Debt Relief Law Offices of Tampa Bay

Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney 727-849-3328

The Passing Stigma of Filing for Bankruptcy

Posted on Dec 10, 2014

Host: Welcome once again. We are here. We are back. It is the Debt Relief program with Ziona Kopalovich.

Ziona: Well so good, to be here too.

Host: It’s good to be, do you congratulate the soon to be mother-in-law? Or is that? How do you do that?

Ziona: I don’t know. I have never been one.

Host: What? Wow.

Ziona: So how do you do that?

Host: Well I don’t know, that I generally tend to just forget they exist.

Ziona: Well I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.

Host: Well you’re supposed to be judgmental.

Ziona: Oh, no!

Host: And when it comes to the wedding you just have to look at and go, “hmmm.”

Ziona: No. I mean actually I did call her and I welcomed her to the family.

Host: She’s lovely.

Ziona: She is. This is a lovely person.

Host: Well, and you know it caught the attention of that kid of yours. Must be somebody pretty special.

Ziona: She is.

Host: Have they decided when they’re going to be having this?

Ziona: No, not and maybe they have but.

Host: They have shared that with you yet?

Ziona: They haven’t shared that with me yet.

Host: They haven’t check with you yet know?

Ziona: Nope. They’re independent.

Host: Well he seems to be very independent child.

Ziona: He is.

Host: Just like the very interesting history that he has. What you shared with me.

Ziona: He does. He’s awesome.

Host: Wow.

Ziona: He is. He is awesome.

Host: Of course he is. Now as your young son and his bride-to-be are getting ready for this. What advice you can give to that kid about making sure he doesn’t get himself his hugely debt.

Ziona: Well I have been talking to him since he was little, or we have been talking. So and it’s also in’s personality. He just is not into that. He will not get into debt that they cannot handle.

Host: Smart.

Ziona:  He did even get himself into a little bit of debt when he was in med school. He bought a flat screen TV at the time. When they were still expensive. He couldn’t resist the flat screen. But he figured it out. He realized what it was like to buy a TV on credit and have to make payments and interest rates and all that and it was a good lesson to him.

Host: There’s the argument and they do it to just find it amazing how college students historically the brokest people on the planet. They fall over themselves to you know credit card companies, specifically to hook ‘em and really gets them emotionally to that card.

Ziona: A lot of them they, you know from homes that are fairly comfortable. They get to college and they think that our life is like you are living in luxury.

Host: Mhmm, not so much.

Ziona: Not so much, right? So we used to have long talks but remember you know I was a single mother raising two children so they got the dose of reality early on.

Host: Good for them. Good for you!

Ziona: And again it’s not just that. You hope that life is going to be good to you and that you’re not going to get into financial trouble not of your own making. For example, a car accident, or loss of a job, or illness. So all of these are events that no matter how careful you are in your finances can wreak havoc, really bad, real major havoc to happen in your life. So that’s why we are here in a Debt Relief Law Offices of Tampa Bay to help you get out of this absolute disaster. That can befall you if for example you lose a job. how to pay your mortgage? How do I do make payments on my credit cards? How do you buy food? And when it gets to that point it gets a little depressing.

Host: Yeah that food thing. That kind of gets to you after a while! It’s a bit depressing but very important! You know there have been times where that don’t know how your you’re going to do. Are we guilty? Are we guilty to just you know, we tend to think that we can just get up get out of debt that quickly. Do we forget that it took us a long time to get into it? It is going to take a long time to get out.

Ziona: It takes longer than the decision. So you can make a decision that I’m getting out of debt. And you have to have the perseverance.

Host: Yes.

Ziona: And you have to the resources as well.

Host: True.

Ziona: So it’s just a decision, and it takes the right kind of finances to get out of debt. Short of that you really have to look and see where your life is going. And if you’re going backwards and you are getting in deeper and deeper. You might as well just cut your losses and move on. So that’s why you know the filing of bankruptcy is a good option for some people. At a certain point in their lives. So we filed a Chapter 7’s typically. A Chapter 7 is like liquidation. It does mean that we liquidate your assets. It means that if you had assets. They would be liquidated. But you had assets you wouldn’t be there. You would be in a Chapter 7. So very few assets get liquidated in a Chapter 7 and usually when you go into then you do it with an attorney and preferably a certified, a board certified attorney.

