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Albuquerque Law Blog

Should you file a Quiet Title action or a Quitclaim deed?

If you are looking to remove someone else’s claim to a property, you’ll need to know the difference between the two.

In many different instances, you may need to remove a person’s name from ownership over property. These formal documents and legal actions can effectively and permanently remove someone else’s claim to a property.

What debts are nondischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is well-known as a debt relief mechanism because it is so effective at relieving the debtor's financial burdens. Even so, there are certain types of debt that will remain after the debtor receives a Chapter 7 discharge.

This post will address the most common types of non-dischargeable debts.

What happens if I file for bankruptcy without my spouse?

In some instances, it makes sense for both spouses to file for bankruptcy together. In other cases, however, it's more beneficial for the couple that only one spouse files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help a couple determine if it's best for only one spouse to file or if they should file jointly. Many factors determine how the bankruptcy filing should proceed to offer the best financial outcome.

Signs bankruptcy might be right for you

We've all had financial difficulties from time to time. A sudden expense, like a broken appliance or a flat tire, might have taken an unexpected chunk out of our bank account and left things a bit tight until our next paycheck.

There's a difference between being a bit short on cash for a brief period and being so far in debt you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, however.

Mattress Firm files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Nationwide mattress retailer Mattress Firm recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing comes amidst dwindling profits and increased competition from online start-up companies like Casper, Leesa, Saavta and Nectar. As part of the bankruptcy restructuring, the company plans to close 700 non-profitable stores across the country, focusing first in on those in close proximity to one another. So far, no stores in New Mexico are slated for closure, but that could change as the bankruptcy moves forward.

In a statement adjacent to the bankruptcy filing, company CEO Steve Stagner says that they plan to "use the additional liquidity" derived from store closings to "improve our product offering, provide greater value to our customers, open new stores in new markets, and strategically expand in existing markets." The hope is that these changes, in addition to better debt management, will make the company both more profitable and more competitive. 

Despite Lampert’s efforts, Sears files for Chapter 11

On October 15, after more than 130 years in business, former retail giant Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the face of mounting debt and shrinking profits. In a post earlier this month, we discussed now-former CEO Eddie Lampert’s plan of leveraging his hedge fund, ESL Investments, and other resources to raise capital and avoid a filing. In spite of those efforts, however, the highly anticipated filing occurred.

The Chapter 11 filing asks for fast bankruptcy court approval of a debt management scheme that would involve closing dozens more unprofitable stores (in addition to the hundred-plus stores already slated for closure), refinancing some of the company’s massive debt, and hopefully taking advantage of a successful holiday shopping season to increase capital.

Westmoreland Coal Co. files for bankruptcy

Westmoreland Coal Co., one of the oldest coal companies in America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week to deal with mounting debt payments and a worldwide drop in demand. Westmoreland reportedly has $1.4 billion in debt (compared to $770 million in registered assets).

The company, which owns a mine here in New Mexico, has been struggling with lower demand for its products for some time, as renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, as well as natural gas, have taken over a larger portion of the energy market share. Major coal consumers India and China have also decreased their dependence on coal in an attempt to literally clear the air and fight back against the effects of pollution. Westmoreland warned creditors and the Securities and Exchange Commission back in August about the possibility of a future filing because of mounting pressure from creditors.

Bankruptcy rates climb among older Americans

Overall, consumer bankruptcy filings have remained relatively steady across America. For one demographic, however, the rate of bankruptcies has more than tripled since 1991: retirees over the age of 65. More than 12 percent of filers are now age 65 and older, up from 2.1 percent just a generation ago.

Why are retirees seeking bankruptcy protection?

Toys R Us bankruptcy continues to unfold with severance package

Thousands of workers laid off when toy retailer Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy might soon be receiving severance payments. The multimillion-dollar severance package, funded by two of the three equity firms that purchased the company in a 2005 leveraged buyout, could provide relief for workers struggling since the company closed all 850 stores back in June.

Details of the severance package have not yet been confirmed, but the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have both reported that the fund, set aside by part-owners Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is worth an estimated $20 million. That is far less than the $75 million that workers were promised prior to the bankruptcy, but still enough to provide payments to thousands of lower-level employees.

Sears CEO suggests plan to avoid bankruptcy

The CEO of Sears, a well-known department store chain with a long history in New Mexico and across the country, recently revealed a plan to hopefully help the company avoid a bankruptcy filing. The plan involves leveraging assets including real estate and inventory, and taking advantage of CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, to raise capital and reduce debt.

The proposed plan would involve selling many of the chain's remaining stores, then leasing them back to the company, thus keeping the stores in business. This, along with other actions, would reduce the company's debt load by about $1.875 billion, bringing total debt obligations down to about $1.2 billion. While clearly that number is still astronomical, it allows the company to free up cash and make due payments on the debt while remaining in business and avoiding a bankruptcy filing.

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