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  • "Upon my first visit to the office, I was in an unfamiliar part of town.  I was also bewildered and experiencing anxiety.  I was not even sure I should be there or how to proceed in a very new situation where my back was against a wall.  The first person I met in the office was Ms. Patti.  I have to say that Patti has the absolutely right demeanor and is extremely successful in her position.  Patti has a slight but comforting smile and persona.  She is confident but not arrogant in processing the needs of clients.  I do not feel that this is a small achievement in any way.  I feel Patti in many ways sets the tone for the office as the gate keeper of the office and emotional clients.  Patti definitely helped me thru this process with her silent and dedicated service to me, the clients and the office." 
             – John C., Colorado Springs, CO

  • "Upon entering Steve's office, one immediately knows they have entered his "zone".  Steve will talk, think, contemplate, then act.  He then spins his chair around, garbs paper, types on the computer and zaps something thru the printer.  Occasionally, a document needs to be scanned or something else from outside the office is needed, and Zap someone appears without having to yell down a hall or call out.  There is definitely a team here that is in sync.  There may be a question out of the blue suddenly or a brief conversation about something else.  The whole time, Steve is on point.  I felt from day one, a trustworthy confidence in placing my future in his hands.  I was not wrong.  I also never once felt rushed, brushed off or that my concerns were not his.  I felt that Steve is in this for me and his clients.  I have a debt, gratitude and confidence in Steve and the Swift team that far exceeds the fees pain. " 
             – John C., Colorado Springs, CO

  • "Steve has built good relationships with others in the community.  It was extremely helpful and productive to work with anyone he recommended from having the home value assessed to other services.

    I have only met with and dealt with a few others in the office on occassion.  Each and every person was caring and respectful.

    Overall, my experience with Steve, Patti and the rest of the team has been excellent  There were situations and challenges after filing that I thought I would never get thru.  The Swift team was there to listen, help and provide any service or time I asked for.  The calm and professional demeanor of the office is greatly appreciated.  The joy of ending my bankruptcy is also met with a good feeling of knowing there are caring individuals in Colorado Springs that actually work to help people and to make a lasting difference in the lives of so many. " 
             – John C., Colorado Springs, CO

  • "Valerie went way above & beyond to be helpful and make sure everything was clear.  She's a real spitfire!  Steve & Patti were very professional. Thank you for completing my bankruptcy!  I know it wasn't an easy one." 
             – Ken H., Woodland Park, CO

  • “Patti was so sweet and helpful. And that Valerie...as soon as she heard about my garnishment, she got things moving quickly.  She's quite a go-getter!  My attorney, Mr. Stratman made this process seem very simple, and he was very helpful. ” 
                   – Karie & Glen,  Colorado Springs, CO 

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26 Feb 2014

Bankruptcy Filers: Responsible Citizens or Escapists?

In some circles, bankruptcy is viewed as a taboo subject. People immediately assume that those who file for personal bankruptcy are simply irresponsible with money or they are trying to escape from paying their bills. In reality, however, this is rarely the case.


Bankruptcy attorneys and other financial experts are quick to point out how many successful people they know who have filed for bankruptcy in the past. The fact is that bankruptcy offers an individual protection from creditors who might otherwise place an enormous burden on them.

Without bankruptcy protection, people who are saddled with debt would be at the mercy of their creditors, who could file judgments, garnish wages and place liens on their property. Bankruptcy allows an individual the opportunity to prove to their creditors that he or she is not capable of meeting expenses, while allowing him or her to make an attempt at restitution.

Why is an attempt at restitution so important?

Bankruptcy filers are often judged harshly by those who assume they are just trying to escape debt. They wrongly believe that one's personal bankruptcy allows them to get off the hook completely. While some of the filer's debts may be discharged in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court still requires them to make an attempt at restitution. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer must forfeit any assets that are not protected, or exempt, by state bankruptcy laws. The proceeds from the sale of these assets is then used to pay back creditors. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filers are expected to create a repayment plan with the court, which essentially settles their debts over a period of 3 to 5 years.

While restitution may not be complete, it is an important aspect to bankruptcy protection because it requires the filer to bear some responsibility instead of walking away debt-free. Personal bankruptcy is certainly not something one should aspire to, but for most people it is a much better alternative than hiding from creditors. It offers protection from creditors and it offers a means to a fresh start. It is wise for those seeking protection to work directly with a Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorney for advice on starting the process.

How will bankruptcy affect your credit score?

Even those who are willing to deal with the emotional repercussions of bankruptcy might not be so thrilled about the damage it will do to their credit score. In fact, other than emotional stress, credit score is what filers worry about the most. It is true that a bankruptcy filing can show up on your credit score for up to ten years, so If you find that bankruptcy protection is the best option for your financial future you will want to start repairing your credit score as soon as possible.

The following are a few considerations to help Colorado residents with repairing their credit score.

  • It is not uncommon for credit reports to be inaccurate, so bankruptcy filers should first get copies of their "pre-bankruptcy" credit reports. This helps to ensure that any closed accounts are listed as such, and the debts listed actually belong on the report.
  • Each of the three largest credit bureaus is required to provide individuals with one free credit report per year. Individuals are encouraged to take advantage of this, so if something is amiss it can be disputed and changed right away.
  • While one might worry about getting another credit card immediately after bankruptcy, it is probably a good idea to do so. A secured credit card is backed up by a deposit put down by the cardholder, meaning the line of credit is the same amount as the deposit. Because of this, most people are approved for this type of card. It is just one way to that people rebuild their credit score.
  • Pay your bills on time. This may seem pretty obvious, but it important to carry it out. It might mean developing new habits, cutting back on extras and sticking to a payment schedule, but it will gradually rebuild your credit score. Remember, 35% of your credit score is attributable to payment history.

Finally, if you are considering bankruptcy in Colorado, consult with an experienced Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer. Be prepared to ask questions and learn about all of your options before making a decision.

 

Stephen H. Swift

Managing Attorney
Law Office of Stephen H. Swift, P.C.

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