Services

Our Services


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a straight liquidation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for people in these situations:

  • Your household income is less than the median, or you can pass the means test
  • You have primarily unsecured debt
  • You wish to surrender a home or a vehicle that you can no longer afford
  • You are current with your home or your vehicle, and you wish to keep them but get rid of all of your unsecured debt

When someone files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay takes effect immediately, and any repossessions, foreclosures, and garnishments will immediately cease.

A bankruptcy attorney can review your income, assets, and debt and help you determine whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you.


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers flexibility. It is a comprehensive debt reorganization and debt restructuring that results in an affordable monthly payment.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires that you have some source of regular and reliable income, and it’s ideal for people in these situations:

  • You’re behind on your mortgage – the plan will help you get caught up
  • Your second mortgage that is underwater – the second mortgage can be removed entirely!
  • You have unpaid property taxes – the plan will help you get caught up in affordable monthly payments
  • You have unpaid back income taxes – you can pay back the IRS over time at zero interest
  • You’re behind on your car payment – the plan can lower your interest rate and stretch out the loan to lower your payment
  • You have regular income, but you simply cannot meet all of your obligations every month – the plan can help you budget
  • You have assets you want to protect – a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to keep your assets and pay back your creditors over time.
  • You have certain kinds of debt that are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 – some kinds of debt, such as civil infraction traffic tickets, are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but are dischargeable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will still enjoy:

  • Automatic stay from your creditors the entire time you are in your plan
  • Immediate stops to foreclosures, garnishments, and repossessions when your case is filed

A bankruptcy attorney can review your income, assets, and debts and help you determine whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be right for you.


Income Tax Debts and IRS

The IRS scares people! Clients often come into our office with stacks of certified letters from the IRS that have never been opened. They are afraid of what those letters contain.

Dealing with IRS and state income tax issues can be a nuanced and delicate process. But help is available. Each person’s case is different and requires careful consideration. A knowledgeable attorney is a must.

Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

And yes, we can open those letters from the IRS if you would rather not do so!


Garnishments

Wages, Bank Account, or Tax Refund

Garnishments push people over the edge. Things are tight, and you are barely making ends meet, and then you discover that a creditor is garnishing 25% out of your paycheck. Or your bank account is completely emptied by a creditor when you need to pay the rent and buy groceries.

It is perfectly legal for a creditor who holds a judgment to garnish your paycheck, bank account, or tax refund. It is time-consuming and expensive for the creditor to collect on a debt, obtain a judgment, and then file writs of garnishment. A creditor is typically no longer willing to negotiate or “work things out” at this point – it is playing hardball.

Fortunately, you do have legal options! You should contact an attorney knowledgeable in these matters without delay. An attorney can help explain what options you may have. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Mortgage Foreclosure

If you are behind on your mortgage, you may be facing the possibility of the mortgage company foreclosing on your home. You may have received a notice of foreclosure, or a notice of an impending sheriff’s sale.

Often, the mortgage company will set a date for foreclosure even while you are in the process of completing a loan modification. It is important that you contact an attorney for legal advice during this period. Once the sheriff’s sale or foreclosure has occurred, your rights may be limited.

An attorney can help preserve your rights and maximize your chances of keeping your home. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Mortgage Loan Modification

Mortgage loan modifications are being utilized more often to make mortgages more affordable for homeowners.

In a mortgage loan modification, the mortgage company essentially re-writes the home loan voluntarily. The new note may reduce the interest rate on the loan, recapitalize any arrearage into the new principal, reduce the principal, convert an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage, or any combination of the above.

But this process is completely voluntary by the mortgage servicers and it can be a frustrating and seemingly endless process for homeowners. Quite often a mortgage servicer will string a homeowner along all the while preparing to foreclose on the property.

Bankruptcy brings the possibility of completely removing (or “stripping”) second mortgages off your home if certain circumstances exist.

An attorney can be helpful during this process to help you sort through options and to preserve your rights. Call our office and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

Some background information can be found here: www.makinghomeaffordable.gov


Sued by Mortgage Company

After a mortgage company has foreclosed on your home, it will sell the home to a new owner. That owner may end up paying a lot less for the home than what you owed on the mortgage. The mortgage company can sue you for that difference or deficiency. The mortgage company will typically also tack on lots of fees and surcharges to that deficiency balance.

Recently, we have seen mortgage companies sue homeowners without foreclosing on the property first.

The mortgage company goes straight to circuit court and sues the homeowner for the entire amount of the balance owed on the mortgage on a theory of breach of contract. The mortgage company does not appear to have any interest in foreclosing on the property. Any junior mortgage (second or third mortgages) can sue under the same theory.

