New Mortgage Payment Rule Clarified

New Standing Rule 08-01 for ongoing mortgage payments through the 13 trustee in Kansas applies to all chapter 13 banrkuptcy cases filed on or after October 1, 2008.  Debtors in cases filed earlier will not be subjected to the new rule even if they subsequently become delinquent on their home mortgage payments.

The Hon. Janice Miller Karlin, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Kansas, Topeka Division, issued the following statement last week after polling all the Kansas bankruptcy judges: [Read more…]

New Rule: Chapter 13 Mortgage Payments Through Trustee

The Kansas Bankruptcy Court adopted a new rule requiring chapter 13 debtors behind on mortgage debts when the bankruptcy case is filed to be paid through the trustee.  The rule goes into effect for cases filed on or after October 1, 2008.

Proponents of the new rule say the chapter 13 trustee records will aid the court in protecting debtors from charges for inappropriate fees and from false allegations of nonpayments.  Opponents of the new rule object to the chapter 13 fee (up to 10%) added to the to the mortgage payments, creating additional financial hardship for debtors.

Kansas City Software Firm Hired for Largest U.S. Bankruptcy

The Kansas City, Kansas, computer software company used by one Topeka chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee was chosen this week to manage claims for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the largest bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

Epiq Systems Inc., develops software to manage bankruptcy cases.  It has experience with large chapter 11 bankruptcy cases including World Com and Enron and national class action cases.

History of BAPCPA: Special Interest Legislation at Its Worst

BAPCPA (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention And Consumer Protection Act Of 2005) has been characterized as among the best (or worst depending on point of view) examples of special interest federal legislation ever passed by Congress. The act’s history is important:

Under pressure from creditor lobbying efforts, Congress and the Clinton administration in 1994 funded a bi-partisan blue ribbon panel dubbed the Bankruptcy Review Commission. Its mission was a comprehensive study of the bankruptcy system in response to creditor interests’ complaints of widespread but undocumented abuses.

Democrats’ poor showings in 1992 and 1994 elections left Congress controlled by Republicans. President Clinton agreed to a commission to find the facts. The credit industry argued a significant number of Americans had the “ability to repay” their debts, but egged on by greedy bankruptcy attorneys, debtors were choosing instead to slough off debt. Debtors were cast as well-to-do credit card abusers who were financially irresponsible, increasing the cost of borrowing for others. Little or no evidence was ever offered to back up creditors’ arguments. [Read more…]

Wichita Car Dealer Convicted of Bankruptcy Fraud – Facing 5 Years in Jail

A Wichita car dealer who gave money to relatives before filing his bankruptcy case and lied on his bankruptcy paperwork was convicted of federal crimes this week and faces possible jail time for his fraud.

Evidence at trial proved he gave money to his wife and his brother prior to filing his bankruptcy case and he lied on his paperwork. He falsely said he had no bank accounts and he had made no transfers of money to relatives nor closed any bank accounts. He also charged $125,000 on credit cards within a year of filing the bankruptcy petition for airline tickets, jewelry and other goods. [Read more…]

Kansas Bankruptcy Judges End Secret Mortgage Fees in Chapter 13

The bankruptcy judges in Kansas have approved new language for all chapter 13 confirmation orders that will put an end to the abusive practice of secretly adding fees to a debtor’s mortgage loan balance.

No real estate creditor shall ever assess, charge or collect, from either the debtor or the real estate collateral, any assessments, fees, costs, expenses or any other monetary amounts, exclusive of principal, interest, taxes and insurance, that arose from the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition to the entry of the Order of Discharge except as may be allowed by court order or an allowed proof of claim.

[Read more…]

Attorney General Six Gives Foreclosure Advice – Get Attorney, Learn Options

Kansas Attorney General Stephen N. Six issued the following statement on home mortgage foreclosure this week, urging people facing foreclosure to seek help from an attorney.

Home foreclosure is a growing problem in Kansas and across the nation. Mortgage fraud and subprime lending have left many homeowners stuck with home loans they can no longer afford.

