Bankruptcy Stories

The Bank Tried To Take Everything - Even Land It Didn't Have A Real Claim To

A business owner amassed significant debt when his small business failed due to tough economic times. Some of this debt was owed to the local bank.

When it became clear that the business owner was in a tough financial situation, the bank set its sights on taking his home through foreclosure. The bank also tried to foreclose on some adjacent lots that belonged to the business owner.

The business owner came to Nicolet Law Office and we immediately began to investigate. We found that while the bank had a mortgage interest in the home, it did not have a mortgage on the adjacent lots, meaning it should not have made a claim against them. We filed a counter suit for our client, which resulted in a dismissal of the bank's claim on the adjacent lots and a monetary settlement for our client (due to the bank's improper actions regarding the adjacent lots).

To help our client address his debt and the foreclosure action against his home, we advised him in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This discharged his personal debt, including tax debt, and allowed him to take care of his mortgage payments.

Our client was extremely grateful that we helped him stand up to the bank when it tried to take away not only his home, but also land that it had no rightful claim to.


A Bank Wrongfully Accused Our Client Of Fraud And Objected To Debt Discharge - We Made It Right

A small-business owner's company failed, and the owner was left with debt as a result. Seeking to rebuild and get a fresh financial start, the business owner and his wife turned to Russell Nicolet for advice on bankruptcy.

Russell helped them file for bankruptcy, but the process became complicated when a bank that held debt that would be discharged in the bankruptcy filed an objection to the discharge.

The bank claimed that years ago, our clients made fraudulent financial disclosures to obtain a loan. We strongly disagreed with this assertion; our clients had a good working relationship with the bank spanning nearly a decade, and they gladly provided the bank with any documents it wanted when it requested them. The bank held firm in its assertion, and the case headed to trial in federal court.

Russell presented evidence and put forth a solid legal argument on behalf of our clients. The court ruled that our clients had not fraudulently obtained the loan and that the bank's objection to the discharge of debt could not stand. Our clients were able to proceed with bankruptcy and obtain the debt relief they sought.


A Previous Attorney Couldn't Save Their Home, But We Did.

Homeowners fell behind on their house payments, and the property was about to be sold out from under them. They had previously gone to an attorney for help. That attorney filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy on their behalf, but it was unsuccessful and the sale process continued.

With their house about to be taken away, the homeowners enlisted our help. Russell Nicolet filed a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy for the clients, making sure that all of the filings were in order and that everything needed for this filing to be successful was in place.

When Russell filed the new Chapter 13 petition, a legal mechanism called the "automatic stay" went into effect. This prevents creditors from contacting debtors and halts proceedings such as the sale of homes in foreclosure. It stays in place unless the court gives approval for sales to go forward.

The bank that held the mortgage was determined to make the sale happen. It aggressively tried to keep things moving and filed a motion claiming that the automatic stay was not in effect. Russell fought off the bank's tactics, keeping the automatic stay in place and the sale of the home from proceeding, and eventually found a way for our clients to save their family home.


Just Before His Car Was Repossessed, We Stepped In And Helped Him Keep It

Our client fell behind on vehicle payments, and the vehicle was just days away from being repossessed. The client needed the car to get to work, provide for his family and handle day-to-day tasks.

Recognizing this, we filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy for him. This gave the client time to catch up on his car payments, prevented the car from being repossessed and resolved all other debt issues the client was facing.


An Endless Cycle Of Paycheck Garnishment Left Her Trapped. We Helped Her Escape.

Due to a stretch of unemployment, our client was overwhelmed by garnishments that creditors had put in place. Even after she found steady work, so much of her paycheck was garnished that she could not get back on her feet.

Needing help removing the garnishments and rebuilding, she came to us for advice. We determined that Chapter 7 bankruptcy was the best option, and we filed the petition for her. This resulted in a stop to the garnishments, creditors paying back some past garnishments and the discharge of her remaining debt.

With the garnishments removed and other debt eliminated, she was finally able to move forward with her life and rebuild her financial well-being.


