HelpPath TERMS & CONDITIONS
Effective Date: April 22, 2020
HelpPath.org is a non-professional counseling agency that connects service providers with consumers to help them live better lives and when you call our number, you may be directly connected with one of our partners or a third-party to assist you. Independent providers of the services may charge fees and have their own terms of service. HelpPath.org is not responsible and does not guarantee any outcomes from these providers. Services may not be available in all states so please call or check our website for details.
This Agreement contains a binding arbitration agreement, which provides that you and we agree to resolve certain disputes through binding individual arbitration and give up any right to have those disputes decided by a judge or a jury. You have the right to opt out of our agreement to arbitrate. See the Legal Disputes section of this Agreement
AGREEMENT BETWEEN USER AND HELPPATH.ORG
The HelpPath.org Web Site is comprised of various Web pages operated by HelpPath.org.
The HelpPath.org Web Site is offered to you conditioned on your acceptance without modification of the terms, conditions, and notices contained herein. Your use of the HelpPath.org Web Site constitutes your agreement to all such terms, conditions, and notices.
HelpPath.org reserves the right to change the terms, conditions, and notices under which the HelpPath.org Web Site is offered, including but not limited to the charges associated with the use of the HelpPath.org Web Site.
LINKS TO THIRD PARTY SITES
The HelpPath.org Web Site may contain links to other Web Sites (“Linked Sites”). The Linked Sites are not under the control of HelpPath.org and HelpPath.org is not responsible for the contents of any Linked Site, including without limitation any link contained in a Linked Site, or any changes or updates to a Linked Site. HelpPath.org is not responsible for webcasting or any other form of transmission received from any Linked Site. HelpPath.org is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by HelpPath.org of the site or any association with its operators.
NO UNLAWFUL OR PROHIBITED USE
As a condition of your use of the HelpPath.org Web Site, you warrant to HelpPath.org that you will not use the HelpPath.org Web Site for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these terms, conditions, and notices. You may not use the HelpPath.org Web Site in any manner which could damage, disable, overburden, or impair the HelpPath.org Web Site or interfere with any other party’s use and enjoyment of the HelpPath.org Web Site. You may not obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through any means not intentionally made available or provided for through the HelpPath.org Web Sites.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FINANCIAL DECISIONS
We and our affiliates, through the Services, may provide a venue through which you can obtain information and you can find third-party service providers, such as financial institutions, credit card providers, debt settlement companies, lenders and other financial professionals (“Service Providers”). We do not endorse or recommend the products or services of any Service Provider, and are not an agent or advisor to you or any Service Provider. We do not validate or investigate the licensing, certification or other requirements and qualifications of Service Providers. It is your responsibility to investigate Service Providers. You acknowledge and agree that Service Providers are solely responsible for any services that they may provide to you and that we are not liable for any losses, costs, damages or claims in connection with, arising from, or related to, your use of a Service Provider’s products or services. We urge you to obtain the advice of qualified professionals who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before you make any financial decisions. You acknowledge and agree that you rely on your own judgment and that of such advisors in selecting any products or services offered by Service Providers.
NO GUARANTEE OF QUOTES, FEES, TERMS, RATES, COVERAGE
We do not make any warranties or representations regarding the quotes, fees, terms, rates, coverage or services offered or made available by Service Providers. We do not guarantee that quotes, fees, terms, rates, coverage or services offered by Service Providers are the best available.
USE OF COMMUNICATION SERVICES
The HelpPath.org Web Site may contain bulletin board services, chat areas, news groups, forums, communities, personal web pages, calendars, and/or other message or communication facilities designed to enable you to communicate with the public at large or with a group (collectively, “Communication Services”), you agree to use the Communication Services only to post, send and receive messages and material that are proper and related to the particular Communication Service. By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using a Communication Service, you will not:
HelpPath.org has no obligation to monitor the Communication Services. However, HelpPath.org reserves the right to review materials posted to a Communication Service and to remove any materials in its sole discretion. HelpPath.org reserves the right to terminate your access to any or all of the Communication Services at any time without notice for any reason whatsoever.
HelpPath.org reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, or to edit, refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, is HelpPath.org’s sole discretion.
