Is a Bankruptcy Imminent for Sears?

Sears is likely to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company plans to plow through the upcoming holiday season, but is leaning toward bankruptcy. The Chapter 11 filing would allow a plan to restructure, versus liquidating immediately.

Department store picture: Sears may file bankruptcy blogSears Holdings is the parent company of Sears and Kmart. According to a recent public records, it is still operating 506 Sears locations (360 Kmart stores).

It is likely that Sears will announce that it will file for bankruptcy, and if this does happen, the nation’s once largest retailer will need a reorganization plan. Because of competition such as Amazon and Walmart, Sears has been struggling as it tries to keep its retail business appealing to shoppers.

With a deadline to pay severe debt, all signs are pointing to Sears Holdings filing bankruptcy.  Surrounding the financial troubles of the company are reports of preparations for filing. Typically, a company that files for bankruptcy negotiates a loan to remain in business while going through the bankruptcy process. Also reported was Sears’ management wanting to use the protection of Chapter 11, which uses a reorganization and restructuring plan (as opposed to Chapter 7, which liquidates and leads to closures).

In 2005, Sears and Kmart formed Sears Holdings and had 3,500 stores in the United States between them. Currently there are under 900 stores following a series of store closings. Sears has announced 46 store closings.

Some reports are calling a bankruptcy filing imminent. If the retailer can negotiate a deal with lenders, it may allow its 900 stores to stay open through the holidays. Some of the Sears stores, however, would have to close immediately (approximately 150 stores). Challenges still remain for the company, however, even if it remains in business over the holidays.

Unfortunately, retail businesses don’t have a great record for success after bankruptcy. Toys R Us, for example has been forced to liquidate after filing a Chapter 11.  Sears does have some value in the Kenmore brand.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy | Mesa Bankruptcy LawyersFor individuals with regular income, Chapter 13 is a consolidation and repayment form of bankruptcy. By providing protection from your creditors, filing Chapter 13 allows you to keep property and repay creditors via a manageable payment plan. Based on the amount of your debts, income and living expenses, an attorney at My AZ Lawyers will help you establish a repayment plan. The amount of repayment is set and paid to a Chapter 13 Trustee, who in turn distributes the money to your creditors.  Chapter 13 is an affordable way to retain property and repay creditors for those individuals who have regular income. 


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Mesa, Arizona

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is available for individuals or consumers and not businesses (unless the individual is a sole proprietor, thus qualifying). Generally, an individual can retain all personal property in a Chapter 13 filing as long as the Bankruptcy Court approves the proposed repayment plan.   The sooner the case is filed, the better, in order to protect your valuable assets and accustomed lifestyle. It is best to schedule an appointment with a [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]MY AZ LAWYERS attorney[/cryout-button-dark] to discuss the plan you images (4)need to submit.


Consolidate your debts and protect your property

  • Stop harassing creditor phone calls
  • Prevent your home from going into foreclosure
  • Protect your car from repossession
  • Stop wage garnishments
  • Stop bank account levies
  • Prevent lawsuits.
  • Possibly eliminate debt


Payment and retention of a home usually is the top priority when filing and planning a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Sometimes referred to as a “home-saver” bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 allows you to combine your debts (secured and unsecured), devise a repayment plan, and repay some or all of your debt while protecting you from liquidation or creditor harassment.  In one monthly, reasonable payment you are able to pay on the debt.


From filing to discharge, typically a Chapter 13 could last 32 to 60 months.  Your Arizona bankruptcy attorney at My AZ Lawyers will be better able to assess the length of the case based upon your personal situation and their past experiences filing Chapter 13.  In terms of the plan, there are factors that determine your time line: amount of payment, income guidelines, and disposable income all are taken into consideration.

images (5)In order to begin the process of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy,  contact our Mesa bankruptcy law office to assist you with the complicated rules and procedures involved in the filing. 

