Bankruptcy Attorney Alan Borden

Advocating for Financial Relief: A Conversation with Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney, Alan Borden

Navigating the complex world of bankruptcy can be a daunting task. To shed light on this critical subject, we had the opportunity to sit down with a prominent bankruptcy attorney based in Tampa, Florida. With a passion for the law and a commitment to advocating for those facing economic challenges, Alan Borden, Managing Partner of Debt Relief Legal Group, offers invaluable insights and guidance to individuals seeking relief from overwhelming debt. 

Why did you decide to become an attorney?

Yeah, actually, I was almost preordained when I was a kid. I used to play as an attorney with my younger brothers when I was like five or six years old. So I’d always had a gear towards being an attorney. I loved the TV shows about lawyers, Perry Masons and Law and Order things like that.

I really love those courtroom scenes and I was enthralled with that. So, I just dedicated my life to being an attorney.

What made you decide to dedicate yourself to advocating for those that are facing financial difficulties?

I was in law school and, again, what I really loved about the law was going to trial and getting in front of a jury. I was working in the prosecutor’s office as an intern when I was going through law school and I went to a law school, South Texas College of Law, which focused specifically on being able to walk out of law school and walk into a courtroom ready to try a case. When I graduated in 2008 I was looking around to see where I could fit those skills in. 2008 was the financial crisis, so the only real places that were hiring were bankruptcy firms and debt relief firms and things like that. I got a good offer and I went there and I found that my particular set of skills were underutilized in this field because, bankruptcy and foreclosure defense and those kinds of things are a lot of paperwork. They’re kind of dry, so you don’t see people who are in law school saying, “Oh, I want to be a bankruptcy attorney or I want to be a consumer rights attorney.” They have other fields, you know, the personal injury, things like that where you’re more used to seeing those trials. Since I have that skill set, early on in my career I started seeing where people would violate the bankruptcy laws, they would collect aggressively and violate the collection laws, so that is when I threatened them. I told them, you know, I’ll sue you and I’ll go all the way to trial because I have no problem doing that. The collectors or creditors responded a lot better to my demands just because I had that background. I was/am able to advocate for my clients better that way.

Overtime, I found that those skills are essentially needed, especially in that field where, you know, everyone here in America is a consumer. You need consumer rights attorneys to be able to fight the people who are on the other side, who are huge banks with billions of dollars and all kinds of attorneys on staff. They won’t blink when you complain to them, but when you staff up and get a good attorney to go after them, that’s when you can actually advocate for your rights.

If you’re the kind of person who is already struggling with making ends meet and the collectors or banks are charging you and they’re calling you all the time or they’re being too aggressive and causing extra stress; having an attorney on your corner will make a world of difference/

Can you tell us about your firm itself and what kind of values you all stand by?

Debt Relief Legal Group doesn’t bear my name because I actually came into it with a partnership with another attorney. We liked it that way, where it’s more about what we stand for as opposed to, promoting ourselves, right? At Debt Relief Legal Group, our strategy is to focus solely on helping out the consumer. We do so by providing them with any kind of tools under the law that allow them to really get the relief from the debt that they need, because again, the American economy runs on credit.

Almost everybody has to have credit. People go out and work and then borrow, assuming that their work is going to continue and that they’re going to make more money as time goes on. People work that way in good faith, trying to assume that is how it’s going to continue to work.

Well, sometimes life has different plans. Maybe you get sick or a family member gets sick or your job fires you; there’s a million different things that can go wrong, and then all of a sudden the income that you were anticipating doesn’t meet the demands of the debt that you have.

Many times these situations are unavoidable, a surprise to families, so we offer free consultation so that it’s easy to assess your situation. Sometimes I really feel like I’m a little more on the counselor side. I dedicate my time to talking to people and figuring out what their stress points are. Then I guide them through the legal tools available so that they can move on with their life.

When you’re stressed in your life, especially from financial stress, it affects all areas of your life, right? If you’re worried about whether you’re going to  have a roof over your head that will affect you being able to work or how well you play with your kids or whether you have time for yourself, family, all of those things. So, I really like the ability to sit down with people, find out their specific issue, and help them as much as I can to fix that and then I see the improvement all over the rest of their lives.

You walk out of Debt Relief Legal Group a little bit less burdened and with a plan of action ready to go so you can get a fresh start and really start rebuilding.

When should someone file for bankruptcy?

That’s a different answer for different people but, to generalize, when the amount of debt that you’re facing is going to basically freeze you in place for an unnecessarily long period of time is when you should consider bankruptcy. I don’t like putting figures on it, like you need $10,000 of debt or $20,000 or $50,000 off debt to file bankruptcy. It’s really not about that because that’s just one piece of the whole puzzle. I know people who only live on social security and even though they’re judgment proof, as in these creditors can’t really touch them, as far as garnishing their wages or freezing their bank accounts or things of that nature, they still feel the pressure every day of people calling them or harassing them. They are afraid of a lawsuit or that some sheriff is going to come banging on their door and give them papers. They don’t know what to do and they can’t understand what the legal jargon is in there, and maybe their debt is only $10,000 or $15,000. Maybe, that’s not a lot to some people, I am not going to say you shouldn’t consider bankruptcy based on this figure. If that puts you in a place where you have no money left after paying expenses, you have nothing left over or all of it’s going to these creditors, that is no way to live. 

Bankruptcy is something that is written into the constitution as a tool. When they were putting together the constitution, the right to file bankruptcy was included to give you that fresh start.

To be able to say, “Hey, look, I tried something, it didn’t work out or there’s some circumstances that put me in a bad place. I want to have the right to get a fresh start and then start living my life without having the harassment of predators coming after me and then to rebuild myself.” Maybe you’re a young guy and you took a risk on a business, if you failed the whole point of the American entrepreneurial spirit is to try again. You can’t do that if creditors are coming after you and they’re weighing you down. Instead, you file bankruptcy and get a fresh start. We have a long history of famous people who have filed bankruptcy like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, all these people went on to make huge amounts of money but only because they were able to unburden themselves of some failed experiments that they tried early on and then they got successful.

Bankruptcy is different for different people and that’s why we give that free consultation and why we give different options because I often tell people, “Hey, look, bankruptcy isn’t right for you. It’s, it’s better if you do this route or if you do that route,” there’s sometimes debt settlement, sometimes debt consolidation, sometimes just waiting a little bit will make a particular difference. There’s different options and that’s why we have those consultations to give people the ability to choose what’s right for them.

Can someone still save their property after they receive a foreclosure letter?

Absolutely. Foreclosure, especially in Florida, is a judicial process which means they have to go through the courts, they have to file a lawsuit, have the note and more. Then they need to get a judge to say, yes, you can sell this house. On average, from the start of a foreclosure lawsuit, the process takes about 6 to 8 months and that’s if you do absolutely nothing at any time to fight the foreclosure. 

It’s important for people to know there’s a lot of instances where the mortgage company has done a lot of bad things and there are defenses out there for people. But you have to get on top of it from the very beginning. It’s critical not to delay in fighting the foreclosure. When you’re ahead of it you can negotiate and there’s different routes you can take where you can modify the mortgage, or possibly countersue for things that they’ve done, maybe negotiate some kind of settlement. There is bankruptcy as an option. You can actually file bankruptcy up until the day that they are going to sell the house. If you file bankruptcy before they sell it, it’ll stop the sale of the house, so you may have that option to save your house. 

There are strategies right at the beginning where you need to have a council, because it’s not something you want to take on on your own. It is not really big banks who are handing the mortgages now, it’s different mortgage servicers. Due to the way mortgage companies often work now, there are a  lot of defenses available that you may not be aware of without an attorney in your corner. I don’t know how many times I have caught these servicers, the third parties between the homeowner and the big bank, doing things like wrong accounting, charging illegitimate fees and things like that to really trick people. It’s critical to have an attorney who will dig into that and be able to go after those services.

If someone decides to navigate through bankruptcy or foreclosure without an attorney, what potential pitfalls might they fall into?

When you file bankruptcy there is going to be one court hearing that you will have to attend. If you file bankruptcy without an attorney, this hearing can get very difficult. It’s called the 341 meeting. At that meeting, you will have a trustee who is appointed by the court, whose sole job is to find assets of yours and liquidate them. Now, if you do not know the law, if you don’t have an attorney, that meeting/hearing goes a lot different than when a bankruptcy attorney like myself or others are involved. The trustees know that you don’t know the law, they can take advantage of that and they can ask questions that they might not be able to ask when I’m there. They can ask for you to turn over things that really should be protected, but because you don’t know any better, you may turn them over. You’re putting everything at risk. 

Bankruptcy is a unique situation in that the costs of an attorney in bankruptcy are watched by the federal courts. It’s not like any other law where attorneys can set their rate and charge whatever they want. In bankruptcy law, if you charge way too much, the court’s gonna come down and say, well, why are you charging this much, our standard is here? As the attorney, you have to justify why you’ve charged so much. The consumers are protected by the federal court and most attorneys who are in bankruptcy limit their fees based on that, so it’s very reasonable for people who are in a difficult situation to still get access to an attorney.

If you had to give one piece of advice for people that do fall into financial distress, what would it be?

Contact a consumer protection attorney. I say that because almost all of them give you free consultation. As an attorney under the ethics code that I swore to, I have to give you the best advice for you. That is not the same when you go to a credit consolidation company, who might have similar names as law firms. Those are businesses and they’re out there to make their money, but that’s their priority to make money. They will often tell you whatever it is to sign you up so you can pay them money. Whereas for an attorney, especially a consumer rights attorney, I will tell you, hey, bankruptcy might be an option and here are the pros and cons. Consolidation might be an option, here are the pros and cons. We may discuss debt settlement as an option with the pros and cons. Then I’ll tell you what I think is the best route, but you know, you choose whatever you want. Then you gain all that knowledge from someone who is an expert in the field and who isn’t pushing for what’s best for themselves. Sometimes I may charge more in other areas, but that’s not necessarily what I’m recommending to you. 

There are free consultations that I have where I turn people away a lot of times because I’m telling them that what I’m offering to you right now isn’t the right step for you. You need to do A, B and C first and you need to do this outside to proceed with bankruptcy. That’s because we, as attorneys, are bound to give you ethically the best choice for you. There’s no downside to that.

Talk to an attorney, figure out what’s your best route. Then if you want to talk to other people, go ahead but talk to an attorney first so that you’re armed with your rights and the knowledge that you need to move forward.

Seeking financial relief in Tampa, Florida: Contact Alan Borden of Debt Relief Legal Group

In a world where financial hardships can feel overwhelming, having a compassionate and experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side can make all the difference. Through our interview with Alan Borden, bankruptcy attorney in Tampa, Florida, we’ve gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals burdened with debt and the solutions available to them. Whether you’re considering bankruptcy, dealing with foreclosure, or simply seeking guidance on your financial options, reaching out to a consumer protection attorney is a crucial step towards reclaiming control over your financial future. To benefit from the expertise and support of Debt Relief Legal Group, call 1-800-332-8735. Take the first step towards a fresh start today and find a knowledgeable attorney to guide you towards financial relief and a brighter tomorrow.

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