If You Agreed to Bad Terms in Your Divorce Settlement, You Will Get Screwed

So you don’t like the terms of your divorce settlement and you want to modify those terms. I’ve heard this many times because I’m a divorce lawyer. Hopefully you met with an attorney before you signed the divorce papers.

I hope that when you signed that settlement agreement you didn’t agree to getting hosed and then think you can complain about being hosed and have the court bail you out.

With rare exception, by agreeing to the hosing that means you’re stuck with getting hosed. If you pulled the equivalent of a “Yes, Dear” when you settled your divorce case out of court, and now you want to “modify” your divorce settlement, you likely have a serious problem.

If You Agreed to Bad Terms in Your Divorce Settlement You Will Get Screwed

We know what you probably did: you got tired, depressed, scared, your ran out of money, and so you agreed to what you knew to be a lousy settlement out of frustration and/or fear and thought “any settlement is better than continuing to litigate.”

You may have also settled thinking that you’d broach the subject again down the road, when your ex had calmed down. We get it. We see this all the time. But the “I’ll just agree to getting hosed now and seek a change later, after the dust settles” mentality doesn’t fly. Agreeing to the hosing means you’re stuck with what you agreed to. You asked for it.

Coming back to your ex or to your judge a few months or even a few years later proposing some changes won’t work unless you can convince your ex to change or unless you can show the court that the law warrants a change. That’s not easy.

You can’t just request a change because you feel a change is appropriate. People who try to get their decrees of divorce modified on this basis are in for disappointment. Deep down, they know why: the one who got the better end of the lop-sided deal you made rarely grows a conscience (no matter how long you let them “cool down”), nor will they magically concede you are being taken advantage of. Your ex will respond with, “You agreed to these terms. You told me they were fair and acceptable to you then. Well, they’re fair and acceptable now too, and I am not willing to change them.” And that’s not your only problem.

The court follows the same reasoning in saying “I approved your agreement, and I won’t reconsider it after the fact.” Now don’t confuse a bad deal you made voluntarily with a fraudulent deal you made innocently. If you agreed to a settlement based upon your ex making false and misleading representations to you, AND if you can prove that to the court AND you file a motion or new law suit within the VERY short time periods the court rules permit, you can get a fraudulent settlement overturned.

And don’t confuse a bad deal you made voluntarily with a material and substantial change in circumstances. If you agreed to pay alimony based upon an income of $75,000, and then you lost your job because of a medical condition that leaves you unable to work that job or any other job that comes close to paying $75,000, that’s known as a material and substantial change in circumstances that arose through no fault of your own. If material and substantial circumstances arise, you can ask your ex to modify, and if your ex won’t agree, you can go to the court asking the judge to modify the decree to fit the change in circumstances. Just remember: to modify a divorce decree based upon a material and substantial change in circumstances means generally that it has to be a big, serious change, a change you didn’t cause, and a change that wasn’t foreseeable.

OK, now back to settlements made out of desperation and fear, etc. If you choose to make a bad deal—whether with the used car dealer or after you order Miracle Blade knives off the TV or in a divorce—you’re stuck with the outcome. Even if you get a good attorney to try and get a change your decree down the road, it won’t work (so save your money on that attorney). Courts honor and enforce agreements between divorcing spouses. So, no matter how ugly your divorce might be, no matter how long it drags on, if you think a quick settlement now, followed by a second bite at the apple later is a smart “strategy,” think again.

Free Consultation with a Utah Divorce Lawyer

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you now.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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from Michael Anderson http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/if-you-agreed-to-bad-terms-in-your-divorce-settlement-you-will-get-screwed/

from Top Rated Utah Lawyer https://topratedutahlawyer.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/if-you-agreed-to-bad-terms-in-your-divorce-settlement-you-will-get-screwed/

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Dissenter’s Rights in a Business Divorce

Dissenters’ rights is a little known and little used statutory procedure that can be invoked under particular circumstances which may solve disputed issues in a business divorce. The basic concept of dissenters’ rights is to allow a shareholder to be bought out at fair value when a substantial change in corporate structure is about to take place. Utah statutes provide a detailed procedure for the exercise of dissenters’ rights. No comparable provision exists in the Utah limited liability company statutes.

Dissenter's Rights in a Business Divorce

TRIGGERS FOR DISSENTERS’ RIGHTS

A number of corporate actions trigger the right of a shareholder to dissent and obtain fair value for the shares. First, if the corporation is a party to a plan of merger, including where a subsidiary is merging into a parent company, dissenters’ rights apply. If the corporation is a party to a share exchange and the shareholders are entitled to vote on the plan dissenters’ rights are triggered. Next is when a sale or exchange of all or substantially all of the property of the company occurs, unless the sale is pursuant to a court order or a sale for cash payable one year from the date of the sale. Dissenters’ rights exist if there is going to be an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation that materially and adversely affects a dissenters’ preferred rights in shares, creates or alters a right of redemption, alters a preemptive right, or excludes the right of the shares to vote on any matter including cumulative voting for directors. If a shareholder elects to dissent from any of these actions, a shareholder may not object or challenge the corporate action unless such action is fraudulent. Finally, the right to dissent is not applied to shares traded on a national exchange.

