Introduction 1 Part I: Bankruptcy: The Big Picture 7 Chapter 1: Considering Bankruptcy 9 Chapter 2: Stopping the Bleeding 27 Chapter 3: Meeting the Players 47 Chapter 4: Deciding Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Best for You 57 Chapter 5: Confronting the Means Test 69 Chapter 6: Getting from Here to There: The Bankruptcy Process 91 Part II: Avoiding Bankruptcy 115 Chapter 7: Considering Alternatives to Bankruptcy 117 Chapter 8: Handling Bill Collectors 135 Chapter 9: Negotiating with the IRS 145 Part III: Keeping Your Stuff 153 Chapter 10: Understanding Which Assets Are Off Limits to Creditors 155 Chapter 11: Dealing with Secured Debts 173 Chapter 12: Saving Your Home 183 Part IV: Getting Rid of (Most of) Your Debt 199 Chapter 13: Lingering Obligations 201 Chapter 14: A House of Cards: Wiping Out Credit-Card Debts 215 Chapter 15: Give unto Caesar: Using Bankruptcy to Deal with Tax Debts 223 Chapter 16: The Devil Made Me Do It: Fines, Fraud, and Other Foibles 237 Chapter 17: Till Debt Due Us Part: Bankruptcy and Divorce 247 Chapter 18: Student Loans and Other Mind Games 257 Part V: Strategies for a Successful Bankruptcy 271 Chapter 19: Avoiding Troubles with Your Trustee 273 Chapter 20: Living on the Edge in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 283 Part VI: Enjoying Your Fresh Start 305 Chapter 21: Repairing Your Credit 307 Chapter 22: Staying Out of Financial Trouble 319 Part VII: The Part of Tens 327 Chapter 23: Ten Common Bankruptcy Mistakes 329 Chapter 24: Ten Things You Can Do Right Now to Ease Your Financial Woes 333 Chapter 25: Ten Common Questions about Bankruptcy 337 Appendix: Homestead Exemption Laws 343 Index 347
James P. Caher, a practicing attorney with 30 years of experience, is a nationally recognized expert on consumer bankruptcies and authority on the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Jim coauthored, with his brother John, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996) and two highly regarded books for lawyers: Discharging Marital Obligations in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1997) and Discharging Credit Card Debts in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1998). In addition, Jim has published scores of articles for bankruptcy professionals and is frequently called upon to analyze and interpret the complicated provisions of the 2005 bankruptcy law. He was labeled the ?online guru? by a national legal weekly because of his regular appearances on the Internet as an expert analyst on bankruptcy law. Jim also serves on the editorial board of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Jim graduated from Niagara University and then earned his law degree from Memphis State University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review and recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in the field of debtor-creditor relations. He filed his first consumer bankruptcy case shortly after graduating in 1975. Jim lives and practices in Eugene, Oregon. John M. Caher is a legal journalist who has written about law and the courts for most of his 25-year career. Currently the Albany bureau chief for the New York Law Journal, John previously was state editor and legal affairs reporter for the Times Union of Albany, New York. His legal reportage has won more than two dozen awards, including prestigious honors from the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Erie County Bar Association, and the Associated Press. John coauthored, with his brother Jim, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996). He is the author of King of the Mountain: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Chief Judge Sol Wachtler (Prometheus Books, 1998). In addition, John was the principal writer assisting former U.S. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon in preparation of his memoirs. Mr. Simon?s autobiography, A Time for Reflection, was published in 2003 by Regnery. John is a 1980 graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University, where he received his bachelor?s degree in journalism, and a 1993 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a master?s degree in technical communications/graphics. John lives in Clifton Park, New York.