Always use caution when giving out any personally identifying information about yourself or your children in any Communication Service. HelpPath.org does not control or endorse the content, messages or information found in any Communication Service and, therefore, HelpPath.org specifically disclaims any liability with regard to the Communication Services and any actions resulting from your participation in any Communication Service. Managers and hosts are not authorized HelpPath.org spokespersons, and their views do not necessarily reflect those of HelpPath.org.
Materials uploaded to a Communication Service may be subject to posted limitations on usage, reproduction and/or dissemination. You are responsible for adhering to such limitations if you download the materials.
MATERIALS PROVIDED TO HELPPATH.ORG OR POSTED AT ANY
HELPPATH.ORG WEB SITE
HelpPath.org does not claim ownership of the materials you provide to HelpPath.org (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit to any HelpPath.org Web Site or its associated services (collectively “Submissions”). However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you are granting HelpPath.org, its affiliated companies and necessary sub-licensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses including, without limitation, the rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission.
No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of your Submission, as provided herein. HelpPath.org is under no obligation to post or use any Submission you may provide and may remove any Submission at any time at HelpPath.org’s sole discretion.
By posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you warrant and represent that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to your Submission as described in this section including, without limitation, all the rights necessary for you to provide, post, upload, input or submit the Submissions
a) Mobile Devices
By subscribing to HelpPath.org you consent to receive electronic communications from HelpPath.org in electronic form, via email, Short Message Service (“SMS Service”) or wireless internet (“WAP Service”) and may be sent via automatic telephone dialing systems which may use pre-recorded messages. If you designate to receive electronic communications via your mobile device, you agree to receive messages delivered via the Site to that device and understand your carrier’s standard rates apply to any messages sent from HelpPath.org. You represent you are the owner or authorized user of the mobile device on which messages will be received, and that you are authorized to approve any applicable charges. You may opt out of receiving messages to your mobile device at any time by notifying us at Help@HelpPath.org or you can click the “Opt-out” link on the bottom of the email. Only United States residents may use the SMS or WAP Service.
b) Data Security
SMS or WAP Services are provided via wireless systems which use radio frequencies (and other means) to transmit communications over complex networks. HelpPath.org do not guarantee your use of the SMS or WAP Services will be private or secure, and HelpPath.org will not be liable to you for any lack of privacy or security you may experience. You are fully responsible for taking precautions and providing security measures appropriate to your situation and intended use of the SMS or WAP Service. You acknowledge and agree HelpPath.org may access the content of your account and the wireless account with your carrier for the purpose of identifying and resolving technical problems and service-related complaints.
THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, AND SERVICES INCLUDED IN OR AVAILABLE THROUGH THE HELPPATH.ORG WEB SITE MAY INCLUDE INACCURACIES OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS. CHANGES ARE PERIODICALLY ADDED TO THE INFORMATION HEREIN. HELPPATH.ORG AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAY MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AND/OR CHANGES IN THE HELPPATH.ORG WEB SITE AT ANY TIME. ADVICE RECEIVED VIA THE HELPPATH.ORG WEB SITE SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON FOR PERSONAL, MEDICAL, LEGAL OR FINANCIAL DECISIONS AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE TAILORED TO YOUR SITUATION.
HELPPATH.ORG AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON OR AVAILABLE THROUGH THE HELPPATH.ORG WEB SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, ALL SUCH INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND. HELPPATH.ORG AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH REGARD TO THIS INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.
SERVICE CONTACT: Help@HelpPath.org
HelpPath.org reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to the HelpPath.org Web Site and the related services or any portion thereof at any time, without notice. GENERAL. To the maximum extent permitted by law, this agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Florida, U.S.A. and you hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in Broward County, Florida, U.S.A. in all disputes arising out of or relating to the use of the HelpPath.org Web Site. Use of the HelpPath.org Web Site is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including without limitation this paragraph. You agree that no joint venture, partnership, employment, or agency relationship exists between you and HelpPath.org as a result of this agreement or use of the HelpPath.org Web Site. HelpPath.org’s performance of this agreement is subject to existing laws and legal process, and nothing contained in this agreement is in derogation of HelpPath.org’s right to comply with governmental, court and law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your use of the HelpPath.org Web Site or information provided to or gathered by HelpPath.org with respect to such use. If any part of this agreement is determined to be invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law including, but not limited to, the warranty disclaimers and liability limitations set forth above, then the invalid or unenforceable provision will be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remainder of the agreement shall continue in effect. Unless otherwise specified herein, this agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the user and HelpPath.org with respect to the HelpPath.org Web Site and it supersedes all prior or contemporaneous communications and proposals, whether electronic, oral or written, between the user and HelpPath.org with respect to the HelpPath.org Web Site. A printed version of this agreement and of any notice given in electronic form shall be admissible in judicial or administrative proceedings based upon or relating to this agreement to the same extent and subject to the same conditions as other business documents and records originally generated and maintained in printed form. It is the express wish to the parties that this agreement and all related documents be drawn up in English.
COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK NOTICES:
HelpPath.org, and the HelpPath.org logo are trademarks, trade names or service marks of HelpPath.org, LLC or its related companies. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. You are not permitted to use any trademark or service mark displayed on this Site without the prior written consent of HelpPath.org or the owner of such trademark or service mark.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
The example companies, organizations, products, people and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, person, or event is intended or should be inferred.
Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT POLICY
In accordance with the requirements set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512(c)(2) (“DMCA”), HelpPath.org will investigate notices of copyright infringement and take appropriate remedial action. If you believe that any Content on the Site has been used or copied in a manner that infringes your work, please provide a written notification of claimed copyright infringement to the Designated Agent for the Site containing the following elements as set forth in the DMCA:
Designated Agent – Copyright Infringement Claims
811 W. Agatite Avenue, Suite 2610
Chicago, IL 60640
YOUR INDEMNIFICATION OF US
You shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless us and our officers, directors, shareholders, employees, independent contractors, agents, representatives and affiliates from and against all claims and expenses, including, but not limited to, attorneys’ fees, arising out of, or attributable to: (i) any breach or violation of this Agreement by you; (ii) your failure to provide accurate, complete and current personally identifiable information requested or required by us; (iii) your access or use of our Services; (iv) access or use of our Services under any password that may be issued to you; (v) your transmissions, submissions or postings (i.e., your own User Generated Content); and/or (vi) any personal injury or property damage caused by you.
AMENDMENTS TO THIS AGREEMENT
We reserve the right to update, amend and/or change this Agreement at any time in our sole discretion and without notice. Updates to this Agreement will be posted here. Amendments will take effect immediately upon us posting the updated Agreement on our Services. You are encouraged to revisit this Agreement from time to time in order to review any changes that have been made. The date on which this Agreement was last updated will be noted immediately above this Agreement. Your continued access and use of our Services following the posting of any such changes shall automatically be deemed your acceptance of all changes.
You and we agree that any claim or dispute at law or equity that has arisen or may arise between us relating in any way to or arising out of this or previous versions of this Agreement, your use of or access to the Services will be resolved in accordance with the provisions set forth in this Legal Disputes section. Please read this section carefully. It affects your rights and will have a substantial impact on how claims you and we have against each other are resolved.
Applicable Law You agree that the laws of the State of Florida, without regard to principles of conflict of laws, will govern this Agreement and any claim or dispute that has arisen or may arise between you and us, except as otherwise stated in this Agreement.
ARBITRATION/CLASS WAIVER/OPT OUT CLAUSES
1. You and we each agree to resolve exclusively through final and binding arbitration any and all disputes or claims that have arisen or may arise between you and us (including any affiliates, officers, directors, employees, and agents), whether or not such dispute or claim involves a third party, relating in any way to any aspect of our relationship or any contact between us, direct or indirect, or arising out of this or previous versions of this Agreement, your use of or access to our Services, or any products or services sold, offered, or purchased through our Services (“Dispute”).
2. You and we agree to submit the Dispute to a single arbitrator under the then-current Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), or, by separate mutual agreement, at another arbitration institution. The AAA’s rules, information regarding initiating a claim, and a description of the arbitration process are available at www.adr.org. The location of the arbitration and the allocation of fees and costs for such arbitration shall be determined in accordance with the AAA rules. As an alternative, you or we may bring a claim in your local “small claims” court, if permitted by that small claims court’s rules.
3. Class Action/Jury Waiver: You and we agree that each of us may bring a Dispute against the other only on our own behalf, and not on behalf of a government official or other person or entity, or a class of persons or entities. You and we agree, if we are a party to the proceeding, not to participate in a class action, a class-wide arbitration, a claim brought in a private attorney general or representative capacity, or a consolidated claim involving another person’s use of the site or our services. You and we agree to waive the right to a trial by jury for all disputes.
