THE client is in his 50s. Believe me, 50s is still young. He has been divorced more than 10 years ago and now lives by himself. He used to own a house but lost that house in the divorce to his ex-wife. Now he rents an apartment. He’s planning to marry again but he says needs to get a fresh start first on the financial side.

He owes $50,000 in credit cards. He has not been able to cover the minimum monthly payments of $1,600 a month for the last couple of months as his income has gone down. He used to gross about $4,000 a month by driving Uber full time. Since COVID-19 struck and the lockdown began, his income from Uber has been reduced significantly. Well that’s not surprising. People don’t have to go to work anymore unless you’re an essential employee who has to show up at the office. People can’t go to restaurants and bars anymore so there’s overall less demand for Uber.

He wants to know if filing for Chapter 7 will affect his future wife in any way? The answer is NO. She has absolutely nothing to do with client’s finances and debt relief.

She’s not even in America yet. She’s in another country. Well, the client is an American citizen so he has the right to petition for his fiancée to come into the United States so he can marry her. He needs to get her a K-fiancée visa but needs to prove they’ve known each other for the last two years. All Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The client is simply pursuing his right as an American citizen to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by getting a fresh start in life in Chapter 7 by wiping out his $50,000 of credit card debt. He obviously can’t afford to pay the $1,600 a month minimum payment to keep MasterCard and Visa, his masters, happy. He’s a debt slave and he desires to break out of debt slavery. There’s nothing wrong with that desire, he wants freedom from debt at this point in his life. That’s the correct way to think. Instead of setting aside $1,600 a month as tribute to his credit card masters, he needs to save the entire $1,600 a month for his future married life. By wiping out $50,000 of credit cards and marrying his fiancée, he is pursuing his right to life, liberty and happiness. Quite simply, that’s what’s in his mind, and that’s what he wants to do.

He’ll be on the way to saving $20,000 a year without $50,000 in credit cards now.

With the money he saves, he will be able to get his fiancée here to the U.S. and marry her, which also costs money. Immigration lawyers have to get paid too. At least, the airline ticket to get her here will cost less because airlines are offering lots of discounts since the pandemic has caused air travel to dry up to such an extent that Warren Buffet, the sage of Omaha, has sold all of his holdings of hundreds of millions of dollars in airline companies because of his belief that air travel will never get back to normal.

But I think it will get back to normal eventually when the vaccine is discovered. The polio vaccine was discovered in the year 1790 when there was virtually no technology around to help discovery of the vaccine. What more now in the year 2020 when we have all kinds of new technology to help use with experiments and analysis? So this pandemic too will end, and life as we knew it will get back to normal. Billions of dollars are backing the research for the vaccine. Big and small pharmaceuticals all over the world, here, in China, in Europe are racing to be the first to develop the vaccine that the world so badly needs now specially us because our beloved country is now number one in infections at 1.6 million and deaths at over 100,000. A lot of our fellow Americans did not have to die. But that’s another story. Just keep your guard up and wear your face masks and gloves and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize and keep social distancing. These simple steps will protect you and your loved ones from getting infected.

Caregiver needs Chapter 7 relief for $15K credit cards

The second client is also in her 50s. No, she doesn’t drive Uber. She is actually a caregiver. Her gross income is $2,500 a month. She’s been taking care of her patient/employer for the last 15 years starting at his age of 85 then. Do the math, 85 plus 15 is old, very old. The lucky ones among us can live up to 90s without getting sick, but physically at 90 you lose a lot of muscle mass and you shrink a couple of inches. I met this doctor from UCLA who is 92 and retired at 89. He still has muscle mass. I also met his wife who is maybe 86. She also has muscle mass. They look pretty good and healthy. I asked them what’s the secret to the fountain of youth? They said they walk 2 miles a day, everyday! And they basically eat Mediterranean food; you know, lots of grilled vegetables, tubule salad, humus, rice and probably some chicken kabob once in a while. It’s the muscle mass you have to watch out for as you age.

Don’t lose the muscle mass, never mind the hair. You can always get a hair transplant if you want one. But once you lose muscle mass, will look frail and old. But even then, as long as you are still healthy, who cares anyway? Life is good but way too short. It’s really unfortunate for seniors living in nursing homes because they account for a big portion of fatalities all over the world. I understand that half of all fatalities are seniors in nursing homes, and this is true worldwide.

Going back to caregiver client. She foresees that once her employer crosses to the other side, she will lose her job and income, so she won’t be able to pay for her $15K credit cards so she might as well get rid of them now with Chapter 7. Well, she owns a house with more than $150,000 of equity. Fortunately, her daughter owns half of the house as joint tenant, so her $100,000 of homestead exemption protects her share of the house. There are other factors to consider, but all told, my conclusion is that she is eligible for Chapter 7.

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Disclaimer: None of the foregoing is considered legal advice. Each case is different. 

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Lawrence Bautista Yang specializes in Bankruptcy, Business, Real Estate and Civil Litigation and has successfully represented more than five thousand clients in California. Please call Angie, Barbara or Jess at (626) 284-1142 for an appointment at 20274 Carrey Road, Walnut, CA 91789 or 1000 S. Fremont Ave., Mailstop 58, Building A-10 South, Suite 10042, Alhambra, CA 91803.

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