DISSENTERS’ RIGHTS PROCEDURES

If any of these proposed actions will be submitted to a vote at a shareholder meeting, the meeting notice must state that the shareholders may assert dissenters’ rights. Even if there is no meeting, a notice still must be given in writing to shareholders about their right to dissent to the corporate action. Once the notice is received, any shareholder who may want to dissent must deliver in writing their intent to demand payment for their shares and dissent. It is incumbent upon the corporation to send a writing to all shareholders not later than ten days after the triggering corporate action is taken and advise the shareholders where payment demand must be sent and where share certificates may be deposited. That same notice will advise the dissenting shareholder when the corporation must receive the shareholder’s demand for payment of their shares. The shareholder must comply and send a demand for payment consistent with that notice. If no demand for payment is received the rights are waived. Upon receipt of the payment demand, the corporation shall pay the dissenter what the corporation estimates to be the “fair value” of the shares and shall send to the shareholder the Company balance sheet together with an explanation as to how the fair value estimate was calculated.

If the shareholder is dissatisfied with the corporation’s estimate of the fair value, the dissenter may notify the corporation in writing of their estimate, less any payment tendered or otherwise reject the offer and demand full payment of fair value. Thereafter, if the matter is not resolved, the corporation is required to commence a court proceeding within sixty days and ask the court to determine the fair value of the shares, or otherwise pay the amount the dissenter estimates to be the fair value. All disputing dissenters must be a part of this action. There is no right to a trial by jury and the court may appoint a master or others to assist it in determining fair value. Each dissenter is entitled to obtain a judgment for the amount which the court finds is the fair value of the shares exceeding the amount offered by the corporation, if any. This is often called an “appraisal proceeding.”

THE COURT DETERMINES FAIR VALUE

The court shall take evidence and determine fair value but has a right to assess expenses and attorney fees. The expenses assessed may also include the cost of experts. The court may find against the corporation in favor of the dissenter if it finds the corporation did not comply with procedural requirements, against the dissenter if the fair value does not materially exceed” the amount offered by the company; or against either the company or dissenter if it finds that the party against whom the fees and expenses assessed acted “arbitrarily, vexatiously, or not in good faith with respect to the rights provided …” by the dissenters’ rights process.

The term “fair value” is defined in the dissenters’ rights statutes to mean the value of shares immediately before the effectuation of the corporate action to which the dissenter objects excluding any appreciation or depreciation in anticipation of the corporate action unless such exclusion is inequitable. The statutory definition does not deal with the issue of discounts for either a minority interest or lack of marketability, discounts commonly given for fair market value calculations. However, in Utah, case law states that fair value is not the same as fair market value and does not include discounts for marketability or minority interest.

The practitioner should be alert to any of the possible triggering events during an owner dispute as the existence of any such triggering device may conclude a business divorce. The parties must carefully calculate their estimations and demands of fair value since the entire cost of the proceeding, including expert fees is at risk of being awarded to a successful party. The statutes were designed to deter an actual court proceeding by increasing the risk of loss. The court proceeding should probably only be one day with the evidence likely limited to the expert reports and perhaps some other related matters.

The dissenters’ rights statutes present an admirable, limited procedure to allow a shareholder, under key circumstances, to remove themselves from their business partners and hopefully terminate a dispute receiving fair value for their interest in the company.

Free Initial Consultation with a Business Divorce Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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from Michael Anderson http://www.ascentlawfirm.com/dissenters-rights-in-a-business-divorce/

from Top Rated Utah Lawyer https://topratedutahlawyer.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/dissenters-rights-in-a-business-divorce/

Divorce Can Make Good People Bad

Why is it that people who seemed to be fairly rational before divorce turn into complete paranoid, hyper-defensive maniacs once the separation and divorce process begins? Couples who promised to do this divorce thing respectfully suddenly turn into ferocious warriors, letting their mean-and-petty streak show through, especially when they get into the pit with their attorney.

Sure, some people are just jerks, but what makes otherwise good people behave so poorly? It turns out this “crazy” behavior is fairly predictable and normal in such circumstances. That’s not an excuse for it, but when you better understand what’s pushing your buttons so badly, you can finally begin to make healthier choices and address the feelings of overwhelm that are triggering such unseemly (read: king of the jerks) behavior.

Divorce Can Make Good People Bad

Here are the panic-button pushing reasons that divorce makes us act so out of character:

Disappointment Over Unmet Expectations

When you said “I do” you did so with expectations about what marriage is all about. But maybe you never fully shared those expectations with the person you actually said your vows to. Many times we don’t articulate our expectations specifically because we assume everyone just knows this is how marriage is supposed to be. But, “everyone” may only be your family and the way they did things, or your closest friends with whom you have discussed this over and over. It never included your now soon-to-be-ex-spouse who (don’t forget) came into marriage with some unspoken expectations of their own. When our deeply held expectations (like “marriage is forever, no matter what”) are unmet, we often feel betrayed, making it easy to feel indignant and cast our ex as the enemy. We believe they let us down. But, if we’re honest, were they ever fully on page with us to begin with?

The big challenge of marriage is putting both partner’s expectations on the table and then working together to create a mutually agreed upon vision for how your marriage will actually work.

Fear of Change

During periods of immense and drastic change (such as divorce), your mild-mannered brain goes into survival mode, ready at a moment’s notice to fight or retreat, thanks to that reptilian brain you inherited from your ancient ancestors.

Whether is it your fear of losing status (social, financial, etc.), a sense of uncertainty about the future, a worry that you don’t belong anymore in your social circle, or just a feeling like this whole situation is so unfair—the problem-solving part of your brain can’t do its job until your panicked reptilian brain calms down.

