CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

$1,400 FLAT FEE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

*OUR OFFICE WORKS WITH CLIENTS FROM ANYWHERE IN MASSACHUSETTS*

!Stop Wage Garnishment! !Stop Home Foreclosure! !Get out of Debt! !Get a Fresh Start!

* WHY IS OUR FEE THAT LOW? * – We are probably asked 4 or 5 times per week why our fee of $1,400 is that low, compared with other attorneys who are charging $1,800 to $2,000 (plus an additional $400 in costs).  The answer is simple: because Attorney Crossley knows for a fact that most people who need to file for bankruptcy protection can’t afford a $1,800 or $2,000 lawyer’s fee.  Our fee is affordable and our clients can get the help that they really need.  It’s that simple.

* FREE CONSULTATION * – For a completely free bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.  We can help stop the debt collection calls and get you on the path to a fresh start.

PAYMENT PLANS * – Financing is available with only a moderate retainer. We can tailor the payment plan to meet your needs.

FLAT RATE $1,400 CH. 7 LAWYER’S FEE * –  The most affordable fee (almost certainly) in Massachusetts for the level of experienced bankruptcy law firm that you have working on your case.  We provide superior legal services at affordable rates.  Plus you have our firm’s MATCH & BEAT policy on your side.  If there’s another firm offering you their bankruptcy services, with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, our firm will either MATCH their price or BEAT their price.  We guarantee that when you call us, you will speak with an attorney right away.

EXPERIENCE * – More than 16 years of handling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Consumer bankruptcies for thousands of Massachusetts consumers.  You receive personal, direct service working with an experienced Massachusetts licensed bankruptcy attorney.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE * – This is the real world and we understand that you have to work, so we offer evening and Saturday appointments to fit your schedule.

__________________

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common type of individual bankruptcy. Unlike in Chapter 13, you do not pay part of your debts back in monthly installments. If you qualify for Chapter 7 and comply with the procedures and disclosure requirements, most of your debts will be discharged.

At the Crossley Law Office we charge an affordable, fair and reasonable flat fee to prepare and file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy for you.  While many other Massachusetts lawyers are charging between $1,800 and $2,000 (not including filing fees) for a consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing we only charge $1,400. This is nearly the same affordable flat fee for standard consumer Ch. 7 bankruptcy cases that we charged back in 2008. Why? Because it’s a fair and reasonable fee to charge people who are struggling through increasingly difficult economic times.

Including the mandatory Bankruptcy Court filing fee and other expenses (see above) the total cost to you is considerably less than other attorneys. Most other attorneys are charging between $2,000 and $2,500 (not including filing fees) for the very same service.

If you want to know more about the bankruptcy ‘means test’ or for a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Qualifying for Chapter 7:

Only people who cannot afford their debts are eligible for Chapter 7.  So, you must qualify.  The general rule is that if you can afford to pay part of your debts, you must do so in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which has many advantages of its own.

The Bankruptcy Means Test:

There are different ways that the bankruptcy system decides if you qualify for Chapter 7.  The main one is the ‘means test’, and only certain people have to take it.  If you make more than the median income for your State (by family size) you must take the ‘means test’, but if you make less than the median income then you already qualify for Chapter 7 and don’t even need to take the ‘means test’. Currently, these are the median income figures by family size in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, here’s the median income by family size (for cases filed after May 1, 2012):

  • Family of one: $55,185
  • Family of two: $66,200
  • Family of three: $82,873
  • Family of four: $102,194
  • Add $7,500 for each additional family member.

If you are subject to the ‘means test’, you often will not qualify for Chapter 7, but this is not cut and dry.  It depends on the amount of your secured debt payments, county of residence, whether you are married, have medical issues and a variety of other factors.  These items are factored into the test and, in part, determine if you “pass” the bankruptcy means test and therefore qualify for Chapter 7.

Even if you “pass” the means test or do not have to take it all, there remains what is known as the totality of the circumstances tests under Section 707(b)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code.  This test asks the basic question (i.e. ability to pay) from a less technical perspective and can, at times, require that even people below the median income file Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7.

What Debts are Discharged in Chapter 7?

Most debts are discharged in Chapter 7.  Credit cards, unsecured personal loans, medical debt, car repossession deficiencies are examples of the types of debts that are generally dischargeable.

What Debts are not Discharged in Chapter 7?

Not all debts are discharged in Chapter 7.  Student loans, recent taxes, and most divorce-related debts are a few examples.

Credit:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years from the date of filing.  This does not destroy your credit for the whole ten years.  Most people think it does.  What it does do is put a negative mark on your credit for the ten-year period.  As time passes the weight given to the bankruptcy by the credit bureaus gets lighter; after ten years it’s gone completely.

Assets in Chapter 7:

Chapter 7 is a liquidation.  What this means is that, in theory at least, you give up all of your non-exempt property for a discharge of your debts. In reality, most people have very little property, so they do not have to give up any of it in Chapter 7.

If you do have assets that are not exempt and want to keep them, you cannot do so in a Chapter 7 and will need to file a Chapter 13.  You can learn what will happen to your assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by calling us and answering all of our questions honestly.

What Chapter 7 Can’t Do:

In Chapter 7 cases you cannot stop foreclosures by curing mortgage arrears like you can in Chapter 13 cases.  You can also not cram down car loans, strip off wholly unsecured second and third mortgages, and pay off non dischargeable tax debts.  Chapter 13 offers more flexibility and options, which is one of its chief advantages over Chapter 7.  However, sometimes Chapter 7 is the perfect remedy to financial problems that you just can’t fix any other way.

For a FREE consultation regarding which type of bankruptcy is best for you (Ch. 7 or Ch. 13) contact us on-line, fill out the contact form below or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

 

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

in Massachusetts


$2,000 PRE-PETITION FLAT FEE BANKRUPTCY

*OUR OFFICE WORKS WITH CLIENTS FROM ANYWHERE IN MASSACHUSETTS*

!Stop Wage Garnishment! !Stop Home Foreclosure! !Get out of Debt! !Get a Fresh Start!

There are two types of bankruptcy that individuals usually file. The one discussed here is Chapter 13; the other is Chapter 7.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is a court-approved partial repayment of debts. The partial repayment happens through a plan, which lasts three to five years–depending on your applicable commitment period which, in turn, depends on your income.  Big picture: At the end of the plan payments, the remaining balances on most debts are discharged (credit cards, medical bills, unsecured personal loans, unsecured junior mortgages, etc.)

The Chapter 13 Plan

In Chapter 13, your lawyer proposes a plan for the Court to approve.  The plan is a written document, usually of about five pages.  If the plan complies with the bankruptcy laws, your creditors cannot refuse to accept it.  This is the primary power of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you file Chapter 13, you make monthly payments as set forth in the plan.  This money is sent to the Chapter 13 trustee, a quasi-governmental official, who holds the money pending court approval of your plan.  Once your plan is confirmed by the court, the trustee begins to make payments to your creditors in the manner provided in your plan.

The calculation of attorneys’ fees in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases is quite different than in Chapter 7 cases. Massachusetts Bankruptcy Local Rules permit a standard Chapter 13 fee of $3,500 for pre-confirmation and $2,000 for post-confirmation services without an attorney needing to file a special itemized explanation of the attorney fees. This $5,500 fee is the amount probably charged by most attorneys in Massachusetts for Chapter 13 cases; but not by our office.

For Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases the Crossley Law Offices usually charges clients only $2,000 upfront for an individual Ch. 13 and takes the remaining $1,500 Chapter 13 fee through the plan (which comes to only $25/month for the 60 month plan). For joint Ch. 13 cases our office charges clients only $2,800 upfront and takes the remaining $1,700 Chapter 13 fee through the plan (which comes to only $28.33/month for the 60 month plan).  For the level of experienced bankruptcy lawyers on your side, our fee is considerably lower than most other attorneys in Massachusetts, but we think it’s a fair and reasonable fee to charge people who are struggling through increasingly difficult economic times.

Remember, any portion of the attorneys’ fee that is put into your Chapter 13 plan usually comes out of the share of money that your creditors would normally get. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter if you pay 75%, 30% or 5% of your debts to your unsecured creditors because all of your unpaid balances are discharged once your plan time-frame has been completed.

Don’t make a costly mistake. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Length of Your Payment Plan

How long does a plan last?  This is determined by your income and household size.  If you are above-median income based on household size, your plan is five years (60 monthly payments).  If you are below median income, your plan is three years (36 monthly payments).

Why do People File Chapter 13?

The most common reason people file Chapter 13 is that they need debt relief and Chapter 13 is the only type of bankruptcy they qualify because of their income.  The bankruptcy laws require that most people who can afford to pay back some debts do so in Chapter 13.  That’s what the bankruptcy means test is all about. Most, but not all, people who are above-median income only qualify for Chapter 13 because of the means test. In Massachusetts, here’s the median income by family size (for cases filed after May 1, 2012):

 

  • Family of one: $55,185
  • Family of two: $66,200
  • Family of three: $82,873
  • Family of four: $102,194
  • Add $7,500 for each additional family member.

Another common reason why some people file Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7 is to keep property they would otherwise lose in a Chapter 7.  No one ever loses property in a Chapter 13.  Chapter 13 is simply not a liquidation chapter. It is a reorganization chapter.  Sometimes this is very important to people.  Many people have very limited property and would lose nothing in a Chapter 7, but some people do have non-exempt property–like excess equity in houses or cars–that would not be protected in Chapter 7.  When these people need debt relief, often the best way is through Chapter 13.  Since 2011 and the modernization of Massachusetts exemption laws, fewer people need Chapter 13 for this reason.

It is usually very quick and easy for us to determine if you have non-exempt property.  You can contact us to find out.

What are some Advantages of Chapter 13?