  1. Contact My AZ Lawyers to schedule your [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]FREE CONSULTATION[/cryout-button-dark] with an experienced bankruptcy law attorney.  (480)833-80002.
  2. Prepare the appropriate paperwork and fill out the needed forms.  (If married, spouse fills out forms as well).  Your attorney will instruct you as to which forms you need and how to correctly prepare them.
  3. Meet with My AZ Lawyers to review your paperwork and assess your financial situation and determine if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is in your best interest.  Your Mesa bankruptcy attorney will give you advice as to what your best options are for you in order to be debt-free.
  4.  Complete credit counseling course.  Before filing Chapter 13, you are required to complete a session on credit counseling.
  5. Approximately a month after filing your case, you and your attorney meet with creditors at a hearing called the Meeting of Creditors.  A Chapter Trustee reviews your case at this hearing.
  6.  A bankruptcy Judge approves your payment plan at a Confirmation Hearing.
  7. A second credit counseling course must be completed before receiving discharge papers.
  8. An order of discharge from the Bankruptcy Court is issued upon completion of your repayment plan and all met requirements of Chapter 13 bankruptcy law.


One key benefit to the Chapter 13 filing with a Mesa bankruptcy law office, is that the unsecured debt is addressed interest free.  There is no outrageous interest rates on credit cards as you pay your debt.  Chapter 13 is a good option for some individuals who do not qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy but still want to achieve a debt-free future.


  • Child or Spousal support
  • Criminal fines or penalties
  • Debts incurred through fraud
  • Student loans
  • Debt due to property settlement in a divorce
  • Some kinds of taxes including real estate and income tax (these may be addressed in the payment plan, just not eliminated)
  • Debt from property damage or personal injury done willfully or maliciously


  • Prevents mortgage default
  • NO INTEREST on credit card and finance company debt
  • NO INTEREST on tax debt or penalties
  • Possible elimination of a second mortgage lien debt
  • Reduced interest rates on secured loans
  • My AZ Lawyers are experienced in filing Chapter 13 bankruptcies and can help you take advantage of this type of debt relief.

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Stop Wage Garnishments


A wage garnishment is an order from a government agency or a court that requires your employer to withhold a certain amount of money from your paycheck.  The order is sent to your employer, they garnish your wages, and the money is sent to the creditor to whom you owe debt.images (9)

Arizona law  sets legal limits on how much of your paycheck can be garnished.  These laws offer protection for your wages; creditors can only take nonexempt wages and they are limited to how much they can take.  The experienced Arizona bankruptcy law attorneys at [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]My AZ Lawyers[/cryout-button-dark] can give your more information about what types of creditors can take more than others, and to tell you how to stop a wage garnishment.


To get a judgement, a creditor must sue you, then serve you with a copy of the lawsuit, which a judge signing off on exactly how much you owe.  Also, the creditor must file an application for a Writ of Garnishment.  Once the court grants this, they will provide a copy to your employer who then is required to start withholding a given amount from your check. 

You do have the opportunity and right to object the order, and to ask the court to lower the amount taken out. 

Creditors cannot garnish your wages unless they obtain a court judgement sating that you owe them money. There are exceptions to this, however: no judgement is needed for:

  • unpaid income taxes
  • defaulted student loans
  • child support arrears
  • court ordered child support


images (10)The idea behind limiting the amount that can be taken from your paycheck in order to pay back creditors is that you should have enough left for living expenses.  There is a limit placed on this by Federal law.  Arizona follows the same rules as Federal law, so federal law governs in Arizona:

Creditors can only take the lesser of the following: 25% of your weekly earnings (non-exempt) 

OR    the amount of non-exempt weekly earnings that exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage.

Wages left after you employer makes deductions required by law are “disposable earnings.” Call My AZ Lawyers for a [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]FREE CONSULTATION[/cryout-button-dark] and discuss which income is exempt, specifically in Arizona. 


Ernie owes money to a creditor, except Ernie’s only income is what he gets from Social Security Disability.  Even if the lender has a court order / judgement against Ernie, the credit may not garnish this type of earnings because these earnings are exempt.

Another example of wage garnishment:  Sally has a judgement against her for debt owed to a creditor. Sally has a job and makes $750 / week (after taxes) and receives $250 per week in child support from her ex. The creditor cannot take from the child support income, but may garnish 25% of the $750 ($187.50).  30 times the minimum wage ($217.50) is $532.50 less than what she earns per week.   Remember, it is $one OR $another, $187.50 is less than $532.50, the creditor may only garnish $187.50 from Sally’s paycheck.


images (12)The following debts do not require a court judgement for either the government or a creditor to garnish your wages (the amount deducted can vary as well):

  • Child support
  • Student loans
  • Unpaid taxes


If you receive a notice of a wage garnishment from your employer, you need to contact My AZ Lawyers immediately.  You can do immediate damage control by discussing your matter with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. 

It is not only a frustrating and embarrassing situation to have your HR department and your boss know about your financial difficulties, but you will also lose out on your wages.  If excessive debt has come to the point of a court order wage garnishment, [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]filing for bankruptcy[/cryout-button-dark]  can stop this. 

As soon as a bankruptcy case is fiimages (13)led, an Automatic Stay is issued.  This is an order that stops all collections from you: wage garnishments, demand letters, phone calls, and lawsuits. In this way, bankruptcy can help provide you with a fresh start by helping you to become debt free. 

Schedule an appointment to talk to an attorney at My AZ Lawyers if you are sued and are in jeopardy of a wage garnishment.

My AZ Lawyers has convenient locations, flexible scheduling, affordable rates, and payment plan options.






What are my OPTIONS other than BANKRUPTCY?


images (14)Bankruptcies are filed because of problems making payments due to a job layoff, divorce, medical expenses, or overspending.  If you are in a situation where you are facing a mound of debt and you need to take control of it, consult an attorney at [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]My AZ Lawyers[/cryout-button-dark] for advice on your best options to eliminate the debt and get started on your way to financial freedom.

Many individuals are able to say:  I have so much debt that it is literally ruining my life.  They file Chapter 7, eliminate the debt, and start over and start rebuilding their credit and their lives.  They are relieved to have the constant pile of bills they are unable to pay –gone for good. For some it is an easy decision.   Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how hard you work or how good your intentions are, you just cannot got get ahead of the debt. Also, some alternatives to debt relief do not provide the protection of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

For others, filing bankruptcy is a last resort. Businesses or individuals have a moral obligation to pay their debts.  If bankruptcy allows us to rack up debt, then the law says the debt is forgiven, then why would anyone pay back debt? Certainly moral obligation and the sense of responsibility is more important to some folks than an easy way out of debt. 

Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision that should only be made after consulting with an attorney and after carefully considering your options: 


Negotiate with creditors and work out a payment plan.  An attorney at My AZ Lawyers can effectively negotiate on your behalf, protecting your rights and getting you the best desired outcome. Dealing with creditors can be aggressive, intimidating, and frustrating. Because My AZ Lawyers specializes in debt relief, they have experience dealing with the creditors.

  • DMP (Debt Management Plan) images (16)

You could work with Money Management International and establish a debt repayment program. Through this program, your agree to renegotiate your accounts and include your unsecured debts on the program, then make one deposit per month. This payment is distributed to your creditor until your debt is repaid.


You can attempt to negotiate and settle your debts for less than the full balance owed.  This is not as easy as it may sound.  An experienced attorney at My AZ Lawyers law firm is the best person to attempt to settle with your creditors, if that is an option you would like to pursue.  There are several things you need to consider, including tax obligations.


To explore this option, you must first qualify for a debt consolidation loan.  You may obtain a decent interest rate. You need to, however consider the length of time it will take to repay and understand the “true cost” of credit —- what you will be paying, exactly, over the course of the loan.  The monthly payment might look good to you, but factor in the overall cost with interest and possibly any closing costs.






Chapter 7 Bankruptcy


Because it provides dChapter 7 Bankruptcy, Mesa Bankruptcy Attorneyebt relief for people who have excessive debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as a “fresh start” bankruptcy or “liquidation” bankruptcy.  Individuals from all professions and economic statuses find themselves owing an overwhelming amount of debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate medical debt, credit card debt, judgements and/or lawsuits against you (thus, giving you a fresh start on your finances).


