Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the most common questions concerning filing bankruptcy in Kansas City are answered here, from bankruptcy protection and how to deal with debt collectors, to working with a good lawyer to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What do I do if I am being bullied by debt collectors?

A: You may need Debt Collection Defense. A few years ago, in a case that the debt buyer LVNV brought against one of our clients (09-L6-AC00441), Mrs....

Do I need to file for Bankruptcy?

A: If you are asking yourself that question the answer is probably yes. The biggest complaint I hear from people when they come to my office is "I should have done this years ago" or "My wife has...

How Do I File Bankruptcy?

A: In order to file for bankruptcy, you first need to follow a process prior to filing in order to make sure that you have everything in order in order to expedite the process and make it as painless...

Can you eliminate tax debt by filing for bankruptcy?

A: In many cases, you can eliminate tax debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service, Missouri Tax Commission or other taxing agencies. Certain tax obligations are...

Will the IRS Take My House If I Have a Tax Lien?

A: Yes, they can but it is rare. The last thing the IRS wants to do is go to the trouble of taking and selling your house. They would much rather go after low-hanging fruit like wage garnishments or...

What Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy?

A: There are a few costs and fees associated with filing any type of bankruptcy. What follows is a list with an explanation. I will say that my fees for the various chapters are extremely...

Can Bankruptcy Save My Home?

A: Yes, it can stop the foreclosure process and allow you time to catch up on the past due amounts, provided that you act soon enough. So the short answer to "Can filing bankruptcy stop a foreclosure...

Which debts can you discharge in bankruptcy?

A: It is much easier to describe the type of debts that are generally not dischargeable. Most unsecured debt or debt in which there is not a lien attached to something you own is dischargeable. That...

Can I keep some credit cards out of bankruptcy if I am current?

A: No, all your debts must be listed and even if you didn't list them the creditor would most likely cancel them upon filing anyway.

What are the Missouri Exemptions?

A: Exemptions are the things that are protected by law. There are Missouri Laws that protect certain items from being taken by creditors and the same protections extend to...

Services and Solutions

Bearden Law focuses on debt relief, such as debt collection defense, bankruptcies, credit reporting, and consumer protection. We also handle criminal defense, traffic charges, a variety of civil matters including wills, trusts, and deeds.

Used in the proper way, there are a host of things that Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can do for someone. There are many symptoms of debt that can be addressed with the right tool.

Wills and Estate Planning

Concerned About Your Future in Uncertain Times?

Estate Planning is a complicated process, but the expert attorneys at Bearden Law Firm will make it easier for you.

Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Missouri

Considering Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Missouri?

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Missouri is sort of like a debt consolidation but with some key differences. In regular debt consolidation, your creditors usually are under no obligation to play ball with you or your debt consolidation company. Even though you are making regular payments, the payments aren’t usually going to anyone particular creditor at any given time. Therefore, they can and often do still pursue collection efforts up to and including filing a lawsuit against you.

Filing Bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Missouri

Considering Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Missouri?

Bankruptcy isn’t for everyone, but for many, it is a great way to end their slavery to debt and a doorway to rediscovering their independence. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common type of personal bankruptcy. Our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process. We have 4 Steps to Freedom: 1) Free consultation. 2) Stop creditor calls. 3) Sign and file. 4) Rebuild your life. Bankruptcy sounds bad, but the reality is that it can be your lifeline. In fact, you will not need to recover from bankruptcy.

Wage Garnishment

Impending Garnishment?

Are your wages about to be garnished? A garnishment is a court order directing that money or property of a third party (usually wages paid by an employer) be seized to satisfy a debt owed by a debtor to a plaintiff creditor.

Got Served Court Summons

Got Served?

Did you recently get served a lawsuit? Getting served just means that you have been given notice of a lawsuit, in this case by a debt collector. You are served if you are handed a copy of the summons and complaint or if a summons and...

Foreclosure in Missouri

Facing Foreclosure?

If you are in foreclosure, it can be a scary process. Foreclosure is the action of taking possession of a mortgaged property when the mortgagor fails to keep up their mortgage payments.

