The coronavirus is resulting in serious financial consequences for some Minnesotans. Many non-essential workers have been laid off or are now working reduced hours. Schools are closed, leaving parents scrambling for childcare. Bills are piling up while people wait for their unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.
It is a stressful time for many people. We know that you have questions about how coronavirus is affecting personal bankruptcy and debt collection in Minnesota. We’ll address some of those questions in this blog post.
Are the bankruptcy courts in Minnesota still open?
Yes, the bankruptcy courts in Minnesota are still open and operating. Some courthouses throughout the state have closed their lobbies to the public, but that isn’t slowing down how bankruptcy filings are being handled.
And we are still open, too. Walker & Walker Law Offices remains committed to providing our clients with much-needed protection under personal bankruptcy laws. For the health and safety of our staff and clients, we are conducting all business remotely at this time. However, we are still able to process and file bankruptcies without any delay.
What collection actions are NOT being suspended due to COVID-19?
It has been well-publicized that student loan collection actions are currently suspended. In addition, there are forbearance options for many renters and homeowners. However, some debts are still being pursued by creditors.
- Child support continues to be collected. Parents who are behind in making child support payments may not receive their stimulus check. If they do receive a check, it may be for a lesser amount than the full $1,200 per adult, $2,400 per couple, and $500 per child. Parents who need to file for child support may still do so, but many county offices are closed to the public right now. Filings are still being processed via mail and phone calls are being answered. Check with your local child support office before stopping by in person.
- Credit card payments are still due. Many banks and financial institutions are offering to work with their customers. You may qualify for a forbearance or lower payment amount. But in most cases, you have to call and ask for it.
- Car loans are also still due, but lenders are recognizing that transportation is a necessity. As with credit card companies, there is help out there, but consumers need to initiate the request. And if you are leasing your car, you may have some leeway as to when your lease ends.
Is personal bankruptcy still a good option right now?
For many people, the short answer may be, “Yes.” If you were struggling to pay your bills before coronavirus, your financial situation may not get better.
It’s important for debtors to realize that forbearances and lower payments on consumer debts are voluntary. These options may not be available to everyone. Banks and credit card companies are going to be more willing to work with people who have been up to date on their payments.
And keep in mind that these types of relief for consumer debt are temporary. These programs are meant to tide over people in good standing until they return to work or receive their stimulus checks.
However, you shouldn’t view bankruptcy as your last resort. Most of our clients tell us they wish they had filed for bankruptcy sooner! You don’t have to borrow from family, drain your retirement savings, or lose all your assets in order to get debt relief.
We offer a free case evaluation so you can learn more about personal bankruptcy and if it’s right for you. Please contact us today to learn more.