First of all, it gives you the ability to make a single debt payment that is affordable based on your income.  You will still have to make most mortgage and car payments, but your unsecured debts are consolidated into the Chapter 13 plan.  Secondly, a plan gives you the ability to do other things that are relevant for people in some situations.  For example, in Chapter 13 you can stop foreclosures by curing mortgage arrears, cram down car loans, strip off wholly unsecured second and third mortgages, and pay off non-dischargeable tax debts.  Ultimately, your plan is based on what you want to accomplish and also on your income, expenses, assets and debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for seven years. (Chapter 7 remains on your report for 10 years).

What Will My Chapter 13 Payment Be?

It depends on your income, assets, expenses and debts.  What you will pay is based on a means test and budgetary test that incorporates your income, expenses, secured debt payments and other factors.  We will do our best to tell you approximately what your payment will be if you opt for a free consultation.  Determining a Chapter 13 payment amount is one of the specialized parts of the Chapter 13 process, and it is one of the reason you need an honest lawyer who really knows Chapter 13 bankruptcy and all the permissible means test deductions.  Many of these deductions are not common knowledge, even among lawyers.

Do You Qualify for Chapter 13?

The debt limits for Chapter 13 are $360,475 for unsecured debt and $1,081,400 for secured debt. If you have more in either category of debt, you do not qualify for Chapter 13 and must file Chapter 11 if you want to reorganize.

Otherwise, as long as you are an individual with regular income who can afford to pay your living expenses, secured debt payments for property you want to keep, and an extra amount as a Chapter 13 plan payment, you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What’s the Big Picture?

The bottom line about Chapter 13 is this: You pay what you can afford after your reasonable expenses for a set period of time, then you emerge from bankruptcy with a clean slate and a fresh start.

Don’t make a costly mistake. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Can’t Afford Bankruptcy?

 

Both CNN Money and YAHOO Finance are reporting that in 2012 hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to be in such difficult financial situations that they can’t afford bankruptcy.

Both articles report that the average cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, the most common form of consumer bankruptcy, is more than $1,500, according to recent research submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Among those fees is a charge of about $300 just for filing the paperwork with the federal court. And there are other expenses on top of that, including fees for mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and a pre-discharge debtor education course. These average about $85 altogether, according to a recent study sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

As a result, anywhere between 200,000 and one million consumers are estimated to be unable to afford that steep cost in 2012. They estimate that another 200,000 consumers, who would otherwise not have enough money to file, will use their tax refunds to pay for bankruptcy this year.

That’s why here at the Crossley Law Office we charge a fair and reasonable fee to prepare and file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy for you.  While many other Massachusetts law firms are charging between $1,800 and $2,500 (not including filing fees) for a consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing we only charge $1,250. This is nearly the same fee for standard consumer Ch. 7 bankruptcy cases that we charged back in 2003. Why? Because it’s a fair and reasonable fee to charge people who are struggling through increasingly difficult economic times.

Including the mandatory Bankruptcy Court filing fee and other expenses (see above) the total cost to you is about only $1,600. Other attorneys are likely charging between $2,000 and $2,500 for the very same service.

Thinking about filing for bankruptcy on your own?

“Think twice before you decide to go it alone,” said Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education for Credit.com.

“It’s too complicated now, and too much of a minefield. Make a mistake and your case is dismissed,” she said. “A dismissed bankruptcy hurts your credit just as badly as one you complete. So you have all the downside without the fresh start.”

She also warns against low-cost document preparation services claiming to help consumers fill out necessary documents. It’s easy for consumers to think they’re getting sound legal advice even though the preparers aren’t lawyers, she said.

Don’t make a costly mistake. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

 

To read the rest of the CNN Money article please click here.

 

Featured post

Bankruptcy Q&A

Bankruptcy Lawyer Answers Common Questions About Bankruptcy

 

 

 

  1. How much does it cost?
  2. Can bankruptcy actually help me?
  3. What is a bankruptcy really?
  4. What does Chapter 7 bankruptcy mean?
  5. What does Chapter 13 bankruptcy mean?
  6. What is the bankruptcy “automatic stay”?
  7. What are bankruptcy exemptions?
  8. Where is the Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts and will I have to go?

 1. How Much Does it Cost?

Cost of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In 2012 people can expect that attorney fees in Massachusetts consumer bankruptcy cases will range from around $1,800 to $2,500, not including costs. Our fees are substantially lower and the Crossely Law Offices charges only $1,250 for the majority of cases.

Why is that? Probably because the bad economy has unfortunately forced many more people to file for bankruptcy protection and as a result some attorneys in Massachusetts have probably raised their fees. The Crossley Law Offices however is still charging nearly the same $1,250 fee for standard individual consumer Ch. 7 bankruptcy cases that it did back in 2003, because it’s a fair and reasonable fee to charge people.

This $1,250 fee does not include costs which generally consist of a  court filing fee of $306 (the largest cost) and more minimal costs such as a 3 bureau credit report ($45) and 2 Bankruptcy Court required credit counseling certificate courses, typically $40-50 each or $80-$100 for both course, but which only cost our clients $20 total for both courses.