Considering short-selling your home?

Although Missouri...

Who Are We?

The Law Offices of Joe and Jovanna Bearden: Missouri Bankruptcy and Criminal Defense Attorneys. Bearden Law focuses on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, and debt relief, such as debt collection defense, foreclosure, bankruptcies, credit reporting, and consumer protection. We also handle a variety of criminal defense, felonies, and civil matters including wills, trusts, and deeds.

Bearden Law Firm

We are licensed Bankruptcy and Criminal Defense Attorneys with multiple offices in Kansas City, Butler, and Nevada, Missouri, and will focus on your case first and foremost from the beginning to the end. Our practice specializes in consumer bankruptcy and consumer debt defense. We have won hundreds of cases against major collection agencies such as Midland Funding, LVNV, Portfolio Recovery, Asset Acceptance, and Cavalry. We routinely deal with prosecutors in Bates, Henry, St. Clair, Cass, and Vernon Counties. We have even fought major national banks and won....

Practice Areas

Bearden Law focuses on criminal defense and debt relief, such as debt collection defense, bankruptcies, credit reporting, and consumer protection.  We also handle a variety of civil matters including wills, trusts, and deeds.

missouri bankruptcy attorney


Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from some or all of their debts.

debt collection defense

Debt Collection Defense

If the collector or debt buyer can’t prove it owns the debt, you might have a defense to a collection lawsuit.

criminal defense

Criminal Defense

When the state takes you to court and threatens to imprison you, the stakes are high. Don’t leave your defense to chance!

traffic law

Traffic Law

When you are faced with a traffic charge or other minor violations, a good local attorney can often negotiate a deal which will keep your record clean.

wills and estates

Wills and Estate Planning

Protecting your legacy requires your careful attention.

general missouri law practice

General Practice

Bearden law handles a variety of legal challenges for all kinds of people.

Pro Bono

Pro Bono

At Bearden Law, we believe that everyone should have access to justice.

legal advice

Legal Advice

When you need legal advice, we are here for you.

Why Choose Us?

When choosing someone to help you with a potential bankruptcy filing or any financial crisis that needs legal help, it is important to consider all of the facts of your individual situation. Everyone has different particulars when it comes to financial solvency, as well as estate planning in general. We at Bearden Law are Missouri Debt Relief Agents, and we assist people in filing for Bankruptcy Relief under the Bankruptcy Code, as well as help with credit repair and the aftermath of a bankruptcy filing.

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Filing bankruptcy sounds difficult. If you use the wrong attorney or try it on your own, it definitely can be. However, we pride ourselves on making the process easy and painless.

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When filing bankruptcy, it is very important to stay organized. When you use us, this process is streamlined and systematized in a way that reduces the amount of time it can take.

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When you work with Bearden Law, you get a real attorney on your case. Many other law firms don’t even allow you to see an attorney until late into the process.

What People Say about us

We have worked with many different types of clients from varied backgrounds.

Absolutely amazing attorneys! They both go above and beyond to calm your nerves and make the process the best it can possibly be. Would highly recommend!

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Contact Us Today!

We have three easy-to-find locations in Kansas City, Butler, and Nevada, Missouri. For legal assistance, please call (816) 787-1979 .

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Meet the team

Although we are a small firm, we have a strong focus on clients results. Contact us if you are interested in joining our team.

Jovanna R. Bearden Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney

Jovanna R. Bearden, MO#60294

Jovanna Bearden is a consumer attorney concentrating her practice in the areas of Fair Debt Collections Practices violations, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Consumer Bankruptcies. She was employed as a law clerk and then an associate attorney at Consumer Law Center, Inc. from March 2006 through November 2007. After leaving Consumer Law Center, Inc., Mrs. Bearden, then Miss Longo, opened her own practice, Longo Law Firm, in St. Louis and worked with the Skelton Law Firm to assist individuals with debt relief and collection harassment.  In 2012 she moved her firm to Bates County.  In 2017, she partnered with Joe to create Bearden Law.

Mrs. Bearden has worked with hundreds of consumers on cases regarding collection harassment and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims, finding amicable resolutions via settlement in the vast majority.  These cases include appeals to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Court of Appeals for the 6th Appellate District, and the Court of Appeals for Eastern Missouri.  Additionally, Mrs. Bearden has also helped numerous consumers obtain debt relief under Federal Bankruptcy laws.

Mrs. Bearden was admitted to the California Bar in 2007 and the Missouri Bar in 2008.  She has been admitted to the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California, the District of Kansas, the Eastern District of Missouri, and the Western District of Missouri.  Miss Longo earned her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law in 2007. She earned her B.S. degree in Anthropology from Rutgers University in 2003.

Jovanna BeardenAttorney
William Joseph Bearden Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney

William Joseph Bearden, MO#69676

Joe Bearden is a general practice attorney focusing on criminal and consumer law.  He is relatively new to the practice of law, working with his now-wife Jovanna when she moved her firm to Bates County in 2012 while they were dating.  He was a teacher by trade, but when he saw how much Jovanna did as an attorney to help people, he went to law school at UMKC.

Mr. Bearden was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 2017.  He earned his Juris Doctor with Public Service Honors in 2016 from the University of Missouri, Kansas City in just 2 1/2 years, then passed the bar exam among the top few percent nationally.  He served as a clerk for Judge Debra Hopkins, Bates County Associate Circuit Judge, Judge Jim Journey, the Circuit Judge of the 27th Circuit, Hugh Jenkins, the Bates County Prosecutor, and the Attorney General of Missouri.

In early 2016, Mr. Bearden was honored to publish through the American Bar Association’s journal, The Urban Lawyer, a paper entitled “Employing the Prima Facie Standard in Third-Party Debt Collection Default Judgments.”  The article is about as exciting as it sounds, but his professors were impressed enough by the effort to award him top honors: the Candler S. Rogers award, “given annually to the student who submits the most outstanding work of legal writing to the UMKC Law Review.”

The Bearden’s turned down an offer to work with one of the nation’s preeminent consumer law firms in Chicago, preferring to live and serve in Bates County.  They have partnered to create Bearden Law, a successor to Longo Law Firm, Jovanna’s practice under her maiden name.  Under the Bearden Law name, they have already helped hundreds of clients, many of whom would not otherwise be able to afford legal representation.  Joe Bearden serves on the Bates County Treatment Court as the defense advocate, and both Joe and Jovanna helped found Lily’s House, Bates County’s crisis center for women and children, as program director and communications director respectively.  Both work with the Missouri Public Defender and the 27th Circuit Juvenile Office as appointed counsel.  Joe was recently inducted into the Adrian Optimist Club, and also serves as a mentor with the Bates County Robotics Club and the Electric City Downtown Economic Development Committee in Butler.

Earlier in his career, Joe studied Music Education and Biology at Mississippi State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2000.  He lived abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine, teaching students from all over the world at the prestigious Kyiv International School, including the children of diplomats, service members, mafia, and business leaders.  While there, he studied opera at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kyiv under the National Artist of Ukraine, Viktor Nikolaevich Kurin.  He went on to study theatre, Slavic studies, and choir conducting at the University of Kansas, graduating with a Masters of Music in 2012.

The Bearden’s have lived all over the place and have never found a place where people have their heads on as straight and love Christ as they do here in western Missouri.  They have decided to make Bates County their permanent home.

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From Our Blog

Learn about debt negotiation, foreclosure, debt consolidation, short sales, bankruptcy law, your rights and your options, and much more.

Contact Us

Our Kansas City location is at 800 East 101st Terrace South, Suite 350, Kansas City, MO 64131.

Our Butler Office is located at 104 South Main Street, Butler, Missouri, 64730, which is just off of Missouri Street in Butler.

Our Vernon County Office is at 110 East Cherry Street, Nevada, MO 64772

For all legal questions, please call: (816) 787-1979

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