call us at 368-3111 to take advantage of the various options we have available.

Where to pay

Utility bills can be paid at City Express at 620 SE Madison, the customer service call center or at authorized US Bank locations. City Express is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Customer Service Call Center is open between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is available to work with customers to help keep their balances due manageable during this time. Customers who need to pay their water bill in cash can do so at authorized US Bank locations at the drive through window. US Bank hours vary by location. Bills can also be paid by phone at 785-368-3111 or online at

Help for utility bills

Doorstep, Let’s Help, the Salvation Army and the City of Topeka created the Water Share Program to assist citizens in need with their COT water utility bill. Please contact one of the agencies directly to request assistance.

  • Doorstep 785-357-5341
  • Let’s Help 785-234-6208
  • Salvation Army 785-233-9648

The Utilities Refund Program (Franchise Fee Program) also offers assistance for utility bills. Please contact the Community Resources Council to apply 785-233-1365. For citizens looking for a way to help, you may go to or call 785-368-3111. Donations may be set up as reoccurring monthly or you may select to make a one-time donation. The donation amount will be added to your next City of Topeka water bill.

6/29/2020 Press Release

Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

You have filed a bankruptcy before and now you need help with your debts again.  You are wondering when you can file a bankruptcy again and if you can get a discharge of your debts in the new bankruptcy case.

2 – 4 – 6 – 8 Rule

Follow the 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 rule to determine if you can get a discharge in a subsequent bankruptcy.  You count from the filing date of the old petition to the filing date of the new petition.

  • 2 years between 13s –1328(f)(2)
  • 4 years between an old 7 and a new 13  –1328(f)(1)
  • 6 years between an old 13 and a new 7  –729, 727(a)(9)
  • 8 years between 7  –727(a)(8)

Thanks to my blogging colleague from Bankruptcy Law Network, attorney Andy Miofsky of Southern Ilinois, who coined the term 2 -4 -6 – 8 rule.

Photo credit: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by / Doug Aghassi

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…
Photo Credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by ernstl

10 Free Finance Tips on Money Health Central

Check out Money Health Central for free advice on family finances, money, debt, and credit.

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  7. 4 Easy Ways To Start Saving For Retirement Today
  8. Breaking the Credit Habit: 5 things anyone can do.
  9. Breaking The Credit Habit In Five Steps
  10. Forgiveness Of Debt Income, What Everyone Ought To Know

Free Tax Help Starts Monday

Free income tax assistance is available at Docking State Office Building and other sites in Topeka and Kansas starting Monday.

Free Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling provides free pre-bankruptcy credit counseling.  This service is internet based only.  It does not provide in-person or telephone service.  It is funded by charitable donations.

Do not use this service if you need to file bankruptcy right away.  This service does not guarantee delivery of the certificate.  It may take up to five days after you enter the date into the software.  You will be responsible to get the certificate to your attorney.

If you are not in a hurry and have internet service, this free service may be for you.

Credit counseling must be obtained within the past 180 days to file bankruptcy.

Should I File Bankruptcy Now?

Should I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy-It Could Happen to Anyone

Divided We Fail

Medical Bills Bankruptcy Americans

How Can I Afford to File Bankruptcy?

How can I afford to file bankruptcy?

If I can’t pay my bills, how can I afford to pay my bankruptcy attorney?

If I can’t pay my bills, how can I afford to pay my bankruptcy attorney? Part Two

Representing yourself

How much does bankruptcy cost?

Cost of filing bankruptcy

I Feel So Guilty Filing Bankruptcy

People seeking debt relief often feel guilty about filing for bankruptcy.  We are raised to pay our debts and conditioned to feel bad when we can’t.  In fact,  people will go to extreme measures, such as depleting the retirement account, to avoid bankruptcy.

When you can’t pay your bills because your credit card lenders have raised interest to 30%, it is time to stop feeling guilty.  Stop feeling bad about bills you can’t afford to pay.

It may not be your fault.  It may be that someone in your family has gotten sick or injured and you are facing huge medical expenses.  It may be that you have lost your job on main street because of greedy acts on Wall Street.  It may be that your marriage ended.  Most Americans are one injury, illness, job loss or divorce away from bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a legal way to resolve your debts.   It is for honest debtors who play by the rules.  Get the fresh start you deserve and get on with your life in peace.  Call today to see if bankruptcy is the right solution for your financial problems.