4. You may opt out of this Agreement to Arbitrate. If you do so, neither you nor we can require the other to participate in an arbitration proceeding. To opt out, you must notify us in writing, within 30 days of the date that you first began using this Site subject to these arbitration terms or changes to them, either by U.S. mail delivered to: Attn: Legal Department, HelpPath.org, LLC, 5769 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation, FL 33313 or by email delivered to admin@HelpPath.org. You must include: (1) your name and residence address; (2) the email address and/or mobile telephone number associated with your account; and (3) a clear statement that you want to opt out of this agreement to arbitrate.
5. If the prohibition against class actions and other claims brought on behalf of third parties contained in Section 1.3, above, is found to be unenforceable, then all of Section 1 will be null and void as to that Dispute.
6. This Agreement to Arbitrate will survive the termination of your relationship with us:
• Unless you and we agree otherwise, if you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate, if the Agreement to Arbitrate is found by a court to be unenforceable, if your claim is not covered by the Agreement to Arbitrate, or if you neither are a resident of nor have a principal place of business in the US or Canada, you agree that any Dispute that has arisen, or may arise, between you and us must be resolved exclusively by a state or federal court located in Broward County, Florida. You and we agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts located within Broward County, Florida for the purpose of litigating all such claims or disputes.
• Notwithstanding any provision in the Agreement to the contrary, you and we agree that if we make a change to this agreement to arbitrate in the future, that change shall not apply to a claim that was filed in a legal proceeding between you and us prior to the effective date of the change.
STATE SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVERTISING DISCLOSURES
UL makes no representation that the quality of the legal services to be performed by it is greater than the quality of the legal services by other lawyers.
The Alaska Bar Association does not endorse or accredit certifying organizations.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.
Please note that HelpPath.org is an attorney marketing network, not a law and is not affiliated with any government agency. HelpPath.org does not receive any funding from any government or not-for-profit foundation.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision and that decision should not be based solely on advertising material. Before you decide to hire counsel to represent you, make sure you ask us or any attorney to send you free written information about the attorney’s qualifications and experience.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.
The Supreme Court of Hawaii only grants certification to lawyers in good standing who have successfully completed a specialty program accredited by the American Bar Association.
The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law. A certificate, award or recognition is not required to practice law in Illinois.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.The Supreme Court of Iowa requires the following disclosure: The choice of a lawyer and the determination of the need for legal assistance are extremely important decisions and should not be based on advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal societies, technical and professional licenses, and memberships in scientific, technical and professional associations and societies of law or field of practice do not mean that a lawyer is a “specialist” or “expert” in a particular field of law. Such memberships, licenses or offices also do not necessarily mean that a lawyer is any more expert or competent than any other lawyer. A description of limitation of practice does not mean that any agency or board has certified the lawyer as a specialist or expert in any indicated field of law, nor does it mean that such lawyer is necessarily any more expert or competent than any other lawyer. The Supreme Court of Iowa requires the following disclosure: All potential clients should make their own independent evaluation and investigation of any lawyer being considered for particular legal representation.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not certify lawyers in any particular field of law. If an attorney in Massachusetts indicates he/she is “certified” in a particular area of law, service, or field by a non-governmental body, the certifying organization is a private organization whose standards for certification are not regulated by the Commonwealth.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.Background information on any Mississippi attorney is available free upon request to that attorney. Mississippi has no procedure for approving, certifying, or designating organizations and authorities.
ADVERTISING MATERIAL: COMMERCIAL SOLICITATIONS ARE PERMITTED BY THE MISSOURI RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, BUT ARE NEITHER SUBMITTED NOR APPROVED BY THE MISSOURI BAR OR THE SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI. Likewise, neither the Supreme Court nor the Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations in the field of law.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.Neither the State Bar of Nevada, nor any agency of the State Bar has certified any lawyer identified in this advertisement as a specialist or expert, except as indicated. Anyone considering hiring an attorney should independently investigate the lawyer’s qualifications, credentials, and ability.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org.The Supreme Court of New Jersey recognizes certifications in some areas of legal practice. If a lawyer claims certification as a specialist or expert in a field of law or practice and does not specifically indicate that such certification has been granted by the Supreme Court of New Jersey or by an organization approved by the American Bar Association, then the user should understand that the claimed certification body has either not been approved or been denied certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the American Bar Association.