The first thing you should do if you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, is to call the law office of My AZ Lawyers.  Why?  An experienced bankruptcy attorney can asses your financial situation and evaluate your debt.  Take advantage of a [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]FREE CONSULTATION [/cryout-button-dark]in which a lawyer can help you go over your income, expenses, and all debt in order to get a true picture of your financial situation.  By doing this, you can visit your options and make good decisions. 

Determining if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you is something that needs to be discussed with an attorney. By meeting with a lawyer at My AZ Lawyers, and providing some financial information, you will be advised as to what would be the next best step to take in order to get you your fresh start.  Some clients discover that they would better benefit by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or sometimes bankruptcy is not necessary, (debt settlement) as the bankruptcy attorneys at [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]My AZ Lawyers[/cryout-button-dark] know the ins-and-outs of the process. The bankruptcy code is complicated, and you are allowed “exemptions” which allow you to keep certain property in your bankruptcy. So you want an attorney to look at they property you own. 

Arizona has its own set of exemptions and dollar limits on what you allowed to keep. There are exemptions for housing and vehicle.  A Mesa bankruptcy attorney can analyze and determine how and if these will work in your favor. Our attorneys are experts at Arizona bankruptcy law and know all the exemptions.

Chapter 7 BankruptcyIf you decide to  proceed with a bankruptcy, the law firm collects more information and you take an online credit counseling class (one hour) before then attorney can file your bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy court requires this to be done, but it is available to take 24/7.

You will need to provide paperwork to the office, and we will file with the bankruptcy court (typically a 2 week process). After reviewing the paperwork and signing that it is correct, it is filed, and you are assigned a case number. Many clients think once they come into the law office and retain an attorney, they will get filed the next day, but  it is a process that takes a few weeks.

If you have a need for an emergency filing, and cannot wait the 2-week period, contact My AZ Lawyers immediately if your filing is urgent. 

Many clients think once they come into the law office and retain an attorney, they will get filed the next day, but  it is a process that takes a few weeks.  Contact a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer and see if filing for bankruptcy protection in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona is right for you.

Free Consultation, Mesa Bankruptcy AttorneysAn Automatic Stay will go into effect once your bankruptcy car is filed.  This bankruptcy provision means that all creditor collection activity is required to stop.  This includes phone calls, letters, repossessions, and home foreclosures.  If any of your creditors wish to make any further communications, they would have to go through the attorney.

Approximately 40 days after filing, you will attend a “first meeting of creditors” hearing at court. A bankruptcy trustee will review your petition and ask you questions.  Creditors are allowed to also attend this hearing. The hearings are informal and typically do not last long. Your lawyer from My AZ Lawyers will be at that hearing with you.  The hearing is a basic and simple process.  After attending the hearing, you must forego a 60 day waiting period.  This is just to give both creditors and bank trustees time if needed to follow-up on the hearing if they choose to do so.

During this 60 day time frame, you are then required to take a second online class  —- this needs to be completed in order to receive your discharge. There is a small fee and it takes a couple of hours.

Once you have completed all the requirements and waited the 60 days, you will receive a discharge:  an order form the court that eliminates all of your debt that can be eliminated legally. 

In total, from the time your case is filed to getting your discharge papers, expect the process to take 3-4 months.


You should seed advice from [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]My AZ Lawyers[/cryout-button-dark] about your financial situation.  An attorney who has practice with bankruptcy cases will help you to understand both the law and your options.  Maybe Chapter 7 is not available to you.  Maybe a chapter 11 or 13 would offer more effective debt relief for your case.  Maybe your issues can be resolved by debt negotiation.

My AZ Lawyers offers payment plans:  low-fee guarantee, file now, pay later — our law firm wants to give superb legal representation to Arizona clients at an affordable rate. 

Click for additional Chapter 7 Information.


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