[COLUMN] Single or joint bankruptcy filing?

THE debtor is 50. Spouse is 48. They have two children, a son aged 18, and a daughter aged 16. Son is about to go to college out of state. Daughter is about to graduate from high school and applying for college in state. They expect that once son is in college and daughter is in college, they will have additional expenses related to college matters of their children approximately $500 to $700 monthly.

They did not anticipate that their children would grow up so fast and already going to college soon. They were married in 2000. That was only 21 years ago. Then son was born followed by daughter. What a delight they were when they were babies, toddlers, and up to 12 years old. Once they entered junior high, they started socializing and going with the wrong crowd became constant problems. This went on until high school. They provided all their love and concern for their children, so despite all the negative forces both their children are now looking forward to college.

America is a meritocracy despite it’s imperfections

America, despite all its imperfections, is actually still a meritocracy. A college education and a profession is a sure way of getting ahead and rising out of mediocrity here. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t have connections. If you have the right qualifications, the right higher education, good income and realization of the American dream of having a house, a nice car, and prosperity is within striking distance. No one can seriously argue against this statement. Race doesn’t come into play. You can be black, brown, red, yellow or white, it doesn’t matter really as long as you have the right educational qualifications, a good future for you is almost assured. All immigrants know this and have lived it as reality.

Immigrants who are professionals get a head start

Immigrants come here and immediately those who are professionals get a head start. Let’s just talk about nurses. If you are a registered nurse when you migrate here and are able to get a local license here as a registered nurse, then you are practically assured of finding a job that will eventually pay you between $80K to $150K a year. There’s a shortage of nurses here so the nursing profession rewards those that are able to get a local license. Without a local license, sorry, you don’t get paid as a registered nurse, even if you are a registered nurse in your place of origin. That’s just the way it works. You can be a doctor in your country of origin but when you arrive here you have to take the medical board exam, pass it, and get a local license to practice medicine. Without the local license to practice medicine here, you’re out of luck. You’re relegated to a peon and will be stuck in a rut of routine lower paying jobs. Doctors here get paid a lot. If a registered nurse is looking at up to $150K a year, medical doctors are looking at $500K a year, and this is not even a ceiling.

Jesus and God the Father guides and support immigrants

The problem of course is that it’s not that easy to pass the medical board exam if you graduated somewhere else other than the USA. I know people who are doctors abroad who can’t pass the medical board exam here who have made many attempts to pass but cannot. They take some other course here to become registered nurses so they can work as such. This is really disappointing for them and it’s sad. But the lure of living here in the USA attracts a lot of adventurous people I know, as I am one of them. Jesus and God the Father has given me all the support and guidance and protection here for my family and I. You have to pray a lot and ask for divine guidance and support.

Joint or single chapter 7 filing?

Back to client:  He owes $100K of credit card debt. His income at $96K a year is good. He’s thinking of getting rid of the $100K of credit card debt with a Chapter 7 petition as he now pays $3K of minimum card payments monthly. His wife owes $30K of credit card debt and she pays $1K of minimum credit card payments monthly. Together, they pay $4K for minimum credit card payments. Certainly, this is a lot of money for credit cards! If they continue with this payment, they won’t be able to squeeze out another $750 monthly for college expenses of their children. So push comes to shove and they have now to seriously consider getting rid of credit card debt. If husband himself files a Chapter 7 by himself and wipes out $100K, then they will save $3K a month. If wife also files with husband, making it a joint Chapter 7 case, then they will save $4K a month.

I suggest both of them together file a joint Chapter 7 case. There’s no advantage in wife keeping her $30K current at $1K a month. Her credit score is not that great either. If both of them file together, both of their credit scores will become over 600 next year and will significantly improve yearly. In 3 years, both of their credit scores will be close to 700. Both of their credit scores now are already below 600. In ten years, there is no record of their Chapter 7 filing and they’re looking at over 800 of credit score assuming they handle new debt well. They can get new credit, but whatever they use, they should pay up in full when due, not minimum payments. If they buy a new car, they have to make sure all payments are timely to boost credit score faster after bankruptcy.

If you have too much debt and need relief, please set an appointment to see me. I will analyze your case personally.

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Disclaimer: None of the foregoing is considered legal advice for anyone. Each case is different.  There is no absolutely no attorney client relationship established by reading this article.

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Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in Bankruptcy, Business, Real Estate and Civil Litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California.  Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 20274 Carrey Road, Walnut, CA 91789 or 1000 S. Fremont Ave., Mailstop 58, Building A-10 South Suite 10042, Alhambra, CA 91803.

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