Joel G. Hargis has more than 10 years experience

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Firm Overview

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About Joel G Hargis

Joel G Hargis has been a Licensed Attorney in the State of Arkansas since 2004 with a focus in bankruptcy, bankruptcy litigation, consumer advocacy, debtor's rights, fair debt collection and fair credit reporting issues. Nationally known and recognized, we are available to serve you Monday through Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm by phone, email or fill out our contact form and we'll call you for your free initial consultation.

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Why Choose Hargis Law Office?

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Bankruptcy - Chapter 7

Many people turn to bankruptcy when they have been sued by a creditor or debt collector. At Hargis Law Office, we will evaluate whether a bankruptcy filing is right for you. Many times these collection suits can be successfully defended using state rules of court that require the creditor or collector to prove their case under the Rules of Evidence, which many times they cannot. Your case will also be evaluated with respect to federal consumer protection laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Using these methods of defense, individuals may avoid a bankruptcy filing appearing on their credit report, avoid losing their existing relationships with other creditors with whom they have maintained a good relationship, and avoiding the loss of credit for years after their bankruptcy has been completed. HLO offers a free consultation to evaluate these and other alternatives to a bankruptcy filings.

Bankruptcy - Chapter 11

This type of bankruptcy is way for viable businesses additional time to meet their debt obligations, to reorganize debts and contracts under the supervision of the Bankruptcy Court. During this process, these businesses continue to operate and do not require the oversight of a trustee unless such business have engaged in fraud or mismanagement.

Whether your business is facing too many legal actions by its creditors or is just having a hard time making all its payments timely, Chapter 11 may be your best option. A Chapter 11 attorney can aid in the business through this process. With the right legal representation, your bankruptcy can help the business, in some cases, individuals cope with debt and give you or your business a fresh start.

While in Chapter 11, and individual or business may be able to negotiate new payment schedules or negotiate agreements with creditors or collectors to resolve problem debts reduced amounts with the approval of the Bankruptcy Court.

During a period of financial hardship, a business or individual in a Chapter 11 may be facing an uncertain future. The federal law governing reorganization in Chapter 11 faces a complex set of rules and statutes that need to be carefully navigated achieve a positive reorganization.

There is a very large amount of paperwork involved in a Chapter 11 that requires, among other things, submission of detailed financial documents. HLO will prepare the documents and file the petition with the bankruptcy court. If you own or run an Arkansas business or are an individual in financial trouble, contact the HLO for a free consolation. With our experience and in bankruptcy and debt relief law, HLO and, in some cases a firm with whom HLO works closely can give you the advice and guidance you need to give your business a viable chance at becoming profitable or self-sustaining once again.

Bankruptcy - Chapter 12

Chapter 12 is designed for family farmers, family fishermen. Family farmers may also include individuals who, in their ordinary course of business, cut timber. Moreover, family farms or fishing operations also include those that are incorporated or those who are in partnerships. However, under any of these farming or fishing businesses, the farmer or fisherman must have regular annual income. This may be established through income realized during or after the harvest season when the farmer or fisherman earns his or her money and not necessarily throughout the year. The reason for this is to make sure that that family farmer or fisherman is financially stable enough to make payments under any proposed plan while having enough left over for the day to day expenses of providing for a family. The Chapter 12 plan’s purpose is to restructure the way debts are paid so that most, if not all, of the debts can be repaid over the required period of the plan. Under chapter 12, debtors propose a repayment plan, much like in a Chapter 13, to make installments to creditors over three to five years. Generally, the plan must provide for payments over three years unless the court approves a longer period of time. Chapter 12 is much more streamlined, much less complicated, and considerably less expensive than Chapter 11 - making it much more financially feasible and manageable than a Chapter 11. In addition, few family farmers or fishermen find chapter 13 to be of any advantage because it is designed for wage earners who have smaller debts than farmers and fishermen. One of the greatest benefits of a Chapter 12 filing is to allow the family farmer or fisherman to propose a reorganization plan that will allow payments to be made seasonally. In other words, payments can be made while the farmer or fisherman is earning his money.

Contact HLO for a free consultation to see if you qualify for a Chapter 12 repayment plan so that we can help you organize your payment arrangements into a feasible repayment plan and work with you through your financial hardships to retain your property and to keep farming or fishing.

Bankruptcy - Chapter 13

Some people find that their debts have them trapped in a hopeless inability to pay their way out of debt especially when they are behind on their mortgage or vehicle payments. Sometimes they find that their income prevents them from filing a Chapter 7. However, mounting financial pressures and the ordinary cost of living make paying off their debts seem impossible.

Chapter 13 can provided the needed ability for individuals to separate those debts from those that must be paid to maintain property such as the family home or to retain their vehicle so as to provide them the needed ability to travel to work and other responsibilities life requires.

HLO has a proven record of helping individuals maneuver through all the required legal procedures to accomplish an effective reorganization of your debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a common choice in bankruptcy that avoids the liquidation of property. In most cases, a Chapter 13 allows consumers/debtors to retain all of his property by filing a good faith plan of reorganization. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 allows individuals to accomplish their financial goals within a period of 3 to 5 years.

The Chapter 13 plan takes into account an individual’s income to determine what debt has to be repaid and what debt does not. This means that the debtor, in good faith, proposed a plan with the intention of completing such plan within that 3 to 5 year period. In many cases, unsecured creditors, such as credit card debt, medical debt and other types of debt obligations need not be paid.

Chapter 13 trustee is assigned to the Chapter 13 case and will review the proposed payment plan of the debtor to make sure he or she is paying what must be paid under the Bankruptcy Code. The plan allows for all debts that must be paid to be consolidated into one payment that the Chapter 13 Trustee will pay for you, Except for a current mortgage payment. Once the Chapter plan is completed, any remaining debts that cannot or need not be paid are forever discharged and not allowed to be pursued for collection by creditors or collectors.

Bankruptcy Alternatives

Many people turn to bankruptcy when they have been sued by a creditor or debt collector. At Hargis Law Office, we will evaluate whether a bankruptcy filing is right for you. Many times these collection suits can be successfully defended using state rules of court that require the creditor or collector to prove their case under the Rules of Evidence, which many times they cannot. Your case will also be evaluated with respect to federal consumer protection laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Using these methods of defense, individuals may avoid a bankruptcy filing appearing on their credit report, avoid losing their existing relationships with other creditors with whom they have maintained a good relationship, and avoiding the loss of credit for years after their bankruptcy has been completed. HLO offers a free consultation to evaluate these and other alternatives to a bankruptcy filings.

Mortgage Servicing Abuse

Many home owners are facing foreclosure even when they are current under their mortgage accounts or have been working with their mortgage company to bring themselves current after a default with no results. What many people don’t understand is that various mortgage companies and servicers have inadequate accounting software that leave them unable to adequately correct misapplications of payments; and, in fact, mortgage servicers can actually make more money by keeping a mortgagor in a state of default. Hargis Law Office has a proven record of standing up to these mortgage companies, banks and servicers and zealously fighting to save our client’s homes and properties. HLO offers a free consultation to evaluate each individual’s facts to determine how best we can save your home or other properties. HLO has dedicated a large part of its practice to foreclosure defense work.

Bankruptcy Litigation

A common misconception about filing bankruptcy is that a bankruptcy is only filed to protect a debtor from his or her creditors or collectors during times of financial hardship. Of course, those that find themselves in default on a mortgage or vehicle or are being sued by a creditor or collector are usually experiencing a downturn in their finances. However, some consumers may have passed through a time of hardship, have recovered, but are having trouble bringing their debts back to a current status. Any of these events, and others, can drive people into bankruptcy. What is not well known is that bankruptcy can be used not only as a shield to protect oneself from their creditors and collectors but also as a sword to combat creditors and collectors who are engaging in unlawful and unjust practices. In bankruptcy, the consumer (or debtor as one who files bankruptcy is called) can protect their property and assets while prosecuting claims against their creditors and collectors before the Federal Bankruptcy Courts. Indeed, Bankruptcy Courts, in many circumstances, enjoy what is referred to as supplemental or pendant jurisdiction. What this means is that claims that could be brought before a state court or a Federal District Court can be brought before the Bankruptcy Court while ones property and assets are protected. Whether claims arise from mortgage servicing abuse, mortgage modifications, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations or a number of other sources of consumer strife, the Bankruptcy Court may be the best venue to assert one’s claims. Hargis Law Office evaluates its potential client’s claims with this in mind and, in certain instances, will file a bankruptcy petition to get immediate protection and litigate issues that those clients face before the United States Bankruptcy Court. HLO offers free consultations to explore this method of litigation as an extra measure of protection.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

