My name is Joseph L. Grima. I am a Bankruptcy lawyer serving clients in Michigan since I founded the law firm of Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. in 1991. I have been practicing bankruptcy law exclusively since founding the firm. I have successfully filed over 10,000 consumer bankruptcy cases. At the same time, I do not consider my law firm as being a “bankruptcy mill”. My mission as a bankruptcy lawyer is not just to get rid of my clients debts, but also to put my clients on a sound financial footing once the bankruptcy is over. To that end I have a dedicated team that helps prosecute these cases. That team includes people who used to work at the Bankruptcy Trustee’s office before they joined Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C.
We provide extensive telephone consultations, followed by free office consultations. Over the past 20 years Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. has provided hundreds of free bankruptcy consultations. Anyone can call our toll free number and set up a free office consultation to see whether they qualify for bankruptcy or not. There is absolutely no cost or commitment for doing so.
My practice focuses on bankruptcy law, with an emphasis on Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 cases. I practice exclusively in the State of Michigan.Chapter 7
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the kind of bankruptcy where a client can get rid of all or almost all of his debt. I say almost all debt because some debt like child support, alimony, student loans and certain types of taxes can never be “discharged” in bankruptcy. A “discharged” debt is a debt that is eliminated in the bankruptcy. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is what is commonly referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy will stop creditor harassment, vehicle repossessions, foreclosures and garnishments. In most instances, we can also recover garnished wages and funds garnished from bank accounts for the client.Chapter 11
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is the kind of bankruptcy that is filed to protect a business from its creditors. The client owns a business whose creditors are essentially trying to shut it down, generally by forcing a liquidation of assets to get what is owed to them. The client will put the business into a financial reorganization Plan, referred to as Chapter 11, and try to salvage the business. This type of bankruptcy is not, strictly speaking a consumer type bankruptcy. However, our law firm has filed this kind of bankruptcy in the past.Chapter 13
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a personal reorganization. In the legal profession, I am best known for being a Michigan Chapter 13 Bankruptcy attorney, getting numerous referrals from other bankruptcy lawyers who refuse to handle Chapter 13 cases. Chapter 13 is the kind of bankruptcy where the client enters into a repayment program that could last from 3 to 5 years, depending on the amount of household income. Chapter 13 will stop vehicle repossessions, allow for the recovery of repossessed vehicles in some cases, may reduce vehicle payments, stop IRS collection activity, stop foreclosure and allow the client to catch up missing mortgage payments over time. The more income the client’s household has, the longer the client could be forced to pay, but in no event can a Chapter 13 Plan exceed 5 years. During this repayment period, the client gives the Court his disposable income and when the Plan is over, what is paid is paid and what is not paid is not owed anymore except for any unpaid balances on student loans.
Most importantly, the filing of a bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, helps the client get back on his feet by eliminating debts. Contrary to popular belief, credit ratings improve almost as soon as a bankruptcy is filed. We have clients who inform us that they have received new offers of credit even before their bankruptcy goes to Court.
Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. is notable for having been involved in a landmark decision that altered the rules of practice in Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The decision, Carla Craig-Likely v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Civil Case No. 06-13665, was decided in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division by the Honorable Judge Marianne O. Battani. (The United States District Court hears appeals from the Bankruptcy Court).
In Carla Craig-Likely, the mortgage company kept on adding fees and costs without notifying the client, her counsel or the Bankruptcy Court. At the end of a five year Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the client, who had filed bankruptcy to catch up a mortgage arrearage of approximately $4,000 ended up with a new increased arrearage of approximately $14,000 despite the fact that she had never missed a bankruptcy payment. The mortgage company kept on adding so called “escrow shortages” without notifying anybody, such that when her Plan was almost over, the debtor found out that she owed more in mortgage arrearages than she had owed before she filed her bankruptcy. The mortgage company defended under the argument that their “rights” were sacrosanct and even if they made a “mistake”, they should be allowed to get away with it and make the client pay. Incredibly, the Bankruptcy Court agreed with the mortgage company, claiming it was “unfair” that the mortgage company not be reimbursed for the so called escrow shortages that were allegedly paid on behalf of the client. Michigan Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer Joseph L. Grima disagreed with the lower Court and filed an appeal in the United States District Court. The District Court agreed with the client’s position and overruled the Bankruptcy Court with a decision favorable the client. Until this appeal was filed, conventional wisdom had been that such an appeal would be unsuccessful. As a result of this appeal, it is now a requirement in Bankruptcy Court that whenever a mortgage company wants to add on charges to a client’s mortgage, they must file paperwork with the Bankruptcy Court stating what the charges will be for and how much the charges will be, thereby giving the client the opportunity to dispute said charges. In re Carla Craig-Likely is cited in legal treatises as the seminal case for being able to alter a mortgage company’s “rights”.
Over the years, Bankruptcy Trustees have referred cases to Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. to “fix”. Generally, a client would file a bankruptcy without an attorney. The case would then end up having serious problems that could result in the potential loss of assets. Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. is usually asked to step in and fix the problem. Our law firm is known as being the “go to” law firm for complicated or problem Chapter 13 cases. Such is the level of our expertise.
Being a Bankruptcy lawyer serving Michigan clients in bankruptcy is something that I find very satisfying and fulfilling. There is nothing like getting a phone call from a client or a thank you card from a client expressing satisfaction at a job well done on their behalf.
Call Joseph L. Grima & Associates, P.C. is a Bankruptcy law firm serving Michigan clients. Call us today at (800) 603-3333 for your free consultation. Remember, both the call and the consultation are free.
Joseph L. Grima is a bankruptcy attorney dedicated to the practice of bankruptcy law. He gives each one of his clients his personal attention. He is involved in each one of his clients cases, assuring that the client gets the best possible legal representation in as a stress free an environment as possible.
*We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
Michigan Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer | Detroit Debt Relief Attorney | Joseph L. Grima & Associates