What to do When You Get an Eviction Notice

Currently, in Arizona, there is a pause on all evictions and eviction hearing due to the economic hardships brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic


Arizona Evictions: Know Your Rights

On July 16th Governor Doug Ducey signed an order extending the eviction hold order until October 31st, 2020 because of the impacts of coronavirus on the economy of Arizona.


Fix Errors on Your Credit Report Today!

What happens when credit agencies make a mistake on your credit report? Absolutely nothing…unless you send in a dispute claim.


Top Four Reasons to Check Your Credit Score Today

As we are all at home more these days watching the economy continue its downward trend, it can be easy to spend a lot of time worrying about your financial future. One thing that can help you make progress towards securing your personal finances is requesting a free credit report. Through the Federal Trade Commission, the country’s three main creditors offer free credit reports that individuals can order once a year by filing out an online or mail-in form. While looking at your credit report may be nerve wrecking or worrisome here are the top four reasons why you should request a free report today no matter what the status of your finances are.

Catch Identity Theft Early

With more of our shopping being done online while we stay home and social distance there are increased opportunities for scam artists to get a hold of our credit card and banking information. This increased exposure has led to a jump in the number of identity theft reports since the shut down began. By accessing your credit score you would be able to spot suspicious behavior related to your identity that maybe the biproduct of identity theft. The sooner you spot this activity and report it the less damage can be done to your credit score. This makes it easier and faster to recover from identity theft and work towards rebuilding your credit score.

Make Sure the Information is Accurate

Beyond identity theft there are many other types of errors that your credit report can include. In over 20 years of filing bankruptcy cases, our law firm has seen mistakes on credit reports ranging from missing mortgages to mistaking that our client was deceased! According to a study done by the Brookings Institution, “More than one in five consumers have a “potentially material error” in their credit file that makes them look riskier than they are”. If you check your credit score today, you can discover these discrepancies and file a petition to have them removed before they cause long term damage to your financial stability and security.

Know What Employers See Before the Interview

With many Americans out of work right now and looking for new jobs, more of us will be sending out resumes and attending interviews soon. For many job applications employers will request permission to check your credit score before inviting you for an interview. A credit score can signal many things to a perspective employer such as how responsible you are with your personal finances. This can set the tone for the remainder of the hiring process. By knowing your credit score you can have a better idea of the image potential employers are seeing when you apply. It can also help you be prepared for any questions an employer might ask during an interview to avoid being caught off guard.

Learn About Your Options

If you have recently lost your job or are facing increased financial burden it can be daunting to find the best way out of the situation. Whether you need cash to tide you over till you find another job or a way to delay payments while you get back on your feet, your credit score is a pivotal element in understanding what your options are going forward. Knowing your credit score can help you determine if you are eligible for certain types of loans and what your options are for refinancing your debt during hard times.

So now that you have hopefully decided to access a free credit report here are the steps to submitting a request in about five minutes.

Or you can mail in your request for a credit score by printing out and completing the form below.

Credit report mail-in form

Once the form is complete you can mail it to the address below to receive your credit report by mail.

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281

Atlanta, GA



What are the Alternatives to Bankruptcy?

Educating yourself and exploring your options is always a smart first step. If you’ve searched for debt solutions online, you’ve probably been bombarded with advertising. And, you’ve probably seen a lot of proposed solutions that look too good to be true.

This overview will help you sort out some of the most common options for getting out of debt, and the general pros and cons of each.

1. Negotiating with Creditors: If you’ve fallen behind and are having trouble catching up, but have regular income to make payments moving forward, it may make sense to talk to your creditors before considering other action. Some creditors will allow you to skip a payment or two, moving those payments to the back end of your loan. Or, your credit card company may eliminate some late fees or even freeze them for a time to help you get caught up. Negotiating usually won’t solve the problem for those who have taken on too much debt, but may help weather a short-term problem or get back on track after a brief interruption in income or unexpected expense.

2. Debt Consolidation Loans: If you have enough income to pay your debt, but are struggling to keep up with a bunch of different minimum payments each month and paying high interest rates, a debt consolidation loan may be helpful. You may be able to take out a loan that allows you to make one monthly payment instead of several and pay a lower interest rate. But, there are two pitfalls often associated with debt consolidation loans. The first, and most serious, is that if you’re already having financial difficulty and your credit isn’t strong, you may have to provide security for the loan. For most people, that means a lien on your home, which can be risky. If it turns out you still can’t keep up payments, you could find yourself facing foreclosure. The other possible problem is that while a debt consolidation loan may offer a lower interest rate, they often stretch out payments over a longer period. That can mean paying more total interest across the life of the loan, even though the interest rate is lower.

3. Debt Settlement: Debt settlement companies often put out enticing advertisements, suggesting that you can pay just a fraction of your outstanding debt. While that’s true in a few cases, there are many possible downsides to debt settlement companies. First, debt settlement companies generally charge large fees upfront and don’t start negotiating with creditors until you’ve banked the funds to pay their fees first then they attempt to settle a debt. That can mean months or years of negative credit reporting while you build up those funds, with no guarantee that your creditors will agree. And, there’s nothing to stop them from taking collection action, including filing a lawsuit against you, while you’re sending your money to the debt settlement company instead of to your creditors. Some large national creditors have firm policies against negotiating with debt settlement companies, but the companies may not tell you that when you sign on.

