Options to Filing Bankruptcy in Maryland
For some people bankruptcy is overkill. It’s like swatting a fly with a Buick, as the old saying goes. Yes, it may get the job done, but less drastic measures may have been available to get the same result. Too many Bankruptcy Law Firms try to shoe-horn every debtor that walks through their door into one of their two solutions, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. That’s just plain wrong.
Bankruptcy is a great tool and should not be ignored. When appropriate, it should be utilized to the fullest. When appropriate.
So, what are the other options?
For some people, proper budgeting and crafting a strategy to pay down debt without incurring new debt is the key to resolving mounting debts. At the Grafton Firm, we can sit down with you and thoroughly review your financial situation for a low fixed fee and help you build the strategy you need to get out of debt soonest.
Strategic Default / Debt Settlement
For others, strategic default and negotiating compromises with creditors is the way to go. When you can no longer even afford the minimum payments, but could survive and even save money if we temporarily stopped certain payments, you may be a candidate to attempt to compromise your debts with your creditors. This method is sometimes referred to as “debt settlement.” And while the practice is effective, is far from easy and often results in enormous damage to a person’s credit report. , and the threat of lawsuits and can be more expensive as well, when you factor in costs and fees. There is an industry that has cropped up over the last 10 years focusing on debt settlement. It is a segment filled with scam artists and well-intentioned incompetents. We can certainly help you settle your debts if that will benefit you, but we will NOT collect money from you every month while making a blanket promise of wiping out your debt as part of a debt settlement “plan” – beware of any companies or firms who will do this. True, strategic debt settlement requires an analysis of your individual situation and a specific plan of action.
But, let’s say you don’t have many creditors, but you’ve already defaulted on those and now they’re threatening to sue or have already sued you. We may be able to help there as well. Is it cost effective to pay an attorney an hourly rate to show up in court and defend a lawsuit over a $1500 debt? What about a $2500 debt? The answer is probably no. There are alternatives however.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Claims
You may have already been contacted by a debt collector or even a debt buyer. Debt buyers and Third Party Debt Collectors are governed by a set of laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is the law that requires that they tell you such statements as “this call is an attempt to collect a debt.” This law has many other requirements. But these laws and their requirements are only as good as your ability to enforce them. When a debt collector breaks the law, it is up to you to bring a lawsuit against them. Our attorneys have been involved in a number of these suits at no cost to our clients.