Denver Lawyer Clark Daniel Dray http://www.debtfreecolorado.com Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:50:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2016/12/07/chapter-7-bankruptcy-timeline/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:29:02 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=3589 Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem intimidating, but as you can tell from the following infographic, the steps that go into successfully completing your case are pretty straightforward.

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem intimidating, but as you can tell from the following infographic, the steps that go into successfully completing your case are pretty straightforward.

The post Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline appeared first on Denver Lawyer Clark Daniel Dray.

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Bankruptcy and Your Credit Report – Frequently Asked Questions http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2016/11/02/bankruptcy-credit-report-faq/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:47:22 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=3552 How Does a Bankruptcy Affect my Credit Score? If you've been doing a great job making payments on your debts, bankruptcy will have a significant impact on your credit score in the short term. However, by the time you start thinking seriously about bankruptcy you've probably either started missing payments or are on the verge of doing [...]

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How Does a Bankruptcy Affect my Credit Score?

Bankruptcy Credit RebuildIf you’ve been doing a great job making payments on your debts, bankruptcy will have a significant impact on your credit score in the short term. However, by the time you start thinking seriously about bankruptcy you’ve probably either started missing payments or are on the verge of doing so. If that’s the case, the bankruptcy will help you turn things around per a recent piece in the Los Angeles Times:

Filing for bankruptcy may have actually helped your scores. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found scores typically plunged in the 18 months before people filed for bankruptcy and rose steadily afterward. The average credit score before someone filed Chapter 7 was 538.2 on Equifax’s 280-to-850 scoring range. By the time filers’ cases were discharged, their average score was 620.3.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on my Credit Report?

According to Experian:

Will I be Able to Get Credit After Bankruptcy?

Absolutely. My clients frequently report that within days of their bankruptcy being filed their mailboxes are filled with offers for vehicle financing, credit cards, and other loans. They’re not great offers, though. Interest rates, annual fees, and other costs of credit will be very high until you can start to rebuild your credit.

Can I Buy a Home After Bankruptcy?

If you’ve rebuilt your credit, you can buy a home between one and four years after your bankruptcy discharge, depending on the type of loan (VA, FHA, conventional, etc.). See this chart by mortgage banker James Spray for more specifics.

How do I Rebuild my Credit Score After Bankruptcy?

While the old saying time heals all wounds may or may not be the case with respect to a broken heart, it is central to credit repair after bankruptcy. Again from Equifax, while the bankruptcy shows up on your credit report for years,

as time goes by and you begin to reestablish your credit, the bankruptcy notations will begin to affect you less and less until they are purged automatically from the report.

You shouldn’t just sit around waiting for the bankruptcy to drop off the credit report, though. There are several steps you should take after your case is filed to rebuild your credit score:

  • Review your credit report and file disputes where the bankruptcy isn’t being reported properly. You can get your free credit reports once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
  • Get and use a secured credit card. A secured card is one where you put down a deposit and the lender gives you a card in the same amount. Don’t ever max it out, and pay it down completely each month.
  •  Consider reaffirming a vehicle loan so that payments continue to report to the credit bureaus.
  • Get a credit-builder loan.

You apply for the loan, whether you have bad credit or no credit, and you are approved, but there’s a safety net for the lender. The money you borrow is deposited in a savings account — one that you cannot access until you have fully repaid the loan. If you pay the loan as agreed, the financial institution promises to send a good report to the credit bureaus. A 2013 study showed an average improvement of 35 points with six months of on-time payments for loans as small as $100.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, call The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at (303) 900-8598.

Convenient Locations In Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Greenwood Village, Golden, Littleton, Louisville, and Lone Tree

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Bankruptcy Means Test Median Income by State – After April 1, 2017 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2016/10/15/bankruptcy-means-test-income/ Sat, 15 Oct 2016 09:18:39 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=3533 Your household income is an important element in determining whether you are eligible for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and calculating the payment amount and duration of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan. The bankruptcy means test compares your income to the median income for the same size household in the your state. If you make less than [...]

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Your household income is an important element in determining whether you are eligible for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and calculating the payment amount and duration of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan.

The bankruptcy means test compares your income to the median income for the same size household in the your state. If you make less than the median, you’re presumed to qualify for a Chapter 7 or you are eligible for a Chapter 13 plan that ends after 3 years of payments. If you make more than the median income, you may need to file a Chapter 13 which lasts 5 years. However, in some instances you may still be able to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy notwithstanding your above-median income, which is why you should always speak to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to help you understand your options.

The following chart is effective for bankruptcy cases filed on or after April 1, 2017. The median income changes periodically, and the current figures can always be found here.

