How to Contact the Topeka Bankruptcy Law Office

Stop being stressed out by bills you can’t pay! Get the fresh start only the federal bankruptcy laws can give you. Contact us at the Topeka Bankruptcy Law Office today!

Mark Neis and Jill Michaux, Topeka’s only consumer bankruptcy law specialists.  You expect board certification in your doctor, expect it in your lawyer, too.

Bankruptcy Law Office Location

Neis & Michaux, P.A., Bankruptcy Law Office

825 Bank of America Tower, 534 S Kansas Ave Ste 825

Topeka KS 66603-3446

785-354-1471 telephone –  785-354-1170 facsimile

mark.neis@neismichaux.com - jill.michaux@neismichaux.com

our website: bankruptcykansas.info

bankruptcy blog: www.bankruptcylawnetwork.com

personal finance blog: www.moneyhealthcentral.com

 

View street view of Bank of America Tower Map to Our Location

Call Mark and Jill today.  We understand your bill problems.  785-354-1471

 

Bankruptcy Means Test Meaner as Family Incomes Drop

As the economy worsens, unemployment rises and family incomes are dropping, getting bankruptcy help gets a little tougher.

The bankruptcy income guidelines go down a few hundred dollars for Kansas cases filed on or after March 15, 2010.  While this change probably won’t disqualify many debtors, the downward trend is disturbing and more evidence the means test is a mean test.

Here are the new Kansas median income figures by family size used for part one of a two part-test to determine bankruptcy eligibility:

  1. $41,210
  2. $57,561
  3. $63,212
  4. $72,352

But do not despair if your income is higher than these numbers and you need bankruptcy help.  You are not automatically disqualified. These numbers are used in part one of the means test to figure out whether Kansans may get rid of their general debts such as credit cards and medical bills in bankruptcy.

You have a second chance to pass the bankruptcy means test [Read more…]

Bankruptcy Law Network Top 100 Blawg

American Bar Association Journal editors voted the Bankruptcy Law Network Top 100 Blawg for 2008.  Our own Jill A. Michaux is one of 25 lawyers who blog on consumer bankruptcy topics for Bankruptcy Law Network, the most comprehensive online source for consumer bankruptcy information.

BLN authors also write for its sister sites:  Mortgage Law Network, Credit Law Network and Debt Law Network.

GAP Insurance Not In Car Lender's PMSI

GAP insurance, service contracts, administrative fees and the traded-in car payoff are not part of a car lender’s purchase-money secured claim in chapter 13 bankruptcy and can be crammed-down if the car is worth less than the loan balance, Judge Janice Miller Karlin ruled this week in In Re Miller, Case No. 08-40935, (Bankr. D.Kan. December 2, 2008).

Judge Karlin suggested the ruling may be different for service contracts in a future case if the creditor convinces her the contract enhances the value of the vehicle.  Creditors have the burden of proof to establish their purchase money security interest (PMSI) claim, she said.

Non-PMSI charges are still part of the creditor’s secured claim and must be paid in chapter 13 bankruptcy up to the value of the car. A debtor must pay the entire PMSI to retain a car even if the amount is greater than the car’s value if the loan was incurred within 910 days of bankruptcy. [Read more…]

Courts Launch Bankruptcy Videos

The federal bankruptcy courts rolled out short web videos on basic bankruptcy topics for consumers considering filing bankruptcy.

The first video explains that bankruptcy is a legal process for individuals who cannot pay their debts, which stops debt collection and discharges the debts.

All eight videos can be viewed on bankruptcykansas.info or the courts website.

New Kansas Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharge Procedure Proposed

A new procedure for issuing chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges and administratively closing the cases is being considered in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas.  Here is a summary of the procedure from the minutes of the September 17, 2008, Bench and Bar Committee:

  • About six months before anticipated plan completion the Chapter 13 Trustees will file a Notice of Plan Approaching Completion.
  • If no Financial Management Certificate has been filed by Debtors, the Court’s case management computer software (CM/ECF) will send a notice to Debtor and Debtor(s)’ counsel reminding them that the Financial Management Certificate must be filed prior to making the last payment in a Chapter 13 plan. [Read more…]

Kansas Bankruptcy Court Proposes Local Rules Changes

Amendments to the local rules of practice and procedure are proposed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas about post-confirmation recovery of assets by the chapter 13 trustee, proof of insurance on motor vehicles, required information for attorney signatures on pleadings, and cases commenced by foreign representatives.

The Court is soliciting written comments on the proposed local rules until December 1, 2008.  Comments may be sent to the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 444 SE Quincy, Topeka, KS 66683, or at the clerk’s office in the Wichita and Kansas City, KS, divisions.

Click here to download a redlined copy of the proposed revisions.  Minutes of the Bench and Bar Committee, which recommends the proposed changes, can be found here on the court’s website.

Consider Chapter 13

Considerchapter13.com is a new web site launched by the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education. The site contains information for consumers and bankruptcy attorneys by the Chapter 13 trustees who belong to the NACTT.

As always with any information on the internet, you should ask questions and discuss specific issues with your own bankruptcy attorney.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy practice varies widely from trustee to trustee and judge to judge around the country.

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 Address for KCK Chapter 13 Payments

Effective October 1, 2008, all chapter 13 payments to William H. Griffin Trustee must be mailed to PO Box 613106, Memphis TN 38101.

Payments to Griffin, the standing chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee for cases filed in Kansas City, Kansas, will no longer be accepted in person at Griffin’s office in Fairway, at meetings of creditors or at court hearings.  All payments must be mailed to the Memphis lock box.

Griffin is not moving his office.  He is changing banks to Suntrust Bank.


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…]

10% Home Mortgages Under Water

Here is a scary statistic for 2007 being reported by ABC News: 10% of American homeowners owe more money on their house than the house is worth. That figure has doubled from 5% in 2006.

For homes purchased in the past two years, the figure shoots up to an alarming 30%, according to Reuters. These are the highest numbers of homes under water since the Great Depression of 1929.

Eight million families are in danger of losing their homes due to mortgages that are greater than the value of the homes. See what fellow blogger, Gene Melchionne, has to say on the Mortgage Law Network about what this means for all Americans, particularly retirement funds.

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…]