What this means for you is that filing a bankruptcy through the Crossley Law Offices will cost you around $1,600 (this amount includes fees and costs) while other bankruptcy lawyers are likely charging between $2,000 and $2,890 for the very same service.

Don’t make a costly mistake. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Cost of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The calculation of bankruptcy lawyers‘ fees in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases is quite different than in Chapter 7 cases because Ch. 13 cases are more time involved than Ch. 7 cases.  Massachusetts Bankruptcy Local Rules permit a standard Chapter 13 fee of $3,500 for pre-confirmation and $2,000 for post-confirmation services without an attorney needing to file a special itemized explanation of the attorney fees. This $5,500 fee is the amount probably charged by most attorneys in Massachusetts for Chapter 13 cases; but not by our office.

For Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases the Crossley Law Offices usually charges clients only $2,000 upfront for an individual Ch. 13 and takes the remaining $1,500 Chapter 13 fee through the plan (which comes to only $25/month for the 60 month plan). For joint Ch. 13 cases our office charges clients only $2,800 upfront and takes the remaining $1,700 Chapter 13 fee through the plan (which comes to only $28.33/month for the 60 month plan).  For the level of experienced bankruptcy lawyers on your side, our fee is considerably lower than most other attorneys in Massachusetts, but we think it’s a fair and reasonable fee to charge people who are struggling through increasingly difficult economic times.

Remember, any portion of the attorneys’ fee that is put into your Chapter 13 plan usually comes out of the share of money that your creditors would normally get. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter if you pay 75%, 30% or 5% of your debts to your unsecured creditors because all of your unpaid balances are discharged once your plan time-frame has been completed.

Don’t make a costly mistake. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Business Bankruptcy Fees:

Fees for business bankruptcies are higher than for consumer bankruptcies because business bankruptcies are more involved. Clients can be billed on an hourly basis or a flat-rate fee arrangement. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

2. Will filing a bankruptcy actually help me?

The very simple answer is YES. Filing for bankruptcy protection helps a lot of people, and it can help you too.  If you have financial problems then bankruptcy can help when you simply cannot pay your debts and live reasonably anymore. Filing for bankruptcy is not a free ride, but it can be a path to financial freedom and fresh start; you may even find that you sleep better at night.

Chapter 7 will discharge most types of debts, and Chapter 13 will allow an affordable partial repayment and forgiveness of the balance.

The Crossley Law Office has been representingMassachusettsconsumers in bankruptcy since 2003. Honest, efficient and we get the job done for our clients–affordably and with dignity.  If you are looking for a fresh start, we can help. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

3.  What is a Bankruptcy really?

Bankruptcy is a federal law.  It is intended to give people a fresh start free of debt.  In bankruptcy, a person either gets released from their dischargeable debts (Chapter 7) or reduces their debts to a manageable level and maintains a payment plan for three to five years (Chapter 13).  Although bankruptcy certainly helps people out of some impossible financial situations, the existence of bankruptcy laws is meant to promote the kind of entrepreneurial risk taking that theU.S.economy depends on for growth.  To encourage a certain amount of risk taking, there must be a path to financial freedom if things don’t pan out and you land in an impossible financial situation.

For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

4.  What does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy mean?

The goal of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out (“discharge”) your debts.  In exchange for having your debts erased, you must give all your property to your creditors.  This sounds rather harsh, but the reality is not as bad as it sounds. You need only give up your “non-exempt” property, which for most people, once the proper exemptions are applied, amounts to nothing.  In other words, in many cases much or all of your property will be exempt.  This is called a “no-asset” case: Even though you may have some assets–like a house, car, 401k, and household goods–all your assets are exempt in a “no-asset” case.  You will determine what property is exempt with your bankruptcy lawyer before filing your bankruptcy petition.

Income also affects your eligibility for Chapter 7.  To learn more about Chapter 7 allowable median income and the bankruptcy “means test” click here.

For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

5.  What does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy mean?

The primary difference between a Ch. 7 bankruptcy and a Ch. 13 bankruptcy has to do with the amount of your Household Income. Generally speaking if your annual household income is less than the average median income in Massachusetts it means that you probably can’t afford to pay your debts and as a result that you qualify for Ch. 7 bankruptcy protection and that your debts will be discharged (you don’t have to pay them).

But, what if your annual household income is greater than the average median income in Massachusetts? Well, this means that you probably can afford to pay some portion of your debts through a Ch. 13 plan. If you make more than the allowable median income based on household size, you will have to take the bankruptcy “means test.” This test only applies to people who have family income greater than the median income.  InMassachusetts, the median income by family size (for cases filed after May 1, 2012) is:

  • Family of one: $55,185
  • Family of two: $66,200
  • Family of three: $82,873
  • Family of four: $102,194
  • Add $7,500 for each additional family member.

