When bankruptcy is filed an automatic stay is placed on creditors stopping all collection action. This automatic stay is put into effect when a bankruptcy case is actually filed. This section discusses what is an emergency, urgency or priority matter then describes what can be done. Even if your case is not an emergency it is common for the case to be prepared quite fast often less than two weeks. Do not assume that if a case is not an emergency it will be delayed. It will not.
IS MY CASE AN EMERGENCY?
An emergency case is a case that needs to be filed within hours or the next several days. As follows are some examples of true emergency situations.
PENDING FORECLOSURE SALE DATE WITHIN 2-3 WEEKS OR SOONER AND YOU WANT TO KEEP THE HOME
This is a true emergency. You need to contact our office immediately do discuss a plan of action. If the sale takes place your home is gone and there is nothing anyone can do. Even if you have talked with an attorney and are planning to file bankruptcy you need to be nervous until the case is actually filed.
GARNISHMENT OF WAGES
Remember, 75 percent of your net wages are exempt and for low income wage earners all income may be exempt from garnishment. However garnishment can be a emergency and you should contact us immediately to take steps to file a case to have the garnishment stopped.
If a car has been repossessed it is possible to get it back in a chapter 13. However there are time deadlines and you should contact us immediately.
This is an urgency not an emergency. If your vehicle is in danger of imminent repossession secure the vehicle. This means lock in the garage, trade with a friend so the repossession company does not know where the vehicle is located. They cannot come through a door or break the law to take the vehicle. If you are in the vehicle they cannot require you to move. By securing the vehicle you are allowed time to contact us and arrange for a filing as soon as possible.
WHAT IS NOT AN EMERGENCY?
BEING SERVED WITH A SUMMONS OR COMPLAINT
This can be an urgent matter. However normally there is a period of time allowed to file an answer. You cannot be garnished until they obtain a judgment. The time period in the summons must expire and you do nothing about it. You will want to contact the attorney as soon as possible but we do normally have time to either file a bankruptcy or suggest how the lawsuit can be addressed while a bankruptcy is being prepared. If there is a risk of a judgment keep all money out of your bank account to prevent a garnishment of your bank account.
THREAT OF A LAWSUIT
Many collection companies threaten legal action. It happens all the time. But a threat is just that- a threat. And normally the lawsuit is not filed for often months or longer after a threat is made. We do have time to address the issue.
INABILITY TO PAY MONTHLY CREDIT CARD BILLS
This is definitely not an emergency or even an urgent matter. Most people can be behind six months and more often more before a lawsuit would be filed. Telephone harassment by creditors is to be expected and is not an emergency. And after we are retained you can refer creditors to our office. This takes the pressure off and allows us time to prepare the paperwork in the normal course.
HOW CAN AN EMERGENCY CASE BE FILED?
Home foreclosures especially where there is equity demand immediate action. THESE CASES ARE THE ONE TRUE EMERGENCY AS THEY CAN INVOLVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF EQUITY OR ONES HOME ON THE LINE. Call us immediately. Advise our reception staff of the pending sale date. They will see that you are put in contact with an attorney immediately. We may require that you travel to an office near you to have the case typed and prepared on the spot. It will be filed electronically.
For other "emergency" or urgent matters we will need the questionnaire completed, copies of last years tax returns, proof of income for past seven months, debtor education certificate and the fees delivered to our office. CALL OUR OFFICE AND ADVISE THAT IT IS AN "EMERGENCY" and you will be placed in contact with the paralegal who will be typing your paperwork. You may need to fax or email us these documents depending on where you live. We then prioritize our filing and can normally have a case prepared very quickly for review and signing. We don't want our clients being garnished!
All cases are filed electronically so you can sign in a remote location and the attorney sign where he is at, even in a different city! The documents are merged electronically and the case can be filed ON THE SPOT.
We then email or call your payroll clerk to stop a garnishment, the car lender to stop a repossession or the mortgage holder to stop a foreclosure. BE ASSURED WE DO THIS ALL DAY LONG AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.
SUMMARY1. Identify if your case is a true emergency.
2. Pending foreclosure sales may require you come to our office while the paperwork is being prepared on the spot
3. Other emergencies deliver to us the documentation we require and the fees
4. Call our office, advise of the emergency and you will be connected with someone that will review the paperwork and set you up with a time and place to sign
5. REMEMBER SOME THINGS WHICH YOU THINK ARE AN EMERGENCY ARE NOT AN EMERGENCY. WE ARE ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT.