Phoenix Bankruptcy Law News

March 2012 Archives

Tax Refunds Mean More Bankruptcies

Tax season is fast approaching. For many bankruptcy attorneys, that could mean that their workload will soon increase. According to the Los Angeles Times, bankruptcies rise after tax refunds are issued.

Strange, right? Why go broke when you just received a lump of cash? We briefly alluded to this in a different post on how bankruptcy numbers rise in the month of February. Let’s go into this in greater detail, especially for those of you who may be considering bankruptcy in the not-so-distant future.

U.S. Home Prices Down to New Low; Phoenix Prices Strong

Phoenix area home prices are on the rise, according to several reports. But is this good news for struggling homeowners and for those who are dealing with heavy debt?

The nation may be seeing the lowest housing prices in over a decade, according to a report by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. There is a silver lining for Phoenix homeowners, however. According to the report, Phoenix home prices are strong, with Phoenix posting a positive annual growth rate in housing prices.

BofA to Launch New Deed-in-Lieu Program for Struggling Homeowners

Underwater homes in Phoenix may soon be the subject of a new pilot project by the Bank of America (BofA). The Wall Street Journal reports a very interesting new solution being offered by the bank to help struggling homeowners stay in their homes.

BofA will allow a homeowner to hand over her deed to her house and then sign a lease agreement with the bank to rent the house back at market rate. The bank began sending letters last week to 1,000 homeowners in Arizona, Nevada and New York.

HARP 2.0 Might Cause Largest Refinancing Boom of the Decade

Distressed homeowners in Phoenix may be getting some good news. Over the past few years, the government has tried numerous programs to alleviate some of the residual stress caused by the economic downturn.

But now, some are predicting that the newest of these programs, the latest Home Affordable Refinance Program, might trigger the largest refinancing boom of the decade.

Arizona-Based U.S. Airways to Buy Bankrupt American Airlines?

Is Arizona-based U.S. Airways going after the soon-to-be bankrupt American Airlines? CEO Doug Parker answered questions on Wednesday night at an event at the Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix, reports ABC 15.

Parker dodged questions about a potential merger and didn’t give much information about the company’s ongoing diligence into the potential merger of the two airlines. The Tempe company has hired financial advisers to study the potential bid to acquire American.

Celebrity Bankruptcy is 'as Common as a Leaked Nude Photo'

There’s no shame in filing for bankruptcy. Even celebrities enlist the help of bankruptcy attorneys. According to Fox News, “in Hollywood, going broke is just about as common as a leaked nude photo.” In fact, 1970’s Academy Award nominee Gary Busey recently passed a mandatory online money management course to convince the bankruptcy court that he’ll be more prudent with his finances.

Other stars who are struggling with funds, according to the article, include Zsa Zsa Gabor, Toni Braxton, Mike Tyson and Stephen Baldwin.

Stockton, Calif. Might Declare Bankruptcy; Is Phoenix Next?

Could we be witnessing the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the history of the U.S.? The California city of Stockton might be filing for a municipal bankruptcy protection. The city has been struggling throughout the Great Recession and has faced high unemployment and rising crime rates. The city of Stockton has also been listed as one of the nation's Top 10 cities for foreclosures, reports MarketWatch.

But why does this matter to Phoenix residents? It matters because Phoenix was on that same "Top 10 cities" list.

Jaimelee Lawler Sentenced to 15 Years for Bankruptcy Fraud

A Phoenix woman was arrested last year on charges stemming from her $38 million real-estate scam. She also faced charges for bankruptcy fraud and on March 7, she was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, reports The Arizona Republic.

The woman went by two names -- Jaimelee Lawler, and Paige Kinney. According to a press release by the Department of Justice, Lawler was charged with offenses relating to her operation of a mortgage fraud business, to which offenses she eventually pleaded guilty. In a separate indictment, she also pleaded guilty to charges of bankruptcy fraud.

The Student Loan Debt Bubble: Is it Coming?

Is there a looming student debt loan bubble? Student loans are the bankruptcy problem that won't go away. And according to a report released last week by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (as reported in The New York Times), the total balance of student loans in the U.S. has reached $870 billion.

Bankruptcy attorneys will find this incredibly concerning since generally speaking, student loans are a non-dischargeable debt on bankruptcy. While a showing of undue hardship might allow some to discharge their bankruptcy debt, this really doesn't seem to be the case for many student loan debtors out there.

Distressed Home? Foreclosure and Short Sale May be Answer

Distressed home sales are running strong in Arizona. According to The Associated Press, a study shows that 43 percent of home sales in Arizona last year were from distressed homes, either foreclosures, or in some stage of foreclosure.

While that's an increase from the previous year, it's also a drop from 2009, reports the AP.

Nationally, one in four homes sold

Why are Phoenix Area Bankruptcies Up in February?

Perhaps you have heard: bankruptcy in Phoenix is on the rise, reports The Arizona Republic. While bankruptcies in Phoenix are down from February of 2011, they are up from the previous month, ending a three-month downward trend.

There were a reported 1,623 filings in February 2012, up from 1,321 in January. Eighty percent of the bankruptcies were Chapter 7 filings, while the remaining were Chapter 13.

Can You Declare Bankruptcy On Student Loan Debt?

People usually think that credit card debt is bad. But in some ways, student loan debt is an even bigger problem.

America’s total student loan debt now exceeds $ 1 trillion dollars, reports USA Today. In 2011 alone, American students took out $100 billion in loans. Americans now owe more on student loan debt than credit cards.

Of course, the lenders are more than happy to keep giving out student loans without regard, because thanks to a 2005 law, student loan debt can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, reports Think Progress.