Category Archives: How To File Bankruptcy

Why Did I Receive A Letter From REM Division of Notification?

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So you filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7, 11 or 13 and now you are receiving all this information/marketing material in the mail. One of the letters could be from REM Division of Notification. If you do not have much time right now just throw the letter away, burn it, shred it or return it to the sender and stop reading now. REM Division of Notification DOES NOT have any to do with the United States Bankruptcy Court or have anything to do with your actual bankruptcy case. They are just trying to pry some money out of your hand for now good or apparent reason.

Filing Bankruptcy Is A Public Record

Yes, the bankruptcy filing is a public record. Like all legal matters bankruptcy records are open to the public. You need a Public Access to Court Electronic Records account and login. After you create a PACER account it will cost $0.10 a page to review the documents. So companies like REM Division of Notification pay $0.10 a page to obtain your information and send marketing material to you. There is nothing wrong with that until you read the letters that come in the mail. I have yet to read a marketing letter that is not misleading or confusing to our clients. Sage Financial sends marketing material to bankruptcy filers to complete the second required course for around $50.00. While it is true a second course is required to receive a discharge of eligible debts when filing bankruptcy. The company we recommend to our clients only charges $7.95 for the second required course. Every now and then we have a client get fooled by Sage Financial and use them for the second course and they waste $40+. On a side note, Google also finds the bankruptcy filing information because the meeting of creditors hearings are posted as a PDF on the bankruptcy court’s website.

REM Division Of Notification’s Letter Is Misleading

First, REM Division of Notification has nothing to do with the government or the United States Bankruptcy Court. The letter in the top left-hand corner says “Bankruptcy Notification Division” as if the letter is an official communication from the bankruptcy court. The second misleading statement is in the first sentence. The letter says “Your Bankruptcy has been filed by the Court System and the information needed to access your records is printed above.” No, that is false and misleading again. Your bankruptcy attorney has records of your bankruptcy petition and all you should need to do is call them for a copy of the filed documents. The REM Division of Notification letter actually does not provide any information to access records. Next the letters says, “Please keep this letter because during your bankruptcy there will be 3 stages you will go through in order to complete the process. Many times the data centers are very slow in or with sending you the information you need so we will keep you informed and supply you with any available court information you may request using our web site during your proceedings.” What data centers? Once a bankruptcy case is filed certain documents are served directly by the court and the court is NOT slow in providing service. There are deadlines for everything, so it is actually not possible for notices to not be sent timely.

You Should Be Receiving The Information You Need From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

Hopefully you used good judgment and retained a bankruptcy lawyer to prepare and file your bankruptcy petition. If so, then that lawyer should be providing you with all the information you need from start to finish. That is part of what you are paying the lawyer for. So what does REM Division of Notification actually do? Who knows? It appears they will provide you will the filed documents from your bankruptcy case for a fee. These are the same documents you should get from your attorney for free or can obtain directly from the bankruptcy court yourself for $0.10 a page. REM Division of Notification probably only has a normal PACER account just like me, pay $0.10 a page for documents, then fool people into using their service and charge people something far over $0.10 a page so they make a lot of money.

Ask Your Bankruptcy Attorney

If you filed for bankruptcy protection and have questions about the documents you are receiving in the mail ask your bankruptcy attorney to explain them to you. Before calling your bankruptcy attorney scan and email the letter or fax the letter to your attorney first. It is difficult to explain a document or answer questions if we cannot read the actual letter the questions are about. So please forward the document first, then call and ask questions.

What Do I Need To Do To File Bankruptcy in California?

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When Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (more commonly known as “BAPCPA”), one of the new eligibility requirements to file for bankruptcy was to complete a credit counseling class from a nonprofit organization approved by the United States Trustee within 180 days prior to filing your bankruptcy case. See 11 U.S.C. §109(h). Your bankruptcy attorney will file the certificate completion with the court along with the rest of your bankruptcy paperwork. So what is this credit counseling class and why is it so important?

A lot of people hear the word “class” and shudder. They do not like to take classes and they are afraid they will be tested on information they know nothing about. A credit counseling class is very different. You should know the answers in this class because this class asks information about YOU and your income, expenses and debts. This class is offered in several different mediums: you can take the class in person, by telephone, or even online. Normally people opt for the online version because it is more convenient for them. They can take the class in their pajamas in bed at 1:00 a.m. if they wanted to. The purpose of this class is for you to understand and explore the different options that are available to you besides filing for bankruptcy. There are times when bankruptcy may be the only choice for you due to your financial circumstances but you still need to take the class.

If you took the class and received a certificate of completion, but you are unable to print the certificate and file it along with the rest of your bankruptcy paperwork the court will allow you fourteen days to file the certificate. If you have requested the credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency but were unable to complete the class during the seven days from the time you made the request because of an exigent circumstance, you need to provide a certification regarding what the exigent circumstances are. If the court finds that this certification merits a temporary waiver you still need to take the class, but you have 30 days from the date you filed your bankruptcy petition to file the credit counseling certificate with the court. The court may extend an extension of an additional 15 days maximum (making this a total of 45 days from the date you filed your bankruptcy petition).

So what is considered an exigent circumstance? It is something that occurs that is beyond your control that prevents you from taking the course prior to the filing of your bankruptcy petition. The court has the discretion to determine whether your circumstances are considered exigent in nature. A lot of courts have determined that filing your bankruptcy case due to a pending foreclosure sale is not considered an exigent circumstance because you had ample notice that the house was going to be auctioned at a trustee sale. Therefore any exigent circumstances were of your own making. So speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in your area sooner than later. See Dixon v. LaBarge, 338 B.R. 383 (8th Cir. BAP 2006). If the court does find that your circumstances are considered exigent in nature, remember that it is only a temporary waiver and you still need to take the class and file the certificate with the court.

Under 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(4), you can have the credit counseling requirement waived (meaning you do not have to take the course) if: (1) you have a mental illness or mental deficiency that would make you incapable of making rational financial decisions; (2) if you are physically impaired (disabled) and you cannot take the class after a reasonable effort to do so in person, by telephone or on the internet; or (3) you are on active military duty in a military combat zone. If you do not fall in any of these categories you will need to take the credit counseling course. Failure to do so will result in your ineligibility to be a debtor in a bankruptcy case which means that the court will dismiss your case.