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Personal Bankruptcy Laws For Dummies, 2nd Edition


With tips on understanding — and surviving — the new bankruptcy laws

If you're considering bankruptcy, you need straightforward answers and reliable advice. This handy guide covers it all — so you can get your finances in line and your life back on track. This updated new edition covers everything you need to know about the new bankruptcy law and includes even better resources. Don't get desperate — get out of debt instead!

Discover how to

  • Weigh the consequences of bankruptcy
  • Manage your spending
  • Find professional help you can trust
  • Decide on the right type of bankruptcy
  • Pass the means test
  • Keep more of your stuff

James P. Caher, a practicing attorney with 30 years of experience, is a nationally recognized expert on consumer bankruptcies and authority on the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.
Jim coauthored, with his brother John, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996) and two highly regarded books for lawyers: Discharging Marital Obligations in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1997) and Discharging Credit Card Debts in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1998).
In addition, Jim has published scores of articles for bankruptcy professionals and is frequently called upon to analyze and interpret the complicated provisions of the 2005 bankruptcy law. He was labeled the “online guru” by a national legal weekly because of his regular appearances on the Internet as an expert analyst on bankruptcy law. Jim also serves on the editorial board of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Jim graduated from Niagara University and then earned his law degree from Memphis State University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review and recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in the field of debtor-creditor relations. He filed his first consumer bankruptcy case shortly after graduating in 1975. Jim lives and practices in Eugene, Oregon.

John M. Caher is a legal journalist who has written about law and the courts for most of his 25-year career.
Currently the Albany bureau chief for the New York Law Journal, John previously was state editor and legal affairs reporter for the Times Union of Albany, New York. His legal reportage has won more than two dozen awards, including prestigious honors from the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Erie County Bar Association, and the Associated Press.
John coauthored, with his brother Jim, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996). He is the author of King of the Mountain: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Chief Judge Sol Wachtler (Prometheus Books, 1998). In addition, John was the principal writer assisting former U.S. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon in preparation of his memoirs. Mr. Simon’s autobiography, A Time for Reflection, was published in 2003 by Regnery.
John is a 1980 graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism, and a 1993 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a master’s degree in technical communications/graphics. John lives in Clifton Park, New York.


Part I: Bankruptcy: The Big Picture.

Chapter 1: Considering Bankruptcy.

Chapter 2: Stopping the Bleeding.

Chapter 3: Meeting the Players.

Chapter 4: Deciding Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Best for You.

Chapter 5: Confronting the Means Test.

Chapter 6: Getting from Here to There: The Bankruptcy Process.

Part II: Avoiding Bankruptcy.

Chapter 7: Considering Alternatives to Bankruptcy.

Chapter 8: Handling Bill Collectors.

Chapter 9: Negotiating with the IRS.

Part III: Keeping Your Stuff.

Chapter 10: Understanding Which Assets Are Off Limits to Creditors.

Chapter 11: Dealing with Secured Debts.

Chapter 12: Saving Your Home.

Part IV: Getting Rid of (Most of) Your Debt.

Chapter 13: Lingering Obligations.

Chapter 14: A House of Cards: Wiping Out Credit-Card Debts.

Chapter 15: Give unto Caesar: Using Bankruptcy to Deal with Tax Debts.

Chapter 16: The Devil Made Me Do It: Fines, Fraud, and Other Foibles.

Chapter 17: Till Debt Due Us Part: Bankruptcy and Divorce.

Chapter 18: Student Loans and Other Mind Games.

Part V: Strategies for a Successful Bankruptcy.

Chapter 19: Avoiding Troubles with Your Trustee.

Chapter 20: Living on the Edge in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Part VI: Enjoying Your Fresh Start.

Chapter 21: Repairing Your Credit.

Chapter 22: Staying Out of Financial Trouble.

Part VII: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 23: Ten Common Bankruptcy Mistakes.

Chapter 24: Ten Things You Can Do Right Now to Ease Your Financial Woes.

Chapter 25: Ten Common Questions about Bankruptcy.

Appendix: Homestead Exemption Laws.