Don't be a victim.
Get an attorney.
Our focus is consumer protection and serving the hard-working people of the great state of Florida. Our attorneys have extensive experience in loss mitigation matters. We can explore many solutions and find a loss mitigation program individualized to your needs. This is all done at a low rate. Our office reviews each individual debt before accepting it into a debt resolution program. Debt relief is Mrs. Kenyon's passion, and she wants to see you succeed.
We cannot guarantee settlements. But we do guarantee that Mrs. Kenyon will use her years of experience in negotiating on behalf of collection agencies, law firms, consumers and businesses to reach the best possible result for you. We tell you exactly what to expect, the risks and advantages of debt relief, and the likely outcome based on other cases that we have worked.
Select the topic below to read more.
Beware of Bankruptcy Scams
One of my clients paid thousands of dollars to an online bankruptcy document preparation service. She thought it was a law firm, but it was not. She is now going to lose her car as a result of her failure to properly maneuver through the bankruptcy process. My office will not accept bankruptcy cases filed by you or another party AFTER the case has already been filed, as there are usually serious mistakes that are too costly to fix. Please be sure to meet with your attorney in person prior to filing to ensure that he or she is an attorney and a real person.
To file for bankruptcy, you must pass the Means Test. This test is designed to determine if you qualify for bankruptcy, and which chapter.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
is a process where all of your assets are liquidated to pay your debts. There are a few items that you are allowed to keep because they are excluded as your state allowed exemptions. A trustee is assigned to your case. That trustee collects and reviews personal financial information to ensure that you are allowed to file under the proper type of bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the same as debt reorganization. Once you have filed, a trustee is assigned to your case. You must attend at least one creditor's meeting. For the Tampa, Bradenton, and Sarasota areas, that meeting would be in Tampa. The trustee and your attorney will work to set you up on a payment plan. All of your disposable income would be made as payments to the trustee for a period of approximately 60 months. After 60 months, the remaining amount of debt is discharged and forgiven.
Are you almost in foreclosure? Have you been served with a foreclosure lawsuit? You may only have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. Our attorneys have been involved in hundreds of foreclosure cases, and we may be able to defend you in your case. We create a specialized defense strategy based on your specific needs. Call us today if you would like to speak with an attorney about us taking your case. Other than foreclosure defense, you may want to consider one of the foreclosure related options below.
One option for avoiding foreclosure is to list your house for sale in a short-sale. A short-sale is the term for a transaction in which you sell your house for less than you owe on your mortgage. In Florida, a deficiency balance may remain. This means that the money owed on the note/ loan minus the price for which the house is sold equals what you still owe to the bank. IE: You owe 100,000. House Sells for $60,000. You still are liable to pay the bank $40,000 for the deficiency. Talk to an attorney or your agent about how to avoid responsibility for the deficiency, and to walk away without worry.
Consenting to a judgment may be the furthest thought from your mind. However, there are some advantages. Often times to accepting a consent judgment in a foreclosure case. For example, the lender may forgive the deficiency. Maybe the lender will allow for a few extra months in the home in exchange for a consent judgment.
Certain langauge must be in the documents to ensure that the bank does what its agent says it will do. Be sure to contact an attorney to ensure that the bank honors its agreement. Remember, the bank is not working for your best interests.
A deed-in-lieu is a document that results in your giving title of your property to the bank to avoid a foreclosure judgment. This option is better for your credit than a foreclosure judgment. It is often an alternative to a foreclosure judgment. An attorney can negotiate a deed-in-lieu that results in the bank forgiving the deficiency.
Always aim for a deed-in-lieu with forgiveness of the deficiency balance. Otherwise, you may be stuck paying the deficiency balance to the bank.
A modification is a new agreement that adds to and or replaces a prior agreement that you had with the bank. A modification is intended to help you get back on track with your mortgage payments.
Not all modifications are reasonable. If you are hoping to obtain a modification, speak to an attorney about the possibility of prevailing and the amount that you may pay in potential payments.
Be aware of modification scams. My office has personally been in contact with at least one person a week who has been the victim of what they feel to be a modification scam.
All of the above practices may be considered creditor abuse. Please share your story with us to determine if you have been a victim. You may only have one year to sue from the date of the violation.
Credit Reporting Act Violations
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that you dispute incorrect items on your credit with the credit reporting agencies. This is a necessary step in bringing a later lawsuit for failure of the credit reporting agency to remove the item from your credit.
Furthermore, there are dispute steps that can be taken directly with the creditor to resolve the false credit reporting. For example, always make sure disputes are sent by certified mail!
