Three Common Utah Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Mistakes

Bankruptcy Court

These are three of the most common mistakes I see right before someone goes in bankruptcy court:

1. Making A Preference Payment

If you owe on credit cards or medical debt and instead of paying that debt you pay on a past-due debt to family within 1 year of filing bankruptcy, that is a preference payment. The bankruptcy judge can take that money back from your family member and give it to your other creditors. For ordinary (non family) creditors it is within 90 days of filing bankruptcy.  On-time payments in the ordinary course of business are fine.

2. Transferring Property
Don’t transfer property, transfer the title of your truck to your brother-in-law etc., right before you file bankruptcy. Don’t sell property for less than fair market value. The bankruptcy judge has the power to reverse these transfers.

3. Loading Up On Debt
Once you know you can not repay your debt, it is fraudulent to continue to acquire new debt. So don’t do it.  Don’t do any cash advances, check loans or balance transfers. It is best to stop using credit cards entirely once you know you are going to have to file bankruptcy. There is a presumption that charges made within 90 days of filing are fraudulent and those may have to be repaid.

As I always say to my clients does it pass the smell test?  If it smells bad don’t do it and always contact an experienced Utah bankruptcy attorney before you make any questionable payments or transfers of your stuff.

When will my bankruptcy case be over?


A call came into the office today asking this question. So when does a bankruptcy case get finished? Unfortunately, a discharge of debt does not close a bankruptcy case. Before your case is closed, a Trustee must liquidate non-exempt assets to pay your creditors and see all other legal matters resolved. This process can take years in complex cases.
After you have resolved the legal conflicts associated with your debt, your case will be closed with a Final Decree. Whether it takes three months or several years, the Final Decree ensures that, except in the event that your case is reopened, you are no longer obligated to pay your debt. Every case is different so speaking with an experienced attorney is the best answer to your specific situation.

When do you know it’s time to file bankruptcy?

All of us have our own threshold of tolerance of anything. That includes debt.  So how much debt is enough and when it will be time to do something about it. Might I suggest that when you have a problem that is likely to get out of hand you should deal with it as soon as possible.  At least find out your options.  Whenever I am are deal with things, especially financial matters in their early stages, I find you will have more options available to choose from the quicker you act.
If you find yourself struggling to meet your obligations you may find that an experienced Utah bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you walk in the right direction to handle your debt problems.  I find that when it comes to debt, it is never really the amount of doubt that causes my clients to file for bankruptcy, it is really, the ability or inability to pay for those debts.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney will have the necessary skills and experience to help you self evaluate you situation. Over the years in dealing with thousands of financially troubled people I find that a one-on-one conversation about how they got there and where they need to go is critical to making a good decision.  But don’t think that just a phone call to a random guy that claims to do bankruptcy is going to get you the best result in a few minutes.  Go in an meet face-to-face with an attorney they are usually good people that want to help and I doubt there is much you can tell them that they have not already dealt with in the past.

Here are few of the basic questions you should expect:
• What kind of debts do you owe?
• Are you able to pay the minimum payments on your bills?
• Do you find yourself spending more money than you make?
• Are creditors constantly calling you? Are payments being garnished?

Most folks don’t like talking about their debt and finances to other people. I get it.  So make sure you are comfortable with the person you are talking to. If you are facing significant debt and you want to do something about it, exploring bankruptcy is one of many options you can consider.   If you have any concerns about bankruptcy or other options, you should not hesitate to consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Here at the Law Office of Douglas Barrett we offer a free in office consultation in all consumer cases.

How much debt do I have to have to file for bankruptcy?

We often get the question here at the firm of whether or not there is a certain amount of debt that somebody needs to have before they can file a Utah bankruptcy. The answer is that there is no minimum amount of debt that is required to file a bankruptcy.  As with most simple answers in the law it can be more nuanced than that so speaking with a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer is helpful.

Can you prevent an eviction with a bankruptcy?

This is a common phone call we get here at the office.  Most of the time it is someone who is behind on their rent and facing a potential eviction.  If this sounds like your situation you need to know that you may have options that will keep you in your home. The most obvious one is to catch up the past-due rent before the landlord secures an eviction order. If your circumstance will not allow this, it may be possible to prevent the eviction by filing for protection under the Bankruptcy Code.   If the landlord has not yet obtained a judgment to evict from the court, filing a bankruptcy may imposes a stay against collection activity, and this stay applies to the attempt to evict you as well. Any action to collect the debt or remove you and your family from the property can be stopped at least for a time while the bankruptcy case is pending. This can allow you time to catch up on the past due rent, and prevent the eviction.  Timing is obviously critical in these situations and you need to understand that every situation is different.  If you are behind in your rent, and fear you will be evicted, call  our experienced attorney to see what can be done to help you in your situation.

How long does a chapter 7 bankruptcy last?

Bankruptcy Discharge

How long does it take to get a discharge in bankruptcy?

If you are feeling trapped by debt and your income is below the median average for Utah, you may be able to file for a Utah Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This legal process will allow you to eliminate certain types of debt and get on with your life without the stress caused by years of accumulated debt. Should filing for bankruptcy be in your best interest, it is important to be aware of the nature of the situation, especially the amount of time this type of case will take.  The main goal of a bankruptcy case that most people focus on is the discharge—that moment when they are relieved of various types of debt. This part of the bankruptcy process is the most visible form of relief. In the majority of cases, it takes three to six months from the time a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy until the time when their debt will be discharged.  Of course there are always exceptions to this general rule and consulting with an experienced Utah bankruptcy lawyer is always recommended.

Bankruptcy Lawyers Near Me

Have you ever had the question, “I wonder where the best bankruptcy lawyers are near me?” We hear that from a lot from folks in financial crisis searching for help. Having a huge amount of debt can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. If you lack sufficient income to pay your obligations you could very easily find yourself on the edge of financial ruin. Your Creditors may be harassing you at all hours of the day and night. You might be facing a home foreclosure or are having your hard earned wages garnished. You may have already tried refinancing your mortgage or restructuring your loans. You might have already pursued various other debt relief options, yet you are still unable to make ends meet. If this sounds like your situation, you will be relieved to know that there is help out there in the form of bankruptcy  You need to know there  are numerous positive aspects to bankruptcy.
Despite all the bankruptcy myths you may have heard, bankruptcy is a legal and viable option for those seeking a way out from under their financial burdens. There is no shame in filing for bankruptcy. Many individuals, from all walks of life, have turned to bankruptcy as a way to regain control of their finances and get a fresh financial start, allowing them to move towards a more prosperous and debt-free future. Some of the benefits include:  stopping all creditor harassment and debt collection efforts, no longer being weighed down by an unmanageable amount of debt, creating time to solve a foreclosure, ending repossession actions, wage garnishments, and other debt collection activities, as well as completely discharging all qualifying debts.
The most positive aspect of filing for bankruptcy protection is that upon completion, you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief as you will now be in a far better financial situation, free from credit card debt, overdue medical bills, utility charges and other unsecured consumer debt. To find out how you can benefit from bankruptcy, a Utah County bankruptcy attorney near you, The Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC as soon as possible. Our firm has helped thousands of individuals successfully navigate through bankruptcy proceedings, and come out the other side debt-free. Our clients love how easy it is to do business with Douglas Barrett and we often hear that he was our go to attorney when looking for a bankruptcy attorney near me.

Bankruptcy can be hard let us make it easy

Recently an attorney friend of mine commented that the sign at the hearing location we were attending had misspelled the word bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can be a hard word to spell.  So I decided to start to keep a list of the many ways that I have seen the word misspelled on forms and emails sent to my office.  Here is my list:

1. Bancruptcy

2. Bankrupse

3. Bankrupcie

4. Bankrupsy

5. Bankrutpcy

6. Bankrupsie

7. Bankruptcse

8. Bankraptcy

9. Bancruptsty

10. Bankrupsy

11. Bakruptcy

12. Bankrupty

13. Bankrupcy

14. Bancrutpcy

Anyway you spell it, The Law Office of Douglas Barrett helps people and small business file bankrutcpy — oops bankruptcy — We focus on helping  good folks in bad situations get a fresh financial start.

How to get a Free credit report

I have a lot of Utah clients ask me how they can get a copy of their credit report as they prepare to file bankruptcy.  Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it.  To ask for it just click on this link for the Free Credit Report.  Then fill out the information requested on the website.  I would suggest you stay away from other websites that claim to provide a free reports but are merely a front for credit repair scams and require that you give them a credit card number to get the free report.


Was your Utah Bankruptcy Case Prepared in India or Mexico?

Where were your documents prepared?

Where Were Your Bankruptcy Documents Prepared?

The new trend in the world of bankruptcy is to outsource case and/or document preparation to workers in far away countries.  Ask yourself is that how you want your Utah bankruptcy case prepared?

Do you want your most personal financial information stored on computers located in Mexico, India, or China?

Right now there is a lot of economic incentive for attorneys to outsource the service of preparing the documents that are needed to file with the Bankruptcy Court. Outsourcing removes the biggest overhead cost of most law firms: employee wages.  Outsourcing transforms paralegal costs from a fixed overhead item to a variable cost expense.  Outsourcing means you need less office space, so you save on rent. Paralegals in India and Mexico do not receive overtime. Payroll tax burdens are eliminated with overseas outsourcing. It eliminates the need to file quarterly reports with the IRS. The burden of hiring and firing is eliminated.

For the record the Law Office of Douglas Barrett has never outsourced our paralegal staff. I doubt we ever will.  Here is why I just wont do it:

1. I believe quality suffers.   Workers in foreign countries can’t understand life in America specifically Utah (and to be fair we don’t fully understand their life either). This  becomes a problem because when you don’t understand your client fully, how are you going to ask the client the right questions to fully explain their financial problems to the court? Paralegals from India or Mexico are probably fine folks, but they don’t get the local culture and they do not have the experience to explain and document an American client’s financial situation.

2. I doubt the cost savings are that great. It may cost less to outsource bankruptcy case preparation, but a knowledgeable paralegal can save money in other ways. By providing face-to-face interaction with our clients, they perform their job better and that leads to a clearer and better prepared document. They do their jobs more efficiently because they have a fuller understanding of the client’s background.

3. Frustrating communication problems. I believe that one attorney and one paralegal should be assigned to each client. You speak to the same team every time you call our office. You know your legal team and they know you. They know your kids names and your favorite football team and a million other details about your family. Some bankruptcy cases can last for up to 5.5 years. It’s an important relationship. Because we know you better we can serve you better. Do you think a worker from India or Mexico can match that?

4. We protect confidential client information. Bankruptcy attorneys gather a bunch of very personal information, including tax returns, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, retirement statements, etc. Do you want that information stored on some computer in Mexico or India?

I think when most people hire a Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer they want a local Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer and their local staff and they do not want their file outsourced and sent overseas.

Our Utah Bankruptcy documents are proudly made in the USA!