Host: Yeah I would hope so.

Ziona: You know, if you gonna have to give up some assets ahead of time. So hopefully you don’t have to but if you have to then you know what you gonna give up and you’re okay with it. And probably these are things that you are not miss anyhow. The other option is a Chapter 13 if you want to protect all your assets you just want to get rid of your debt. You want to keep your assets, then you can do a Chapter 13. So you pay back a little bit in order to protect your assets. And your life stays intact of course you have to have a job in order to file a Chapter 13, because there are payments involved in in upping your creditors.

Host: Right.

Ziona: These are reduced payments. Not as bad as when you are making full payments or would have made full payments on your credit cards when you could. So we can do it either under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Now you know I absolutely love Chapter 13 because it allows you to accomplish a whole lot of stuff that you cannot accomplish otherwise. So for example if you fall behind on your mortgage. You want to keep the house; Chapter 7 is not can help you with it. Because I know provisions in Chapter 7 to catch up on late payments of the mortgage so typically if you are late on your mortgage to file Chapter 7 that means that you give up your house.

Host: Right.

Ziona: While you don’t do that if you fell behind as he lost the job and I found a new job you can catch up on the payments but that mortgage company wants all those nine months that you fell behind they want it all in one lump sum plus attorney fee’s you’d always the right answer don’t you don’t have much you want that house you don’t want to give it up so you can file a chapter 13 and you good five whole years five years 60 months to make up those nine months that you fell behind. It’s great.

Host: Wow. That is good.

Ziona: Is it is wonderful! So you can do that. Now let’s say that you have two mortgages on your house.

Host: Okay.

Ziona: You are upside down on the first mortgage. So that’s already an easy situation, right? You are upside down on the first mortgage and then you also have a second mortgage. Which that sure is a real hardship.

Host: Yes.

Ziona: We can get rid of that second mortgage for you. The condition is that you have to be upside down on the first mortgage. Yes, it is wonderful.

Host: I really think that is probably the biggest secret to that situation. Now I think what a relief to make that go away. Holy cow!

Ziona: And we can do that and this is something that we can take care of not doing 13. Actually in Chapter 7 we can get rid of the second mortgage if you’re upside down on the first.

Host: The first, yes.

Ziona. Yes. So the condition is good for both 7 and 13.

Host: And things are bouncing back. A lot of people in that situation are still in that every right.

Ziona: Right, and we are also doing the mortgage modifications. Usually they are in the Chapter 13.

Host: Let me ask you this question, because you see a ton of you know the debt relief counselors. You know?

Ziona: Okay.

Host: Then you go to and you know they’ll help you with whatever, but you know what is? Is there a plus and minus to take that route? Or is it a lot better to just to you know just do yourself a favor and go straight into the bankruptcy situation.

Ziona: Well I cannot recommend people that I don’t know. Okay?

Host: Right.

Ziona: You know I don’t even know what a debt relief counselor is, but I know that there are in outfits somewhere over the ocean. And you know you send them money and maybe they send it to your creditors, and maybe they don’t.

Host: Right.

Ziona: Or you send payments for several months and then you realize that actually you are getting lawsuits served on you know? This has been my experience with agencies that are not local. That you don’t know who you’re talking to.

Host: Right.

Ziona: Things don’t get done. And then we get to collect the pieces for these people. They come to us and then we end up filing for them. Bankruptcy.

Host: It’s kind of, you know? Save yourself the trouble, and save yourself a lot of money.

Ziona: Right.

Host: I hate to say like it’s a foregone conclusion, but in certain cases it is. It’s going to happen.

Ziona: These are the cases of that I see.

Host: Yeah.

Ziona: So that, now that’s only thing that I can say.

Host: Right, right, right, right, right.

Ziona: You know, from personal experience. Then you know, I was thinking the other day that actually I went to a seminar that I dealt with divorce law. Family law. Because divorce is another one of those events that you would absolutely wreak havoc on your finances.

Host: Yes, indeed.

Ziona: You know so I wanted to get a little bit of a broader view as to the headaches of people. Some who come to see me. And it’s a very interesting dissection of these two areas. When, if when you do structure a divorce settlement agreement, you have to keep in mind several things. And obviously your attorney has to keep those things in mind. That is if you are obligated to pay child support or alimony. In a divorce situation. That obligation cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 or in a Chapter 13.

