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Tyler Texas Bankruptcy Law Blog

How can Texans protect their homes during bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a fresh start, one that may come at the price of leaving some properties and assets behind. But there are some things vital to a happy and healthy life that can be preserved.

  • What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is similar in most states in the sense that it turns over a person's assets to a trustee, who uses the proceeds to settle as many debts as possible. This process is often called liquidation. There are often exemptions from the process, such as primary residences and cars, which people need to keep their ability to earn income.

  • How is bankruptcy different in the Lone Star State?

Are you going into 2020 with too much credit card debt?

Owning a significant amount of credit card debt can be a financial burden for Texas consumers of all income levels. Holiday spending might be one of the main reasons why you could be entering in the New Year with this type of burden weighing you down. If you would like to take care of your debt problems in 2020, there are various options available to you.

The end of a year can result in a lot of spending. From buying presents to traveling to hosting parties, it's easy to simply charge these things and not give it a second thought. At the end of the season, however, you're left with balances that you cannot afford. With accumulating interest and perhaps only making minimum payments, you may have a serious financial concern to address.

Surge in auto sales has meant more consumer debt

According to a recent report, the market for new automobiles is showing some signs of peaking, but the market for new auto sales remains strong.

Recent numbers suggest that, for 2019, automakers in the United States will, for the fifth year in a row, collectively sell more than 17 million new vehicles. While the manufacturers are not expected to top last year's 17.3 million figure, it will be a record fifth year in a row in which carmakers sold more than 17 million cars in a year.

Don't let the shame of being in debt keep you from seeking relief

Most Americans are in debt. Some may only have what they consider good debt -- such as a mortgage -- but many have credit card and other financial obligations that make life tough. This is an issue that few people like to discuss with anyone because there is a sense of shame for letting one's monetary situation get out of control. Being in debt is nothing to be ashamed of, and feelings of shame should not prevent you from seeking the relief you need.

According to a recently published article, shame over debt is the reason people sink further into debt. They end up not seeking help or make rash decisions that are more damaging than they are helpful.

Retail Apocalypse poised to continue in 2020

Many people in Texas may have heard the phrase Retail Apocalypse bantered about in the mainstream media. The phrase refers to the fact that 2019 was a particularly dismal one for the retail industry. Many well-known stores went out of business, including Payless and Forever 21. While remaining in business, many other stores trimmed back operations considerably. The end result was over 9,000 retail stores closing across the country, more than any other year on record.

According to at least one report, chances are fairly good that more retail stores will run into major financial trouble or file for bankruptcy during the upcoming year. For one, many stores may already be in financial trouble but just have not disclosed the full extent of their distress to date.

There are signs that Texas bankruptcies may be on the rise

While Texas continues to show considerable economic strength, there is some suggestion that financial trouble may be affecting more Texas households now than this time last year.

Statistics analyzed by the American Bankruptcy Institute showed that year-to-date, just over 31,900 new petitions have been filed in the federal bankruptcy courts here in Texas, without about half being Chapter 7 bankruptcies and about half being filed under Chapter 13.

Using Chapter 13 for certain small businesses

As our blog has discussed on previous occasions, business owners in Texas have several options should they run in to financial trouble. Businesses of significant sizes may be able to take advantage of a Chapter 11 filing, which is primarily designed so that troubled businesses are able to re-organize their affairs.

In other cases, such as where a business has no viable financial future, the more common Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be best. As a caveat, though, a Chapter 7 is simply a means by which a business can close its doors in an orderly fashion.

A review of Texas exemptions from creditors' claims

Like other states, Texas law allows debtors to claim exemptions that allow them to protect their property from creditors' claims. While these are most commonly used in the bankruptcy process, debtors can legally claim them whenever facing the danger of a creditor seizing their property to satisfy an overdue debt.

As a word of caution, though, these exemptions only can hold off what the law calls an unsecured creditor, like a medical provider or a credit card company. In other words, a person usually cannot use exemptions to prevent the foreclosure of a mortgage or a repossession after the debtor defaults on an auto loan. Moreover, there are certain debts, like child support, to which a debtor may not apply exemptions.

Overview of the practice of lien stripping in Chapter 13

One of the benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that those who are filing it can realistically strip off liens that may be against their property.

Lien stripping only works when a person owns property with no equity in it. A person has a property with no equity, or negative equity, when the amount of secured debt, for example in the case of a mortgage or a car loan, is more than what the property is worth.

If facing foreclosure, how can a Chapter 13 bankruptcy help me?

While any sort of financial trouble can be scary for a Tyler resident, it is particularly hard on a family when they fall behind on their house payment. After all, becoming delinquent on a home loan usually means that the family will wind up in foreclosure and have the real possibility of losing their family home.

While a straight Chapter 7 bankruptcy may offer some relief, these sorts of bankruptcies generally are not the most effective at staving off a foreclosure. The reason is that, although the lender cannot pursue its borrower personally, it can still move forward with foreclosing on and selling the house out from under the family.

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