Uncertainty and fear about how things will turn out take a steep toll on you mentally and physically. Stress from staying in an “I’m in danger” primal mindset can short-circuit your patience, your willingness to listen, and your ability to communicate effectively. Your health is also likely to take a dive as well, making you prone to sleep deprivation and low stamina at a time when you are taking on mountains of critically important paperwork, decisions, and details as part of the divorce. So, even if you want to make good choices, the stress response of facing so much uncertainty and change at once is sure to cause you at least some temporary loss of rational thought and behavior.

Feeling Powerless and Out of Control

In normal life, you are used to being competent and in charge, but now you are thrust into the unfamiliar, unsure of how to get things done right in the divorce process (and in the new life waiting after it). You are being forced to make important decisions immediately. You have to hire a high-priced expert to navigate you through the legal aspects. And hiring a lawyer kicks off what could be seen by the other as an attack; you have drawn up sides and are now ready for war.

Communication is out the window when you feel powerless and unable to fully control things that profoundly affect your life. You have to trust your attorney (who was likely a complete stranger to you before this situation) to lead the charge and make decisions that will affect your future (and your childrens’ future) for years to come. It all costs a fortune. Is it any wonder each side feels like they are being screwed?

A Sense of Entitlement

Splitting apart all of the property (and associated memories) the two of you acquired through your sweat, equity, and hard-earned money can feel like a spiteful business transaction. Each of you has a sense of ownership and “it wouldn’t have happened without my efforts” point of view. Your decisions right now are dominated by your emotions, not your logical problem-solving self.

If you have kids, there is likely an overwhelming sense of guilt and worry that this divorce experience might be damaging them. They may even think it is their fault that mommy and daddy are splitting up. The kids end up as pawns in a fight over what you and your ex believe you each deserve or never deserved. Each of you are in it to “get yours” in the name of fairness. But the ego battle waging between you both in the pursuit of “emotional justice” ends up feeling more like scrambling down an endless tunnel with no cheese at the end.

So, what’s a stressed out person to do in order to keep divorce-induced jerky behavior in check?

Take back your dignity. Get in touch with who you are when you are at your best. Be clear about what is important to you and why, and how you want to remember yourself when this is over. Now, behave your way into that outcome.

Assemble a good team to support you in this transition from married to single. Identify where you need more information, different perspectives, and validation that will get you through this in a way that lifts you up (versus pulling you down). Pick people who can support you in being your best. Fight the urge to surround yourself with people who will urge you to seek revenge, act petty, or take your ex to the cleaners. When you look in the mirror, you want the best version of you reflecting back as you move into your new future.

Listen, listen, listen. Communicate, communicate, communicate—with your children, with your ex-spouse, and with the experts you are relying on to help you make the best decisions based on your needs, wants and values. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your role in how things are going. If you misstep and act like a jerk for a moment, own it, and then apologize and move on.

Remember your past successes. Take care of what is important to you, ask for help, and remember the times when you successfully dealt with challenging times in the past. What allowed you to be resilient then? How can that help you here and now? You’ve been through hard times before—you can handle this.

Dealing with a difficult ex certainly doesn’t make the divorce process any easier. But neither does being a difficult ex. So keep yourself in check. By understanding some of the hot buttons that you both are pushing in each other, then maybe you can pause, take a breath, drop the jerk behavior and make better choices.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Reasons Parents Lose Custody of Their Children

Although most laws are designed to help divorced parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children, there are times when some issues may disqualify divorcees from having legal custody of their kids. Most of these cases involve allegations related to child abuse or neglect. However, some allegations could be false statements from a contentious former spouse. If you are dealing with a child custody matter is best you contact a Salt Lake City child custody attorney to discuss your legal options.

Reasons Parents Lose Custody of Their Children

THE PROCESS

The process generally starts with one of the parents notifying the court about his or her concern involving a former spouse or parent of the children. Evidence must be provided otherwise the allegations of abuse are not valid. If the judge determines the behavior is a threat to the child’s safety, an investigation will take place. An investigator may take a look at the circumstances surrounding the allegations and decide whether or not the allegations are true.

CHILD ABUSE

This is a common reason why some parents may lose the custody of their children. The court will see if there is a history of child abuse. Some factors that help the judge determine if there was child abuse include scars, bruises, marks, and cuts. Whether it was initiated by anger or inappropriate behavior, child abuse will definitely cause the parents lose custody of their children. If you suspect your former spouse has abused your child, notify the police and contact Salt Lake City child custody attorney.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

There are cases that don’t involve child abuse yet if the child witnessed child abuse against the other parent during the last 5 years; the court may deny sole child custody. A history of abuse will be considered when making custody decisions. Granting custody to an abusive parent is not in the child’s best interest.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE

Courts will also take a look at other factors such as the use of controlled substances. The habitual use of drugs or alcohol by either parent is detrimental to the interests and safety of the kids, therefore, the parent addicted to these substances can’t be trusted with raising the children.

VIOLATING A COURT ORDER

Parents should respect custody orders. Doing otherwise may result in a parent losing custody. Although it’s all based on how the order was written, violating the order doesn’t help advance the case. Some cases involving joint custody, for example, require both parents making important decisions about the child. If one of the parents fails to consult the other parent before making an important decision, the custody order could be modified and the parent may lose custody.

PARENTAL ALIENATION AND CO-PARENTING

When one of the parents is manipulative and he or she uses these tactics to alienate the children from his or her former spouse, there is a chance he or she will lose the custody. Co-parenting is sometimes the best option in some scenarios as it allows parents that can’t get along to follow a strict joint custody schedule.

PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN FROM PARENTAL ALIENATION

It is natural for children whose parents live apart to want to spend more time with them. Most children feel that they will not be able to spend enough time with mom and dad after divorce. Custodial parents generally have less time for the children due to the many responsibilities they have and non-custodial parents aren’t around as much as they used to. In the midst of all this chaos, some parents may take advantage of the situation and manipulate their children into fearing or expressing hostility towards their former spouses. This is when parental alienation takes place. A child may reject one parent following a harshly contested divorce. These cases generally require the intervention of a Salt Lake City divorce attorney. Several problems may arise that only an experienced attorney is equipped to handle.

Divorce can be one of the most frightening experiences for children since their lives may change dramatically after their parents decide to go separate ways. They have to adapt to a new family structure they do not like yet they have no control over it. Children need the love and care of both parents when growing up. Unfortunately, some parents don’t understand this and they choose to involve their children in a harsh divorce battle. It is a way to harm a former spouse by taking the children from them.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the common signs of parental alienation:

  • The child avoids contact with the targeted parent for no particular reason.
  • The targeted parent is constantly being accused of wrongdoing.
  • The child says inappropriate things for their age.
  • The child feels confident about the rude behavior.
  • The child insists that it is their decision to no longer spend time with the targeted parent.
  • The child may also refuse to no longer be with the family of the targeted family.

DEALING WITH PARENTAL ALIENATION

It all depends on your child’s age and your relationship with them. If you still communicate with your children, there are some steps you can take to stop the alienation:

  • Don’t talk bad about your former spouse in front of your children.
  • Don’t act like the other parent or imitate the alienating behavior.
  • Reassure your children that you will always love them and care for them no matter what.
  • Don’t blame your children.
  • Remind your children of the great times you had together.
  • Respect your visitation schedule.
  • Talk to aSalt Lake City divorce attorney to help you combat parental alienation.

Free Initial Consultation with Family Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC
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Telephone: (801) 676-5506

How to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt

Perhaps like many Americans your New Year’s resolution involves paying down credit card debt. After all, even the most ardent supporter of the plastic hears that little voice in the back of their head “credit card interest rates are a huge ripoff, I shouldn’t use my Visa card as much as I do.” To be sure, if you’re trying to get your financial life in order, taming high interest credit card debt is job number one. Unfortunately, many consumers get caught in the minimum monthly payment trap, leaving stagnant balances that seem to never go away. So how do you go about paying down credit card debt and getting rid of Mr. Visa once and for all?

How to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt

Damage Assessment

The first step to paying off your credit card debt is to figure out the exact amount that you currently owe. It’s not until you have exact balances and the interest rates you’re being charged that you’ll know how high of a mountain you’re faced with climbing. In addition to outstanding balances, add up the monthly payment for each card and figure out how much of your income is going to credit card payments every month. Organization is key. We’ve created a simple chart to help you organize what you owe.

Break Your Dependence on Credit Cards

In other words, stop using the credit cards! The idea in starting a plan to pay down credit card debt is to attack the principal balances rather than just paying interest every month. The credit card companies want you stuck in debt, feeding them their interest every month. The only way to stop interest from increasing is to stop the balances from increasing. Put together a budget and stick to it, without using your credit cards. Often, aggressive budgeting is the fastest way out of debt. It might hurt at first, but the sense of satisfaction you’ll receive from paying off your credit card debt will far outweigh any temporary inconvenience. If you absolutely need credit cards to live, it might be time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Pay Off One of the Cards

To gain momentum in your quest out of credit card debt, pay off the smallest card first. Completely retire one of the balances, it feels good. Some will argue that tackling the highest balances first makes sense, but momentum will play a big role in getting you out of credit card debt. Get rid of the smallest card and the rest will start to fall in line.

Pay More Than the Minimum Monthly Payment

Salt Lake City bankruptcy attorney wrote an excellent post on the National Bankruptcy Forum describing the major problems consumers face when they try to pay just the minimum on a credit card. He listed a table showing how long it takes to pay off small debts at low interest rates which we’ve included here:

$1000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $100 = 11 months to payoff $1000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $50 = 24 months to payoff $2000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $100 = 24 months to payoff $2000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $50 = 62 months to payoff $3000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $150 = 24 months to payoff $3000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $100 = 40 months to payoff $4000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $200 = 24 months to payoff $4000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $150 = 34 months to payoff $5000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $200 = 32 months to payoff $5000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $150 = 47 months to payoff $5000 balance, 18% interest, minimum payment $100 = 93 months to payoff

As John points out in his article, these figures don’t even factor in administrative or late fees which can add up quickly! The bottom line is that minimum monthly payments on credit cards usually represent interest only, the underlying balances aren’t touched by making these payments. To actually get out of credit card debt it will be crucial to pay more than the minimum monthly payment, there’s simply no other way.

Transfer Debt to Lower Interest Cards

As the table above demonstrates, the credit card companies kill you with high interest rates. As we’ve established, if you’re trying to get out of debt, paying the minimum won’t do. Instead, try transferring balances from one lower interest card to another, and keep doing it as opportunities arise. Many banks offer promotional “teaser” rates to induce consumers to open a line of credit. If you pay enough attention to deadlines, you can move your credit card balances around to banks offering the lowest rate, this will cut down on some of the money you’re throwing away on interest.