Host: Okay.

Ziona: So you cannot promise, or be told by the court, to pay child support or alimony and think,
Oh, just yeah come tomorrow I’ll be going to file Chapter 7 or even Chapter 13 and I don’t have to pay child support. Or I don’t have to pay alimony.”

Host: Yeah you do.

Ziona: You have to pay child support. You to pay alimony. Whether you get the discharge on bankruptcy or not this is just public policy and that stays there. So that I mean that is also good reassurance for the spouse and the child that hopefully they’ll get to eat.

Host: Well yeah, that is kind of a good thing. The eating thing.

Ziona: Right. But the situation without splitting the assets is a little bit different and that’s where you have to have good lawyering. When you do get a divorce, whether you’re the one who’s providing for the one that is being provided for. Okay? So property settlement in Chapter 7 you cannot discharge.

Host: Okay.

Ziona: So the court orders you to split, let’s say sell an asset, give have of it to your ex-spouse. Whatever it is you need to make certain payments, lump sum payments, or whatever, timely. You cannot discharge an obligation in Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 you can.

Host: Really?

Ziona: You can do that in a Chapter 13. So while Section 523 in the bankruptcy code speaks to both child support maintenance, spousal support, and property settlement. [They] cannot be discharged. Chapter 13. Child support or spousal support cannot be discharged however property settlement can be.

Host: Really?

Ziona: So they can be you know it’s a double-edged sword.

Host: It really is. It’s just going in and knowing your options and all your alternatives.

Ziona: So you have to be very careful and keep, you know keeping, keep those things in mind when you go to speak to your attorney. Whether you’re been a be on the giving end or on the receiving end. You have to be careful to protect your rights either way and looking to the future for as much as you can as carefully as you can in order to make sure not to create or falling into that disaster and avoiding another disaster.

Host: Yeah, it’s trying to avoid a disaster I think probably one of the things that you could probably make happen is if you can actually bottle discipline after the bankruptcy. Because life is like you said there is a there’s a lot of people I would say probably majority. That find themselves in the situation because of a car accident, or a losing a job, or something along those lines or divorce. But there also these people that are just habitually putting themselves in debt. And you would think that after going through that what’s it can be a very difficult situation. That you know you would discipline yourself to not put yourself in that place again.

Ziona: Well and it is as not as easy as that. So yeah some people are prone to not doing the math very properly.

Host: Yes, yes they are.

Ziona: You are too tempted; you know especially now. You have those wonderful merchandise displays that are very tempting.

Host: Oh yeah, right.

Ziona: All of the music is right and the smells are right and it’s so tempting to buy.

Host: It is such a science that goes into that.

Ziona: Oh, absolutely.

Host: They are there to try to bring in, and to get you to spend, spend, spend, spend, spend.

Ziona: Right, and they send all those coupons to get you in. I’m staying home, but oh my God that I have this coupon for 40% off! How can I not go, right? Tough.

Host: Even on online. Because I know that there are some companies if you go to their website and you shop for a while and you look at things and then you just leave it alone and just walk away they will send you an email. And say hey you know what we saw that you are looking at this it’s on sale regular 20% off. Because they come looking for you now!

Ziona: Absolutely, so I am not a big techie you know but.

Host: I’m shocked about that by the way.

Ziona: I am not. Well I do know that they spy and where you go they know where you go there so we look at and they send you all sorts of advertisement. So I happen to several months ago I happened to look at some espresso machines. Just you know browsing. Not really serious about buying espresso machines. I have wanted one at home but I’m not in the market to buy one. I was just looking. Well I mean, it’s been several months, where ever I go online now there is the espresso machine! I mean it’s there. In a sale! It is because they know what you do where you go you.

Host: They know you better than you know!

Ziona: They know better than you. They keep track of it.

Host: They do. And they’re very good at it and they’re going to just make it as appealing as possible but you just have to have that discipline. You have to just get that discipline. To keep on driving and just keep on walking. It’s tough, very tough.

Host: I wanted to before we go, because we have a few minutes left but we always seem to be rushing the phone number and how to get ahold of you. So we have time and really need to explore that.

Ziona: So let’s explore that.

Host: Shall we? Okay!

Ziona: Okay. So my office is in New Port Richey.

Host: Yes it is.

