Many of our eventual clients face foreclosure, a car repossession, loss of a business and much stress and financial hardship. In addition to preparing individual and small business clients to file for bankruptcy in Colorado, the Law Office of David M. Serafin will help you defend collection lawsuits and settle debts – both inside and outside of a bankruptcy matter. If you owe money for a credit card debt, medical bill or personal loan, your credit score will be hurt and a creditor will likely sue you to collect this debt. And, even if a creditor “charges off” a debt for financial accounting purposes, you can still be sued for this debt. (Unsecured creditors typically have 6 years in Colorado to sue you and obtain a judgment.) Likewise, we also fight against foreclosure and repossessions. But, once your debts are settled or eliminated in debt settlement and/or bankruptcy, creditors can no longer harass you thus stopping phone calls, garnishments, liens or other collection activity.
Many with consumer debt hire a debt settlement company to settle a debt instead of a lawyer. This is usually a bad idea as a debt settlement and bankruptcy lawyer will invariably have a better working knowledge of the civil collection and bankruptcy laws so as to better defend against aggressive collection tactics. An experienced debt settlement and bankruptcy lawyer will be able to negotiate more effectively. Plus, our legal demands will have more “bite” if you can obtain and enforce a judgment against a creditor in court. Additionally, a non-lawyer is not authorized to appear in court or sign legal pleadings settling a debt collection matter. Many debt settlement companies operate on a “fly-by-night” basis and frequently go out of business quickly.
As our practice is strongly focused towards consumer protection and enforcing the rights enumerated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), we will sue any overreaching creditors who violate the FDCPA.
People who are not able to fully pay their debts may opt for debt settlement if a fair resolution whereby they pay significantly less than what they owe - can be reached with creditors. It’s often possible to persuade a creditor to lower a debt by anywhere from 25% to 80%, and accept reduced monthly payments or a lump sum payment, if it is convinced that no recovery would occur if the debtor is pushed into bankruptcy. The creditor also benefits by not having to engage in expensive litigation in court. Successful completion of a debt settlement agreement should be reported to all major credit reporting agencies and stated on the debtor’s credit report.
Debt settlement may be a good option for those not wanting to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 allows for a complete elimination of most unsecured debts but eligibility is limited to those with modest household income or who pass the Means Test. The household median income limits in Colorado as of September 2011 for chapter 7 bankruptcy are listed as follows:
- $48,598 – 1 member household
- $64,679 – 2 member household
- $70,861 – 3 member household
- $83,976 – 4 member household
- For households larger than 4 members, add $7,500 for each person.
The Law Office of David M. Serafin also negotiates settlement of debt within an ongoing bankruptcy for those wanting a fresh start. We frequently negotiate with chapter 7 or 13 trustees, who represent the best interests of the unsecured creditors, whether given property is exempt from seizure by creditors or Means Test issues concerning how much disposable income creditors are to receive in order to process heavier caseloads more expeditiously. In chapter 13 bankruptcy matters, we negotiate with car and mortgage lenders regarding the duration and amount of future payments made on a car or mortgage with a structured re-payment plan.
Holding a Master’s Degree in Taxation, David M. Serafin also is experienced in negotiating down tax debt owed to the IRS and State of Colorado, and prevent accrual of interest and penalties.
For more information as to defending your consumer rights against aggressive creditors and to obtain the most advantageous debt relief, please contact the Law Office of David M. Serafin.