Bankruptcy-It Could Happen to Anyone

Why Did They Stop Sending My Mortgage Statements After Bankruptcy?

Most home mortgage lenders who send monthly statements to their borrowers will stop sending statements once a bankruptcy is filed.   They will stop withdrawing automatic payments form your bank account.  They claim sending the statements and withdrawing your funds might be seen as a violation of the bankruptcy automatic stay on collection and they don’t want to run afoul of the bankruptcy law.

Some Courts such as the Kansas bankruptcy courts have local rules allowing mortgage statements to be sent to debtors who want to retain their properties and continue paying the mortgage payments.

If you have filed bankruptcy and wish to keep your real estate that has been pledged as collateral for a loan, you must pay your mortgage payments.  Not getting a statement does not get you off the hook – you don’t get a free house.  YOU MUST PAY YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS TO KEEP YOUR PROPERTY OUT OF FORECLOSURE. [Read more…]

Help for Student Borrowers When School Closes

Student loans are not generally discharged in bankruptcy, but what happens when the school closes and the student does not receive the education she borrowed the money for? As long as the school closed within 90 days of enrollment or the last day attended, there is a remedy for student loan borrowers (but it is not a bankruptcy remedy).

Check out this link to search for closed schools. The regulation is 34 C.F.R. § 682.402(d). More help for student borrowers is available at

Cold Weather Rule Applies in Bankruptcy

The Cold Weather Rule protects Kansas residential utility customers who cannot fully pay their winter electric or gas bill from shutoff.  The Cold Weather Rule will be in effect from November 1 to March 31.

The Cold Weather Rule generally prohibits any disconnection of service when the local National Weather Service forecasts that the temperature will drop below 35 degrees or will be in the mid-30s or colder within the following 48 hours.  The rule applies to utilities regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission such as Westar Energy and Kansas Gas Service.

How do you sign up?

  • If you can’t pay your entire bill, call your utility company to make pay arrangements:
    • Agree to pay 1/12 of the overdue amount of your bill, plus 1/12 of your current bill, all disconnection and connection fees, and agree to pay the remainder in equal payments over the next 11 months; or
    • Negotiate a payment plan to pay the overdue amount off quicker than 12 months.
  • Remember, you must also pay your full bills for new service you use while paying off the overdue amount.
  • Apply for federal, state, local or special funds for which you are eligible.
  • If you are behind in a previous payment plan and cannot catch up, you need to make a new payment agreement with the utility.
  • If you have illegally used service, you must pay for the value of the illegally used service.

What will the utility company do?

  • Utilities must inform you of the Cold Weather Rule payment plan as well as other payment plans available to you. Remember, under the Cold Weather Rule payment plans, you always have the option of spreading your payment over a total of 12 months.
  • Utilities must send written notice to customers 10 days before disconnection, plus make a phone call or personal contact the day before.
  • Utilities must tell customers about agencies that have funds to help pay utility bills.

Questions? 1.800.662.0027

Pay Child Support or Lose Your Professional License in Kansas


When a person who holds any kind of professional license or certification in Kansas owes past due child support equal to or greater than three months of child support and has failed, after reasonable opportunity, to comply with any payment plan, 2009 HB 2201 mandates that the court order noticesent to the support debtor’s licensing body. In the case of an attorney, the court is required to file a complaint with the disciplinary administrator in this state and/or any other state in which the attorney is licensed.

Once the licensing body gets notice, it must notify the support debtor within 30 days that it will suspend or withhold issuance or renewal of debtor’s license. It can then issue a temporary license that is good for up to 6 months to give the debtor a chance to comply. The sixth months can be extended an additional 30 days upon a showing of extreme hardship. The licensing body has no jurisdiction over anything related to the debt. Upon compliance, the license would be reinstated or renewed.

What Does Charged Off Mean?

Charged Off: This is an accounting term that means the creditor does not expect to collect on the debt. It relates to the creditor’s taxes. It starts time periods under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It does not mean that the debt is no longer legally enforceable.

What is the Automatic Stay?

Automatic stay: The injunction issued automatically upon the filing of a bankruptcy case which prohibits collection actions against the debtor, the debtor’s property or the property of the estate. See Relief from Stay on terminating the injunction.

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