State, Territory, Commonwealth One Person Two People Three People Four People*
Alabama $43,476 $52,970 $60,367 $70,940
Alaska $62,326 $85,281 $86,944 $97,831
Arizona $46,779 $58,684 $62,227 $72,052
Arkansas $39,265 $48,602 $55,175 $67,486
California $52,416 $70,245 $75,160 $84,059
Colorado $55,858 $72,037 $81,496 $95,117
Connecticut $62,929 $80,974 $91,867 $113,409
Delaware $51,703 $68,041 $77,862 $93,811
District of Columbia $51,907 $99,046 $99,046 $113,478
Florida $44,576 $55,344 $60,636 $72,382
Georgia $43,274 $56,301 $62,483 $73,202
Hawaii $61,057 $73,656 $85,099 $98,059
Idaho $46,779 $55,532 $57,240 $71,195
Ilinois $50,765 $66,487 $76,406 $91,216
Indiana $46,412 $57,558 $66,148 $77,566
Iowa $47,147 $63,760 $70,989 $83,522
Kansas $47,591 $63,327 $72,981 $83,528
Kentucky $42,589 $51,524 $57,696 $72,863
Louisianna $43,063 $53,080 $59,303 $71,957
Maine $48,842 $60,398 $67,690 $81,950
Maryland $63,401 $81,507 $92,819 $112,685
Masachusetts $61,102 $76,414 $93,755 $113,651
Michigan $47,088 $57,366 $68,192 $82,985
Minnesota $52,785 $70,889 $85,033 $101,762
Mississipi $37,051 $46,712 $50,614 $61,182
Missouri $44,994 $57,288 $65,260 $81,172
Montana $47,675 $58,348 $64,970 $79,929
Nebraska $46,485 $66,165 $71,939 $83,719
Nevada $47,057 $61,609 $61,983 $72,918
New Hampshire $62,357 $75,367 $89,188 $108,702
New Jersey $62,933 $75,305 $93,656 $114,886
New Mexico $43,104 $57,704 $57,704 $60,256
New York $51,408 $66,056 $75,870 $91,998
North Carolina $42,946 $55,722 $64,521 $72,830
North Dakota $53,523 $71,100 $81,166 $96,473
Ohio $46,242 $57,938 $68,361 $83,040
Oklahoma $43,986 $56,532 $61,386 $69,061
Oregon $50,333 $61,553 $70,877 $80,170
Pensylvania $51,138 $61,271 $75,018 $90,821
Rhode Island $50,318 $68,303 $77,079 $100,468
South Carolina $43,256 $55,598 $61,453 $71,876
South Dakota $42,245 $63,684 $66,535 $81,509
Tennesee $43,270 $53,887 $60,042 $69,160
Texas $46,709 $61,704 $65,713 $76,842
Utah $56,638 $62,903 $71,047 $79,710
Vermont $54,121 $67,202 $80,415 $92,951
Virgina $56,456 $71,871 $82,395 $97,731
Washington $59,154 $72,460 $79,754 $92,727
West Virginia $45,401 $48,325 $56,781 $71,399
Wisconsin $48,407 $62,914 $76,179 $89,245
Wyoming $59,974 $71,971 $80,219 $82,871
Guam $40,152 $48,008 $54,708 $66,204
Northern Mariana Islands $26,964 $26,964 $31,370 $46,139
Puerto Rico $23,758 $23,758 $23,758 $29,502
Virgin Islands $31,857 $38,288 $40,824 $44,725
*Add $8,400 for each individual in excess of 4

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Heupel Law Closed, Website Down http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2016/03/11/heupel-law-closed-website-down/ Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:36:40 +0000 http://www.dray.dreamhosters.com/?p=3260 High-volume Denver bankruptcy law firm Heupel Law has closed it doors. As of 7 March 2016,the website for Heupel Law, http://www.heupellaw.com, was offline. Before going offline, the website bore the following message:  Heupel Law currently ceased operations as of February 28, 2016. At this time, it is unclear if and when the firm may reopen. Calling [...]

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High-volume Denver bankruptcy law firm Heupel Law has closed it doors. As of 7 March 2016,the website for Heupel Law, http://www.heupellaw.com, was offline. Before going offline, the website bore the following message:

 Heupel Law currently ceased operations as of February 28, 2016. At this time, it is unclear if and when the firm may reopen.

Calling Heupel Law will result in a voicemail suggesting that you email Questions@HeupelLaw.com for information on transferring your case.