Any certification by an organization other than the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization does not constitute recognition by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization, unless the lawyer is also recognized by the board as a specialist in that particular area of law.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law. The Court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice of law.
Tennessee recognizes Certifications of Specialization in the following areas of practice of law: Civil Trial, Criminal Trial, Business Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditor’s Rights, Medical Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Accounting Malpractice, Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Family Law. Listing of related or included practice areas by a lawyer does not constitute or imply a representation of certification of specialization. No attorneys listed on this site imply or represent that they hold a certificate of specialization other than where specifically indicated.
HelpPath.org is a website name and not a law firm. The law firms who advertise through this website do not operate as HelpPath.org. Lawyers named on this Site are Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, unless otherwise specifically indicated.
The Supreme Court of Washington does not recognize certification of specialties in the practice of law. Any such certificate, award, or recognition is not required to practice law in the State of Washington.
The State Bar of the State of Wyoming does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Any person considering a lawyer for representation should independently investigate the lawyer’s credentials, qualifications and ability and should not rely on advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.
DISCLOSURES REQUIRED UNDER 11 U.S.C. §§ 527 AND 342
NOTICE #1: Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§342(b)(1) and 527(a)(1)
PURPOSE, BENEFITS AND COSTS OF BANKRUPTCY
Bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding that provides relief to people and businesses that are having financial difficulty. The relief comes in the form of an “automatic stay” which generally stops most collection proceedings and harassment from creditors. The cost of filing a bankruptcy consists of a filing fee which varies depending on the type of case you are filing (see below) and if you choose to hire a lawyer to represent you, the lawyer will likely charge you a fee for the representation. Additionally, there may be costs to obtain necessary information and documentation required by the bankruptcy code, bankruptcy rules and local rules.
The discussion here is meant only as a brief overview and no one should base their decision as to whether to file or not to file bankruptcy solely on this information. Bankruptcy is complex and a number of factors and considerations must be taken into account in making a determination to file or not. Anyone considering bankruptcy is encouraged to seek the advice and assistance of experienced counsel who practices bankruptcy law.
What Bankruptcy Can and Can’t Do
Bankruptcy may be able to help financially distressed people to:
1. Discharge (eliminate) liability for most or all of their debts and a get a fresh start. When the debt is discharged, the debtor no longer has any legal obligation to pay it.
2. Stop foreclosure proceedings! The automatic stay in bankruptcy can freeze a foreclosure proceeding and provide an opportunity to catch up on missed payments.
3. Prevent repossession of a car or other property! The automatic stay can prevent a finance company from exercising its repossession rights, or might even be able to force a creditor to return a vehicle that has already been repossessed.
4. Prevent utility shut-offs! The automatic stay in bankruptcy can prevent a utility company from terminating service because of non-payment and can even force the company to reconnect service that has already been terminated.
5. Stop wage garnishments and creditor harassment! The automatic stay in bankruptcy can suspend wage deduction proceedings and other types of debt collection efforts.
6. Lower monthly payments! The automatic stay in bankruptcy can alter your contractual relationships with your creditors by lowering or eliminating interest and can allow payments to creditors for less than the outstanding balance.
7. Can provide an opportunity for debtors to challenge then claims of certain creditors who might be seeking to collect more than they are entitled.
Bankruptcy, however, may not be the cure-all for every financial problem. There are limitations. For instance, a debtor usually can not:
• Eliminate certain liens of secured creditors. Although it is possible to force secured creditors to take payments over time and although it is possible to modify the terms of payments in some cases, a debtor usually can not keep the collateral unless the debtor continues to pay the debt.
• Discharge types of debts identified in the bankruptcy code. The most common exceptions to discharge are domestic support orders (child support, maintenance, or alimony), most student loans, criminal fines, and most taxes.
• Discharge debts incurred after the bankruptcy is filed. Bankruptcy only helps with debts already existing at the time of filing; it doesn’t provide relief for future debts.
• Protect co-signors. If someone co-signed for you, the co-signor is usually going to be liable to pay the creditor whatever part of the loan you don’t pay or that isn’t paid through a bankruptcy case.
The Four Types of Bankruptcy Available to Individual Consumer Debtors
The Bankruptcy Code is divided into four chapters. The most commonly used chapters by consumer debtors are chapter 7, known as a “fresh start” or “straight” bankruptcy and chapter 13 which is a voluntary court approved, court supervised affordable repayment plan.
