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CARES Act Reduced Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Payments & Modified Plans

By | COVID-19, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments

Don’t miss this opportunity for additional relief with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy from the CARES Act.

COVID-19 has changed the world in numerous ways from putting entire countries on strict lockdown to taking the lives of millions to changing the way many companies do business. Many of these effects, like so many other world events, disproportionately negatively affect those who are struggling through difficult financial times.

Individuals who have declared bankruptcy have still had to make payments that were specified in their debt resettlement agreements. Thanks to the CARES Act, though, those who have outstanding Chapter 13 payments may be able to reduce their monthly payment amount.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Disposable Income Amendments

Any payments made under federal law relating to the national emergency declared by the President cannot be counted as “current monthly income” or “disposable income” when considering the debtors repayment plan.

This provision will benefit those who are currently paying off bankruptcy payments and future Chapter 13 bankruptcy pursuants.

Payment Plan Modifications

The CARES Act permits debtors to seek payment plan modification if they can prove that they have suffered a “direct or indirect” hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law does not give extensive definitions for “direct or indirect” hardships caused by the pandemic, so pursuants will have to make a verifiable case that they suffered financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is unclear the extent to which debtors will be able to alter their original payment plans. However, the law allows for debtors to seek modification in their favor, so debtors should take advantage of this opportunity.

How Long Will This Last?

These amendments were originally put into law on March 27, 2020 and were scheduled to sunset, or expire, on March 27, 2021. However, due to the continued economic uncertainty from the pandemic, these amendments were extended until March 27, 2022.

If these amendments are not extended past the latest expiration date, then debtors have about six months to take advantage of these helpful provisions for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

David S. Clark Can Help

Having helped people file for and carry out Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plans for over 20 years, David S. Clark has had to adjust to changes in the law, changes in the larger culture, and countless other changes relating to his clients’ bankruptcy cases.

These recent changes are intended to help debtors. David S. Clark can help walk you through taking advantage of this opportunity, rather than failing to make your payments because of additional financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Call David S. Clark today for help with the CARES Act reduced Chapter 13 Bankruptcy payments and modified payment plans.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

How Not to Think About Bankruptcy

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments

Hiring an attorney can often add undue stress to an already fractious time. Bankruptcy cases are no different. 

As a bankruptcy lawyer in Auburn, Alabama, David S. Clark counsels numerous Lee County residents through shaky financial times. Over the years, he has encountered many different client responses to the fact that they need to declare bankruptcy. Some responses have been healthier than others and when clients have an unhealthy outlook on their situation, it can lead to a more difficult process and additional future financial hardships.

So, as a bankruptcy law firm in Auburn, we want to warn Auburn residents who may be considering bankruptcy about a few ways you should not think about it.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

“I am incompetent with finances and there’s no hope for me to learn.”

If someone chooses to declare bankruptcy, then there is inevitably a serious disconnect between income and expenses in the actions of the client. This disconnect can occur for a number of reasons other than incompetence on the part of a client.

A sudden loss of income due to losing a job, unexpected expenses like hospital bills, or a miscalculation from the onset of a major purchase that leads to interest payments the client is unable to pay are all examples of events that can cause someone to declare bankruptcy.

There are mistakes that are made in all of these situations and others like them, but there is a fundamental difference between making a financial mistake and complete financial incompetence.

Everyone is able to improve their financial skills.

Don’t believe the lie that because you now have to declare bankruptcy and need help from a bankruptcy lawyer, you are financially incompetent.

Instead, take advantage of the resources provided to you during the process of bankruptcy like financial counseling and learn how not to find yourself in this situation again.

“Bankruptcy will solve all of my financial problems.”

Bankruptcy is a mechanism within our legal system by which debtors can find relief from debts that they can no longer pay.

It is not, however, a cure all for financial problems. 

Often the issues that cause bankruptcy cannot be cured with the relief of debt at one time. Foundational problems need to be dealt with by solutions outside of the scope of bankruptcy in order to avoid another financial catastrophe.

Debtors usually need counseling about healthy spending habits. They often need to begin taking more personal responsibility for the situation they are in. They sometimes need to find a more steady stream of income than they currently have.