If you are in an active bankruptcy, you may have received a document from the Court titled NOTICE REGARDING COUNSEL OF RECORD FOR DEBTOR(S) which states the following:

The matter before the Court is the Order Approving Amended Conditional Admission of Misconduct and Imposing Sanctions pursuant to Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 251.22, which was entered by the Colorado Supreme Court in case numbers 15PDJ032 and 15PDJ043 on January 14, 2016. Pursuant to the Order, Kevin D. Heupel, Attorney Registration Number 30264, is suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day, effective February 28, 2016. Accordingly, Kevin D. Heupel is no longer counsel of record for Debtor(s).

If you were a client of Heupel Law and have questions about the retainer you remitted to the firm, need assistance in a ongoing bankruptcy case, or are preparing to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy, feel free to contact The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at 303-900-8598.

This office is in no way affiliated with Heupel Law.

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Two Common Mistakes That Put Your Social Security at Risk http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2016/02/16/common-mistakes-put-social-security-risk/ Tue, 16 Feb 2016 18:50:40 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=3143 Under both federal and Colorado law, Social Security is exempt, or safe, from the vast majority of your creditors. For example, if you are sued by a credit card company and they get a judgment against you, they can’t garnish the Social Security directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. However, once those funds [...]

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Under both federal and Colorado law, Social Security is exempt, or safe, from the vast majority of your creditors. For example, if you are sued by a credit card company and they get a judgment against you, they can’t garnish the Social Security directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. However, once those funds make it into your bank account, two common mistakes put them at risk of being frozen, requiring a fight to get them back, or taken outright.

Mistake #1: Commingling

For the purpose of protecting Social Security funds, commingling mean mixing Social Security with any other money such as wages, unemployment benefits, someone else’s Social Security, gifts, etc. When you mix your Social Security with other funds, it can be argued that the Social Security loses its exempt status and becomes fair game for your creditors.  This argument may be overcome in some circumstances, but why create the risk when avoiding the fight is so easy?

What’s the Solution? Open a brand new account at a bank to which you don’t owe any money (for example, don’t open a Chase bank account if you owe Chase money for a credit card, overdraft line of credit, etc.), and make sure that the only money that ever goes into that account is from Social Security. You can pay bills out of the account and withdraw cash like normal (just don’t redeposit it).

Mistake #2: Not Having Your Social Security Directly Deposited Into Your Bank Account

The bank levy process in Colorado is a little bit backwards. A creditor with a judgment against you sends a document called a Writ of Garnishment With Notice of Exemption And Pending Levy to your bank, which immediately freezes all the money in your bank accounts, no questions asked. Then the creditor needs to serve you with the same paperwork. If you don’t file a form called the Claim of Exemption to Writ of Garnishment within 10 days, the bank will release the frozen funds to the creditor. If you do file the Claim of Exemption on time, the court will set a hearing at which you can try to prove that the money in your account is completely or partially exempt and argue that it should be released to you. This is a lot of work and it leaves you without access to your money for weeks while you wait for the process to run its course. See this article for more information about the bank levy process in Colorado and what to do if your account has been frozen.

What’s the Solution? Have your Social Security directly deposited by Treasury into the brand new bank account mentioned above. In 2013, the U.S. Treasury and several other federal agencies amended a rule which now requires banks to protect up to two months of Social Security and other types of deposits (Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs benefits, Federal Railroad retirement benefits, Federal Railroad unemployment and sickness benefits, Civil Service Retirement System benefits, and Federal Employee Retirement System benefits) from levies. So when your bank receives the Writ of Garnishment, it has to look at your account before freezing it. And if it sees that the money in the account is exclusively direct deposited Social Security, it won’t honor the levy.

While these solutions help with the symptoms of debt, they don’t solve the underlying problem; you still owe more than you can afford to pay. Even if most of your creditors can’t touch your Social Security, they’ll come after you in different ways including wage garnishments; liens on your property; constant phone calls, letters, and lawsuits; and negative credit reporting which will make it very difficult if not impossible to get a good credit card, rent an apartment, finance a car, or buy a home. To set up a free consultation and discuss methods for resolving the your debt including settlement, repayment plans, and bankruptcy, call The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at (303) 900-8598.

 

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Why You Must List All Your Assets in Your Bankruptcy – Dance Moms Star Abby Lee Miller Indicted on Charges of Bankruptcy Fraud http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2015/10/14/dance-moms-abby-lee-miller-indicted-bankruptcy-fraud/ Wed, 14 Oct 2015 22:04:09 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=2976 "If I don't list it, how will the court know about it?" This is a common question I receive when I tell prospective clients that they need to list all their assets in a bankruptcy. The answer I generally give is "I don't know how the court will find out, but if you hide it and [...]