Negotiate With The Bank

Many lenders are open to settling past-due credit card bills for less than the full amount owed and a good consumer attorney can aid in negotiating with your credit card lender as a way to avoid bankruptcy. How is this possible? Once a loan goes into default for long enough, lenders no longer carry it on their books as a performing asset. In cases where a consumer has fallen behind for many months, recovering anything at all may be considered gravy by the credit card lender. This doesn’t mean your lender will be a push over, they’ll likely ask that you produce financial information as part of the negotiation process, but to the extent you have some cash to throw at the problem, you might be able to get out of debt for far less than what you owe. In these cases, the amount of debt forgiven will be taxed as income come April. For more information, see: Tax Consequences of Forgiven Debt.

Know When to Look for Help

If you fallen behind on your credit card bills or need credit cards to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and gas, it may be wise to meet with a bankruptcy attorney. Although options outside of bankruptcy should always be explored, filing for bankruptcy protection will eliminate credit card debt as well as medical bills.

Free Consultation with Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Attestation Clause in a Will

I’m going to share a very important part of estate planning law in this post.

The act of witnessing an instrument of writing, like a Will, at the request of the party making the Will, is done in the attestation clause section of the Will. The validity and form of an attestation clause is usually a matter of U.S. state law, and can vary from state to state. The attestation clause in a Will is essential. Utah Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 3-2.1 provides the requirements for the signing and witnessing of a Will.  The statute has a number of provisions which include the requirement that the Will be in writing and signed at the end. A Utah attestation clause lawyer can guide you through these requirements.

Attestation Clause in a Will

The statute further provides that there must be at least two attesting witnesses and that any writing that is placed on the Will following the testator’s signature, other than the witness attestation, is not to be given any effect.  Another requirement of the statute is that the testator declare to the witnesses that the paper he is signing is his Will.

The preparation and execution of a Last Will may seem rather routine.  However, the provisions of the Will providing for dispositions to beneficiaries as well as the inclusions of significant statutory provisions such as the attestation clause allow a smooth and efficient probate and estate settlement process.  Without proper language and terms a Will may be subject to a Will Contest and invalidated.

A Will must be drafted and executed properly to be effective. I’ve seen poorly written wills and trusts alot as an estate lawyer in Utah. It is most important that the Will be worded in clear, unambiguous language. As noted, one clause that should always be inserted in a Will is the attestation clause (the part of the will that deals with the witnessing of the testator’s signature).  An attestation clause lawyer in Utah can advise you on drafting it. Utah requires that there be witnesses to a Will and that certain formalities of signing be followed.  The attestation clause in a Will provides that these requirements were adhered to. Sometimes the witnesses to the Will are dead or have moved. In either case, there may be great difficulties in obtaining probate if there is no attestation clause. The attestation clause of the Will, while not complicated, is important.

Although the statute only requires that there be two witnesses, it is common for New York Will Lawyers to have three persons act as attesting witnesses.  The witnesses should be disinterested and not receive any benefit under the Will.  At the time the Will is executed the witnesses usually also sign an affidavit which sets forth the basic elements regarding their witnessing of the Will such as the testator was over 18 years of age and that they saw the testator sign the Will and that all the witnesses were present when the testator and witnesses signed.  This paper is called a self-proving affidavit and is attached at the end of the Will and helps expedite the probate of the Will.

Free Consultation with a Will Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

SEC Charges Executives with Stealing

It’s important to keep in the loop as a Securities Lawyer. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two former executives at a credit card processing company with masterminding a fraudulent scheme to steal millions of dollars through phony expense reimbursements, inflated invoices, and other improper accounting tactics.

SEC Charges Executives with Stealing

The SEC’s complaint alleges that iPayment’s then-senior vice president of sales and marketing Nasir N. Shakouri and then-executive vice president and chief operating officer Robert S. Torino routinely reimbursed themselves for payments that were never actually made to third-party vendors using their personal credit cards.  They also allegedly conspired with vendors to inflate invoices and receive kickbacks from the overpayments, and claimed improper commissions and bonuses related to other corporate funds they improperly diverted in various ways.

The SEC’s complaint also charges three other iPayment executives – Bronson L. Quon, John S. Hong, and Jonathan K. Skarie – with participating in the scheme and helping Shakouri and Torino falsify books and records to hide the thefts of corporate funds.  Quon, Hong, and Skarie were allegedly rewarded for their assistance with misappropriated iPayment funds.

“As alleged in our complaint, these executives manipulated iPayment’s internal accounting systems, lied to the external auditor, and caused approximately $11.6 million in losses to the company,” said Sanjay Wadhwa.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Utah today announced criminal charges against Shakouri and Torino.

The SEC is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties as well as officer-and-director bars.

SEC, NATIONAL BANK OF BELGIUM AGREE TO ENHANCED COOPERATION AND INFORMATION SHARING REGARDING EUROCLEAR

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has entered into an arrangement with the National Bank of Belgium to enhance cooperation and information sharing regarding expanded services by Euroclear Bank, which provides clearance and settlement through its operation of the Euroclear System.

Brussels-based Euroclear Bank is subject to prudential supervision and oversight by the National Bank of Belgium as a credit institution and as a clearing agency.  The SEC granted Euroclear’s predecessor an exemption from registration as a clearing agency in 1998, allowing it to provide clearing services for U.S. government securities.  On Dec. 16, 2016, the SEC approved Euroclear’s application to modify its exemption from registration, enabling it to also provide limited clearing agency services for U.S. equity securities.

On March 9, 2017, the SEC and the National Bank of Belgium added an addendum to their 2001 Understanding Regarding An Application of Euroclear Bank for an Exemption under U.S. Federal Securities Laws regarding Euroclear’s clearing activities in the U.S., enhancing their ability to exchange information about Euroclear’s new services.