Though a bankruptcy lawyer cannot directly “fix” any of these problems, he can point clients to other people and groups that can help.

“My debts are someone else’s fault.”

Bankruptcy can be an extremely painful and humbling time for debtors. Your finances are laid bare before creditors. You openly admit that you cannot make the payments you are obligated to make. You are subjected to numerous meetings in which others tell you how you must act in order to overcome your debt.

These are humbling, sometimes humiliating processes. Nevertheless, debtors respond to these processes with obstinate pride, insisting that they are not really the ones responsible for the situation that they are in.

A complex situation like bankruptcy often has complex causes. So, during the process of bankruptcy it may be revealed that several individuals and groups share some of the blame for a debtor’s situation. However, for a debtor to take little blame or worse yet, no blame at all, is detrimental to the likelihood of long-term financial recovery.

Admitting there is a problem within yourself and your actions, that this problem has played a major role in getting you into such a bad financial situation is key to your bankruptcy being a success.

Let David S. Clark Help You Think About Bankruptcy

David as an Auburn bankruptcy lawyer and his team of professionals have years of experience helping clients get out from under their debts by helping them to rightly think about bankruptcy and walking with them through the whole process.

If you are looking for a bankruptcy lawyer in Auburn, contact David S. Clark today for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

More Than Just Bankruptcy

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, News | No Comments

Hiring a qualified Auburn bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark to guide you through the storm of financial crisis may be exactly the help you need.

Auburn, AL is known as “The Loveliest Village on the Plains.” Though this may be true, it does not mean that all Auburn residents are shielded from not-so-lovely financial times. 

If you have found yourself in one of these difficult financial times, then hiring a qualified Auburn bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark to guide you through the storm of financial crisis may be exactly the help you need.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

An Auburn Bankruptcy Attorney–More Than Just Bankruptcy

Though David S. Clark primarily works with Auburn clients through the difficult and often confusing process of filing for bankruptcy, he also helps Auburn residents overcome a variety of financial difficulties.

Debt Consolidation

Sometimes Auburn residents have several outstanding debts with varying interest rates, that have to be paid on different days of the month, and must be addressed to different companies or individuals.

If someone is less than organized and misses a few payments on some of these debts, it can cause some seriously harmful ramifications for that person.

One of the benefits of debt consolidation is that all of your outstanding debt payments are rolled into one payment that has one interest rate, is paid to one entity, and is paid at the same time (this may be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.).

Debt consolidation is especially helpful if you can get a lower interest rate on the consolidated payment compared to your separated payments. This, however, can be difficult to achieve without the help of someone who knows the ins and outs of debt consolidation. An Auburn bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark can be a tremendous help when looking for the right debt consolidation loan.

The Payday Loan Cycle

The payday loan cycle can be a vicious cycle of debt that traps individuals in a constant pattern of attempting to pay off one loan or one debt by starting another.

With the high interest rates and low barriers to entry that payday loans have relative to other types of loans, they can be very easy for individuals in vulnerable financial situations to obtain. 

Navigating your way out of a payday loan cycle can be very difficult for most people, having an Auburn bankruptcy attorney on your side while trying to figure out how to get out of the payday loan cycle can be a huge asset.

For more information from David S. Clark on escaping the payday loan debt cycle, click here.

Repossessions

Usually when individuals sign a loan agreement, they waive certain rights in the event that the loan goes unpaid for the time period specified. When this happens, a creditor can take several steps to ensure that they receive payment on the loan.

One of the most notorious actions that a creditor may take is a repossession of the property against which the loan was taken.

A repossession can be a jarring experience and one that leaves a debtor confused, worried, and with a feeling of helplessness.

This, though, need not be the case. An experienced Auburn bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark can help a debtor regain possession of the property that was taken. This can be by the processes of reinstatement or redemption.

If you are an Auburn resident looking for an Auburn bankruptcy attorney that can help you work through a variety of financial options to help you overcome your debt crisis, contact David S. Clark.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

The Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Opelika & Auburn Residents

By | Bankruptcy Law, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy | No Comments

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a particularly helpful option in bankruptcy code for Auburn and Opelika residents who have a current monthly income that falls below the state median monthly income.