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“If I don’t list it, how will the court know about it?” This is a common question I receive when I tell prospective clients that they need to list all their assets in a bankruptcy. The answer I generally give is “I don’t know how the court will find out, but if you hide it and the court learns about it you risk five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Is it worth it?”

Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller will soon find out, having been indicted for bankruptcy fraud related offenses. According to the indictment, Ms. Miller “in knowing disregard of the Court’s Order . . . continued to conceal and attempted to conceal significant sums of business income”.

Abby Lee Miller is the latest in a string of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities to face the wrath of the bankruptcy court. Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $414,588 in restitution for failing to disclose income and list assets such as cars and recreational vehicles in their bankruptcy, among other charges. Further, her discharge was revoked so she still owes all the creditors that would have been handled in the bankruptcy and can likely never wipe those debts out in a future bankruptcy.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick was accused of making fraudulent transfers to friends and family members prior to filing his chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. It should be noted that this issue was resolved and that Mr. Vick appears to  have successfully completed the bankruptcy process notwithstanding the early hurdles.

You should make every effort to be as thorough with your attorney as possible. Don’t fail to mention assets because you’re afraid you’ll lose them. Your attorney will discuss creative options to preserve your things and make sure that you don’t give up more than is absolutely necessary. If you fail to disclose, you’ll lose your discharge.

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Bankruptcy, Retirement, and Estate Planning http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2014/08/07/bankruptcy-retirement-estate-planning/ Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:12:49 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=2294 When planning for retirement, you may be focused on saving up the money you'll need to live comfortably after you've left the workforce. And when planning your will and trust, the primary focus is probably making sure that your loved ones are well taken care of by passing down as much of your property possible. Surprisingly, bankruptcy can help you achieve [...]

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When planning for retirement, you may be focused on saving up the money you’ll need to live comfortably after you’ve left the workforce. And when planning your will and trust, the primary focus is probably making sure that your loved ones are well taken care of by passing down as much of your property possible. Surprisingly, bankruptcy can help you achieve both of these goals.

Your Retirement Assets Are Safe In Bankruptcy

When money is tight, many people tend to reduce or eliminate retirement contributions before making cuts to credit cards or other unsecured debt payments. This makes sense in the short term – your 401(k)  or IRA isn’t going to start calling you as soon as the money stops coming in – but you’ll regret short-changing your retirement when the time comes that you need to rely on it. Additionally, paying down debt becomes much more difficult once you’ve retired, so wiping it out ahead of time will help you stretch those dollars you’ve already saved.

Federal and state laws strongly favor retirement funding over your creditors. First, your creditors are generally barred from taking money out or your retirement accounts like they can with a bank levy. Second, your qualified retirement accounts are safe in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, or chapter 13 bankruptcy (be sure to let your qualified bankruptcy attorney know about any financial accounts you have so that an assessment can be made as to the exemptions that apply). Third, you can and should keep making reasonable retirement contributions even while you’re in the middle of a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. In a chapter 13, federal law even gives you a credit for doing so, reducing the amount of your chapter 13 plan payment, and your retirement contributions can help you qualify for a chapter 7 where you might not otherwise be eligible.

Death Doesn’t Mean The End Of Debt Collection

Your creditors can collect your debts after you’ve passed away. Your estate must settle your accounts before it can distribute assets to your loved ones, and the debt collectors will line up to get paid. This is true regardless of whether you have lots of assets and valuable property or just a few household goods. However, if you’ve filed bankruptcy and discharged your debts the creditors will be barred from collecting in the future, more of your assets will transfer to your friends and family members, and the personal representative of your estate (executor) will have a much easier time doing his or her job without having to fight with debt collectors. It’s too late to file bankruptcy after you’ve died, so this is a tool that you’ll want to take advantage of sooner rather than later.

To talk to an experienced bankruptcy and debt relief lawyer about how you can have a more enjoyable retirement and give more to your loved ones upon your death, call The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at (303) 900-8598.

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Bank Account Garnished? Here’s What To Do Now http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2014/07/31/bank-account-garnished/ Thu, 31 Jul 2014 22:11:32 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=1354 You’re checking out at the grocery store and the debit card is declined. That can’t be right, I just got paid yesterday, you think. You call your bank to find out what the problem is and they tell you that you’re overdrawn by $150 because a creditor has garnished your bank account.  Many people who face [...]