The Family Home Was Saved, And Additional Debt Discharge Allowed Them To Rebuild Their Finances

Job loss led our clients to fall behind on their home loan, and they were at risk of losing their house to foreclosure. By filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we gave them the breathing room they needed to get caught up on their mortgage payments. The bankruptcy process also got rid of their unsecured debt (credit card debt, medical bills, etc.) and removed a second mortgage that was further draining their financial resources.


A Special Wisconsin Debt Relief Tool Helps A Client Stuck With High Interest Payday Loans

During difficult financial times, our client turned to predatory payday lenders to make ends meet. While this offered short-term financial help, in the long run it trapped him in an endless cycle of debt. He could make only the minimum payments on the loan due to the high interest rates, and he was never able to pay it down.

When he came to Nicolet Law Office, we recognized that he could use a special Wisconsin-specific process (called Chapter 128 debt amortization) that is not bankruptcy, but offers similar debt relief. By using Chapter 128, our client was able to end the interest on the loans and pay off the remainder of his debt through a 36-month payment plan.


Facing The Loss Of Their Business, Their Home, And Their Land, They Turned To Us.

A rural Wisconsin couple found themselves in a difficult position due to a health issue. After the husband suffered a heart attack which sidelined him from working his home-based business for several months, it looked like they would have to close the business and lose their tools and equipment. Finding a job would have been very difficult. They were behind on their home mortgage and equity loan, and faced loss of their house and land.

Peter Greenlee devised a Chapter 13 reorganization plan, which gave them time to catch up on their mortgage payments. The plan stripped the home equity loan from their house, and allowed the couple to pay the local credit union the fair value of their tools and equipment. Peter also negotiated with the credit union to surrender an unused parcel of land, and downsized debt going forward.

At the conclusion of the plan the couple were up do date on mortgage payments, no longer had a home equity loan mortgage, discharged all unsecured debt, and their tools and equipment were free and clear.


Depressed, Ashamed, and Living in a Cold House, She Finally Got The Help She Deserved and Turned Things Around.

A senior citizen found herself in a difficult situation - racking up credit card debt to pay for her prescriptions - and was too embarrassed to tell her family or friends that she was in trouble.

As the credit card balances increased, she had to start using credit cards to pay the food and utilities, and spent her social security and small retirement to make the minimum payments on the credit cards. As interest payments and balances increased, things got worse. She skipped taking her medications, ate less, and turned down the heat in her house to 58 degrees. She became depressed, felt ashamed and embarrassed, and became withdrawn from family and friends. She thought she was the only person this has happened to.

Feeling as though she had nowhere else to turn, she finally opened up to a bankruptcy attorney.

Peter Greenlee sat down with her and created a new budget for her to use, referred her to community resources, and represented her in discharging the credit cards in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She was able to move forward with her life and her wellbeing, and eliminate the anxiety and shame that her debt had caused.


Seeking Bankruptcy Advice Before Their Divorce Put These Former Spouses on Solid Financial Footing.

A middle-aged couple with minor children had separated and were planning a divorce. They were both aware of the difficulty a divorce could have on the children, and wanted to concentrate on what would be best for them. They did not want to fight over debts, but knew that they would have trouble budgeting their separate households, and they wanted to split up their secured debts like the mortgage loan and cars.

They consulted with Nicolet Law, where Peter Greenlee helped them determine whether a bankruptcy would be the right course of action and would meet their needs. As a result, they were each financially prepared for continuing their lives and raising children as single parents.


An Adaptive Strategy Provides a Sense of Security and Peace of Mind in a Sad Situation

When the husband of a young family was diagnosed with cancer, his co-workers donated their own paid leave to him during his chemotherapy so that he would have part of his income. While that nice gesture bought the family some time, when the leave was used up the family income decreased and they could no longer pay credit cards, medical bills and the loan on their pickup truck.

Peter Greenlee represented them in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which protected their property and allowed them to make affordable payments on their debt with the hope that the husband could go back to work. After a year, the cancer returned and became terminal. Peter helped them convert the Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7, where the debts were discharged and the truck returned.

The effects of these bankruptcies were that the family could maintain hope that the husband would be cured and go back to work, but when things took a turn for the worst, Peter was able to help them balance the budget and ensure that the wife and children could move forward and be on secure financial footing after their loss.