Many Opelika & Auburn residents are very hesitant to look into declaring bankruptcy to find relief from their numerous debts that they are unable to repay because declaring bankruptcy is often looked down on by the public.

Bankruptcy, however, is a perfectly legitimate form of debt restructuring that has helped countless Americans escape financial ruin since its adoption into United States law.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a particularly helpful option in bankruptcy code for Auburn and Opelika residents who have a current monthly income that falls below the state median monthly income.

Here are some of the benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Opelika and Auburn, AL:

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Helps Those With Little Financial Resources

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is specifically designed to assist those on the lower end of the financial system gain relief from their debts.

This is accomplished by those who wish to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy being subject to the means test mentioned earlier.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Doesn’t Make You Face Creditors Alone

In every Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, the court assigns an impartial case trustee to help mediate between you and your debtors. These trustees are assigned as impartial case managers for the state.

They aren’t working to make money for the creditors and they also aren’t working to magically make your debts appear. They are seeking the best route forward for both parties.

Though this case trustee is a helpful and necessary player in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases, he or she is not a bankruptcy attorney.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorneys have a fiduciary duty, a duty to put your interests above any others. So, even with the benefit of having impartial case trustees in Chapter 7 bankruptcies, an Opelika/Auburn bankruptcy attorney is an important asset to your team because he or she will advocate explicitly for you.

The Chapter 7 Discharge

A discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases is one of the greatest protections that is offered to debtors against creditors in the bankruptcy process.

When a person files for bankruptcy, he or she gives immense power to the courts, the court appointed trustee, and their creditors. This is a frightening step for many debtors, and rightfully so. With a Chapter 7 discharge, however, many fears that a debtor might have of losing all of his or her civil rights because of debts owed are laid to rest because it frees debtors from the personal liability for many of their debts and it prevents creditors from taking collection action against them.

Given the nature of Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a means by which debts can be paid, there are many exceptions present in a Chapter 7 discharge clause. This is one of the many areas that hiring a qualified Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney can be an asset to you.

A good Auburn/Opelika Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney knows the ins and outs of these discharges and can guide you through this process.

David S. Clark, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Because of the complexity of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, its benefits are often out of reach for most Opelika or Auburn residents because they don’t hold a law degree.

This is why hiring a reputable Auburn/Opelika Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark can be an important factor in successfully filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

If you are looking to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Auburn or Opelika, AL contact us today for a free case consultation and get your life back on the path toward financial freedom!

For more information about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy visit the United States Courts’ “Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy Basics.”

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Avoiding Foreclosure in Auburn or Opelika, AL

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, Foreclosure | No Comments

When you fail to pay massive mortgage payments, your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare.

The U.S. housing market has proven resilient during the pandemic, and Alabama has been no exception. While Auburn and Opelika home sales positively increased during the pandemic, mortgage rates are continuing to rise. 

These higher rates transform the once affordable asking price of a house, into a dangerous growing expense for homeowners. 

Because higher interest rates make mortgages less affordable on a monthly basis, it can quickly cause you to fail to pay your mortgage at all. 

Banks quickly act on payment failures, leading to a difficult process known as foreclosure. This is the legal process where your mortgage company obtains ownership of your home. 

This process can produce long-lasting and stressful consequences, but it can be avoided. 

When foreclosure is imminent, Auburn or Opelika Alabama residents may need a foreclosure defense attorney to avoid such a crisis. 

Why Hire an Opelika Foreclosure Defense Attorney? 

Knowing the options available to you when attempting to fight a foreclosure and navigating the technicalities of them can be daunting for anyone. 

Hiring a foreclosure defense attorney can be the difference between sinking and swimming for you when navigating these dangerous waters.

From stacks of paperwork to multiple intimidating meetings, if you are caught in the vast legal landscape of foreclosure or if you are only beginning the process, a foreclosure defense attorney can change the result of foreclosure in some key ways: 

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Loss Mitigation 

Loss mitigation is the process of protecting homeowners from foreclosure. It refers to several strategies that could be employed to keep homeowners current on their mortgage payments while remaining in their homes. 

Before beginning the process of receiving loss mitigation, homeowners will be required to submit a loss mitigation application. 

This application includes personal information, property information, and mortgage terms. It may also require pay stubs, tax returns, and financial statements. 