4. Debt Management Plans: Debt management plans work much like debt consolidation loans, but there’s no loan involved. Instead, a non-profit credit counseling agency negotiates with your creditors for lower monthly payments and lower interest rates, and you make one monthly payment to the agency. Debt management plans are generally less risky than secured debt consolidation loans and may make debt easier to manage. But, their usefulness depends in large part on the type of debt you’re carrying and who your creditors are. You generally can’t manage secured debt like car loans through a debt management plan, and some creditors won’t work with credit counseling agencies. So, you could shift some debt into a debt management plan and still end up making regular payments on other debts. Creditors who do participate in the plan will typically close your account, which often leads to an initial drop in credit scores.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for overwhelming debt. The right answer depends on the amount of outstanding debt you’re carrying, the type of debt, your income, your assets, and your short-term and long-term goals--among other factors. The more information you have in advance, the more prepared you’ll be to make the best decision for you and your family. One useful tool in the information-gathering process is to schedule a consultation with a Tucson bankruptcy attorney to learn more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and how each might play out in your circumstances.

The Judge Law Firm helps people in the Tucson area who are overwhelmed by debt. To learn more about how we may be able to help, schedule a consultation right now. Just call 520-815-1000 or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.


Bankruptcy Can Provide Immediate Relief

If you’re considering bankruptcy, chances are you’ve been living with debt stress and creditor harassment for a while. Maybe you’re looking into bankruptcy because you’re tired of struggling to make payments and feeling like you’ll never get ahead. Or, maybe you need to take quick action because a debt collector has garnished your wages or you fear that your car is about to be repossessed.

Either way, you probably want quick relief.

The good news is that most consumer bankruptcy petitioners get some important relief as soon as the case is filed. A Chapter 7 case typically takes 4-6 months to resolve, and a Chapter 13 repayment plan stretches across 3-5 years. But, if you’re like most bankruptcy filers, you’ll be able to breathe easier immediately after you file.

That’s because in most Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, an automatic stay is entered as soon as the petition is filed.

What is the Automatic Stay?

The automatic stay is a court order that tells creditors and debt collectors to stop most collection activity. That means no more:

● Collection calls

● Letters from debt collectors

● Wage garnishment

● Auto repossession

● Mortgage foreclosure

● Debt collection lawsuits

For most people who file bankruptcy, it’s a huge relief when the phone stops ringing and the day-to-day fear that a creditor will file a lawsuit or the car will disappear from the driveway eases. The automatic stay can even stop collection activity that’s already underway. For example:

● If a wage garnishment order has been entered, garnishment generally must stop for as long as the stay is in effect--that means most bankruptcy filers with wage garnishments start receiving their full paychecks again soon after filing

● If a lawsuit has been filed, the court proceeding is typically frozen for as long as the automatic stay is in effect--depending on the type of debt and how the case proceeds, that lawsuit may never start up again

● If your automobile has just been repossessed and not yet sold, that process is generally paused--that means you may be able to get your car back through redemption in a Chapter 7 case or by catching up your payments over time through a Chapter 13 plan

Of course, the automatic stay doesn’t put a permanent end to debt collection. You can’t put a permanent stop to foreclosure or automobile repossession with the stay order. But, the collection time-out allows you and your attorney to assess your options and take the next steps. For instance, if you’re facing foreclosure and want to keep your house, you’ll have to pay for it. But, many people facing foreclosure have the means to make current payments and to catch up on the past-due balance. They just can’t do it fast enough to satisfy the mortgage servicer and prevent foreclosure.

The automatic stay provides the breathing room many people in this situation need to work with their attorneys to create a workable Chapter 13 repayment plan. In a Chapter 13 plan, the past-due balance can be spread out across three to five years. And, in most cases, the automatic stay remains in effect as long as plan payments are current.

What if a Debt Collector Continues Collection Activity?

A debt collector or creditor who knowingly continues collection action after receiving notice of the automatic stay is violating a court order. Sometimes, especially right after the stay is entered, creditors and debt collectors make honest mistakes. When that happens, the first line of defense is to tell the creditor or collector that you’ve filed for bankruptcy and an automatic stay is in effect. They may ask you for specific information, such as your bankruptcy case number or your attorney’s contact information, so make sure you keep a copy of your bankruptcy paperwork on hand.

Creditors that continue to violate the automatic stay can be subject to sanctions by the bankruptcy court. So, you should notify your bankruptcy attorney right away if a creditor or debt collector ignores the automatic stay.

Understand the Power of the Automatic Stay

In a nutshell, the automatic stay can put an immediate stop to most debt collection activity, and debt collectors who violate the stay may be punished by the court. The stay is a powerful tool for putting the brakes on and creating the time and space necessary to take the next steps toward financial freedom.

The Judge Law Firm helps people in the Tucson area who are overwhelmed by debt. To learn more about how we may be able to help, schedule a consultation right now. Just call 520-815-1000 or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.


