Titled “Debtors and Creditors: Your Rights and Remedies,” the next Legal Forum has been scheduled for Thursday, June 30, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It will be held in the Community Room of the Cleveland/Bradley Public Library.
The forums are a partnership between the Bradley County Bar Association and the public library. The public service project is coordinated in conjunction with the Bradley County Law Library Commission comprised of three members — Jack Tapper, representing the Bar Association; Andrew Hunt, library director; and Jeff Morelock, Bradley County commissioner.
The Bradley County Bar Association actively supports the quarterly community forums as part of an ongoing initiative originated and endorsed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The state’s highest court promotes the legal forums in local communities as an opportunity for “equal access to justice” for all local residents and Tennesseans statewide, Tapper explained.
The upcoming forum, which is again free to the public, is coming at an appropriate time because many Bradley County families continue to emerge from the grips of the ongoing recession. Many have felt its wrath either through home foreclosures or unprecedented debt, and sometimes both.
“So many people are hurting from loss of jobs, debts that are over their head, families to feed and creditors who are harassing them [to the point of] despair, that we thought this would be a good time to help explain the options available to them with regard to their debts,” Tapper explained. The Cleveland attorney will serve as moderator for the forum.
“We’re looking forward to an enthusiastic turnout as part of an ongoing public service project of our county Bar ... in conjunction with the Bradley County Law Library Commission and the public library,” he said.
The forum will be presented by three local attorneys, all of whom are participating as unpaid volunteers. They include George McCoin, Rod Miller and Rex Wagner. Each deals actively with creditor collections and bankruptcies.
Specific topics to be addressed by the newest legal trio, and Tapper, include creditor collections and individual rights; how to stop or delay a foreclosure; how garnishment of wages works, and the amount of wages and other income and assets that are exempt from seizure; how to stop creditor harassment; options available in cases of bankruptcy and their consequences, and whether IRAs, 401(k)s or alimony income are exempt from creditor attachments; and what happens to joint bank accounts and other assets in the event of seizure from a spouse’s debts.
Perhaps just as importantly, each Community Legal Forum closes with a question and answer session for interaction between audience members and the attorneys presenting, Tapper explained.
“This is the third forum in a series of legal topics of interest to assist the public on better understanding the law,” Tapper said.
Held in November 2010, the first legal forum dealt with family law. The second was held earlier this year and it focused on wills, trusts and estates. Both forums have been well attended, but the second one drew a huge crowd that became standing-room-only.
The coming June 30 forum likely will have the same big community draw. Although forum seating is first-come, first-served, those planning to attend are urged to call the library at 423-472-2163 (ext. 126) in order to confirm attendance.