Credit can be complicated! Our attorneys have reviewed thousands of credit reports. Each report is different, and the creditor reporting companies are constantly changing the format. If you have questions about your credit, contact our office to speak with a qualified representative.
Wage Garnishment Florida law reduces your liability for garnishment if you are the primary breadwinner for your family. This is known as the head of household exemption. You may also be entitled to protection under federal law that prohibits garnishments beyond 25% of your wages by most creditors.
Bank Garnishment Certain funds held in your bank account may be exempt from garnishment under Florida and federal law. Those exemptions include social security, retirement income, and VA benefits in some situations. Please contact our office to see if you qualify for a Claim of Exemption from garnishment.
A deficiency judgment is a judgment for the difference between what is owed on the foreclosure judgment and the fair market value of your foreclosed property at the time of the sale. If your bank did not give up the right to sue for a deficiency (waive the right to seek a deficiency), then you may recently been served with a deficiency lawsuit or a Motion for Deficiency Judgment in your original foreclosure case. Bankruptcy can wipe out your deficiency judgment, leaving you free of the debt.
The old law in Florida allowed five years to file an action for a deficiency. The new Florida law allows one (1) year. The new law may help you if you have received a Motion for Deficiency. If your foreclosure sale was held before July, 23, the statute allows an action for deficiency to be filed within 5 years from the filing of the certificate of title or by July, 2014, whichever is earlier. This means, the statute of limitations may have already run, and you may have a defense to deficiency action.
Statistics released by federal agencies show that most debt settlement programs DO NOT WORK. Why? This is because a "one-size fits all" approach does not work with debt settlement. You may be a better candidate for bankruptcy, and not debt settlement.
Many of our clients come to our office seeking bankruptcy. Once properly informed, they find solutions that help them to avoid bankruptcy. Consuemers are often surprised to find that our office, an attorney's office, charges a more reasonable fee than the prior debt settlement company with which they were working. And, the attorney does the negotiating.
Most major creditors have very specific guidelines that they will follow in debt settlement. Every creditor is different. Every creditor has special policies and procedures. Third party collection agencies also have parameters that differ from their predecessor and succesor.
Our office has extensive experience working with almost every first party creditor, collection agency or collection firm in the United States, including Zakheim and LaVrar (aka Zakheim and Associates), Farrell and Seldin, Machol & Johannes, Patrick Carey, Northland Group, Client Services, Law Office of John Bonewicz, Associated Recovery Systems (ARS), LTD Financial Services, Financial Recovery Services, Federated Law Group, The Brachfield Law Group, World Financial Network Bank, Comenity Bank, Nations Recovery Center, FMA Alliance, Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, Portfolio Recovery Associates, Stokes and Clinton, Viking Client Services, Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co, Credit Control, Progressive Financial Services, Nelson, Watson, and Associates, Juniper, Barclays, Frontier Financial Group, RGS Financial, Accounts Receivable Management (ARM), Creditors Financial Group, Enhanced Recovery, and so many more.
Mortgage debt takes many forms. You may have a first mortgage or a second mortgage. Or, you may have a deficiency balance from a mortgage foreclosure, short-sale, or settlement.
Our office has handled all types of mortgage related debt. Whether we work inside of a foreclosure case or directly with your lender prior to foreclosure or lawsuit, we strive to reach a solution that eases your stress.
Many foreclosure mills and foreclosure related attorneys, such as the Law Offices of Daniel Consuegra, Douglas C. Zahm, Morris, Hardwick, Schneider, Choice Legal, Ronald R. Wolfe and Associates, Gladstone Law Group, Rutherford Mulhall, Butler & Hosch, Gibson, Kohl, Wolff, and HRIC, Hodges, Avrutis, & Foeller, Elizabeth R. Wellborn, David Bakalar, Marinosci Law Group, Hankin, Persson, Davis, Mcclenathen, and Darnell, Aldridge Connors LLP, and Albertelli Law, are willing to present your offer to their client.
Lenders and their services, such as Citimortgage, Carrington Mortgage Services, Litton Loan Servicing, Bank of America, SPS Servicing, OCWEN loan servicing, and many others may be willing to work to reach loss mitigation.
Our office can guide you through this difficult process.
Often times business owners will open business credit lines secured by their own personal credit. Our office can assist in negotiating both business debts and debts that were secured by a personal guarantee.
Business bankruptcy is not the best option in all situations. Furthermore, business bankruptcy may result in high legal fees. Instead, attempting business debt settlement may be a better route to saving your life's investment.