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20 Oct 2012

Colorado Springs foreclosure lawyers know that many people fell victim to the housing market implosion, whereby home values were grossly inflated, as were the homebuyers' suitability for the loans to obtain them.

However, it appears the negligence might not have ended there, as evidenced by a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of homeowners throughout the country alleging major banks were complicit in the Libor manipulation rate.

You may be familiar with Libor rate after countless entities including local governments and community banks all filed suit against some of the major banks following the scandal. Libor is short for the "London Interbank Offered Rate," and it is a collection of rates that is set for 10 currencies across 15 different time zones for a range of time periods. It could be for a particular day or it could be set for a year. Essentially, it's intended to measure the cost of borrowing among the world's largest financial institutions, which trade tens of billions of dollars in loans and hundreds of trillions in derivatives.

This past summer, Barclay's, one of Britain's largest banks, was accused of manipulating that rate. The bank reached a settlement of more than $450 million, and other settlements involving large U.S. banks are in the works.

So how does this affect homeowners? The Libor rate is the basis for which many of these banks set their interest rates for various loans. The lawsuit contends that nearly 1 million American homeowners were affected by inflated interest rates that were spiked due to the Libor rate manipulation. Banks reportedly earned hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, from the fraud, according to plaintiff attorneys.

On average, this resulted in about $300 extra a year in interest.

This doesn't sound like much, but it's certainly not helping. Plus, the bigger issue is that it shows the kind of tactics you are up against when you're trying to fight a Colorado Springs foreclosure.

Our Colorado Springs foreclosure attorneys are experienced in battling with big banks to have interest rates and principal payments reduced so that you can stay in your home. If you are trying to fight off foreclosure in Colorado, call us today

11 Oct 2012

Those who have been unemployed for any stretch no the longer it lasts, the harder it is to land a new job. 

Denver Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys have assisted numerous clients who were overwhelmed with debt after a lay-off or termination. Across the country, there are more than 5 million people who are classified as being long-term unemployed. Even more have dropped out of the labor market altogether. Typically, getting back on your feet without some kind of legal help with finances is incredibly tough because most people haven't prepared for such an event. Few people expect that they will be laid off and even those who do may be already working paycheck-to-paycheck and unable to save.

Now, a new study shows just how rough these folks have it when it comes to getting back into the job market.

Researchers sneakily sent out more than 12,000 phony resumes listing fictional job candidates responding to more than 3,000 job postings available online. The framers of the study set it up so that all of the candidates were qualified equally. The only thing they altered slightly was the amount of time that the job candidate was out of work.

For those who were out of work for 25 weeks or more, the news is grim.

The fake candidates who had been out-of-work for six months or less saw their call backs fall by about 7 percent. But then those who reported an unemployment of between six and eight months saw their chances plummet by 45 percent. In fact, those unemployed for longer than six months had only a 4 percent chance of being called back for an interview.

Researchers theorize that the idea is that if you don't have a job, your job is getting employment. If it takes you longer than a couple months to do so, the thinking goes, than you aren't very effective.

Of course, it's all much more complicated than that.

Those in the business world advise that, first of all, responding to online job postings isn't necessarily the way to go. You have a 9 in 10 chance of having your resume deleted right off the bat anyway. Instead, opt for networking opportunities and events, reach out to former colleagues and try to find ways to connect with people person-to-person.

26 Sep 2012

Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers know that anyone who has ever struggled with debt wants to ensure their children don't endure the same.

While some debts are inevitable, establishing good spending and saving habits early on can save them a great deal of heartache later on.

This is critical especially considering that a recent survey indicated that 12th graders were failing on basic, personal-finance literacy tests. (And only half of adults were able to get the right answers on basic questions about inflation and interest rates.)

A number of federal and state initiatives in the last year have focused on addressing these issues in high schools. For example, President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability has launched a campaign aimed at young people, with nearly two dozen money lessons important for children.