How to Find the Best Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Unfortunately, bankruptcy is all too prevalent in many people’s lives. Often, bankruptcy is a person’s last resort option due to rising interest rates on mortgage payments, financial struggles, unfortunate life circumstances, and even mounting medical bills to name a few examples. All you need is a bit of bad luck, and you can find yourself making this same difficult decision. However, declaring bankruptcy is not as easy as saying, “I’m bankrupt.” To ease your transition into bankruptcy, and to ensure that you are getting the best deal and are being treated fairly, you should hire a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to assist you.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The most common type of bankruptcy is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim is basically a liquidation bankruptcy that wipes out most of your unsecured debts like medical bills and credit cards without the need to pay back balances through a repayment plan. In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must need certain income requirements. If you make more than the Chapter 7 income requirement, then you will need to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, once you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with help from your bankruptcy lawyers, an order called the automatic stay halts the majority of creditors from pursuing collection efforts. This type of bankruptcy works well for people with low-income and little to no assets. Filing for this bankruptcy can make it possible to stop wage garnishment, end your legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts, end debt collection harassment, prevent foreclosure on your home and allow you to catch up on missed payments, and many more.

What Can a Bankruptcy Lawyer Do for Me?

The bankruptcy lawyers at Judge Law Firm are your guide to navigating the murky waters of bankruptcy legal jargon and debt creditors who want your money yesterday. Good bankruptcy lawyers can help you figure out if another option besides bankruptcy would be better for your situation, but if bankruptcy is your best option, then they can provide you with the following benefits:

1. Offer advice about the best time to file for bankruptcy to avoid ending up in a worse financial situation than before you filed.

2. Give advice about your assets. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, certain assets are not included in the filing, which means you get to keep them. Your lawyer should know which exemptions you qualify for and will help you not lose your assets when it could have been avoided.

3. Assist you in completing paperwork that’s required to file your bankruptcy. It can be difficult to parse the meaning from dense, bankruptcy contracts. Thankfully, lawyers are trained to understand the law jargon that gets thrown at you in these filings and can help you understand what is really being asked and said.

4. Bankruptcy lawyers will represent you at creditor meetings, which is certain to relieve a lot of stress from your shoulders.

Filing for bankruptcy is a stressful and emotionally turbulent time, so why make it harder by shouldering the burden yourself? You should hire a bankruptcy lawyer to assist you in the heavy lifting and let you focus on what really matters - getting your life back on track.


Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer

In these uncertain times, and there are always uncertain times, it is best to be prepared. Anything can happen, and although people plan to sustain, they must also be alerted when necessary so that we are all prepared. One of the things people never wish for is bankruptcy, but that too is something that needs to be planned for so that it can be overcome. But how can someone be prepared for bankruptcy? Knowledge is king in everything, so here are some important questions to ask when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer near me so that you are able to make the best choice out of the bankruptcy lawyers in your area.

If you are considering this big step, then you very likely have some specific questions that are unique to your situation. Keep those questions in mind, write them down and take them with you. Don’t hesitate to ask them in the meeting that you have with any of the bankruptcy lawyers near me that came up in your search.

Is this the right decision?

This is an important question, especially if you do not know the ins and outs of bankruptcy law. Deciding whether or not to file and which type of bankruptcy protection to file is the reason why you are googling ‘bankruptcy lawyers near me.’ It is important to choose the right lawyer to help you make the right decision. Do you and the lawyer agree that this is the best thing to do, and on what the next steps are from here?

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

There are two types of bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, the filer loses any property that isn’t exempt under the law. The bankruptcy lawyer can advise as to what those exemptions might be in your area. These are usually home equity, car, clothing, or other necessities that can return you to work. You may lose anything that you own otherwise in return for having the debt wiped. Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t take anything and instead gives you time and a schedule to pay off the debt. Ask the bankruptcy lawyer near me for advice on these options.

What happens next?

After you file for bankruptcy, then what? You will want to have a clear understanding of how long the process will be and what you are going to need to produce to make your situation better right now. The bankruptcy lawyer will work with you to appraise the creditors of your situation and get them to back off. The bankruptcy lawyer near me will help you understand the length of time that this can be expected to continue, and how you will be at the end of the process.

You will also want to know about what may go wrong and what else is needed from you before you proceed. In addition, be sure that you ask about and understand the legal fees that you will incur during this process. When you choose a bankruptcy lawyer near me, you are choosing someone to fight for you and be on your team. Be sure that you and the bankruptcy lawyer can get along and work together to find the solution that is right for you.


When Filing Bankruptcy In Arizona, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forums Don't Provide Reliable Information

When filing bankruptcy in Arizona, Chapter 7 bankruptcy forums like to appear helpful, but really cannot provide you with reliable information. When you are thinking about declaring personal bankruptcy or want to enter bankruptcy protection, you need specific information about your case from someone who is an expert on bankruptcy law.


Avoiding Common Bankruptcy Mistakes

People facing serious financial difficulties often take the view that desperate times call for desperate measures. While that's an understandable outlook for somebody who has been focused on putting out financial fires for a long time, it is generally counterproductive.