Bankruptcy Lawyer in Orange County - Riverside County (including the Coachella Valley) - San Bernardino County- Los Angeles County
Helping You Move Through Bankruptcy With Ease
We do Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. You do not have to live with the fear that a creditor is going to garnish your wages, lien on your personal or real property, or be constantly harassing with collection calls at all times of the day and night. We will stop the collection efforts against you, get you peace of mind and get you a fresh start toward rebuilding your financially sound future. We will walk you through the whole process of a chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing so you will know exactly what to expect, and know what your rights and obligations under the U.S. Bankruptcy Law are. You will have direct access to the Attorney and his staff. All work is done in our office by the Attorney and his staff.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in federal court. Its function is to relieve people with debt of their obligation to pay certain debts and to distribute assets, if any, to their creditors. The paperwork involved in filing a bankruptcy consists of a petition and schedules. The petition notifies the court and your creditors of your intention to seek court-ordered protection and relief from your financial obligations by filing bankruptcy. The accompanying schedules provide the
court with an itemized list of your assets and your debts. Upon the filing of a petition, the court grants an automatic stay so that creditors cannot attempt collections, repossessions or foreclosures. The automatic stay acts as an injunction to prevent your creditors from attempting to collect from you. Once the case is filed, your creditors cannot call you, sue you, garnish your wages, disconnect your utilities, or harass you in any way. If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to an uninsured automobile accident you will, in most cases, be able to get your license back upon the bankruptcy filing.
There are four types of bankruptcy that are available to individuals, depending upon their specific circumstances. The most common forms of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 bankruptcy (discharge of debts) and Chapter 13 bankruptcy (payment terms and discharge of some or all debts). A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a business reorganization and a Chapter 12 bankruptcy is abankruptcy specifically for family farmers.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy operates as a straight discharge of certain types of debt. In certain circumstances, a person with debt may have the option of keeping certain debts, if they so choose. Typically, people with debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are looking to discharge unsecured credit card debt, utility bills, back rent, medical bills, uninsured car accident judgments, deficiency amounts owed on repossessed or surrendered vehicles, and other similar debts. Generally, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not serve to eliminate debts derived from certain types of tax liability, government fines, forfeitures, restitution, criminal or fraudulent conduct, child and spousal support, drunk driving, most student loans, and debts resulting from intentional and malicious injuries.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to people with secured debts as well. In the case of a debtor with a mortgage or a car note, the person with debt may have the option of keeping the collateral and keeping the debt. The person with debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may also choose to surrender the collateral and seek a discharge of the debt.
Whether or not a debtor is eligible to file a Chapter 7 is determined by a number of factors which are best discussed with an attorney.
On average, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes approximately 3-4 months from start to finish. Once the petition is filed with the court, the person with debt is granted immediate relief pending the outcome of the case. Within approximately 30 days of filing the petition, a hearing (§341(a) hearing) is held before a United States Trustee. Provided that there are no complications, a Notice of Discharge is usually sent to the person with debt approximately 60 days after the hearing. Creditors are given notice of the hearing and may attend the hearing. A person in debt may only file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years.
No. Clients are often worried that by filing bankruptcy they will lose whatever assets they may have. This is not true. The law is allows for the person with debt to keep certain property deemed “exempt” in the bankruptcy code. Any assets over and above the allowed exemptions could be seized by the trustee and distributed to creditors. Most situations are such that the assets of the
person with debt fit within the allowed exemptions and the bankruptcy is deemed a “no-asset” case. In such cases, the person with debt is allowed to keep all of their property acquired prior to filing bankruptcy and is allowed to keep post-petition assets as well.
A bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, this does not mean that a person with debt is not eligible for credit for 10 years. People with debt who have filed bankruptcy are often excellent credit risks. They have few, if any, debts after the bankruptcy is filed and they are not eligible for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for eight years. It is important for all people with debt to remember that bankruptcy addresses only those debts that were incurred prior to filing. Once the case is filed, any subsequent debt incurred by the person with debt is not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A person with debt who gets back into financial trouble within the eight-year period after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seek relief by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy consolidation.
It is important to note that a bankruptcy will not wipe a credit report clean. A bankruptcy will
relieve a person with debt of their obligation to repay certain debts. Often people with debt are
mistaken in believing that if they file a bankruptcy they will automatically have perfect credit.
Bankruptcy provides a fresh start, but not a clean credit history.
Yes. With respect to utilities, the filing of a bankruptcy will generally prevent disconnection.
While a person with debt will be obligated to pay their regular monthly bill in order to retain
service, the back amounts owed may be discharged in bankruptcy. In cases where a utility has
already been disconnected, the filing of a bankruptcy will allow for the immediate reinstatement
of such service.
No. As a general rule, government-backed student loans are no longer dischargeable in bankruptcy. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act (10-7-98) repealed the seven-year standard for dischargeability of student loans. Therefore, government- backed student loans are only dischargeable in cases of undue hardship.
Will bankruptcy allow me to get my driver’s license back if I have an accident judgment against
me? Yes. Upon the filing of your bankruptcy petition, our office will send Notice of your
Although spouses are not required to join in the filing of a bankruptcy, in some situations it is
advisable for a married couple to file a joint bankruptcy petition such as where debt accounts are held in the names of both spouses. California marital property laws make a married couple’s
assets and debts their joint property. Therefore, in cases where one spouse files for bankruptcy and one spouse chooses not to participate, a creditor of the filing spouse may look to assets of the nonfiling spouse for payment. Additionally, in many cases courts have refused to grant a discharge to a spouse who files a bankruptcy separately from a spouse who has already filed within the eight-year period. Therefore, we generally advise that the best protection for married people with debt is to file jointly.
Many factors play a role in the cost of filing bankruptcy. Please call for an estimate of the fees and costs involved. After we have an opportunity to meet with you, we will be able to evaluate your case completely and quote you an accurate fee.
A bankruptcy filing will stop a lawsuit and prevent your creditors from placing a lien against your house or garnishing your wages.
A debtor cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if the debtor obtained a discharge in (a) a Chapter 7 case filed within the past eight years, or (b) a Chapter 13 case filed within the past six years. The time periods in either case are measured from the commencement dates of the case.
As soon as your case is filed with the court, you are granted an automatic stay. Creditors are legally prevented from attempting to collect on any debt owed to them by you. This means that creditors must stop collection activity, including telephone calls, harassing letters, repossessions, foreclosures, lawsuits and wage garnishments. Although the stay is automatic, creditors need to be advised of the stay and this is why it is important to include all creditors in your Bankruptcy Schedules. The court issues a notice to all creditors advising them of the bankruptcy filing. The creditors are informed of the case number, the automatic stay, the date set for the creditor meeting, the deadlines for filing objections to the discharge of the debtor, and the deadlines for filing objections to the discharge of specific debts.
Making an appointment is easy. You can call 714-441-0440 today, fill out an online form to make arrangements for your free initial consultation. We offer Saturday hours by appointment. We are generally able to see you within one or two days of your call. If your situation requires immediate attention, we will make every effort to see you the same day that you contact our office.