Here are some of those key points:

  1. You are not going to be able to purchase everything you want. Consider as you conduct your back-to-school shopping - or any shopping - take a picture of a "want" item. Have them revisit it in a few weeks to consider whether it is still necessary.
  2. Forgoing one purchase allows you to save up for another. One way to drive this message home is to hold off on simply buying the items yourself. Instead, give them money and help them decide how they should spend it and how much should be saved. Back-to-school shopping should at least partially involve older kids' allowance money.
  3. Avoid trying to keep up with your peers. This is tougher than ever right now because social media sites like Facebook make it that much easier to compare your wealth to that of others - especially with some kids posting pictures of their new $200 designer jeans. But talk about how damaging it can be - not only to their wallet but to their self-esteem - to measure their worth in this way. Help them minimize impulse purchases.
  4. Know that it is Ok to make mistakes. These can provide invaluable lessons. Some suggest allowing high school students to invest a small amount in stocks. They may learn to diversify if they lose it all on one product.


Contact us today for more information.


13 Sep 2012

Toni Braxton has won six Grammy Awards - and filed for two bankruptcies.

Our Colorado Springs Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorneys understand that she intends to talk about her financial journey in an upcoming music television show.

While some may view multiple filings as a sign of irresponsibility, the fact is that there are some situations in which the filer may have little choice. It's also worth noting that someone who has already been through the bankruptcy process knows that when circumstances outside their control begin to snowball, there is no sense in wasting precious time and money in an effort to save a credit score that is likely to suffer regardless.

In Braxton's case, the first bankruptcy stemmed from a recording deal that was beyond deplorable. In fact, her late-1990s hit son, "Unbreak My Heart" reportedly earned her a total of less than $3,000.

Then two years ago, Braxton filed again after a medical ailment impeded her ability to perform Las Vegas shows she was contracted to perform. Promoters and venues lost a great deal of money, and sued Braxton. After unsuccessfully attempting to settle with them, she sought another Chapter 7 filing.

The Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 changes the wait times in between bankruptcy for certain debtors. But it's not true that you have to wait eight years across the board before you can file a new bankruptcy. Essentially it works like this:

  • If you previously filed a Chapter 7 case, you have to wait at least 8 years before filing a new Chapter 7 case.
  • If you previously filed a Chapter 7 case, you have to wait at least 4 years before filing a new Chapter 13 case.
  • If you previously filed a Chapter 13 case, you have to wait 6 years before you file for a new Chapter 7 case, unless your previous plan has been 100 percent paid or you have paid off 70 percent with good faith and best effort requirements.
  • If you previously filed for a Chapter 13 case, you have to wait at least 2  years before filing for a new Chapter 13 case.

If none of your debts were actually discharged in the previous filing - that is, you merely filed for the protection of the automatic stay - than these time limits won't apply to you.

11 Sep 2012

Despite reports that the U.S. economy is inching toward improvement, we now know that household incomes in the U.S. fell to levels we haven't seen since 1989.

In fact, Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers understand that a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that median incomes fell by nearly 2 percent last year.

Families are on the brink of poverty, and despite falling income levels, many families have not adjusted their lifestyle. This, unfortunately, is a recipe for becoming trapped in debt.

The current presidential campaign is dedicating a great deal of focus to why this is happening and what can be done to prevent it.

On a macro scale, some of the issues economists have identified include:

  • Globalization. Technology and production power in the U.S. is not a strong, relative to other nations, as it once was. The U.S. will need to dedicate more resources to improving its workforce skill set.
  • Inequality. With the decline of labor unions and the failure of minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, fewer people have the same opportunities to excel that they once did. This means we are underusing a valuable resource: Our people.
  • Debt. Now, we're talking about government debt here, particularly with regard to more people receiving public assistance than are paying into it. It's important to note that without Social Security income, some 22 million more Americans would be living in poverty. But creating this safety net does come at a cost.
  • Aging. This somewhat relates to the earlier issue, but as baby boomers continue to age and begin moving into retirement, we are going to see overall incomes decrease.
  • Lower-wage jobs. There are multiple theories for why this may be, but at the end of the day, the job growth that is currently being generated happens to be within those industries that are lower-paying.

Whatever the causes, having a reduced income means making adjustments. In some cases, those adjustments are only possible with the help of an attorney who can help you either reach a debt settlement or apply for bankruptcy protection.