Ziona: The phone number there is 727-849-3328. And we are located at 5422 Trouble Creek Road.

Host: And everyone knows of that part of town.

Ziona: Everybody knows where Trouble Creek is. If you are going down US 19 you’re going to run into it. And then have also a number for the Spring Hill area, the Brookesville area. So the number there is 352-678-2265 and we are located at 4245 Rachel Blvd. in Spring Hill, Florida. We are actually in Spring Hill located in the offices of Carlson Meister, who are just a wonderful law firm that gives all sorts of services to the community and provides personal-injury service if you are in an accident disability, even family law that the end is this wonderful people the reader and good lawyers. So we’re located near their offices in Spring Hill.

Host: So yeah, they can just get ahold of you and whatever questions, and I would imagine that we’ve talked about this before really after that the first of the year is when you anticipate people really get into that mindset. Because you know they paying for what they purchased this month and then you’re also starting to kind of look ahead at your tax situation and finances are always on people’s minds at the beginning of the year. So do yourself a favor and call today.

Ziona: Well I think today people are still going on go and spend more money.

Host: Oh, yes they are.

Ziona: They are going to spend more money and come in at January when they get bill. It’s going to be that way. But we’re there to help you. To get you out of the hot water that you got yourself into. It’s just as simple as that.

Host: Well I mean it’s sometimes it’s just circumstance. I think that it is gone are the days when the social stigma attached to it, but nothing the way it was many years ago was many more people found themselves in situations when the economy tanked. Then in a ways it was beyond their control.

Ziona: That, and more is coming. Because not all the foreclosures are finished to a lot of people. Who are still living in homes where some people haven’t paid their mortgage for four or five years.

Host: Oh, yeah!

Ziona: And the end of foreclosures isn’t finished yet. Now so that those that wave of foreclosure is yet to come.

Host: And you have people that I was stunned when I found this out but it happened with the house down the street from us people moved in they had absolutely no intention whatsoever they moved into a house that was being foreclosed on and they knew what that was tied up. And so they paid their deposit to get in and they did not spend one more dime! They were there for years afterward!

Ziona: While I hope they saved that money so let me tell you I see people who are in that situation who don’t save the money. I have no idea what why or what are the circumstances that led to that but I want you to know that I don’t know if you know that our first appointment is free?

Host: Oh! We did not mention that! We do need to mention that. Because in that hour, and you’ve mentioned this before and it’s in it so true you people come in and they got the cloud over their head make up the fear in their eyes and they look ashy and gray. But I mean, when you spend an hour with them they come out okay. And you can help them figure it out.

Ziona: So yeah, there is this deep sigh of relief that now we know we’re gonna put food on table, how would you make that phone stop ringing.

Host: Okay that is important to understand that once you have, you know it listed that your services. It, that stuff has to stop immediately.

Ziona: Immediately and then they call us accreditors you know are given my number this way they can call my office and get the information that they need to get in order to be able to their case in order in, stop them harassing my clients. T

Host: And it is a fairly quick process. And I’m sure that if you have the conversation with them you can give them whatever paperwork they might need but there’s no pressure that you have to do this if you are coming in and you’re gonna do it.

Ziona: Of course not, what I like to do is when you give me your financial situation and I understand what is hampering you from having a good financial life. It is that you an option, I give you several options in fact. What you can do in order to move forward in life. So sometimes it’s a Chapter 7, sometimes the Chapter 13, sometimes just negotiating your debt away. At times you want to keep the house sometimes you want to walkway from it. Sometimes the simple act of walking away let’s say from one property and keeping the other is what’s gonna put your life back together again. So it just having another set of eyes, another head thinking.

Host: And educated eyes of someone who you know who’s been there, done it, seen it. And yeah okay this is what these options and if you want to? Fine. If not? That’s fine.

Ziona: As we said the first appointment is absolutely for free and I’ll hopefully that puts you on the right road to recovery.

Host: And there you have it and in 22seconds so let’s get that Springhill phone number again up here Springhill.

Ziona: You want the phone number for up here in Spring Hill?

Host: Uh-huh.

Ziona: You want to give me a minute to find it. Am I supposed to remember it? Oh, and twenty seconds. Okay. So it’s 352-678-2265. And in New Port Richey 727-849-3328. And I would like to wish all of my listeners a Merry Christmas.