“This addendum will expand the signatories’ ability to cooperate and exchange information related to Euroclear Bank and augment the SEC’s oversight of Euroclear Bank’s activities under its exemption order,” said Paul A. Leder, Director of the SEC’s Office of International Affairs.

SEC CHARGES FIRMS INVOLVED IN LAYERING, MANIPULATION SCHEMES

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a Ukraine-based trading firm accused of manipulating the U.S. markets hundreds of thousands of times and the Utah-based brokerage firm and CEO who allegedly helped make it possible.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Avalon FA Ltd touted itself to traders as a destination to engage in layering, a scheme in which orders are placed but later canceled after tricking others into buying or selling stocks at artificial prices, resulting in illicit profits.  Avalon allegedly made more than $21 million in the layering scheme involving U.S. stocks during a five-year period.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Avalon also made more than $7 million in illicit profits through a cross-market manipulation scheme in which the firm bought and sold U.S. stocks at a loss in order to manipulate the prices of the stock and its corresponding options so that it could then profitably trade at artificial prices.  Avalon allegedly used traders in Eastern Europe and Asia to conduct its trading, and the firm kept a portion of the profits and collected commissions from the traders.

The SEC’s complaint also describes fraud charges against Avalon’s named owner Nathan Fayyer and Sergey Pustelnik, who allegedly kept his controlling interest in Avalon undisclosed and embedded himself at Lek Securities as a registered representative, using his position to facilitate the schemes.

The SEC further alleges that Lek Securities and its owner Samuel Lek made the schemes possible by providing Avalon with access to the U.S. markets, approving the cross-market trading scheme, and improving its trading technology to assist Avalon’s trading.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Lek Securities also relaxed its layering controls after Avalon complained.  Avalon was the highest-producing customer for Lek Securities in terms of trading commissions, fees, and rebates generated.

“As alleged in our complaint, Avalon openly marketed itself as a destination for manipulative trading, and Lek Securities opened the gate to allow the schemes into the U.S. markets despite repeated warnings that its customer was manipulating the market,” said Stephanie Avakian, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

After filing its complaint in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Utah, the SEC obtained an emergency court order freezing Avalon’s assets held in its account at Lek Securities as well as freezing and repatriating funds that Avalon has transferred overseas.

SEC FREEZES BROKERAGE ACCOUNTS BEHIND ALLEGED INSIDER TRADING

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an emergency court order to freeze assets in two brokerage accounts used last week to reap more than $1 million in alleged insider trading profits in connection with a merger announcement by telecommunications companies.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Utah, highly suspicious transactions have been detected surrounding last week’s announcement that Liberty Interactive Corp. had agreed to acquire General Communication Inc.  The traders, who are currently unknown, allegedly used foreign brokerage accounts in the United Kingdom and Lebanon to purchase call option contracts through U.S.-based brokerages and on U.S.-based exchanges in the days leading up to the April 4 public announcement of the acquisition.  The court’s order freezes the foreign accounts’ assets contained in the U.S. brokerages.

According to the SEC’s complaint, some of the risky options positions taken in these accounts represented virtually 100 percent of the market for those options.  Following the acquisition announcement, General Communication’s shares rose more than 62 percent and the brokerage account customers allegedly sold the bulk of the contracts.

“As alleged in our complaint, the timing, size, and profitability of the trades as well as the absence of any recent trading by the accounts in these particular securities make the transactions highly suspicious,” said Michele Wein Layne.  “We don’t hesitate to act quickly and proactively to freeze accounts and prevent proceeds from dissipating while we continue to investigate dubious transactions and identify the traders behind them.”

The emergency court order obtained by the SEC requires the traders to repatriate any funds or assets located outside the U.S. that were obtained from the alleged insider trading.  The traders are prohibited from destroying any evidence.  The SEC’s complaint charges the unknown traders with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5.  The SEC is seeking a final judgment ordering the traders to disgorge their allegedly ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties and permanently enjoining them from future violations.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

I got a new job, can I still file Bankruptcy?

I got a new job, can I still file Bankruptcy

Yes.

Yes you can.

Does a regular paycheck disqualify a consumer from filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you’ve read this blog with any frequency, you’ve undoubtedly seen numerous posts about bankruptcy reform and the means test. Indeed, much has been written about the means test, the vaunted gatekeeper to chapter 7 bankruptcy protection implemented by Congress as part of BAPCPA in 2005. Under the “new” law, families that earn above the median income in their state must pass the means test in order to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

It is possible to file for chapter 7 protection while earning a salary

Will a new job give you a failing grade on the means test and prevent you from filing chapter 7 bankruptcy? Likely, no. First of all earning a salary doesn’t automatically preclude anyone from qualifying for chapter 7. Only individuals and families that earn more than the average in their states must pass the means test in order to qualify and often do. A job at a professional services firm, Like J.P. Morgan, that pays a higher salary, will make the path to bankruptcy harder than a job at Walmart that doesn’t pay as much. However, keep in mind that the income guidelines for chapter 7 look backwards.