This can be an overwhelming situation for a homeowner! An attorney can be helpful during this process to help you sort through options and to preserve your rights. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Property Tax Foreclosure

In the State of Michigan, if you are three years or more behind on property taxes you could lose your home or other real estate properties due to property tax foreclosure. You may have received a notice of an impending date of this foreclosure. It is important that you contact an attorney for legal advice as soon as possible.

Once the foreclosure has taken place, your rights may be limited! An attorney can help preserve your rights and maximize your chances of keeping your home. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Unaffordable Property Taxes

For property tax appeals, our fees are based on our success in lowering your property tax bill. In other words: You only pay for our property tax services if we are successful!

Many, many people are paying too much in property taxes. In Michigan, the amount one pays in property taxes is dependent on the “fair market value” of the home. A higher home value will cause that home’s property taxes to also be high. Every municipality has a tax assessor whose job is to determine this value for each piece of real estate.

In Michigan, real estate values have fallen considerably in the last 6-7 years. This should translate to lower property taxes, but we find that the tax assessor often fails to lower the values accordingly.

If our assessment is correct, then your property tax bill is possibly much higher than it should be!
Fortunately, the tax assessor does not have the final word. Michigan law allows for the tax assessor’s findings to be appealed once yearly, at the beginning of the year. Our office can assist you with this process – call today.

You receive a tax assessment during the first week of February every year. You will recognize it because it states “THIS IS NOT A BILL” near the top of the page.

As soon as you receive this notice, you must act immediately! The window to appeal closes within days. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

Remember, for property tax appeals, our fees are based on our success in lowering your property tax bill. In other words: You only pay for our property tax services if we are successful.


Vehicle Seizure

Any creditor who has a judgment against you has several tools at its disposal to collect on that debt. One of tools available is the ability to seize a vehicle that has no lien (even if the vehicle is paid in full!).

The creditor will then sell the vehicle at auction and use the proceeds to pay down the debt. If your vehicle is seized by a court officer, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss what options you may have.

Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Vehicle Repossession

It is getting more and more expensive to get own a vehicle, especially if your credit is not perfect. Owning is a vehicle is a necessity to reliably get to work and to get the children to school. Car creditors know this and will often finance older vehicles for more than the vehicle is worth at a ridiculous interest rate.

The New York Times recently published an article exposing the predatory nature of these loans.

The odds are stacked against you! And if you get behind in payments at all, your vehicle will be promptly repossessed. An attorney can be critical to helping you navigate this issue.

Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Suspended License / Traffic Tickets

This is a problem that quickly snowballs!

You get a garden-variety traffic ticket – for speeding or running a stop sign—and you have no way to pay it. The judge then orders you to you attend a hearing to show cause as to why you did not pay the ticket. You still can’t pay so you don’t attend.

Now you have violated a judge’s order to appear, and the judge has issued a bench warrant. Meanwhile, your license is suspended because of unpaid tickets and you’re unable to get vehicle insurance. Then you get pulled over again – for speeding or running a stop sign—and now you also get tickets for driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance. Under Michigan law, these are misdemeanors.

That original $150 speeding ticket now costs you thousands! Which incidentally, you are still unable to pay. This is one of the most common issues that we see at our office. The solution can be complicated and will probably require you to pay back some or all of what you owe over time.

The good news is that an attorney can help you get your license back fairly quickly (usually within a few weeks) and guide you in the process of sorting out the mess so you can start fresh.

Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.


Creditor Harassment

Receiving constant calls, notices, and even court papers from creditors can be exhausting both physically and mentally. If you’re ready to put a stop to the creditor harassment, we can help.

Creditors MUST follow specific laws related to debt collection under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act and the Consumer Credit Protect Act. For instance, they may not:

  • Contact you if you are being represented by a lawyer.
  • Contact you at your place of employment.
  • Call you before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.
  • Reveal your information to third parties.
  • Use abusive or profane language.

Filing for bankruptcy immediately prevents all creditors from contacting you. If creditors do contact you after the bankruptcy filing, they may face serious penalties.

Creditors should never be allowed to proceed with illegal and abusive behavior. The attorneys at Freedom Law are well versed in all debt collection laws and will hold creditors responsible for their harassment if necessary. As soon as you retain our office, we will fend off creditors on your behalf.


Overpaid Unemployment Benefits

Another very common issue that we see at our office is debts related to an over-payment of unemployment benefits.

This is a serious issue, since Michigan law allows for the Unemployment Insurance Agency to quadruple damages where it is alleging fraud. A relatively small claim for an over-payment of benefits can quickly spiral into forty or fifty thousand dollars.

An attorney can be critical to helping you navigate this issue. Call our office, and we will provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.