The FDCPA was enacted by the United States Congress to combat harassing and unscrupulous debt collection activities that many debt collectors use to demoralize consumers. These practices are meant to break down the self-esteem of consumers to force or coax them into paying debts – many times debts that they do not even owe. Many collectors do not care who pays the debt or how it gets paid, just that they get paid for a debt that has been purchased from a collector at a fraction of the amount allegedly owed. Since its enactment, the State of Arkansas has also passed its own version of the FDCPA. Both of these statutes help protect consumers against practices that violate them without defining exactly what a harassing act is. In other words, the statutes leave open to interpretation what is harassing or oppressive and allow the Courts to decide what qualifies as a violation of the FDCPA. Hargis Law Office will zealously pursue the unscrupulous acts of debt collectors for its clients. Both the federal and state FDCPA laws allow for the recovery of damages for acts that violate both, and HLO will pursue its clients’ claims to recover the maximum amount allowed under the law. HLO offers a free consultation to help determine whether collection attempts qualify as violations under the federal and state FDCPA law.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

The TCPA is a strong consumer statute meant to protect individuals from unwanted telephone calls from not only companies attempting to peddle their products but also debt collectors who do not have express permission to contact consumers. HLO offers a free consultation to determine is you are receiving calls that violate this act and will pursue the maximum amount for recovery for such unwanted and undeserved harassing phone calls.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

In today’s world, the ability to obtain credit is almost paramount to financial survival. The ability to finance a home, vehicle or other property is sometimes dependent on the ability to borrow as prices for such things steadily grows. Unfortunately, the National Reporting Agencies many times report the information that is provided to them by creditors and collectors, called furnishers under the FCRA. Such information is many times incorrect and erroneous. In fact, even when consumers dispute this inaccurate information, the reporting agencies will often continue to report it as accurate. Hargis Law Office is committed to pursuing the reporting agencies and furnishers on behalf of its clients to require them to comply with the terms of the FCRA. If your credit is being adversely affected by such unlawful reporting and furnishing of credit information, whether because the reporting agencies are reporting erroneous information after a bankruptcy discharge, mortgage modification, mortgage servicing abuse or any other reason, HLO will provide a free consultation to determine a course of action to protect your credit and to help insure that only correct and accurate information is being reporting - first through the dispute process required by the FCRA and through litigation, if necessary.

Mortgage Modifications

Since the economic crash of 2007, home owners all over the State of Arkansas and the country have sought mortgage modifications from their mortgage companies or servicers to help bring their defaulted mortgages current. However, after months or years of “working” with their mortgage companies or servicers to modify their mortgages they find themselves denied a modification and further behind on their mortgages than when they started the modification process. What many home and property owners do not realize is that there are federal laws and regulations in place to protect them from the circumstances they are facing. HLO offers a free consultation to evaluate the facts of your case to determine what can be done to force a modification to which you may be entitled under federal law or regulation. Moreover, people find themselves further behind after months or years of being trapped in the modification process. Consumer laws have been enacted that can protect you and prevent the loss of your home or other property. HLO offers a free consultation to evaluate each individual’s facts to determine how best we can save your home or other properties.

Bankruptcy Stay and Discharge Violations

Unfortunately, many people are forced to file bankruptcy to escape collection attempts by their creditors when they have fallen on hard financial times. However, even though the Bankruptcy Code prevents most creditors and collectors from contacting debtors in bankruptcy and from continued collection activities, some creditors and collectors simply ignore the bankruptcy stay and discharge provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Hargis Law Office actively fights these stay and discharge violations through its bankruptcy litigation practice by bringing suit against these creditors and collectors to protect your rights during and after the bankruptcy process. HLO offers a free consultation to review any collection or contact attempts. In fact, in many cases, there is no charge for defending against such bankruptcy violations as attorney’s fees and costs can be collected at the end of such cases. Contact HLO today for your free consultation.

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