Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I keep my car if I file bankruptcy?”
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or have already taken the plunge, it is important to understand that the process does not end with the filing of the paperwork. The paperwork, though important, is only the first step in a journey that ends with the granting of bankruptcy protection. To get to that point you will need to withstand potential challenges from creditors and get the bankruptcy court to agree that you deserve protection.
Sometimes people forget that bankruptcy is not something that’s guaranteed, but must be instead granted. As a result, you have to prove to a court that you are indeed entitled to bankruptcy protection. You do this by providing financial statements indicating that you do not have the money or the ability to earn the money needed to pay your debts. It’s important that beyond providing the right financial documentation, your behavior also supports the idea that you are a person in need of bankruptcy protection. If not, creditors may raise questions about your filing and the bankruptcy court could even deny your request.
A good example of how not to behave after filing for bankruptcy comes from the rapper Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent. Jackson filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this summer after losing two multimillion-dollar lawsuits. The plaintiff in one of those suits has now filed another claim attempting to derail the bankruptcy. She argues that the bankruptcy filing was a strategic move meant to deny her the money she is rightfully owed. The woman, Lastonia Leviston, says that Jackson has millions of dollars and is in no way bankrupt, he simply wants to avoid paying Leviston the millions he was ordered to hand over by a jury.
As proof, Levinston says that the day after filing for bankruptcy Jackson went to a strip club and threw wads of cash in the air. In court, Jackson was grilled by Levinston’s lawyer about the incident. Under tough questioning, Jackson finally admitted that he had in fact thrown wads of money in the air while visiting a strip club, something he referred to as a promotional event. According to Jackson, the event was already on his itinerary prior to filing for bankruptcy and the money being thrown around the room was part of an attempt to promote his brand. A successful rapper cannot be seen as being cheap and, according to Jackson, he was simply trying to keep up the appearance of being successful.
The problem now for 50 Cent is that the bankruptcy court may agree with the plaintiff/creditor. If a bankruptcy court believes that a claim for bankruptcy is inappropriate or even fraudulent, it can dismiss the case. If the bankruptcy is dismissed without prejudice, then you will be allowed to file for bankruptcy again right away. However, if the bankruptcy is dismissed with prejudice, the Bankruptcy Code says that the debtor will not be allowed to file again for at least 180 days.
Given the potential lengthy delay, it is important that when you file you have your ducks in a row and present a clear picture to the court and to creditors of a person who is financially overextended and unable to meet his or her obligations. Learn from 50 Cent’s example and avoid engaging in behavior that could be taken as extravagant or wasteful. Making expensive new purchases, going on fancy vacations or generally spending with abandon will not make you appear sympathetic to a bankruptcy court and could endanger the ultimate success of your claim.
If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.
About the Author
Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.
Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.
In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.
See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:
See Our Related Blog Posts: