How do I measure which Soapbox posts from 2015 are my favorites? It’s like asking which of my children I like the best.
Some posts I like because the topic is important; some because they are useful; and some I just like because they were fun to write.
So, here goes my countdown to the 10 posts from 2015 that top my list of favorites, organized by topic.
Four great new decisions
After what seems like years of creditor-friendly decisions from bankruptcy judges and appellate courts, we saw some decisions this year that made my heart sing.
Reciprocal attorneys fee clauses in contracts between the debtor and a lender apply when the dispute takes place in bankruptcy court, says the 9th Circuit in Penrod. In this case, the debtor’s fees when she finally won were $240,000. Yeah, team.
The wait is over: an underwater mortgage lien can be stripped off a home in a Chapter 13 case, even if the debtor isn’t eligible for a discharge in the case. It’s plan completion, not discharge, that voids the lien.
If there’s no collateral, then a lien supporting a discharged debt doesn’t count for Chapter 13 eligibility. Lingering confusion about what it means that “liens pass through bankruptcy” is resolved by the BAP in Free.
The undue hardship necessary to discharge a student loan includes the ugly tax consequences of the government’s income based repayment schemes and the stress of being forever liable for a loan, even if you don’t have to pay now. Abney isn’t a California decision or an appellate decision, it’s just humane judging.
Three bang up basics posts
Four habits to indulge from the very beginning of your new business to make success more likely, regardless of what your business does. Well begun is half done.
The surprising consequences of a “hold harmless” clause in the division of debts in a dissolution. You may end up with unexpected obligations to your ex that aren’t dischargeable in Chapter 7.
No need to make a deal with creditors if you understand how Chapter 13 works. A bankruptcy judge makes the deal stick.
Two subjects close to my heart
Nothing worries me the way messed up mortgage servicing does. Homeowners have had few tools to uncover what’s happening with their loans until the CFPB created a new tool for getting visibility into where your loan payments are applied.
My rant on the unwillingness of bankruptcy judges to allow reality-based fees for the difficult work of representing individuals in bankruptcy cases. No competent lawyer will choose this field if you can’t make a living at it.
One standout post
I love the message and the melody here: there is a time to fold your cards and toss in your hand. Too many people I see wait far too long to file bankruptcy, enduring stress and further depleting assets desperately needed for other needs.
My favorites are different from your favorites. Makes life and lawyering fun.
Happy New Year.