My office recently convened a task force to investigate this problem. Consumer advocates met with representatives from lending and real estate industries to determine ways we can stem the tide of home foreclosure in Kansas. [Read more…]

Board Certification Renewed for Jill Michaux

ABCJill Michaux has earned recertification in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. She was awarded her 15 year pin as a consumer bankruptcy specialist.

She was the first Kansas lawyer to be board certified in consumer bankruptcy law. Her partner, Mark Neis, was second. Today, they are the only board certified consumer bankruptcy specialists in Topeka and two of ten in Kansas.

Board certification means that Jill has met rigorous, objective standards and has demonstrated expertise in consumer bankruptcy law. She goes the extra mile to keep current on bankruptcy law changes by attending national seminars, participating in daily e-mail updates and by attending several times the hours of continuing legal education required by Kansas.

You expect certification from your doctor – expect it from your lawyer too. Hiring an attorney with expertise in any specialized field of law, such as bankruptcy, can be a bewildering experience. As a client, you want to make sure your attorney is experienced in consumer bankruptcy law. Choosing a board certified specialist in one way to make sure.

Can't Add Your Spouse to Your Individual Bankruptcy Case Later

Your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy with you in Kansas, but make sure you don’t want to file a joint case, because you can’t add your spouse to the case later.

Judge Dale L. Somers denied an attempt by a debtor to add her spouse two months after she filed her case by amending her petition filed with the Court. In Re Cheryl R. Daly, 07-22628-13, (Bankr. D.Kan. 01-28-2007).

It would be possible for the nonfiling spouse to file his own case and then consolidate the two cases for administration.

More Kansans Can Qualify for Bankruptcy Help with Increased Income Allowances

The Kansas income guidelines for the bankruptcy means test go up February 1, 2008.

Kansas Median Family Income by Family Size for Bankruptcy Cases Filed on or After February 1, 2008,

  • 1 earner……….$38,594
  • 2 persons……..$52,989
  • 3 persons …….$58,075
  • 4 persons …….$69, 831
  • 5 persons …….$76,731
  • 6 persons …….$83,631
  • Add $6,900 for each additional individual

Wieland Named U.S. Trustee for Kansas

Richard Wieland

Richard Wieland

Richard A. Wieland has been named U.S. Trustee for Region 20, which covers Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Wieland has been serving as acting Region 20 U.S. Trustee since September 1, 2007. He is familiar to the Kansas bankruptcy bar, having been a trial lawyer in the Wichita office since 1988. When the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 2005, he played a pivotal role in implementing the consumer credit counseling and debtor financial management education requirements for the Executive Office of the U.S. Trustee in Washington, D.C

The U.S. Trustee program is charged with overseeing bankruptcy case administration. Region 20 offices are headquartered in Wichita with additional offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Albuquerque.

Here is a link to the official EOUST press release.

Involuntary Bankruptcy Filed on Kansas City Mortgage Company

A $49.8 millon creditor of NovaStar Home Mortgage Inc. filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the company in Kansas City this week.

The petition was filed January 23, 2008, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri at Kansas City.

For more information see the article in the Kansas City Business Journal or the bankruptcy court’s website.

1923 Disney Bankruptcy in Kansas City

Did you know Walt Disney’s Missouri company, Laugh O Gram Films, Inc., was forced into bankruptcy in Kansas City on October 4, 1923? Fellow blogger, Rachel Foley of www.kcbankruptcy.com, and lover of all things Disney, proudly displays the bankruptcy documents in her office.

As Rachel says, “Walt went into bankruptcy with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and came out the other side with Mickey Mouse.”

Debtor Audits Stopped (for Now)

The U.S. Trustee has stopped auditing debtors in bankruptcy cases. The Executive Office of the U.S. Trustee says Congress did not fund the budget for the audits in the 2008 appropriations bill. Alternate funding is being sought so the audits can resume, the EOUST reports.

This is good news for debtors whose advocates testified at a Congressional hearing in October 2007 that the audits were abusive to debtors because of overbearing auditors and erroneous reports of material misstatements in the bankruptcy papers.

See my post on the Bankruptcy Law Network for more details and the official statement by the U.S. Trustee.