We may not be able to give you a raise, but we can help you get a leg up.  Contact us today for help and for a free consultation.


20 Aug 2012

There is an old saying that it's hard to see the forest through the trees.

Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers know this is one way of saying it's difficult to gauge the entirety of the situation when you're in the middle of it. This is exactly the case with debt.

It starts with a missed payment here or a credit card charge there. We continue moving along with life thinking it will eventually get handled or take care of itself.

The problem with debt, though, is that it compounds upon itself. Many people don't realize they're in trouble until they've depleted their retirement or other savings - money they'll never be able to recover.

Bankruptcy is one way to address debt that has become unmanageable. That is, you have no other real hope of paying it back, or to do so would take so long and be so arduous as to be detrimental to your future, and quite frankly unwise.

The only real way to know whether bankruptcy is the best option for you is to meet face-to-face with an experienced attorney who can help you comb through your finances to determine the right decision. Generally, if you're already considering it, chances are your debt has already reached a breaking point.

Here are some other questions to ask yourself if you're contemplating filing for a Chapter 7:

Are you juggling bills? By this, we mean are you applying for more credit cards or payday loans to get cash advances to pay existing cards or basic expenses?

Are you paying the bare minimum payments on your credit cards, loans and other bills?

Are you consistently putting more on your credit card each month than you bring home in earnings?

Has your income decreased significantly in recent months or years?

Are you having to take on overtime just to pay your basic expenses?

Are you being hounded by debt collectors on the phone and in the mail?

Are you concealing the costs of purchases from your wife or husband?

Are you using your retirement account or savings to pay for monthly expenses?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it's time to start considering your options. There is no hard-and-fast rule about the right time to file for bankruptcy, but if you start to see yourself slipping into some of these categories, it's time to explore ways to facing down the debt.

09 Aug 2012

A new report from one of Denver's largest human resources firms indicates that salaried employees in Denver are set to receive some of the largest pay raises in the country.

Our Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers know this is great news - but it's important to note that it's only going to affect a small number of companies and individuals, and that the increases are expected to be marginal.

A larger national study, conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, indicates that low-paying jobs aren't actually going anywhere. In fact, about 30 percent of available jobs today will put a full-time worker either just at or below the poverty line. Unfortunately, it's going to stay at that 30 percent until at least 2020, and estimations that higher-tier jobs will grow after that point aren't hopeful.

The fact is, many people took on jobs that were beneath their skill level when the recession hit. It was never intended to be a long-term thing, and that's why in the meantime, a lot of these folks racked up enormous amounts of debt - credit cards, loans, medical bills - believing that they would eventually pay it all off.

If you're one of the lucky few in Denver who will be expecting a raise, you may now be able to start putting a dent in those debts.

But to take a look at what was actually reported, Aon Hewitt, the human resources firm, surveyed some 1,300 businesses across the country. The average base pay for workers had risen 0.1 percent this year as compared to 2011.  Certain Denver companies, meanwhile, saw a 3.2 percent increase this year over last and expect a 3.6 percent increase in 2013.

To put this in real terms, if you're making $40,000 a year, a 3.2 percent increase represents about $1,280  year or $128 a month. Certainly, this is an improvement - but it's not going to pull you out of tens of thousands of dollars of debt if that's what you're facing.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of the population is making around $11 an hour, which puts them at about $23,000 a year. If you are part of a family of four and make this much, you are on the poverty line.

A bankruptcy is one way of clearing those old, looming debts to make way for smarter spending and saving habits.

25 Jul 2012

There's no doubt you've heard the phrase, "Bankruptcy should be a last resort."

For people who are in relatively good financial shape, that's probably a good mantra to keep. The whole idea of bankruptcy is not to make it easy for people to avoid debts they can easily pay off.

However, Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys know that for people who are struggling with mountains of debt, waiting to file until you're out of all other options can be dangerous, and the reasons are numerous.

Often, we see clients who have dragged their financial burdens on far longer than was necessary - because they were seeing bankruptcy as the last option.