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Bankruptcy Lawyer- Bank GarnishmentYou’re checking out at the grocery store and the debit card is declined. That can’t be right, I just got paid yesterday, you think. You call your bank to find out what the problem is and they tell you that you’re overdrawn by $150 because a creditor has garnished your bank account.  Many people who face this type of situation think that the money is lost. However if you act quickly, you may be able to recover some or all of those funds.

Lawsuit and Judgment

Most garnishments of bank accounts in Colorado, also known as bank levies, start with a lawsuit against you. In that lawsuit, a court determined that you were responsible to pay a debt and granted the party which sued you, the creditor, the right to collect that money. In Colorado, judgment creditors most commonly collect what’s owed by garnishing wages, placing liens on real property like your home, and levying bank accounts.

Writ of Garnishment

To levy the account, the creditor serves your bank with a legal document known as a Writ of Garnishment. Upon receiving this writ, the bank freezes any money in your accounts in preparation to turn it over to the creditor.  The bank will probably freeze money in any account in which you have an ownership interest even though the money’s not really yours, including  accounts with your children. For this reason, custodial accounts  are generally a better option for your kids’ bank account than joint ownership.

Claim of Exemption

Once the levy is in place, your bank will normally notify you, and the creditor must serve you with the writ.  You have 10 days from the time that you are served with the writ to file with the court another legal document called the Claim of Exemption. You should have an attorney help you with this, but you are essentially telling the court that the funds that were in your bank account at the time of the levy were exempt, or protected from your creditors. The court will set a hearing date to determine which portion of the funds is exempt.

Various exemptions may apply depending on the source of the money in the account. For example, in Colorado wages are 75% exempt, and disability, unemployment, social security, and other types of funds are 100% exempt from most creditors (taxing, child support, and other administrative agencies have special rules that apply).  Because the exemptions apply to specific sources of money, it’s best if you don’t commingle, or mix together, your income. For example, all of your wage income should go into a separate bank account from your spouse’s unemployment income. This makes it easier for the bank to protect exempt funds from your creditors, and makes it easier to show the court which exemptions apply to the money that’s been levied.

Alternatively, if you file bankruptcy before the funds have been transferred to the judgment creditor, you may have a chance at getting some or all of them back as well.

Stopping Future Levies

Unlike a wage garnishment, a bank levy doesn’t continue until it’s satisfied.  The levy is only effective as to the funds that are in the account at the time its served on the bank. However, a judgment creditor may levy the bank again and again in the future. As such, you should keep funds out of bank accounts until the debt is resolved. Certain types of money, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, and others, are protected from most of your creditors as long as you follow the guidance in this post. The bank account levy is also a good indicator that your wages may soon be garnished, so you should take action right away the resolve the debt. There are several ways to do so, including chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt settlement, or even reopening the civil case in which you were originally sued and fighting it.

If you need help recovering funds that have been garnished or dealing with your creditors, call The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at (303) 900-8598.

 

 

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Bankruptcy § 341 Meeting of Creditors Locations By County http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2014/07/23/bankruptcy-341-meeting-of-creditors-locations/ Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:28:49 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=2264 While there is only one bankruptcy court for Colorado, which is located in Denver, where you live plays a big part in your case. Not only does it determine whether you're eligible for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and dictate allowable expenses in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it also determines where your 341 Meeting of [...]

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While there is only one bankruptcy court for Colorado, which is located in Denver, where you live plays a big part in your case. Not only does it determine whether you’re eligible for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and dictate allowable expenses in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it also determines where your 341 Meeting of Creditors will take place. This can be helpful in choosing a bankruptcy attorney because if you live in Eagle County and your 341 is going to be in Grand Junction, it probably wouldn’t be cost effective to hire an attorney in Denver even though you’re there regularly.

The Colorado Consumer Bankruptcy Association has just published a helpful table which sets out the 341 Meeting location based on county, as well as addresses and maps for the different meeting locations. That post can be found here.

For more information about what happens at the 341 Meeting of Creditors, see this post and feel free to call The Law Office of Clark Daniel Dray at (303)-900-8598.

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Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees Increasing http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/2014/05/08/bankruptcy-court-filing-fees-increasing/ Thu, 08 May 2014 17:05:43 +0000 http://www.debtfreecolorado.com/?p=2121 The Bankruptcy Court is increasing the fees for filing certain cases and documents on June 1st. Chapter 7 cases are increasing from $306 to $335, for example. For more information, see the original post at the Colorado Consumer Bankruptcy Association blog.

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The Bankruptcy Court is increasing the fees for filing certain cases and documents on June 1st. Chapter 7 cases are increasing from $306 to $335, for example.

For more information, see the original post at the Colorado Consumer Bankruptcy Association blog.

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