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Southaven MS Bankruptcy Law Blog

The basics of vehicle repossession

One of the worst things that can happen to a driver is falling behind on car payments. In Mississippi, cars are essential for getting to work, transporting family members and simply carrying on with day-to-day living.

Being without a car is what often befalls those who become too far behind on their vehicle payments. When one finances or leases a car, their creditor holds crucial rights. These rights conclude when the car is paid-off, but until then, drivers must understand and acknowledge these rights. Unlike other assets, such as a home, vehicles can often be seized by creditors without a lengthy legal process or warning in advance. This is known as repossession and usually happens after the driver has missed a number of payments.

Filing for bankruptcy offers crucial legal protections

Any resident of Southaven is likely to have countless questions about individual bankruptcy, but one of the biggest is usually: is filing for bankruptcy right for me? There are pros and cons to any financial decision, personal bankruptcy included; like any major move, filing for bankruptcy is an action that can prove extremely beneficial, if done for the right reasons.

Anyone even pondering bankruptcy is likely to have a need for debt relief. Bankruptcy generally isn't for those who have a few credit card bills that they could tackle if they saved more and spent less. Rather, bankruptcy is an option for those who need genuine protection from creditors whom they cannot repay. Issues like unemployment can lead to bankruptcy, as bills pile up and eventually grow to an unmanageable size. While people struggle to pay their regular bills, these debts will continue to grow and bankruptcy can become a viable and appropriate solution.

Get a truly fresh financial start via Chapter 13

For some people who are grappling with overwhelming debt in Mississippi, 13 may be their lucky number. This is because the type of personal bankruptcy known as Chapter 13 allows Southaven area residents to achieve a fresh financial start. An individual can re-structure their financial situation in a manner that will produce long-term gains.

One of the first ways in which debtors get a fresh start by way of Chapter 13 is that the filing can stop creditor harassment. Without filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, a person who owes unmanageable debt is likely to be hounded by creditors. While creditors must abide by specific rules and regulations, even when followed these rules don't eliminate the frequent phone calls and threats of garnishment.

Can an employer "punish" a worker for bankruptcy?

The relationship between financial challenges and a Mississippi resident's work situation is often very close. If a person loses their job, their urgency in finding debt relief is bound to increase tremendously. If someone is being hounded by creditors, that person may be concerned that creditors will start tracking them down on the job. If a person files for bankruptcy, they may wonder what effect, if any, their decision will have on their employment situation.

Fortunately, filing personal bankruptcy should not have an adverse effect on a person's job. The law expressly forbids employers - both private and government - from discriminating against workers solely because they are debtors. For instance, an employer can't fire someone simply because they have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, an employer is not allowed to terminate a worker due to that worker not paying a debt that was discharged under their bankruptcy terms.

Keeping your home and car under Chapter 7

Large amounts of personal debt aren't unusual nowadays, but the variation is often in each Mississippi resident's ability to pay back that debt. For residents of Southaven and surrounding areas, the answer to insurmountable debt is often Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under this type of personal bankruptcy a debtor is able to make a fresh financial start via asset liquidation. Many wonder, though, if they may be able to file for Chapter 7 while still holding onto their home or their car.

In Mississippi, it is possible to keep both your home and your vehicle while filing for Chapter 7. Under Chapter 7, some property is exempt - it gets to stay with the debtor instead of going towards the bankruptcy estate to be sold for paying back creditors. Exempt property is usually that which is necessary for day-to-day living; a person can't get back on their feet without some of the basics of life. In Mississippi, these basics include homes and cars.

Nationwide credit card delinquencies stabilize

The financial picture of most Mississippians has likely changed in the past several years. Some may be in the process of tackling student loans after graduation, while others may be coping with lower-than-expected incomes or the fallout from layoffs during the worst of the recession. However, there is encouraging news on the financial front: the nationwide level of credit card delinquencies is at its lowest point in seven years.

The most recent version of the Transunion Industry Insights Report indicates an impressive drop in the credit card delinquency rate. Over the last year, the rate dropped almost nine percent. In the last quarter alone, the rate fell at about 15 percent. During the first quarter of this year, the rate fell at less than two percent. However, over the past year, the average amount of credit card debt held by each borrower did not experience any significant change.

Mississippi residents do not need to face repossession alone

There are countless reasons why a person may fall behind on bill payment. Perhaps a Mississippi employer laid-off a worker unexpectedly, or maybe the rising cost of living is simply too high. The culprit could be lingering credit card debt from financial errors that occurred years ago, or possibly insufficient knowledge when it came to student loans or home ownership. Whatever the reason, enough missed payments can send a man or woman into the realm of repossession or garnishment.

There are few things more intimidating than asset forfeiture. When creditors seize an asset that an owner hasn't kept up the payments on, the debtor is put in an unfortunate situation. This type of scenario can also involve wage garnishment, when a creditor secures a judgment to have a portion of one's wages withhold to pay off a debt. Both garnishment and repossession are difficult to handle alone and frequently invite assertive legal representation.

When is Chapter 13 more appropriate than liquidation?

One of the first questions any Mississippi resident may have about personal bankruptcy is what is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Both types are used by individuals to obtain debt relief and a fresh financial start. However, there are key differences between the two that many debtors are unaware of until they are pondering bankruptcy for themselves.

In short, Chapter 7 allows a debtor to liquidate most of his or her debts. Chapter 13, on the other hand, involves a repayment plan that is approved by one's creditors. Since neither type of bankruptcy appears favorable on one's credit report, some may assume that Chapter 7 is always the more financially beneficial option. After all, if one is drowning in overwhelming debt, liquidation may appear more manageable than repayment.

Creditor harassment still a rampant problem in U.S.

As some De Soto County residents likely know, credit card debt has a unique way of spiraling out of control. Unlike educational debt, one generally doesn't go into credit card debt in the hopes of earning a lucrative income afterwards. Unlike mortgage and automotive debt, credit card debt often involves items that can't be sold for much value if money gets tight. Finally, the easily-accessible piece of plastic sitting in most Mississippians' wallets is all too tempting when cash is not at hand.

Of course, when one maxes out their credit cards and falls behind on payments, sooner or later, a debtor is likely to encounter debt collectors. Debt collection is big business nowadays, thanks to the recession and an economy that holds few guarantees. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, approximately 30 million Americans were involved in some sort of debt collection in 2012. When one has an account in collections, it's important to know what collectors can and cannot legally do.

Understanding wage garnishment in Mississippi

One of the most distressing financial challenges can be having one's wages garnished by a creditor or by the government to pay off a debt. If a Mississippi resident accrues a certain number of missed payments on obligations such as child support, student loans or even credit card payments, they may eventually experience garnishment. However, the topic of garnishment can be quite confusing for many who are unfamiliar with state and federal law on the topic.

Usually, garnishment does not occur until after a debt has accrued and creditors have attempted to contact the debtor and discuss repayment. If the creditor follows all applicable laws and still is unable to secure any sort of repayment from the debtor, the creditor may take the issue to court and obtain a judgment against the debtor. Following the issuance of a judgment, garnishment can then take place.

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Subscribe to this blog's feed Visit Our Bankruptcy Law Website Heidi S. Milam

Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C.
7160 Tchulahoma Road, Suite A5
Southaven, MS 38671

Phone: 662-655-1605
Toll Free: 888-341-8136

Fax: 866-267-5360