Maine Debt Relief Agency

Molleur Law Office strives to provide our clients with the latest information and resources regarding both debt relief and bankruptcy in the State of Maine. Most importantly, we want to help you understand that Bankruptcy remains a viable option for Maine debtors. You still have opportunities to find relief and start a new life, debt-free.

What is a new Debt Relief Agency?

Debt Relief Agency (DRA): an attorney or petition preparer offering "bankruptcy services" to an "assisted Person". This includes:

  • Representing individual debtors
  • Representing "Mom & Pop" small business with consumer debts
  • Representing consumer creditor
  • Representing non-debtor spouse
  • Providing advice or representation outside a bankruptcy case

Assisted Person: one who has primarily consumer debts and nonexempt assets less than $150,000.

Bankruptcy Services: providing information, advice, counsel, documentation, preparation or filing, attendance at creditors meeting or appearance in case/proceeding, or providing legal representation.

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Who May Need a Debt Relief Agency?

You should seek-out a debt relief agency if you find yourself under the crushing weight of consumer debt, and risk the following:

  • Credit Defaults
  • Mortgage Foreclosures
  • Evictions
  • Excessive Debt
  • Debt Collection
  • Inability to Pay Your Consumer Debt

If you are like many Maine individuals and face these consequences, now may be the right time to consider a Debt Relief Agency and bankruptcy protection.

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Changes to the Bankruptcy Filing Process

Note: The following is a summary of legislation adopted by Congress in 2005, after intense lobbying by the credit industry. In our opinion these regulations are designed to intimidate people who need debt relief under the Bankruptcy Code, and are based on the erroneous assumption that debtors are dishonest. So long as you are honest and meet the requirements set out under the law, you are entitled to debt relief. We can guide you through all the requirement of filing bankruptcy, so long as you provide us accurate and complete information.

1. Understanding Your Debt Relief Options

There are a number of possible ways to handle your debt problems. The new bankruptcy regulations ensure that your lawyer discuss these options with you. Bankruptcy may be the best option, but you should be aware of the restrictions and consequences of bankruptcy when compared to other forms of debt relief.

2. Truth & Full Disclosure

The new laws very specifically require accurate filing from the very start of the bankruptcy process. As long as your personal information, assets and liabilities are recorded accurately, you have nothing new to worry about.

3. Providing Tax Returns & Income

You may have to provide tax returns from the past few years- up to 4 years before you file and proof of income for the last six months.

4. Debt Relief Counseling Requirement

You must now attend an individual or group briefing from a non-profit budget and counseling agency before completing the bankruptcy process. They will help ensure that you understand your responsibilities and opportunities regarding debt relief. *Joint debtors must each attend the course, but may attend the same session.

Approved Maine non-profit Budget and Counseling Agencies include:

  • Money Management International
  • Institute for Financial Literacy

5. Random Audits

Cases may be randomly audited for accuracy of personal information, income & debt disclosure, etc. We encourage you to provide complete and accurate information, or you risk both a dismissal of your case and possible criminal charges.

6. Financial Management Instruction

Similar to attending a Consumer Credit Agency briefing, this final requirement asks that you attend one more educational seminar, at least two hours long, which will include:

  • Money Management
  • Institute for Financial Literacy

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Changes to Debt Relief Agencies

A new attorney-client relationship

Many of the changes to bankruptcy legislation have been billed as a way to ensure that debtors are not taken advantage of by lawyers or bankruptcy filing preparers. Fundamentally, they require our debt relief agency to fulfill all promises and tell you the truth.

Molleur Law Office's bankruptcy practice has always worked to ensure confidence among our clients, and for 30 years we have provided debtors with truthful, effective debt relief advice. While the legislation adds new components to this relationship, requiring extensive documentation and disclosure, our mission remains the same—to provide Maine debtors with compassionate debt-relief counseling.

New documentation includes (but is not limited to):

  • Acknowledgment of Instructions
  • Notice to Individual Consumer Debtor
  • Notice to Clients Who Contemplate Filing Bankruptcy
  • Important Information About Bankruptcy Assistance Services
  • Instructions on Providing Information Required by Bankruptcy Law
  • Fee Agreement and Contract

The bankruptcy process has always required extensive paperwork and personal documentation. We can help you navigate these new requirements and file for bankruptcy with confidence.

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The Latest Means Test

The decision to file either a chapter 7 or chapter 13 may depend upon whether an individual has above median income and then whether that individual passes the means test.

It works like this—To file a chapter 7, an individual must either be below the median income, or pass the means test. The means test compares the family’s monthly income (based upon the average monthly income earned by the family over the 6 months before filing the bankruptcy case) against IRS generated monthly living expenses found in latest Means Test Chart. If the end result of the test is that there are no funds available to pay unsecured creditors, the individual is able to file a Chapter 7. If there are funds available to pay unsecured creditors, the individual must file a 5 year Chapter 13 case.

In Chapter 13, an individual’s experience differs if the person is below the median household income or above the median family income. If a person is below the median household income, he or she can do a 3 to 5 year repayment plan. If the person has above median family income, the person must do a 5 year Chapter 13 plan.

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Maine's Chapter 13 Trustee, Peter Fessenden, Responds to BAPCPA

Few individuals in Maine understand the impact of the Bankruptcy Abuse Protection and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) better than Peter Fessenden. As the Chapter 13 Trustee of Maine, Mr. Fessenden oversees and administers the repayment plans of debtors throughout the state.

The following was presented to attorneys in September, 2005, as part of a series of seminars on the revised bankruptcy laws.

Mr. Fessenden has allowed us to use some of his materials on our website for educational purposes only. He does not endorse our services in particular or any debt relief solution in general.

He is a frequent speaker at Maine State Bar Association seminars, American Bankruptcy Institute seminars, and the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees’ conferences. He also occasionally teaches bankruptcy courses at the University of Maine Law School. Mr. Fessenden is widely respected in the consumer bankruptcy field in Maine and throughout the country.

Schedule an Appointment

If you feel that a Debt Relief Agency could help you overcome your debt crisis, please schedule an appointment to meet with us. We have been filing Chapter 13 bankruptcies in Maine for over 30 years, creating new financial futures for consumers and businesses.

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