Qualifying for chapter 7 looks at past earnings

In addition, if you’ve had a prolonged period of unemployment even a new job with a high salary shouldn’t pose a means test problem.  This is because the means test deducts allowed expenses from your current monthly income (average income over the last six months). If after expenses you have very little “disposable income” you will qualify for chapter 7. The six month look back period allows your period of unemployment to be averaged in with your new salary in calculating your current monthly income. For example, if you have recently landed a job that pays $100,000 annually but have only been working for 2 months, you will likely still qualify to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy because your average income over the last six months (which will include four months of no salary) will put you below your state’s average income. The means test can be complicated, if you have questions, it is wise to consult an attorney. If your attorney advises you that your income is too high for chapter 7, chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a good option.

Don’t Sell Property to Avoid Bankruptcy

Don’t cash in your 401(k) or sell your property to avoid bankruptcy. In the last several months, I have had a large number of people in their 50s and 60s contact me about filing for bankruptcy. In a lot of ways, this recession has hit people in this age group the hardest. Between the layoffs and the tough job market, a lot of people are really struggling. And even when someone is lucky enough to find a job, oftentimes it is at a significantly reduced salary.

The bad economy has caused people to file bankruptcy who didn’t expect to

The fact is that the recession is causing a lot of people to file for bankruptcy who never thought they would. While the recession is is undoubtedly a sad turn of events, I am also seeing an even more disturbing trend. Namely, a lot of them are selling all of their property in an effort to stay current with their bills and avoid filing for bankruptcy. By the time they come to me, they have already gone through everything they own. While these efforts are always well-intentioned, they are catastrophic for their finances. In a lot of cases, people are selling assets that they would otherwise be able to keep if they would have thought about filing for bankruptcy a little sooner.

Chapter 7 divides assets into two piles

When you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets are divided into two categories: exempt and nonexempt. When you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you get to keep your exempt assets and the bankruptcy trustee has the option of taking and selling your nonexempt assets. This distinction is vitally important because in most cases, your retirement accounts and equity in your home are exempt. The amount of the exemption varies from state to state, but the point is this: do not sell exempt property to pay debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy.

Example – mistakenly cashing in a retirement account

For example, let’s say you are in your mid-50s and are having financial difficulty. If you sell your retirement account to keep your head above water and pay credit card bills, you are literally selling your retirement years. Do not liquidate your retirement account to pay off credit card debt, or other debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy. This is especially true when you do not have a lot of time to start saving for your retirement again.

The bottom line about Bankruptcy

Do not go into denial about your financial situation. If you are thinking about selling your retirement account for living expenses, that is a pretty good sign that you should be thinking about filing for bankruptcy. But the only way you can know for sure is if you talk to a skilled bankruptcy attorney about your situation. A bankruptcy attorney will be able to listen to your situation and help you decide if filing for bankruptcy is right for you. Exemptions vary from state to state, and not all debt can be discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Therefore, be sure to talk with an attorney so you can make an informed decision. But please, do not sell any exempt assets to keep up with your daily living expenses until you have had a chance to talk with a skilled attorney.

Free Consultation with a Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy

We all know college is expensive. But just how hard is it to pay off student loans? According to new information published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), choosing the right school to attend can have a huge effect on your future — but not just on what type of job you might be more likely to get with a fancier college on your resume. It might impact your ability to pay off student loans. This topic is important to bankruptcy lawyers because if you ever get behind on payments…. well, read on.

Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Sure, picking a $40,000-per-year-tuition college over one that’s half the price should be a serious topic around the dinner table when you’re a high school student. How many grants or scholarships are you eligible and applying for? How big of a loan will you need to get to cover the rest? And how will you pay it all back?

The Treasury Department staffers who authored the working paper for NBER found that low- and middle-income college borrowers struggle with loan burdens after leaving school by matching tax data with information in the Department of Education’s Student Loan Data System. Most low-income borrowers haven’t touched repaying any of the original balance of their student loans five years after college, while a borrower from a high-income family has repaid about 19%.

This is because the employment outcomes for students from low-income families aren’t as fruitful. More than 1 in 10 students from families earning fewer than $30,000 per year are unemployed five years after leaving school, while another 36% are working but earning fewer than $25,000. Meanwhile, only 27% of students from families earning $75,000 to $100,000 are earning fewer than $25,000, while 8% are unemployed.

Additionally, about 1 in 4 borrowers from low-income families default on student loans within five years of entering repayment.

Why the difference?

According to the data gathered for NBER, students from low-income families face tougher challenges with student loans based on their lack of access to wealth. Often, the balance of their loans is larger than when they originally took them out, five years after graduating. Wealthier borrowers also rely less heavily on student debt to finance college, according to left-leaning think tank Demos.

However, the NBER paper suggests that when low-income borrowers attend less selective schools that are still in the middle of the road in terms of economic mobility, about half end up earning more than $25,000 a year after entering repayment.

It’s important to note that the data was collected for student loans in repayment between 2004 and 2009, the tail end of that being right around the time of the economic collapse.

According to the Equality of Opportunity Project, schools that ranked best for upward mobility for low-income borrowers were:

  • Cal State-Los Angeles
  • SUNY-Stony Brook
  • CUNY System
  • Glendale Community College
  • University of Texas at El Paso

The percent of students who come from families in the bottom fifth but reach the top fifth of income distribution are included in the analysis by the Equality of Opportunity Project. Cal State-Los Angeles has the best mobility rate at nearly 10% of students achieving that tier, while the average college in the U.S. only churns out 1.9% of graduates who dramatically increase their wealth.

So, which college is right for me?

You’ll need to weigh a lot of factors when choosing which college is right for you: programs offered, acceptance rate, location, price, and more. If economic mobility is important to you, it’s good to have the data behind trends seen in colleges today.