Filing a bankruptcy under Chapter 13 allows you to create a payment plan that you will pay into on a regular basis. This might make a Chapter 13 bankruptcy sounds less attractive than a Chapter 7 filing because Chapter 13 requires you to pay money into a plan whereas a Chapter 7 just wipes out your dischargeable debts. It is true that Chapter 7 will be better in many cases. However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan has many significant benefits that a Chapter 7 does not have.  Some are:

  • It can be used to defend against foreclosure, allowing you to satisfy unpaid mortgage bills (or tax bills) over time when your lender is demanding that you pay in one lump sum in order to stop foreclosure.
  • The cost to file Chapter 13 is often lower than Chapter 7, especially under the new bankruptcy law.  People often want to file a bankruptcy case quickly; Chapter 13 can often be the way to do this.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for less years than Chapter 7 does (7 instead of 10).
  • There is no reaffirmation in Chapter 13.  This avoids a sometimes problematic situation related to car loans in Chapter 7 in which you have to prove to the bankruptcy court that you do have enough money to continue paying your car loan even though you are simultaneously claiming that you don’t have enough money to pay your total debts. In Chapter 13 you don’t have to deal with the reaffirmation process to keep cars for which you have a loan.
  • No one ever looses property in a Chapter 13.  It is not a “liquidation” chapter, it is a “reorganization” chapter.
  • Chapter 13 creditor payments are often quite low, allowing an individual to pay pennies on the dollar to unsecured creditors.

To learn more about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy click here.

For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

6.  What is the “Automatic Stay”?

The automatic stay is an important aspect of the bankruptcy process. Once you file a bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy laws’ provision of an automatic stay requires that all of your creditors and their agents stop all collection efforts, lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings against you. The automatic stay gives you the opportunity to deal with your financial affairs without interference from your creditors and harassing debt collectors.

Once retained by you the Crossley Law Office will contact your creditors in writing and advise them of your intent to file a bankruptcy. We do this to reduce or eliminate the number of debt collection calls that you receive. Once you have retained this firm to represent you then you can even provide your creditors and debt collectors with our law firm’s phone number and inform them that they have to go through us from now on. This is even before your bankruptcy case has been filed.

For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

7.  What are bankruptcy exemptions?

As part of a bankruptcy filing you must choose between (1) the federal bankruptcy exemptions and (2) the exemptions underMassachusettsand federal non-bankruptcy law. This is an important decision that depends on the type of (and value of) the personal property that you have. We will advise you so that you make the most informed and best decision for your situation.

Here’s a little bit of basic information. If the Massachusettsexemptions are chosen, it is usually because you own a house or have a mortgage and want to take advantage of the Massachusetts Homestead Exemption.  This is a very important exemption for homeowners with equity in their homes.  Filing a declaration of homestead in the proper manner and at the right registry of deeds will exempt up to $500,000 of your equity in your primary residence, even if the filing occurs just prior to your bankruptcy filing.

There are some new rules that limit the amount of the homestead in bankruptcy to $146,450 if the property was acquired within 1215 days of a bankruptcy petition date.  This so-called “1215 day rule” does not apply if you bought a new home in the same state and rolled over your equity from your old home into your new home.

For cases filed after March 16, 2011 homeowners will get an automatic $125,000 of homestead protection in Massachusetts for their primary residence even without filing a homestead for the full $500,000.

In the past, if the Federal exemptions were chosen it was usually because of the higher value of the personal property exemptions. But, in January 2011, the State of Massachusetts finally increased and modernized the value of the personal property exemptions.  These changes went into effect on April 7, 2011 and now make the Massachusetts exemptions better for consumers–while the federal exemptions stay as they are.

For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

8.  Where is the Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts and will I have to go?

There are 3 bankruptcy court departments in Massachusetts, one in Boston, one in Worcester and one in Springfield.  You will have to visit one of these courts at least one time, but we will be with you every step of the way.  After the court receives a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing, it schedules a meeting of your creditors.  In the vast majority of cases no creditors attend the meeting and it is just you, your bankruptcy attorney, and the bankruptcy trustee for about a ten minute meeting. This is called the section 341 meeting (341 meetings are also held in Brockton, Springfield, and Pittsfield).  The Crossley Law Office handles bankruptcy cases for people who live throughout Massachusetts. For a FREE bankruptcy consultation contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

Featured post

Permanent Residency

 

Who is a Green Card Holder? (Permanent Resident)

 

 

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “Green Card.” You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs.

Even if you are simply trying to obtain a green card through marriage the process is an extremely long and complicated one. It’s best to use an attorney that has experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the Crossley Law Office comes in.

Over the years we have successfully helped clients obtain green cards, work permits and visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the Crossley Law Office can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the fast track to permanent resident status please click here.

Featured post

Work Visas

 

Do You Qualify for a

Work Visa?

 

 

Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Certain spouses and children may travel together with those who receive employment-based work visas.