Without accurate information in each of these categories, foreclosure could still occur. 

Without an attorney you would likely have no idea how to navigate loss mitigation in order to avoid foreclosure on your home. 

There are many strategies that can mitigate loss. Some of the most common are repayment plans and forbearance plans.

Repayment Plans

If you missed payments due to sickness or job loss, repayment plans can be negotiated to add payments to make up for the payments missed. 

Forbearance Plans

Forbearance plans allow the homeowner to make reduced payments for a specific period of time. These allow you to get out of a financial hardship and can put you in a position to negotiate new repayment plans.

Modification of Your Loan

Loan modification is a change in the original terms of your mortgage loan. In order for someone to apply for this option, homeowners must provide financial information, mortgage terms, and the specifics of the financial hardship. 

The accurate presentation of these requirements is crucial. 

Foreclosure defense attorneys can ensure that all of your loan information is reported correctly, so that you have the best chance of modifying your loan. 

There are various ways that your loan can be modified. Some of the most common modifications are:

Payment Amount

This is the most common method of loan modification. 

Banks modify a homeowner’s existing mortgage payment to a more affordable amount (though you will usually have to pay more in the long run). This can lessen financial stress and place you back in good standing with the bank. 

Length of the Loan

Length of a loan is another consideration in the loan modification process. Rather than decreasing the overall payment, banks can lengthen the repayment period in relation to a homeowner’s financial situation. 

Interest Rate

With all mortgages, homeowners pay back a portion of the amount borrowed plus interest every month. In this method of loan modification, these interest rates can be altered to lower percentages, creating a more affordable total payment. 

David S. Clark–An Auburn/Opelika Foreclosure Defense Attorney

Facing the threat of foreclosure is a scary and difficult process to navigate, but you don’t have to do it alone!

David S. Clark is a dedicated Auburn/Opelika foreclosure defense attorney that will do everything in his power to help you avoid foreclosure. 

Contact David S. Clark, Attorney At Law and get your free consultation today!

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Bankruptcy Law in Alabama

By | Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments

Seeking bankruptcy in Auburn or Opelika will look a bit different after the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure your bankruptcy attorney knows about these changes and is prepared to help you understand them.

There seems to be no area of society that the COVID-19 virus has not affected. 

One of the most significant effects and hotly contested issues is the role that this pandemic has played in the economic downturn that our entire country has experienced.

One thing that is certain, though, is that COVID-19 has made many people in Alabama suffer financially.

As an avenue for financial relief during personal economic crises, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy have, unsurprisingly, had some rules changed

Residents of Auburn and Opelika who are seeking to file bankruptcy should be aware of these changes so that they can take advantage of their benefits to debtors seeking relief.

Under the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 here are some of those changes:

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Chapter 13 Payment Extension

If debtors can prove to their local bankruptcy court that they have endured a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then they may qualify for an extension to the payment plan for seven years.

Waived Original Signature Requirement

Because the entire country has been in lockdown at some point during the pandemic, some bankruptcy courts have decided to waive the requirement that a bankruptcy attorney must get a “wet signature” from his or her client on the bankruptcy petition.

This is simply the original signature from the debtor on the petition to file bankruptcy.

Debtors and their bankruptcy attorneys can review the necessary documents virtually rather than meeting in person.

This allows for the bankruptcy process to move forward without the physical contact that was previously required.

Section 341 Meeting of Creditors

Regardless of whether or not a debtor files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, he or she will have to attend a “meeting of creditors.”

This is where the debtor faces all of his or her creditors alongside the court-assigned trustee and discusses every relevant detail of what is owed so that everyone can have a unified, realistic expectation of what needs to be paid back.

Stimulus Money Cannot Be Counted as Income

When filing for bankruptcy, debtors have to list their income to submit to the courts.

With the stimulus checks that were given to many Americans, some people’s income drastically increased. If a debtor had to claim this as income, this could misrepresent the true financial situation of him or her.

In order to prevent this misrepresentation, the debtor is able to leave any money received from a stimulus check related to the coronavirus pandemic out of consideration when adding up income.

This list is a good start in the search for information on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected bankruptcy, but it is by no means exhaustive.

