Chris Layton

Much like any substantial undertaking, it may never feel like the right time to file a bankruptcy in Charlotte, NCI know that you already value the health and welfare of your family over avoiding any negatives you’ve imagined will flow from filing a bankruptcy. In my opinion, when you are ready to act on that value with the help of an attorney, that is the day you take the first step and make a phone call to move forward with achieving the goal of financial recovery.

That is my goal. But what about living expenses leading up to filing? Can I continue to use my credit cards until the day I file?

Your long-term financial health will be restored by the filing of bankruptcy. You are right to insist on a plan for managing your short-term financial health. My clients and I always discuss how they are making ends meet today. We then talk about what changes they should or can make leading up to the bankruptcy filing, and the impact of those changes.

In addition to helping you successfully achieve a discharge of your debts, I consider it my job to help you figure out how to survive as we approach the bankruptcy filing. You can continue using your credit cards until the day you file. Ideally, clients wait to file until they have not used the cards for several months. We are not living in an ideal world. I can’t tell you the last time I reviewed a case like that.

So I can use the cards if I have to, but I need to be careful as to how I use them?

Yes. The Bankruptcy Code states that consumer debt totaling more than $500 for luxury goods and services owed to any one creditor incurred within 90 days of filing, or cash advances totaling $750 or more owed to any one creditor made within 70 days of the filing are non-dischargeable. This doesn’t mean you can’t file. It does mean those particular charges would not be included in the bankruptcy. Additionally, charges owed to a creditor that were incurred by false pretenses or fraud are not dischargeable.

What does this mean, practically speaking?

If you have charged more than $500 to one particular card within 90 days of filing, the “presumption of abuse” will arise and creditors will most likely object. The same $500 spread out over several cards may not trigger an objection. Regardless, if you have spent over $500 within 90 days on a card for non-luxury items (reasonable living expenses: food, electric bills, etc), I will argue against the presumption of abuse and most likely be able to achieve a discharge of those charges in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, even though they occurred within the last 90 days.

I want to recover. What do I do next?

It’s easy. You call my office. I will personally answer the phone, and we will have a brief conversation about your situation. My hope is that after that conversation you feel more hopeful, more empowered, and more educated about your options. If filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is in your best interest, I will be here to help you with that. The phone call is free. More importantly, it can change your life.

Please take the next step toward your true financial health. Email me at [email protected] or call me at 704.749.7747. My job is to help, if you’ll give me the chance to do it.