It’s not luck that determines if you will receive a work visa or not. It comes down to whether or not your application is filed on-time, filed correctly the first-time and filed quickly.

It’s best to use an attorney that has experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the Crossley Law Office comes in.

Over the years we have successfully helped clients obtain green cards, work permits and visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the Crossley Law Office can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to see if you can qualify for a Work Visa.

 

Featured post

Fiance Visas

 

 

 

 

Applying for and obtaining a fiancee/fiance visa is a complicated and lengthy process that most people simply can’t do on their own. It’s best to use an attorney that has considerable experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to discuss your application for a Fiance Visa.

Over the years the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has successfully helped clients obtain fiance visas, green cards, work permits and work visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE can help.

Clients often ask whether they should apply for a fiance visa or simply get married and bring their new spouse to the USA. If the immigrant spouse intends to work here in the USA then it’s best to have him/her apply for a fiance visa prior to entering the USA. Although marriage to a US Citizen will allow your immigrant spouse to legally remain in the USA while their Green Card application is being processed, it will not allow them to legally work. However, if they have a fiance visa they can legally work while their Green Card application is being processed. It’s important to know that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 1.5 years for USCIS to process a Green Card application once your spouse has arrived in the USA. Obtaining a fiance visa prior to entering the USA for a wedding in the USA has 2 important advantages. First, it tends to speed up the process of obtaining the Green Card with applications being processed in as short as 2 to 3 months. Second, while your new spouse is waiting for their Green Card application to be processed they are legally entitled to work in the USA because they hold a fiance visa.

There are a large number of forms and other documents required when applying for a fiance/fiancee visa. Just a few of these include:

I-485: Application to Adjust to Permanent Resident Status

I-765: Application for Employment Authorization

I-131: Application for Travel Document

I-797C: Notice to Appear for Initial Interview

I-797: Notice to Appear for ASC (obtaining your biometric data (fingerprints and photo)) Appointment Notice

G-325A: Biographic Information

I-864: Affidavit of Support

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to talk with us about obtaining a Fiance Visa.

 

Fair Debt Lawsuits

Up to $1000.00 in damages for violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Plus, additional damages may be available for violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Laws.

Are debt collectors making your life a nightmare? Are they harassing you at home or at work? Calling your friends and family? Maybe they’ve even threatened you with a lawsuit or threatened to take part of your paycheck away from you. LET US HELP.

Our Services Are FREE. If we don’t recover for you then we don’t get paid.

Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are filed on behalf of a group of people who were harmed in a similar way by a company’s violation of the law. In a class action, the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE works on behalf of the group, fighting to get consumers fair compensation for the damages they’ve suffered, as well as punitive damages for the company’s illegal behavior.

Even if a class action lawsuit isn’t best for you we can still help you stop the harassing collection calls. It’s time to stop feeling anxious or worried about when a debt collector will call you next. We can help.

Stop the harassing phone calls today. As soon as you are represented by the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE we’ll be able to contact your creditors, collection companies and junk debt buyers and force them to stop harassing you.

Collection Laws Prohibit:

  • Collection agency abuse
  • Anonymous calls from bill collectors
  • Creditors’ calls early morning or late at night
  • Calls at work by credit lawyers
  • Credit attorney harassment
  • Calls to friends, neighbors, or coworkers
  • Threats of violence, lawsuit, or arrest
  • Threats of wage garnishment
  • Use of obscene language
  • Accusations of crime
  • Collection attorney or agency lies
  • Negative credit reporting threats
  • Attempts to collect more than you owe
  • Debt collectors using false names
  • Contact by postcard
  • Intimidation, lies, debt harassment
  • Other debt collecting abuse

Your Rights

  • Up to $1,000 — Our FDCPA Attorneys may be able to recover up to $1,000 in damages under the Fair Debt Collections Law
  • Actual damages for harassing collection agency abuse
  • STOP collectors harassment
  • 100% FREE Legal Help – If we recover money for you, debt collectors may be required to pay our legal fees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t make a costly mistake. To learn more about your consumer rights, and whether you have been the target of debt collector harassment, contact  the  Crossley Law Office today. Contact us on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

Auto Accidents

 

If you suffer from injuries caused by another’s negligence, we will protect your rights and get fair and fast compensation. Since 2000, the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has been dedicated to helping clients recover the compensation they deserve for injuries due to car accidents, medical malpractice, serious personal injury, and other injuries.

For a FREE consultation contact us on-line or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

At the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE we vigorously protect our client’s rights and we understand the financial and emotional hardships facing families affected by wrongful death, personal injury, and disability.  If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, contact the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE for a free consultation.  CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE, Massachusetts’ Personal Injury law firm, will provide the personal attention and aggressive representation that you deserve.

The CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has a strong track record gaining compensation for victims of serious personal injuries. A personal injury is an injury to an individual’s body, mind, or emotions. If a person, business or governmental entity’s negligence (i.e. careless conduct) is the cause of the injury then the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE can win compensation for injured victims.

