Chicago, IL Office
2218 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-2218 - Office
(773) 435-6752 - Fax
Rosemont, IL Office
10700 W. Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Chicago, IL Office
2218 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-2218 - Office
(773) 435-6752 - Fax
Rosemont, IL Office
10700 W. Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
The global economic downturn has made it a tough few years. The jobless rate and foreclosures are still rising and credit is almost impossible to come by. Most people considering bankruptcy are average hardworking Americans who either fell on bad luck or have been hit by the financial crisis through the loss of a job or lower wages. Are you one of these people?
If so, there’s hope, through a legal process called bankruptcy.
Are you one of the many Americans struggling to make the minimum payments on your credit cards each month? Credit card bankruptcy may be for you since bankruptcy can help you eliminate mounting credit card debt and other types of unsecured debt.
Or are you one of the many who have witnessed the value of your home tumble to the point that it is not worth nearly what you owe on it? If you are also finding it difficult to keep up with your house payments, it may seem more reasonable to walk away from your home. You may need a real estate bankruptcy.
Or have you been sick so long that it is difficult to maintain steady employment, and you no longer have health insurance to cover your medical bills? A medical bankruptcy will eliminate your medical bills or the credit card debt you accumulated to pay for them, and give you a clean slate. Just as important, it will wipe out the stress that worsens your illness and makes it difficult to recover physically.
Lots of different types of people come to Spalding Law Center needing to file bankruptcy. Whether you are a construction worker that is routinely laid off because people just are not building like they used to, or a real estate agent that has not sold a property in many months, or a security guard down the street working two jobs just to feed your family, or a professional that was down sized into underemployment so that you are barely able to make your house payments, let alone make a dent on your other outstanding debt, bankruptcy will change your life! When you are deep in debt, there are few options to help you regain control of your situation. Not all forms of debt relief are created equally. Unlike debt consolidation or credit counseling, only bankruptcy offers the legal protection of the "automatic stay." The automatic stay is a federal court order that is designed to help you:
By filing bankruptcy, you may be able to eliminate all unsecured debts, stop foreclosure action against your home, and begin rebuilding your financial future very quickly. You need not worry about losing your home, car, and other property simply because you are eliminating other debts in your bankruptcy. The vast majority of our clients are able to keep the property that they can afford to keep paying for. If you are worried about what property you can keep while eliminating your other debts in bankruptcy, call us and we will be happy to discuss this with you immediately!
Debt consolidation or settlement companies may often get you into a worse situation than before you had sought their help. These debt negotiation firms usually charge you more for less services than a bankruptcy provides our typical clients.
These companies usually charge 10-30% of your forecasted debt settlement amount, regardless of the amount of work they actually complete. They are charging a large amount of money for no guarantee to perform! Thus their clients may end up paying more than if they filed for bankruptcy in the first place!
One of the most important aspects of debt consolidation to keep in mind is that it lacks the "automatic stay." The automatic stay is one of the most powerful features of bankruptcy, and these other types of firms cannot offer this powerful protection. Only a bankruptcy attorney can absolutely guarantee to you that most types of your debt collectors will be stopped dead in their tracks and will be kept at bay for the duration of your case.
The following was written by: Kathleen Michon, Attorney
It's usually wise to steer clear of debt negotiation firms. Here's why.
Debt negotiation or debt settlement firms often claim they can get your creditors to discount your debts, so that you end up paying anywhere from 10% to 50% less than what you actually owe. Unfortunately, many of these companies charge steep fees while making promises they cannot keep. If you are considering debt negotiation as a solution to your financial troubles, consult with a legitimate credit counseling agency for advice, and then negotiate with creditors.
What Is Debt Negotiation?
Technically, debt negotiation is when you (or someone acting on your behalf) attempt to get your creditors to accept less than the amount you actually owe in order to settle your debt obligations. You can contact your creditors yourself or designate someone else to negotiate for you. Some legitimate, nonprofit credit counseling agencies will advise you on how to negotiate with your creditors, or they may even contact creditors for you. However, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for-profit companies that bill themselves as "debt negotiation firms" usually charge hefty fees and often cannot make good on their promises.
Debt Negotiators’ Claims Versus Reality
Unfortunately, many debt negotiation companies make promises or guarantees that they cannot (or never intend to) keep. For example, many of these companies: guarantee that you'll end up paying pennies on the dollar to settle your debts, guarantee that some of your debts will be eliminated altogether tell you that unsecured creditors never sue debtors for non-payment of debts owed, and claim they can remove accurate, negative information from your credit report.
While it is true that creditors are free to renegotiate debts, the reality is that:
Some debt negotiation firms can also cause irreparable damage to your credit by telling you to stop paying your credit cards and other unsecured debts. When this happens, late fees and interest are added to your debt, causing the amount due to double or even triple. In addition, creditors may report the nonpayment on your credit report, harming your ability to get credit in the future.
What debt negotiation firms don't say can also hurt you. For example, these companies often fail to tell consumers that forgiven debt may be treated as taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service. (To learn more about taxation of forgiven debt, Tax Consequences When a Creditor Writes Off or Settles a Debt.) This can result in an unwelcome surprise come tax season.
Debt Negotiation Fees and Scams
Many disreputable debt negotiation firms charge high fees for their services, including:
This money could be going to pay your debts, but instead it's being pocketed by the firm. Essentially, you end up adding one more payment to your monthly debt load.
Some firms require that consumers make monthly payments to them, rather than to creditors. Then, according to the FTC and consumer protection agencies, these firms keep some of that money without telling the consumer -- or worse, never pay the creditors at all. The consumer is left with the original debt, plus late fees and interest, all the while having paid large sums of money into the debt negotiation firms' coffers.
How to Protect Yourself From Debt Negotiation Scams
According to the FTC, using a debt negotiation firm can be risky. If you want to negotiate with your creditors -- to reduce interest rates, remove fees, or reduce the amount of principal -- contact a reputable and accredited nonprofit credit counseling agency. A good counselor can advise you on how to negotiate with your creditors yourself or perhaps make some telephone calls for you. To learn how to choose a qualified credit counseling agency, see Nolo's article Choosing a Credit Counseling Agency.
Getting Help With Your Debts
There are many good, safe ways to deal with out-of-control unsecured debt. Instead of paying money to a for-profit debt negotiation company, learn about other ways to get on top of your financial situation. For more information on your options, see Dealing with Debt: An Overview of Your Options. Portions of this article are based on information from the Federal Trade Commission.
These warnings aside about the many private debt consolidation firms out there, Spalding Law Center has come to realize that there can be a place for attempting to settle with creditors. We realize that bankruptcy is not for everyone, and probably is not the best solution for people that may have under $5,000 in unsecured debt. We have tailored a solution as an alternative to bankruptcy for some clients with smaller amounts of debt. We are willing to have these clients refer those creditors to us, and will attempt to negotiate a settlement with those creditors. We can make no guarantees about the savings that we can offer, for the aforementioned reasons, but our efforts can add value for clients that are feeling intimidated by creditors and are unsure how to organize the mess of the debt that they have.
Often the main reasons why people occasionally choose debt consolidators, negotiators or settlement companies over bankruptcy is because of personal doubt, pride, shame and / or uncertainty about the bankruptcy process or whether it is the right thing to do, to not completely, or only partially, pay one’s creditors. We believe that bankruptcy is acceptable behavior under Christian values. The Bible does not condemn Bankruptcy.
Nehemiah 10:31b - Contemporary English Translation:
"Every seven years we will let our fields rest, and we will cancel all debts."
Are you one who struggles with feeling guilty that filing bankruptcy is not the Christian thing to do? The bible gives Christians authorization to file for bankruptcy. Our modern bankruptcy laws were derived from the Bible (Deuteronomy 15:1-2). Bankruptcy contemplates the “forgiveness” of debt, just as the bible includes debt forgiveness laws. Under U.S. law a debtor may only receive a discharge of debts in a Chapter 7 once every eight (8) years. Under Biblical law, the release of debts came after every seven (7) years. Cancellation of debts is Biblical. At the end of the seventh year (the year of release) we see that the servant and the debtors were forgiven and they were released of their debts. The debt was canceled completely and permanently!
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 - New American Standard Bible Translation: "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed."
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 - New Living Translation: "At the end of every seventh year you must cancel your debts. This is how it must be done. Creditors must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the LORD’s time of release has arrived."
The Bible refers to debt as a type of "bondage."
Proverbs 22:7 - New International Version: "The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender."
A debtor is a slave to the creditor. Jesus does not want us to carry that burden on our shoulders for the rest of our lives. Someone must bear the cost or the burden. Just like Jesus carried and paid for our debts on the cross, creditors must bear the burden of forgiving debts and understand that God will bless them for the act of forgiving.
The Old Testament provides many examples of the need for compassionate treatment. The Bible also speaks about compassion for those who are oppressed by over-burdensome debts. Jesus taught us that those who forgive will be forgiven. Jesus also condemned excessive interest charges.
Exodus 22:25-27 - New International Version: "If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate."
If you mismanage your finances confess your failings to God and seek Godly counsel.
Bankruptcy is the closest that you can get to having your debts forgiven in the modern world. Jesus gives us a fresh start through his love and mercy; a new birth. From a moral perspective, you are asking the court to recognize that you, a debtor, cannot pay, and that you should be freed of your legal obligation to pay your debts so that you can put the money that you do have, for greater moral priorities, like taking care of yourself and your family. In fact, bankruptcy will ENABLE you to be a more productive member of society! When you are drowning in debt and unable to even pay for your monthly expenses, bankruptcy is the most responsible thing that you can do. Ultimately the decision to file is a personal one, best lending itself to prayer and guidance from God, to lead you to the right decision for you and your family.
Today can be the beginning of a new day for you. So help yourself get up, fight the battle and win! Give Spalding Law Center a call at 773-227-2218.
If you’re considering filing bankruptcy as a way to save your home or get out of debt, you’re certainly not alone. See which famous people have sought the protection of bankruptcy:
Tough times can fall on anyone. Success comes from what you can do now to resolve your financial problems in order to improve your whole life! If you are ready to take the leap into your new life, please give us a call now!
We at Spalding Law Center are a consumer rights law firm concentrated in improving the financial lives of people like you. We focus on legal services that complement each other: bankruptcy, creditor harassment, credit reporting issues, and avoiding foreclosure through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or by handling a short sale of the property. We dedicate ourselves to these areas so that we can give our clients financial freedom and a new life upon completion of our services. Our managing attorney, Angela Spalding, founded our firm to give our clients the personal attention, care, and expertise, which is not possible in a large firm environment.
Spalding Law Center strives to positively shape our community by giving new financial life to one person at a time, while maintaining integrity and excellence.
We take pride in always providing personal attention to all of our clients from the initial consultation through the conclusion of our engagement. We guide our clients through their options while also fighting on their behalf, so that we can give them a new life free of the financial stress that brought them to us. We serve individuals and not faceless corporations, because we want to get to know our clients, and make a difference on a personal level. We have devoted our professional careers to helping our clients change their lives, and the results that we achieve give us great satisfaction.
We know that not only are you struggling over the decision of whether or not to file bankruptcy, but also who to trust with your personal information, your finances, and your future! The decisions that you are making are tough. You have many questions, and many may not be legal questions. That is fine. We will guide you. We recognize the additional stress that financial woes bring to your sense of peace and security, such as fear and avoidance when the phone rings, despair over a plummeting credit score, sleepless nights, anxiety over handling the pile of bills, and discomfort when having to explain creditor calls to family or co-workers. Right from the first call our experience and accessibility will give you confidence that you are in the right hands, which you will not find with other law firms. We advocate for you. We bring a depth of experience to ensure a successful outcome in each case. We provide downtown expertise without the downtown hassle. We are staffed by a dedicated team of attorneys and professionals, who remain at the forefront of new legal developments in the areas of bankruptcy, credit reporting, and short sale foreclosure avoidance. We are skilled, professional, and expedient to quickly provide you the financial relief that you need so you may have a new life. We are honored to receive many referrals from clients and lawyers alike. We have a reputation for offering high quality legal services and bankruptcy relief that you can count on.
We are also known for our caring approach in treating clients and for our personalized service. We do not have lawyer egos or flashy style. You will be treated with the respect and compassion that you deserve, and honesty that you would expect. Spalding Law Center is of a size and nature that our clients do not get lost in a mill of client files, but instead receive the individual attention that they ought to have. We provide personal, hands-on service. We believe that each client is not just a number, but is a unique individual with her own situation and concerns that require personal attention. If you come to us, we will advise you every step of the way. We actually return phone calls, unlike many other lawyers, and you will usually hear back from one of our attorneys later in the same day you call us with a question. We always have time for you and always put your interests first. We will never rush you along or make you feel like we have more important business to attend to. We will give you the most comfortable legal experience and freedom from harassment and stress. Spalding Law Center, unlike some other bankruptcy firms, gives each and every client the right to a free consultation with an attorney, rather than a secretary or paralegal.
