Missouri attorney James R. Brown has devoted his career to representing individuals against a credit industry that consistently finds way to squeeze more money out of the average hard working American. In addition, he has taken that same drive and determination to battle the insurance companies that take advantage of families who have been involved in serious car and truck accidents.
He has been married for 24 years and has three wonderful children. His hobbies include golf, travel and reading. He has been involved in youth hockey for the past ten years as a coach and as a member of two youth hockey boards serving the St. Louis community.
He is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois, and is a member of NACBA (National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys) and NACTT (National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees.) Mr. Brown has been listed as a featured speaker at continuing legal education programs and local area high schools. He has been selected by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to be a member of committees to draft official rules of the Court and a model Chapter 13 Plan.
Mr. Brown is the author of three consumer guides that focus on bankruptcy and personal injury law:
- Seven Critical Mistakes to Avoid the Dismissal of Your Bankruptcy Case
- 10 Must Know Secrets To The Life You Dreamed of After Bankruptcy
- A Must Have Guide to Accident Cases in Missouri: 5 Costly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Injury Claim
In addition, Mr. Brown has co-authored a book with Virginia accident attorney Benjamin Glass, “The Truth about Lawyer Advertising.”
I am currently in a bind for paying bills. I don’t get paid for two more weeks. Should I consider taking out a payday loan?
Everyone is in a cash crunch every now and then. Although it is easy to take out a payday loan, these predatory loans should never be an option if you’re in a bind.
Payday loans are used to borrow against a future paycheck, but it’s deceptively costly. Let’s say you need $500 to fix your car right away. You’d write a post-dated check to the payday lender, but you have to add on $15 for every $100 you borrow. So, you’re writing a check for about $575. That works out to an annual interest rate, sometimes as high as 300-400%.
Payday lenders prey on people who don’t have bank accounts. For these people, the process becomes a vicious circle as the average person takes out 11 loans a year. At those interest rates, you can see how easy it is to fall behind.
There are better choices. First, get a bank account, manage it well and apply for a line of credit or overdraft protection. Check with a credit union, which typically have great rates. If all else fails, you could check with your employer for an advance.
If I file for bankruptcy, won’t it cause more family troubles and even lead to divorce?
The opposite it usually true. Filing bankruptcy is not the problem. The problem is not being able to pay your bills and not being able to provide for your family. This is what causes the stress and anxiety to build and build.
All good, honest, hard-working people feel a strong need to pay their bills, and not being able to do so causes them to feel tremendous stress. Unless you do something to relieve this stress, it can quickly build to the breaking point…divorce.
Bankruptcy is designed to get you out from under the burden of debt, to protect your property, to lower your stress level and to let you, once again, sleep at night. If your experience is like that of other couples, you will find that filing bankruptcy (and lowering the stress level) can be a crucial first step in bringing the love and caring, not to mention hope, back into your relationship.
Can I get rid of back taxes through bankruptcy?
We get rid of back taxes for our clients all the time. By “taxes”, I mean ‘income’ taxes, and by “old”, I mean income taxes more than 3 years old. Under the law, there are 4 or 5 qualifications that have to be met, but once these are met…in bankruptcy…those taxes are gone.
Note: Filing bankruptcy does not get rid of ‘withholding’ or ‘sales’ taxes, no matter how old they are.
Can I only file once for bankruptcy protection?
You can file and get a “discharge” under Chapter 7 once every 8 years. As for filing a Chapter 7, after filing and getting a discharge in Chapter 13, the wait is 6 years, computed from one “date of filing” to another. As for filing a case under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, the wait is only 4 years after a prior discharged Chapter 7, or 2 years after a prior discharged Chapter 13 case.
If a prior bankruptcy case was “dismissed” as opposed to “discharged”, there is no required wait time between bankruptcy filings, barring a rare court order to the contrary. However, if a case is dismissed within the last 12 months, there may be problems with the automatic stay protection you will need to be aware of. If you are in this situation, hiring a good bankruptcy lawyer is a must. I have dealt with this issue over 100 times since the New Law was enacted. Hopefully, however, filing one bankruptcy will be enough to get your life back.
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