Serious personal injuries can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, aviation accidents,dog bites, work place accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Personal injury includes not only physical injury but emotional and psychological harm also. The more serious an injury and the greater impact that the injury has on a person’s life the higher the compensation will be.

Compensation can include loss of wages and the cost of past and future medical bills, which is called special damages, and pain and suffering which is called general damages. If the conduct of the negligent party is bad enough damages can also include punitive damages which are meant to punish the wrongdoer. For example a driver who habitually drives while under the influence of alcohol can be forced to pay punitive damages. A spouse and children can also recover damages if the primary income earner of the family is injured and can no longer support his or her spouse and children. Also, a loved one who witnesses a bad accident or its consequences can win compensation for going through the emotional trauma of witnessing a loved one suffering from injuries.

Negligence or carelessness can include not only careless actions but also violation of laws and regulations. For example if an owner of a store violates the building code by having stairs that are too steep and a customer falls on the stairs and suffers a serious injury the store owner can be found responsible for the injuries and losses of the victim of the fall.

The CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has handled numerous serious personal injury cases and will work hard to research the law and regulations and find the witnesses and evidence that can help a victim of a serious injury win excellent compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious personal injury, contact the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE online or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

Slip and Fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you slipped or tripped and sustained injuries because the surface you walked on was uneven, slippery, or otherwise hazardous, the land owner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries.  An injury due to what is commonly referred to as a “slip and fall” is sustained when a person slips, stumbles, falls, or otherwise hurts oneself due to unsafe conditions on property other than your own.

This type of injury is also known as a “trip and fall.” It includes falls as a result of  puddles or even smaller amounts of ice, snow, water, food, soap, or any slippery substance, as well as flooring with gaps or raised edges, dimly-lit areas, uneven ground where proper foot placement is hard to determine, or some other hidden hazard.  A manhole cover not secured in the proper position or uneven sidewalk due to tree roots under the sidewalk can result in a “slip and fall” or a “trip and fall” accident.

When a “slip and fall” injury occurs it is important to investigate the scene of the accident right away, before changes are made, and to take photographs. Often a safety engineer needs to be hired to analyze the dangerous condition. The CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has handled these cases and has the knowledge and expertise to perform timely investigations, hire expert witnesses and work hard to win fair and just compensation for victims of “slip and fall” accidents.

If you or a loved one suffer from an injury caused by a “slip and fall” contact us on-line or call (508)655-6085.

Dog Attacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injuries from dog attacks are a growing problem in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. As the popularity of ownership of dangerous breeds of dogs such as pit bulls have increased so have serious injuries and even fatalities from dog bites and maulings.

“We have to send a message to the community, to other dog owners and to government officials, that this kind of attack on citizens is not acceptable,” Attorney David Crossley says. Resolving these cases is not just about winning compensation for the victims of these vicious attacks, it’s also about freeing the community and neighborhood from dangerous dogs.

The CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has the knowledge and experience to handle cases involving injuries resulting from animal attacks. If you or a loved one have a case involving animal attacks, contact us on-line or call (508) 655-6085.

Here are some important points about the legal aspects of owning a dog. The owner of a dog is strictly liable for the damage arising from the animal’s trespass onto someone else’s land. There is a duty for an owner to keep his animals from intruding onto another’s property, and he is responsible for the damage they cause there. The owner of an animal which is known to be dangerous is strictly liable for the injuries which the animal causes. The possessor of a wild animal is strictly liable for harm arising from the dangerous propensities characteristic of wild animals of its class, whether or not the owner believes the animal is safe or free from those propensities.

The most persuasive case against a dog owner is made by establishing a history of the dog’s prior attacks or other injurious behavior which should cause that owner to know that the dog is likely to engage in such behavior again.

Once again if you or a loved one is a victim of a dog or other animal attack, contact the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE on-line or call (508) 655-6085.

Abusive Debt Collectors

Are Debt Collectors making your life miserable? Do you feel anxious worrying about when they’ll call you next? We can help.

Our Services Are FREE. If we don’t recover for you then we don’t get paid.

Up to $1000.00 in damages for violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Plus, additional damages may be available for violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Laws.

Stop the harassing phone calls today. As soon as you are represented by the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE we’ll be able to contact your creditors, collection companies and junk debt buyers and force them to stop harassing you.