Filing a bankruptcy is a very serious decision that no one should take lightly without first examining all of the options available. A licensed attorney that specializes in bankruptcy is the best person to fully inform you of those options. We also think it is important that you sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules in person with one of our attorneys, rather than just mailing it back to us. Unfortunately it is common practice to sign this vital paperwork without an attorney present! We want to make sure that you understand all of the questions that you are answering, as well as the implications of your answers.
When you hire Spalding Law Center as your bankruptcy attorneys, you are hiring a firm that not only takes a great deal of pride in providing superior personal service and an excellent work product, but one that is dedicated to treating you with respect, while working for a very reasonable fee. You may find a bankruptcy petition preparer or a cut-rate high volume firm that claims to charge marginally lower fees, but we do not believe that you will find any who offer the level of service, expertise, and individual attention that we do. The value of our service is unbeatable for the top quality of work and results that we provide.
Every case is unique so we vary our fees accordingly. It does not make sense or seem fair to charge the same fee to each client when every client has a different situation. A "one solution fits all" approach fails to recognize that each client deserves a tailored solution to fit his or her needs. We charge based on the amount of work we expect to perform in a given case, while always making sure our fees are fair and reasonable based on the given situation and budget.
We offer a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney to establish which bankruptcy, if any, will be right for you. We will tell you exactly what your legal fees and costs will be at the initial in-person consultation. We ask you to come to the initial meeting with at least a $100 retainer, but under no circumstances will we require that you pay it to us, if you are not completely ready to get started. We will give you all the time you need to ask your questions and make a decision, and we are confident that if we believe we can offer you a proper solution to your financial problems, that you will want our help! We are one of the few bankruptcy law firms in the Chicago area that offer low cost flexible monthly payment plans to our clients. We are agreeable to $100 monthly payment plans if that is all that you can afford. So for as little as $100, you can hire Spalding Law Center and start referring your creditors to us today!
Our West Town location is in the City of Chicago, less than 3 miles west of downtown. It is less than a 30 minute drive (from anywhere in the city) with easy street parking out front and handicap accessibility.
Our Rosemont location is a convenient alternative for those living in the western, northern, and northwest suburbs. We offer weekday evening appointments until 8pm, as well as weekend hours, so you can stop by to deal with your debt without having to miss work.
What are you waiting for? Regain your financial freedom and future. Finally purge yourself of all of the debt that is keeping your from pursuing your dreams and living the life you were meant to live. Give us a call today!
We have spoken countless times to people that know that they need financial help, after all, that’s why they are calling us. The creditors are harassing, or they are getting sued and know that they are already living check to check and wonder how they are going to live with a garnishment to boot. Or they fell behind on their house payment several months after being laid off or sick from an injury, and are finally back to work and just cannot get caught up.
Yet for so many of these people, something keeps them from taking that next step in coming in to see an attorney. Whether it be shame in admitting that this is what it has come down to for them, fear in discussing their personal financial situation with a strange attorney, or simply procrastination because they are so busy already juggling family and a hectic work schedule.
When clients who have put off coming in for months and sometimes years finally take that step, one common theme we see with them is regret. Regret that they did not do it sooner. Regret that they suffered thru that garnishment for all those months. Regret that they kept making those minimum payments here and there for years and never saw the balances go down, but only rise. Regret that they didn't’t start rebuilding their credit years ago with a bankruptcy.
There is no shame in filing bankruptcy and in taking control of your financial situation once and for all. Ignoring the problems by throwing away those bills and not answering the phone are not going to resolve your problems. But filing bankruptcy will. How could it be shameful to organize your bills, take action to resolve them, and take major strides in rebuilding your credit? We think you should be proud for doing that. There are no judgments here. The majority of our clients are here because they have faced difficulties beyond their control.
Does this sound familiar to you? We operate our bankruptcy practice so that we can bring about major change in peoples lives in a relatively short period of time. We consider it a re-birth. After our clients receive their discharge of their debts they really are starting their lives all over again. And it all starts at the free initial consultation. The one thing we hear most often after our clients hire us is that they feel like a burden has been lifted from their shoulders. We take great pride in that. Clients are often surprised to learn additional benefits begin even before their case is filed. After retaining us with just $100, our clients can start referring the creditors that call to us. When creditors start calling us instead, this generally means that they will put off suing their debtors. That is a huge benefit that begins right away.
If your debt feels like a heavy burden on you, you are not alone. Take that first step right now and join others enjoying a re-birth with the help of Spalding Law Center. Give us a call now!