The main benefit of filing for bankruptcy under all chapters is the automatic stay. The automatic stay is a court order that automatically applies once a bankruptcy case is filed (with rare exceptions that apply to some repetitive case filings). The automatic stay stops most lawsuits, repossessions, foreclosures, garnishments, utility shut-offs, and debt collection harassment. It offers debtors relief and enables debtors and a case trustee to review the facts and develop an appropriate solution to the debt problems.
Chapter 7: Liquidation (court filing fee, not including attorney fees or costs = $335)
1. Chapter 7 is designed for debtors in financial difficulty who do not have the ability to pay their existing debts. Debtors whose debts are primarily consumer debts are subject to a “means test” designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under chapter 7. If your income is greater than the median income for your state of residence and family size, in some cases, creditors have the right to file a motion requesting the court dismiss your case as an abuse under 707(b) of the United States Bankruptcy Code. It is up to the court to decide whether the case should be dismissed.
2. Under chapter 7, you may claim certain property exempt under applicable law. Some states force debtors in the state to only claim property exempt pursuant to state law, while other states allow debtors to choose to claim property exempt under either state or federal law. A trustee can take possession and sell any non-exempt property and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors.
3. The purpose of filing a chapter 7 case is to obtain a discharge of the debts existing as of the date you file a case. However, not all debts are dischargeable. If you have committed certain kinds of improper conduct described in the Bankruptcy Code, the court may deny you a discharge and, if it does, the purpose for which you filed the bankruptcy petition will be defeated.
4. Even if you receive a general discharge, some particular debts are not discharged under the law. Therefore, you may be responsible to pay for most taxes and student loans; debts incurred to pay no dischargeable taxes; domestic support and property settlement obligations; most fines, penalties, forfeitures, and criminal restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your paperwork; and debts for death or personal injury caused by operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Also, if a creditor can prove that a debt arose from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or theft, or from a willful or malicious injury, the bankruptcy court may determine that the debt is not discharged.
Chapter 13: Repayment of All or Part of the Debts of an Individual with Regular Income (court filing fee, not including attorney fees or costs = $310).
1. Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a period of time. You are only eligible for chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.
2. Under chapter 13, you must file with the court a plan to repay your creditors all or part of the money you owe them from your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three or five years, depending upon your income and other factors. The court must approve your plan of repayment before it can take effect.
3. After completing the payments under your plan, your debts are generally discharged except for domestic support obligations; most student loans; certain taxes; most criminal fines and restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; certain debts for acts that caused death or personal injury; and certain long term secured obligations (like mortgages).
Chapter 11: Reorganization (court filing fee, not including attorney fees or costs = $1,717)
Chapter 11 is designed for the reorganization of a business but is also available to individual consumer debtors. Its provisions are quite complicated and any decision by an individual to file a chapter 11 petition should be reviewed by an attorney. Further information about chapter 11 cases, since chapter 11 usually does not pertain to individuals with primarily consumer debts can be found at the following website: www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts.html. Or, you can obtain information about chapter 11 by obtaining a copy of the brochure published in June, 2000 and titled “A Bankruptcy Basics” prepared by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Chapter 12: Family Farmer or Fisherman (court filing fee, not including attorney fees or costs = $275)
Chapter 12 is designed to permit family farmers and fishermen to repay their debts over a period of time from future earnings and is similar to chapter 13. The eligibility requirements, however, are restrictive, limiting its use to those whose income arises primarily from a family-owned farm or commercial fishing operation. Chapter 12, therefore, is usually not available to consumers whose debts are primarily consumer debts. The brochure and website mentioned above also provides more detailed information regarding chapter 12.
SERVICES AVAILABLE FROM CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCIES
With limited exceptions, §109(h) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that all individual debtors who file for bankruptcy relief on or after October 17, 2005, receive a briefing that outlines the available opportunities for credit counseling and provides assistance in performing a budget analysis. The briefing must be given within 180 days before the bankruptcy filing. The briefing may be provided individually or in a group (including briefings conducted by telephone or over the Internet) and must be provided by a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency approved by the United States Trustee or bankruptcy administrator. The clerk of the bankruptcy court has a list that you may consult of the approved budget and credit counseling agencies in your jurisdiction.
BANKRUPTCY CRIMES AND AVAILABILITY OF BANKRUPTCY PAPERS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS
A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false oath or statement under penalty of perjury, either orally or in writing, in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both. All information supplied by a debtor in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to examination by the Attorney General acting through the Office of the United States Trustee, the Office of the United States Attorney, and other components and employees of the Department of Justice.
11 U.S.C. §521(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you promptly file detailed information regarding your creditors, assets, liabilities, income, expenses and general financial condition. Your bankruptcy case may be dismissed if this information is not filed with the court within the time deadlines set by the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and the local rules of the court.
NOTICE #2: Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§342(b)(2)
FRAUD & CONCEALMENT PROHIBITED
It is important that you understand the following:
1. Some or all of the information you provide in connection with your bankruptcy case will be filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the appropriate jurisdiction on forms or documents that you will be required to sign and declare as true under penalty of perjury.
2. A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceal assets or makes false oaths or statements under penalty of perjury in connection with a bankruptcy case shall be subject to fine, imprisonment, or both.
3. All information you provide in connection with your bankruptcy case is subject to examination and audit by the Attorney General of the United States.
NOTICE #3: Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§527(a)(2)
MANDATORY DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMERS WHO ARE CONTEMPLATING FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT:
1. All information that you are required to provide with the filing of your case and thereafter, while your case is pending, must be COMPLETE, ACCURATE, and TRUTHFUL.
2. You must disclose ALL of your assets and liabilities! Further, you must identify the replacement value of each asset (as defined in the Bankruptcy Code, 506) must be stated in documents where requested after reasonable inquiry to establish the value. For most property used and acquired for personal, family, or household purposes, replacement value means the amount retail merchant would charge for “used” property similar to what you own considering the age and condition of the property. Replacement cost does NOT mean the amount you would have to pay a retail merchant for a “new” item. For many cases involving used clothing, furniture, computers, replacement cost may be “yard sale” value, or what the used item might sell for on eBay. With regard to antiques, jewelry or collectibles, replacement value might be the retail value. For motor vehicles, replacement value would be the third-party purchase value. For real estate, replacement value would be what the property would sell for at current market value. For cash and bank accounts it is the actual amount on deposit. For stocks and bonds, it is their market value as of the date your case is filed and the value is the cash value of what the stock could sell for in the market, or the amount a bond could be redeemed for at the time of filing.
3. Before you file a case, you are subject to a “means test.” The “means test” is a statutory test designed to determine whether or not you qualify to file a case under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, and if not, how much you need to pay to your unsecured creditors in a chapter 13 case. You must therefore state, after reasonable inquiry, your current monthly income, the amount of all expenses as specified in 707(b)(2), and, in a case under chapter 13 of this title, disposable income (determined in accordance with 707(b)(2), are required to be stated after reasonable inquiry.
4. Any information you provide during the case may be audited pursuant to Title 11 of the United States Code and failure to provide information may result in dismissal of the case or other sanction, including criminal sanctions!
NOTICE #4: Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§527(b)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER
If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you can represent yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone.
The following information helps you understand what must be done in a routine bankruptcy case to help you evaluate how much service you need. Although bankruptcy can be complex, many cases are routine. Before filing a bankruptcy case, either you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for different forms of debt relief available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is most likely to be beneficial for you. Be sure you understand the relief you can obtain and its limitations. To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, as well as in some cases a Statement of Intention need to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court. You will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court. Once your case starts, you will have to attend the required first meeting of creditors where you may be questioned by a court official called a ‘trustee’ and by creditors. If you choose to file a chapter 7 case, you may be asked by a creditor to reaffirm a debt. You may want help deciding whether to do so. A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming your debts. If you choose to file a chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over 3 to 5 years, you may also want help with preparing your chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which will be before a bankruptcy judge. If you select another type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or chapter 13, you will want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief.
Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation. You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court, but only attorneys, not bankruptcy petition preparers, can give you legal advice.
[Statement contained in and required by 11 USC 527(b).]
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT
By using this Site and/or otherwise accepting this Agreement, user acknowledges that user received a copy or has been provided access to all of the following notices:
1. Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§342(b)(1) and 527(a)(1)
2. Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§342(b)(2)
3. Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§527(a)(2)
4. Notice Mandated by 11 U.S.C. §§527 (b)