Don’t make a costly mistake. To learn more about your consumer rights, and whether you have been the target of debt collector harassment, contact  the  CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE today. Contact us on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Collection Laws Prohibit:

  • Collection agency abuse
  • Anonymous calls from bill collectors
  • Creditors’ calls early morning or late at night
  • Calls at work by credit lawyers
  • Credit attorney harassment
  • Calls to friends, neighbors, or coworkers
  • Threats of violence, lawsuit, or arrest
  • Threats of wage garnishment
  • Use of obscene language
  • Accusations of crime
  • Collection attorney or agency lies
  • Negative credit reporting threats
  • Attempts to collect more than you owe
  • Debt collectors using false names
  • Contact by postcard
  • Intimidation, lies, debt harassment
  • Other debt collecting abuse

Your Rights

  • Up to $1,000 — Our FDCPA Attorneys may be able to recover up to $1,000 in damages under the Fair Debt Collections Law
  • Actual damages for harassing collection agency abuse
  • STOP collectors harassment
  • 100% FREE Legal Help – If we recover money for you, debt collectors may be required to pay our legal fees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t make a costly mistake. To learn more about your consumer rights, and whether you have been the target of debt collector harassment, contact  the  CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE today. Contact us on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

 

Surrogate Parenting Agreements

Since 2000, Attorney David Crossley and the Crossley Law Office have worked closely with some of the most well-known Surrogate Agencies in the world today.

We have years of experience in drafting and negotiating fair and safe Surrogate, Carrier and Egg Donor contracts, as well as obtaining Pre-birth Orders and Post-birth step-parent and second-parent adoption Orders.

Our clients come from every Country in the World and from every State in the USA.

If you are the Intended Parents, or a Surrogate, Carrier or Egg Donor trying to help build a family through Gestational Surrogacy, the Crossley Law Office would be happy to represent you, and work with you, for all of your Gestational Surrogacy contract representation needs. Over the years we have developed working relationships with the best Surrogate Agencies in the World today, and if you would like a referral or introduction to a totally confidential, caring and considerate Surrogate Agency please contact us and we would be happy to provide you with a referral.

To learn more about our highly affordable flat fee/flat rate fee schedule for Gestational Surrogacy contract representation, or Pre-birth or Post-birth orders, please contact the Crossley Law Office on-line, fill out the contact form below, or call (508) 655-6085 today.

Common Questions that Surrogates, Carriers and Egg Donors have:

What should I do if the Intended Parents aren’t paying me as we agreed upon?

Should I agree to an amniocentesis?

Should the Gestational Surrogacy agreement be confidential?

Who is responsible for medical costs, me or the Intended Parents?

What if medical complications occur?

Who pays the costs of medical deductibles and co-pays?

Who pays for the cost of counseling?

Should I sign a celibacy clause?

What if the surrogacy is unsuccessful?

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Building a family through Gestational Surrogacy is an amazing experience for everyone involved.  Allow the Crossley Law Office and Attorney David Crossley to help you in your legal representation needs. Contact us today, fill out the contact form below (anonymously if you prefer) or call (508) 655-6085 so that we can ensure that you receive a fair and safe Surrogate, Carrier or Egg Donor agreement.

 

Fast Track To Permanent Resident Status

EB5-Visa-Conditional-Green-Card

Marriage to a U.S. citizen is sometimes referred to as the “fast track” to lawful permanent residence. The spouse of a U.S. citizen is deemed an “immediate relative” under the law meaning that there are no quota restrictions on the number of people who can obtain green cards through marriage to U.S. citizens.

The U.S. citizen starts the process by submitting a form I-130 visa petition on behalf of their foreign-born spouse. If the spouse entered the U.S. lawfully, he/she can file for adjustment of status (I-485 packet) without having to leave the U.S. Generally, the spouse receives an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within 90 days, and may also be eligible for an Advance Parole document to travel abroad.

If the foreign-born spouse entered the U.S. without inspection, he/she may have to apply for a green card abroad. They may, however, be eligible to apply for a provisonal waiver in the United States.

To obtain a green card, your marriage must be bona fide. This is a lot easier to prove if there is a wedding reception where the U.S. citizen spouse’s parents and relatives are present, where the couple has joint property and files joint income tax returns and especially if the couple has a child together.

If the marriage is less than two years old when the green card is granted, it will have a two-year time limit. The couple must submit form I-751 during the 90-day prior before the expiration of the green card in order for the foreign-born spouse to obtain a ten-year green card. If the couple divorces before the end of the two-year period, the foreign-born spouse must use form I-751 to apply for a “good faith marriage waiver” of the joint petition requirement.

Please call our office to schedule a Free Consultation to talk about How to Obtain a Green Card Through Marriage before you get married and before you submit any paperwork to the USCIS.

If you have a two-year green card, but are separated or divorced, please call our office to schedule a Free Consultation to talk about the I-751 Waiver Where Marriage Ends in Divorce.

The I-601A Provisional Waiver

i601a provisional waiver image

On January 3, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation allowing immediate family members of U.S. citizens who entered the U.S. without inspection, or are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S. due to unlawful presence,  to apply for “form I-601A provisional waivers” in the United States.  Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas (green cards) in their countries of origin.

The aim of this new program, which became effective on March 4, 2013, is to avoid having spouses and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens be separated from their families for months or even years while their waivers are pending.

Now, these family members will obtain their waivers before departing the U.S., will be interviewed abroad, and will then return to their families in the U.S. within just a few days or weeks.

In our FAQ, we explain who is eligible to submit a provisional waiver, what happens if a person’s waiver is denied and how to qualify for this program if you in removal proceedings.