The Law Office of Ronald D. Weiss, P.C. consults with and represents individuals and businesses undergoing financial hardship
The Law Firm of Ronald D. Weiss Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy, foreclosure, modification and negotiation law office, located on the border of Nassau & Suffolk County, in Melville, New York. For over thirty (30) years our Long Island lawyers have represented individuals and businesses experiencing financial hardship and homeowners undergoing mortgage and foreclosure difficulties in Suffolk & Nassau County. Our attorneys serve our clients throughout the greater Long Island and New York areas in almost every aspect of debt relief including: Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy cases, foreclosure defense, creditor negotiations, mortgage modifications, forbearance agreements, emergency orders to show cause, tax debt installment plans, student loan resolutions, landlord-tenant law and business debt settlements. Please call us today to speak directly to an attorney or lawyer with expertise in these areas who can give you a free phone or office consultation.
Long Island Debt Lawyers – Providing Debt Relief, Debt Settlement and Debt Resolution Services Throughout Nassau and Suffolk County, Long Island
Ronald D. Weiss, Esq. is a Suffolk & Nassau, Long Island lawyer, who since 1988 has specialized in Bankruptcy solutions, Foreclosure solutions, Mortgage modifications and Debt negotiations. Since our inception, our law office has represented thousands of clients from Suffolk & Nassau County in bankruptcy cases, preventing foreclosure and in negotiating and settling debt.
We represent clients in the greater Long Island and New York areas in the following concentrations:
Bankruptcy Solutions utilize federal bankruptcy laws and courts to immediately protect individuals and businesses from their creditors and to obtain the backing of the legal system to allow the debtor to eliminate, reduce, reorganize or extend most debts. Debts are discharged (eliminated) in Chapter 7 While debts are reorganized under both Chapter 13 (primarily used for individuals) and Chapter 11 (primarily used by businesses). Bankruptcy Adversary Proceedings litigate disputed issues, such as the dischargeability of debt, avoidable transfers and/or turnover of assets, while Bankruptcy Contested Motions engage in motion practice over issues such as relief from the automatic stay, dismissal of the case, the treatment of claims and the avoidance of judgment liens in contested and/or complex bankruptcy cases. Where we are seeking reconsideration and review of the decision of a bankruptcy judge, Bankruptcy Appeals allow appellate review of the bankruptcy court by the federal district court. We often use Bankruptcy Solutions when our clients are overwhelmed by unsecured debts such as credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, business debt and/or need time and opportunity to cure or modify secured debts such as mortgage and car loan arrears. The automatic stay, which stops all creditor activities including bank restraints, wage garnishments, and foreclosure sales goes into effect immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy Solutions are often the most certain and efficient method to resolve problematic debt and to eventually restore our client’s financial well-being and credit.
Foreclosure Solutions utilize the laws and courts of the State of New York to engage in Foreclosure Defense which protects a client and their home from foreclosure litigation by their mortgage holder through answers, counter claims, discovery, attendance at hearings and conferences, opposition to motions by the plaintiff mortgage holder and cross-motions by the defendant homeowner. Opposition to motions includes: oppositions to a motion for an order of reference, opposition to summary judgment and/or a judgment of foreclosure and sale. Cross motions by the defendant include cross motions to dismiss the case or to vacate decisions that favored to plaintiff. Court settlement and/or status conferences that are held routinely in foreclosure cases, allow us to engage in discussions with the mortgage holders attorneys and the court over possible settlement and modification options. State Court Appeals and/or reargue or renew motions allow us to seek reconsideration of a decision or order of a state court with motions to reargue or renew being made to the same state court and with State Court Appeals, seeking appellate review, and being made to the Appellate Division. Orders to Show Cause give our clients emergency relief in the state court system to seek to stay a foreclosure sale and/or to expedite a motion seeking to vacate a previous order or decision of the court. We also often use Bankruptcy as a Foreclosure Solution, to utilize the automatic stay in a bankruptcy case to immediately stop foreclosure sales and other litigation against our client where our client can potentially cure or modify their debt over time. Modifications and other Negotiated Foreclosure Solutions such as short sales, forbearance agreements and deeds in lieu as discussed below are often sought by us on behalf of our clients to ultimately settle foreclosures. Foreclosure Solutions are intended to provide time and leverage to our clients with foreclosure and mortgage problems so as to give our clients a greater likelihood of resolving their mortgage difficulties. Recently, because of the Covid-19 foreclosure moratoriums imposed first by the federal government and then by New York State, unique issues have arisen as to whether a foreclosure defendant is protected by the moratorium and whether they face a Covid hardship allowing them to be temporarily protected from foreclosure.
Mortgage Modification Solutions allow us to resolve our client’s mortgage loan arrears while seeking to restructure the note to allow for improved payment terms with interest rates reduced, the loan term extended and potentially a partial deferment of what is due. Modifications are the primary method property owners can resolve their mortgage arrears and save their properties. Other methods of mortgage negotiations are divided between Retention Options (where the goal is to keep the property) and Non-Retention Options (where the goal is not to keep the property long term but to negotiate other advantages to the Property owner). Retention Options include not just Mortgage Loan Modifications, but also: Friendly Sales/Short Sales, Refinancing, Payoff/Short Payoff, Reinstatement/Short Reinstatement. Non-Retention Options, which are dealt with in the Negotiation Section, Include: Third Party Sale/Short Sale, Deed in Lieu, Cash for Keys, and Consent to Judgment. Ultimately if a property owner wants to keep their property, mortgage modification is offered in several different forms including: during litigation conferences, which are part of foreclosure litigation defense, in Bankruptcy loss mitigation efforts, which are often part of a chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and in direct loan modification negotiations with the lender, which are part of direct mortgage loan modification efforts.
Negotiation Solutions are direct negotiations with a client’s creditors and/or their attorneys to reduce, extend and/or re-structure debts such as: mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loans, business debts, personal loans medical bills, past due rent, tax debt and/or distressed real estate debt. The goals of such negotiations can vary; we can seek a reduction in the total principal owed, reduced or eliminated interest, and/or more time to pay the debt. A lump sum settlement usually achieves the largest reduction in principal, while payments over time are usually more feasible for our clients and can also give a significant reduction in the amount to be paid. Our negotiators are well educated and well trained and will coordinate any resolution with the client and seek a written settlement agreement that clearly delineates the terms of the settlement so that our client is safe in the pursuing the negotiated deal if the client can make the required payments under the settlement agreement. Credit Card Settlements are the most common debt resolution agreements and seek to separately negotiate with each credit card the best possible negotiated agreement to try to obtain either a settlement to pay a drastically reduced lump sum to settle the total credit card debt at a deeper discount and/or to obtain a payment plan to pay reduced regular payments over time. Distressed real estate often creates debt for the borrower that can be resolved with retention options or non-retention options. Retention options seek to resolve the distressed mortgage debt through solutions where the borrower retains the property including: mortgage modification, reduced payoffs or reduced reinstatements, friendly short sales, forbearance agreements, and/or refinancing. Non-retention options seek to resolve the distressed mortgage debt through solutions where the borrower gives up ownership and/or possession of the property including: deed in lieu, judgment in lieu of foreclosure, cash for keys and/or third party short sales. Tax Debt Negotiations and Student Loan Debt Installment Plans often seek partial payment installment plans which allow a client to pay reduced monthly payments on their tax debt or student loans based on their income levels at the time of the negotiation, while riding out the statute of limitations to eventually have the balance of the debt forgiven. Business Debt Negotiations are intended to allow the a business owner trying to survive in business to pare down obligations in order to stay operational, or, if the situation is not worth saving, to negotiate just the business debts where there is potential personal liability. Negotiation Solutions are intended to give our clients a negotiating advantages which drastically improve their chances of obtaining a satisfactory negotiated settlement with their creditors.
Tax Debt Solutions can take several forms: while we mostly negotiate tax debt, there are also situations where bankruptcy and/or litigation can play a role with tax debt to either eliminate, reduce, reorganize or extend the time to pay tax debt. Negotiations are about getting a partial installment plan and potentially riding out the statute of limitations, but they can also be regular payment plans, offers in compromise and/or determinations of non-collectibility. Bankruptcy options for tax debt allow discharge of unsecured, income tax debt which is older than three (3) years old, where a tax return was filed more than two (2) years ago and where there was no more recent assessment or fraud. But more recent income taxes or tax years without a return or other types of taxes like payroll taxes, or state sales taxes which are fiduciary taxes are not dischargeable in chapter 7, but can nonetheless be paid off in a five (5) year Chapter 13 plan. Litigation over tax debt is sometimes the right option where there are disputes over the amount of the tax and the liability to pay the tax debt. Litigation may be an option when taxes are pursued through the court system and may be potentially disputed, as to the amount and degree of liability and whether the defendant should be personally liable. Furthermore, litigation of tax liability or amount may be the manner in which to assert an applicable defense to a tax debt (ie “innocent spouse defense” or denying “responsible person liability” for a corporate tax liability).
Landlord-Tenant Litigation centers around the mutual obligations of landlords and tenant under a lease and/or under the law, especially where there are rent arrears and/or other irritants to either side that cause them to see the courts as a potential method of resolution. Landlord-tenant litigation usually takes place in the local Landlord Tenant Courts, but can also be in the Supreme Court if an Order to Show Cause needs to be filed or if the remedy sought goes beyond a basic landlord tenant matter. We represent both Landlords and Tenants in landlord-tenant litigation or defense and in landlord-tenant negotiations. Tenant Defense is often necessary if a house is lost to foreclosure and more time is needed by the former homeowner (now legally considered to be a “holdover tenant”) before they need to vacate the house. Residential and commercial tenants often are in need of legal representation where they are struggling to avoid eviction; litigation and negotiation are employed initially but if they are no longer viable options, a bankruptcy case for the tenant may provide a last opportunity to gain time and leverage toward a resolution. We also defend clients owning shares in their cooperative apartments in situations where there is litigation in the landlord tenant court over their proprietary lease. Finally, we also often represent small and individual landlords seeking to evict problem tenants who may be causing financial hardship to our clients in withholding rent or otherwise becoming a nuisance to the landlord and/or to other tenants. Recently, because of the Covid-19 eviction moratoriums imposed by the federal government and by New York State, unique issues have arisen in our representation of both landlords and tenants in our efforts to protect our clients rights and deal with the possibilities of exceptions to the moratorium or the presumption of a Covid hardship.
Litigation Defense is more general defense of our clients in various courts. Besides extensively defending foreclosure actions and litigating landlord-tenant matters (see above sections dedicated to these areas), we defend many other types of debt related litigation. We defend debt litigation over business issues, over collection of medical or credit card debt and over real estate matters. We defend mostly in the state Supreme Courts against various collection actions, including litigation involving personal loans, business loans, tax debt, medical debt and other obligations. However, we also defend smaller actions mostly for credit cards or other unsecured debt in local small claims and district courts. Also, we defend and prosecute actions in landlord tenant court on behalf of both landlords and tenants. Litigation can also take place in the United States Bankruptcy Courts in the form of adversary proceedings and/or evidentiary hearings which involve introducing evidence before the Bankruptcy Court in a matter where critical facts are contested. Finally some, usually larger, matters, where there is diversity jurisdiction or federal subject matter jurisdiction, can be commenced in the Federal Courts, with some lenders, sometimes preferring to bring cases to Federal Court, which have different procedural rules than the state and local courts. While there are a variety of matters where we litigate and different kinds of areas where we are able to defend our clients over disputes involving debt, there are similarities to the litigated matters in that most litigations mayor can involve the following: a) pleadings (a summons and complaint that needs to be served, as well as an answer or motion to dismiss in response), b) conferences and hearings (over scheduling, litigation status, and over potential settlement), c) discovery (interrogatories, document demands, and depositions to obtain the perceived facts and relevant documents pertaining to the case from the other side to the litigation), d) motion practice (for a default judgment or summary judgment, to compel discovery, to reargue/renew and/or vacate an order or decision), e) a trial (if the dispute is factual and has not been settled), and f) an appeal (if the court decides against our client and if we believe the court may have substantially erred in its decision). While we mostly defend actions started by creditors, there are many situations where to get relief, we need to initiate an action with the filing and service of our own summons and complaint in a contested situation. Our defense and/or litigation efforts start out with examining all the agreements pertaining to the case – we review both the written and/or implied between the parties, all bills/invoices, communications, and any attempt between the parties to settle or seek compromise. Usually we find that the creditor has made certain assumptions and is surprised and often unprepared when they realize that we are ready to defend our client. However, we also realize that litigation is often prolonged and can be time intensive; therefore we are realistic about the goals and limits of litigation and often combine litigation with negotiations to achieve our client’s goals.
Credit card debt like other debts can be resolved with credit card specific relief options including resolution through: credit card bankruptcy, credit card negotiation and credit card litigation options. Credit card debt and unsecured personal loans are most efficiently resolved inChapter 7 Bankruptcy cases where we are able to discharge most unsecured debts (eliminate the legal obligation to pay the debt). But credit card debt is also often resolved in negotiated agreements; partially because Chapter 7 is not always possible or in some instances not desirable in the client’s unique circumstances. Often our clients, because of the level of their incomes or due to the amount of equity in their assets, do not qualify or are not a good fit for Chapter 7. Others, may prefer not to file in Chapter 7 or any kind of bankruptcy case for personal and/or other sensitive job related reasons. Therefore, negotiations over credit card debt and other unsecured debt is often a solution for persons not ready or able to file in Chapter 7. We are usually able to get excellent or at least advantageous negotiation settlement terms for credit card and other unsecured debt by leveraging our ability to pursue bankruptcy and/or litigation options. While credit card debt is not usually resolved in actual litigation itself (through a final court decision in our favor or the dismissal of the debt case with prejudice so that it can not be brought again), defending credit card litigations, often leads to a better negotiated resolution than what was formerly available through negotiations alone. While credit card litigation is not usually our first option, it is able to give us time and leverage to resolve and/or reduce the debt because many creditors do not have complete documentation (agreements, payment records, bills/invoices etc) for much of their alleged debt. When other options (Chapter 7 and/or negotiations) can not eliminate or further delay credit card debt, where it is particularly high or aggressive, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 bankruptcies can also reorganize credit card debt with percentage payments over the course of a plan up to 5 years in length for Chapter 13 and potentially longer for Chapter 11. Assuming that the Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 reorganization plans are approved and confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court with a plan paying creditors a percentage on the dollar, at the end of the reorganization plan the debt is completely discharged, although only a designated percentage of the debt had been paid, per the approved terms of the plan. As the above describes, we approach credit card debt with several debt resolution tools that separately and/or together may yield the desired result for a client. Because credit card and personal unsecured loan debt is so prevalent and so often is part of our clients financial hardship, it is important for us to have several approaches that can successfully eliminate, reduce and/or reorganize credit card and other unsecured debt.
Student Loan Debt usually requires negotiation options because the debt is at present very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy. The ability to negotiate Student Loans depends on several factors. One of those factors is whether the loan is a Federal Student Loan, which are much more flexible with various ways to reorganize the debt, or whether the loan is a Private Student Loan, which, while negotiable, does not offer as much flexibility and sometimes needs to be refinanced or litigated to achieve drastic changes with payments or with the amount due. However, there is hope that public pressure will cause a thawing in the law which may make bankruptcy more accessible with the “undue hardship” standard for discharging a student loan being made a less onerous standard in some bankruptcy courts. Therefore, Student Loan Solutions, can offer negotiation, litigation and bankruptcy options that together and/or separately may yield a desired result.
Real Estate Sales and Short Sales are options to every property holder having trouble with mortgage arrears and/or having hardship paying their monthly mortgage payments. A real estate sale and short sale are both voluntary, as opposed to a foreclosure sale which is not voluntary. The difference between a regular real estate sale and a short sale is in the regular real estate sale the seller comes out of the closing with proceeds, while in the short sale there is negative equity (in that the payoff on the mortgage exceeds the sale price of the property) and to allow the deal to go forward the lender needs to agree to take a reduced payoff at the closing. All these types of sales could be to a Third Party Buyer, who would then want the seller to move out, or they could be to a Friendly Buyer, who would let the seller remain at the property until it has the credit to repurchase the property.
Because of our many possible tools to deal with financial hardship we can offer varied approaches and a unique customized plan to individuals and businesses facing economic challenges. Our potential solutions are discussed with our potential clients in a free consultation where we strategize as to how we can best help you with creative, intelligent, effect and affordable debt solutions. At the end you, the client, will be able to choose how to proceed in a way where you will know that the debt relief approach to your case was well thought out and planned, together with you. We will discuss, prepare and execute our debt resolution methods together with you, so that you know and understand how we are proceeding.
The Covid 19 pandemic has devastated the economies of Long Island and New York City, particularly for small businesses, restaurants, bars and service businesses reliant on human interaction. The Coronavirus has caused governments to impose lockdowns and guidelines to businesses that have created massive financial hardship to individuals and businesses. Many jobs will not come back for years. Given this large scale dislocation there is an increased necessity for creative, intelligent, effective and affordable debt solutions. Our law firm is uniquely situated to provide a broad array of such debt resolution services.
Our consultations are free, the advice may be invaluable.
Call or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation as to legal options in dealing with overwhelming debt and burdensome financial obligations (631) 271-3737.