But the fact is, you save yourself an enormous amount of stress and further financial trouble by exploring it as an option sooner.

By not doing so, first of all, your health is likely to suffer. We have worked with countless clients who had become physically ill as a result of their financial woes. Not only is their stress high, but they don't sleep. Some drink alcohol or overeat or chain smoke. Others suffer from depression. The bottom line is it's not a healthy way to live your life.

Secondly, it's highly possible that you'll end up making some costly, and maybe even irreversible, financial mistakes. This is easy enough to do. For example, some people cash out their retirement in order to pay off their credit cards, only to later realize they'll have to file for bankruptcy anyway. They'll never get that retirement money back, and the credit card debt would have been forgiven.

Thirdly, you may think you don't need to file because you're treading water with your finances. But the fact is, that's all you're doing, and without the relief that bankruptcy provides, you won't get any farther.  That means you won't ever be able to save up enough for retirement or pay off your student loans or have any savings cushion. Again, it's not a healthy way to live your life - and you have options.


22 Jun 2012

One of the top reasons people avoid bankruptcy like the plague is that they fear the impact on their credit score.

Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers won't sugarcoat it and say there will be no affect whatsoever. However it's worth noting that when you file for bankruptcy, the scoring algorithms are such that you are being compared in segments with others who have suffered similar financial blows.

And the fact is, many more people are filing for bankruptcy these days than ever before. Their reasons are varied, but mostly it boils down to enormous medical bills and student loan debt, the housing crisis and out-of-control credit card debt.

What a Chapter 7 bankruptcy does is wipe the slate clean. It erases your previous debt (with some exceptions) and allows you to start fresh again.

It's true, though, that a Chapter 7 will remain on your credit score for about 10 years. However, many people have found that this is not nearly as inhibiting as it sounds. You can still buy a house, get a car loan, etc. You may have higher interest rates and that will force you to keep your spending in check, but it won't cripple you.

If the idea of a Chapter 7 scares you, you can always explore a Chapter 13. This is an option whereby you structure a payment plan to your creditors to pay back a portion of what you owe in monthly installments. A Chapter 13 usually only remains on your credit report for 3 to 7 years after it's discharged.

Another option is debt negotiation or debt settlement. This is similar to a Chapter 13 in that it involves you paying a fraction of what you owe. However, it's not all encompassing and it doesn't necessarily involve all of your debts.

So let's say you owe $15,000 on a credit card. You hire an attorney to help you reach a debt settlement and end up with a bill for $4,000. Your credit may still be damaged, particularly if the debt has already gone to a debt collection agency, but it's generally easier to repair your credit than it is to claw yourself out of debt.

20 Jun 2012


It may come as a surprise to some people to hear that a Colorado Springs bankruptcy can actually be looked back upon as being a positive thing.

As "Real Housewife" Teresa Giudice explained recently on the show, the bankruptcy "made us stronger."

Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers know that many of our clients express that the whole process is freeing. That's not to say it is without its challenges or that it's easy. In fact, this is why it's critical to have an experienced attorney by your side, helping you sort through the details. It can be a difficult choice to make, but once it's all over, the reward is a fresh start.

Guidice and her husband, Joe, who are from New Jersey, filed for a joint petition, which means their filings have to be separately discharged.

There has been a great deal of back-and-forth between the Guidices, the lawyers and the bankruptcy trustees. In fact, Joe Guidice actually abandoned his effort to have his debts forgiven through the process after invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. The court had claimed he was hiding assets and income, including a pizza restaurant, a boat and expensive gifts and trips - something that was reportedly learned after the trustee viewed episodes of the show that were filmed around the time the bankruptcy was filed.

Generally, if a bankruptcy trustee believes that someone is lying to the court, they will make a criminal referral to federal prosecutors. This is not a place you want to be. After consulting with a criminal defense lawyer, Joe reportedly agreed to withdraw his bankruptcy petition. That means he's still on the hook for his debts. That means that he would still be responsible for payment of the debts they hold jointly, even if Teresa is absolved of liability.

Teresa is nearing the end of her pursuit to have  her debts discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In a recent episode, she reportedly said she was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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