If you are an Auburn or Opelika resident who is considering filing for bankruptcy, you should consult an Auburn/Opelika bankruptcy lawyer who can explain in depth how bankruptcy law has been affected by recent COVID-19 legislation.

David S. Clark is a bankruptcy attorney who has represented numerous residents of Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County. Contact David S. Clark today for a free evaluation on your bankruptcy case!

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy–Which Is Right for You?

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments

Bankruptcy and debt consolidation are tools for different financial situations. See which is right for you.

Financial difficulties are a fact of life for many people in Auburn and Opelika, AL.

If anything has brought this to light, the COVID-19 pandemic has. 

In 2020 the United States lost a total of 9.37 million jobs–that’s nearly 4.5 million more jobs than we lost during the 2009 financial crisis.

When financial markets crash, businesses shut their doors, and jobs are not to be found, bills still have to be paid. 

Through massive government stimulus many Auburn and Opelika residents were able to receive checks that have helped to keep the lights on in the house and food on the table for the kids, but this governmental help will not last forever.

Eventually Americans will have to pay their bills and settle their debts with lenders on their own dime.

This will inevitably put many Alabamians in financial trouble once again. They may come to the conclusion that some kind of debt rearrangement is necessary for their survival, but which is right?

Today, we will discuss the benefits of debt consolidation and bankruptcy for individuals and which might be right for you given your situation.

First we’ll describe the basics of both bankruptcy and debt consolidation in Alabama. Then, we’ll give a bit of guidance as to how each might help you depending on your circumstances.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process by which debtors can legitimately find relief from their debts.

Though it is often characterized as a life-ending step this is not true.

American greats like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, and Willie Nelson all declared bankruptcy at one point in their lives and it didn’t stop them.

Essentially bankruptcy works by an individual going to the courts willing to do what it takes to get out from under their debts. This is a tedious and time consuming process that requires giving judges, counselors, and creditors very extensive financial records like income, assets, debt amounts, and more.

Then the courts and counselors (your bankruptcy attorney) create a plan to pay off as much of the debt as possible given the individual’s assets.

Individuals seeking relief through bankruptcy will also receive much court-mandated guidance on how to avoid another incident like bankruptcy in the future.

Once the payment plans and debts are settled through the bankruptcy process the individual who filed is once again financially independent.

Depending on your income level and amount of secured and unsecured debts, you may choose to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Learn more about filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Auburn and Opelika, AL.

Learn more about filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Auburn and Opelika, AL.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation works by rolling your existing debts into a lump sum payment.

This payment is a smaller total amount than the sum of your individual debts because it is a loan with a smaller interest rate.

Debt consolidation is helpful for individuals because it gives them a more manageable payment amount each month.

The downside of debt consolidation, however, is that those who choose to consolidate their debt will have to make these smaller payments for a longer period of time. In the end, he or she will pay more than he or she would have paid if he or she had been able to make the original payments.

Which Is Right for You? It Depends on Your Situation

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation may be the better option if there still seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. If you believe that you can eventually pay off your debts, then you may want to choose debt consolidation.

Debt consolidation can give debtors a bit of “breathing room” in order to manage their monthly payments a bit better. 

However, if you are not willing to practice more conservative spending habits, then debt consolidation will just put the problem off until a later date and make you pay more than you would have with the original loans.

Bankruptcy

If you have gotten so deep into debt that you see no possible way out, then bankruptcy may be the best option for you.

Are you seeking debt consolidation or bankruptcy in Opelika or Auburn, AL? Contact David S. Clark, Attorney at Law. David has years of experience helping Auburn and Opelika residents escape financial stress through bankruptcy and debt consolidation.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Photo by Bob Fitch

Fred Gray–An Alabama Attorney for Integration

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During black History Month, America reflects on the particularly important role that African-Americans have played in our history.

Alabama residents have a rich opportunity to think about the work that our fellow Alabamians have played in fighting legal segregation in our state and working toward the full civil rights of all in our state regardless of race.