The colleges reporting the lowest median parent income on the list include schools in New York, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, and Florida. Of the lowest set of parent median incomes, the best child (individual) median income was reported from graduates of Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in New York, where graduates ages 32-34 are earning $53,000 per year compared to their parents’ $30,900 per year.

No goal of becoming a pilot or engineer? That’s OK. If you go to University of Texas, most campuses will show results of a higher child income than parents’ income — many of which also tend to be in just the $30,000 range.

At City College of New York, you’ll earn $48,500 per year compared to your parents’ $35,500. At Cal State-Los Angeles, you’ll earn $43,000 for your parents’ $36,600.

Meanwhile, some schools aren’t the best choices, economically. Beauty schools, like Paul Mitchell in Costa Mesa, California — the lowest child median income on the list at $10,300 per year compared to their parents’ $85,200 per year — and some technical and community colleges can affect upward mobility rankings. However, students earning two-year degrees at public colleges, in addition to four-year ones, generally have an easier time paying off student loans. Community college also can help students save a lot of money by earning general credits they’d pay big bucks in tuition for per credit hour at a four-year school.

For students, both child and parent, who never attended college, they’re making just $11,500 per year on their parents’ $35,200.

Interested in what school results in the highest median income for students? It’s Saint Louis College of Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri. The median child income is $123,600 — but that’s also coming from a parent median income of $92,500.

What’s the best plan for paying off student loans?

Student loan debt can be tough. It’s important to explore all college payment options when also considering adding student loan debt, and when you’re able to start repaying your debt, you should begin doing so immediately.

It’s also important to know that if you’re feeling crippled by student loan debt years after college, you have options. However, the law makes bankruptcy only an option in discharging student loan debt if you can show undue hardship. If you can satisfy each of these requirements, you may be able to discharge student loan debt:

  1. Based on your current income and expenses, you’re unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for yourself and your dependents if you’re forced to pay off your student loans.
  2. You have additional circumstances that indicate that this state of affairs most likely will continue during most of your repayment period.
  3. You have made good faith efforts to repay your loans.

Erasing Student Loans in a Utah Bankruptcy

Student loans are considered to be in the lowest category of general unsecured debt when you’re looking at bankruptcy, which includes credit card and medical debt. It’s incredibly difficult to get a discharge on student loan debt, even though a growing number of influencers in consumer bankruptcy think that it should be dischargeable. Right now, our office will only file a motion to have student loan debt discharged is if you are permanently disabled and will never earn sufficient income in your lifetime to pay it back.  Even then, there is no guarantee we can do it.  The best route, however, would be to research all your financing options fully before choosing a college, possibly pursuing a degree that may land you a job that allows for loan forgiveness, like being a public school teacher or a nurse, and getting on a repayment plan after you graduate and sticking to it.

Free Consultation with Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Bankruptcy Online

Bankruptcy Online

Every month, there up to 1 million online monthly searches for the term “bankruptcy” on Google.

Why?

It’s not just the struggling economy. In fact, most bankruptcy lawyers will tell you that a weak economy actually brings bankruptcy filings down because consumers can’t afford legal fees when times are tight. Make no mistake, people go online for bankruptcy information when they are going through tough times and don’t want to broadcast it to the world. Bankruptcy still carries a certain stigma and most people prefer not to air their dirty laundry in public. They turn to Google for confidential answers to their questions about debt. After all, most consumers don’t have a bankruptcy firm on speed dial, but they do use search engines on a daily basis. The internet provides an opportunity to explore options in a confidential setting.

That’s why people look for bankruptcy information online, but can you file for bankruptcy online. Can you hire an attorney to file your case online?

Can you hire an attorney to file bankruptcy online?

For starters, all bankruptcy cases are ultimately filed online through the federal court system. Once you have prepared your bankruptcy paperwork with the help of your attorney (or by yourself if you’re filing pro se), he or she will file it with the court electronically and receive periodic email updates about your case from the court. For example, your lawyer will be the first to know when you receive a discharge because the court order will be delivered straight to their email inbox. The same is true for objections to exemptions, motions and 2004 exams.

However, despite the fact that bankruptcy courts utilize the PACER electronic filing system, it is usually not a good idea to handle a bankruptcy case entirely online. Although a bankruptcy petition can be prepared and filed through email correspondence with your lawyer’s office, there is no substitute for meeting your attorney in person. Filing bankruptcy is a big decision that will have a significant impact on your future. Unless you can’t leave your home for medical reasons, a trip to an attorney’s office is worth the inconvenience so you can go over your options in detail and gain a level of comfort with the person that will guide you through the bankruptcy system.

Things can go wrong in bankruptcy and not all attorneys are created equal. Be skeptical of any firm that offers to prepare your petition without meeting you first, and by all means, sign your paperwork before you agree to have it filed. When you file bankruptcy, you swear under penalty of perjury that the schedules are accurate.

But can I find a bankruptcy lawyer online?

The short answer is yes. As a general rule, you can find good bankruptcy attorneys online but be careful about where you look. It is important to understand what you’re seeing in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when you search for a bankruptcy lawyer. Results at the very top and right of the page are paid advertisements — best to ignore those. The organic results lower down on the SERP are generally more trustworthy as Google requires certain quality signals before advancing a site to prominence in these results.

This is not to say that every firm listed on the first page of Google will be a good firm or a good fit to handle your case, it is to say that digital marketing has become commonplace in the legal community and there is nothing wrong with investigating law firms via the internet. Trust, but verify.

Free Consultation with a Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone:
(801) 676-5506

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Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506