Civil Rights in Alabama–A Legal Battle

Many of the most influential players in the Civil Rights Movement were attorneys. Dr. Clarence B. Jones who provided legal counsel to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall who served as the first African-American Justice from 1967 to 1991, Barbara Jordan was a Texas attorney who was the first woman to be elected to the Texas Legislature are some names that often come to mind when thinking of influential black attorneys.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark
Photo by AP Photo

Fred Gray–Alabama’s Civil Rights Attorney

Fred Gray is an Alabama-born attorney that played a massive role in ending legal segregation in our state.

When Gray opened up his Montgomery law office at the age of 23 in 1954, he was one of very few African-American Attorneys in Alabama. 

By representing Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin when they were charged with disorderly conduct for refusing to give up their bus seats to white passengers in Montgomery, Alabama, Mr. Gray was thrust into the spotlight of history.

Although Mrs. Parks was eventually convicted of disorderly conduct and violation of a Montgomery ordinance, this case started the pivotal Montgomery Bus Boycott.

During this boycott, Gray served as a legal advisor for the Montgomery Improvement Association.

In 1956 he was the lead counsel in the Supreme Court case Browder v. Gale. This case upheld the lower court’s ruling that segregation on city buses is unconstitutional and illegal.

Gray also provided legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) while it fought to overcome an effective outlawing done by the then Alabama State Attorney General, John Patterson. After 8 years of legal struggle, the NAACP was once again allowed to operate in the state.

Mr. Gray served on Dr. Martin Luther King’s defense team when the reverend was accused of tax evasion in the State of Alabama in 1960. Gray and his team successfully argued King’s case before an all-white jury and achieved acquittal for Dr. King.

The list of Mr. Fred Gray’s legal contributions to racial equality in America are too numerous to mention in a brief post. 

However, one of the most notable achievements that Mr. Gray accomplished in his career as an Alabama attorney was his work ending segregation in Alabama schools.

In 1963, Gray represented Vivian Malone and James Hood in their efforts to attend the University of Alabama which sparked Gov. George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door.

He was also the plaintiff’s attorney in the case Franklyn v. Auburn  which led to the integration of Auburn University.

Gray did not stop his legal work here, eventually through lawsuits that he filed, all public colleges and universities in Alabama and more than 100 public schools were integrated.

Mr. Gray has not stopped the fight for the equal rights of all Americans. In the years since the Civil Rights Movement, he has used his position as a prominent African-American lawyer as a cause for good. 

In 1970 Gray, along with Thomas Reed, became the first African Americans to be elected to the Alabama state legislature, in 1985 he served as president of the National Bar Association, in 2002 he became the first African-American president of the Alabama Bar Association, and in 2017 he was awarded a Lifetime Service Award from HOPE International (this is a just a snapshot of his lifetime awards and accomplishments).

As an African-American lawyer, Fred Gray has served the people of Alabama with passion and commitment. We are glad to honor him as a hero of Alabama during this Black History Month.

David S. Clark is an Auburn and Opelika, AL attorney who works to help his clients, no matter their creed or color, overcome financial difficulty through bankruptcy. Contact David S. Clark today for a free consultation!

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Why Choose a Local Bankruptcy Attorney

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, Bankruptcy Law | No Comments

One way to lower the risk of hiring an attorney who will work for him or herself rather than to help you overcome your financial hardship is to hire a local bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark.

During financial crisis threats of repossession and collection calls from creditors often seem to come daily. Foreclosure of your home because of the inability to pay back your loan and falling prey to the payday loan cycle can feel like rock bottom for many.

The scary decision to file for bankruptcy or restructure your debt through debt consolidation may be the best way forward for those who find themselves in such economic turmoil.

Hiring an attorney to help you navigate these muddy waters can be a lifesaver, but hiring the wrong attorney can be more harmful than helpful.

One way to lower the risk of hiring an attorney who will work for him or herself rather than to help you overcome your financial hardship is to hire a local bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark. Here are a few reasons why:

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

It’s Easier to Know Local Bankruptcy Attorneys

Lawyers that have central offices across the nation or throughout the state are often located in distant urban centers.

This can make it difficult for them to empathize fully with their clients.

A local attorney, however, is focused on a much more focused area. They live in the same area that you do. Their children go to school with yours. You go to church with them. You see them at the park or at a restaurant downtown.

They are accessible and approachable.

This adds a level of transparency to an attorney because the people that he or she would represent are able to know him or her on a far deeper level than just how many millions of dollars have been won in settlements or how many successful bankruptcy declarations he or she has had.

Local Bankruptcy Attorneys Are Invested in Their Communities

This investment is both financial and social.

When you pay your local lawyer for the services they provide, that money is going to be used to pay bills including groceries for their family, a house payment on a loan from the local bank, tuition for their kids at the local community college or university, and charitable giving to local non-profit organizations.

This is an investment in the improvement of your community.

If you were to hire a lawyer who is part of a law firm that is centrally located in a distant city, then the money that you pay for legal representation may go to several different places. The community that you live in, however, will not likely be where this money ends up.

Local Bankruptcy Attorneys Know the Local Courts and Financial Services

The journey to financial freedom through bankruptcy is one that involves several meetings with financial counselors, standing before judges, and negotiating with creditors. 

Much of this involvement with bankruptcy happens at the local level.

A local bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you navigate these institutions better than almost anyone because they interact regularly with the same individuals in these organizations.

This interaction builds a natural bond of trust between your local lawyer and these institutions. As one who is represented by a local lawyer, that trust may then extend to you and give you more favorable conditions from which to work for financial freedom.

If you are a resident of Auburn, Opelika, or East Alabama and are looking to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, contact David S. Clark, a local bankruptcy attorney, today!

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

By | Bankruptcy Law, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments

If you feel lost when researching Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, this quick guide is for you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is defined by bankruptcy that relieves a debtor from his or her debts through the liquidation (the exchange of valuable assets like a home, car, television, etc. for cash) of assets and subsequent distribution of these assets to creditors.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

Who Can File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Individuals, partnerships, corporations, or other business entities can qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, not every individual, partnership, and corporation can file for bankruptcy.

In this post, we will focus only on individuals and how Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can affect them. 

There are a few requirements and restrictions on what an individual must do in order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

  • First, someone seeking relief through Chapter VII Bankruptcy must be subject to a means test.
  • Secondly, a debtor must appear before the court and comply with court orders at least 180 days before the debtor wishes to file. Failure to do so will result in the case being dismissed without relief to the debtor.
  • A person who wishes to seek relief under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy must also receive professional credit counseling from a credit counselor that is approved by the court. This must happen at least 180 days before the debtor files. Failure to do this will result in the debtor’s case being thrown out and he or she will receive no relief.

How To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

An individual begins the process of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by submitting a petition to the local bankruptcy court (click here to view an official bankruptcy court map). In addition to this, the person seeking relief must fill out several forms disclosing the entirety of their financial situation and history. These form include:

  • Schedules of assets and liabilities.
  • Schedule of current income and expenditures.
  • Statement of financial affairs.
  • Schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

The debtor will then have to pay several court and service fees for filing. This is mandatory for everyone seeking debt relief under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy unless the individual’s income is less than 150% below the poverty level as defined by Bankruptcy Code.

If the debtor is married, he or she will have to fill out this information for his or her spouse regardless of whether or not they are filing jointly.

21 – 40 days from the date of petition, the case trustee (an impartial individual who is assigned by the state or federal government to administer the case and liquidate the debtor’s nonexempt assets) will meet with the creditors of the debtor. Here the trustee will subject the debtor to an oath and then the creditors will be able to ask any questions regarding the individual’s financial matters and property.

Helpful Chapter 7 Tips

It is very important that the debtor cooperates fully throughout the bankruptcy process with the bankruptcy court and the trustee assigned to the debtor’s case. This is especially true when the trustee calls the meeting of creditors.

Though the questions that will be asked will be difficult, complicated, and can sometimes be embarrassing, the debtor must submit fully to his or her oath of honesty. This will be to the ultimate benefit of the debtor and will hopefully end in his or her financial relief.

Additionally, If the debtor then recognizes that a different chapter of bankruptcy is more applicable and beneficial to the situation, he or she may be able to convert the case to the appropriate chapter so long as it has not already been converted from another chapter.

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be a scary process added on top of an already tumultuous time. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer who is competent and compassionate can help relieve your stress during the filing process and can help you get the financial relief that you need. Contact David S. Clark today and get started on the road toward financial freedom!

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.