Are you unable to pay your credit card bills, personal loans, or past taxes? Are you behind on your mortgage payments? Is this causing you anxiety and stress? Do you feel you have no options?
Bankruptcy may be the solution to help you get a fresh start. Bankruptcy can eliminate your debt and help you get current on your mortgage.
The origins of bankruptcy go back more than 2,500 years, and the process has helped millions of people who feel trapped by overwhelming debt and want to get out of “debtor’s prison.”
If you are considering filing bankruptcy, it is very important to work with an attorney, who understands the bankruptcy code and has the experience and legal expertise to file cases in the Central District of California.
Look for a bankruptcy attorney who has an outstanding reputation in the bankruptcy community and a track record of helping clients successfully navigate the bankruptcy process to completion.
Our Lancaster bankruptcy specialists have helped more than 8,000 people successfully file bankruptcy.
Call us today for a free bankruptcy consultation. We will use our 25 years of experience to help advise you if bankruptcy is the right solution for your situation, and we will counsel you on all your debt relief options.
WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?
Bankruptcy is a legal process under federal law to eliminate or repay debts. Since bankruptcy is a federal process that preempts (overrides) state law, it can put an end to many types of lawsuits filed in state court.
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for individuals or married couples who are having difficulty paying their bills or cannot afford to make monthly payments. Credit card bills, personal loans, repossessions, old taxes, and medical bills can be eliminated.
Once you file a Chapter 7 case, you are protected by the “automatic stay.” This prohibits creditors from trying to collect money from you, stops garnishments or bank levies, and stops all lawsuits filed against you.
Unsecured debts can be eliminated (with a few exceptions), and your personal liability on secured debt can be eliminated (like personal guarantees); or you can surrender secured debt without any personal liability.
Once a Chapter 7 is discharged, your debts are eliminated, tax liability is reduced, and you can get a fresh start.
If you have less than $626,400 in equity, your house is protected in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay your debts over a period of three to five years. It’s called the “home saver bankruptcy” because it allows you to pay off secured debts (such as home and car payments) that you are behind on. It also allows you to pay back taxes without accruing penalties, and it stops wage garnishments, bank levies, and all lawsuits.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops foreclosure of your home and repossession of your car. It allows you to take a deep breath and catch up on delinquent mortgage and car payments over a period of three to five years.
Your unsecured debt (credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans) is included in the repayment plan. Depending on your income and expenses, you may not be required to pay these debts. This means you could pay 0% back to unsecured creditors while still saving your home and car.
After three to five years, you will be discharged and not liable for these debts.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a good alternative if you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to high income, or if you filed a Chapter 7 in the last eight years.
Note: In June 2022, President Biden signed bill S3823 into law, increasing the debt limit to $2.75 million for individuals filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The new law also allows both secured and unsecured debt to count toward the single debt limit. These changes make Chapter 13 accessible to people who have higher mortgage debt or who have large personally guaranteed personal loans.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS?
The process starts by having an in-depth free in-person or phone consultation with Kevin Simon. Your Lancaster bankruptcy attorney will listen to your financial situation and advise if bankruptcy is the right option for you.
If you decide that bankruptcy is the best way to move forward, Kevin Simon will personally guide you on the appropriate chapter to file. Your Lancaster bankruptcy attorney understands that bankruptcy is not just a financial decision but also an emotional and psychological one.
File the Bankruptcy Petition
You are not required to have an attorney to file your case, but bankruptcy laws are complex and negotiating the process can be difficult without an experienced Lancaster bankruptcy lawyer.
Our office can ensure your case is legally and professionally completed and make sure your bankruptcy paperwork is correct. We can also resolve disputes with creditors, the bankruptcy trustee, and the judge.
If you file Chapter 7 – The Chapter 7 trustee reviews your petition and searches your name to make sure that your information is correct on the petition and all your assets are listed.
Our law office sends documents to the Chapter 7 trustee before the hearing and appear with you at your hearing with the trustee, which occurs approximately 30 days after filing.
We will go over the petition with you and the questions the trustee will ask prior to the hearing. If we believe the trustee may take an interest (want to liquidate) in an asset you own, we will discuss the issue before filing your case to determine if a Chapter 7 is right for you.
If you file Chapter 13 – The Chapter 13 trustee’s job is to make sure your repayment plan is feasible and that you can afford it and to review your expenses. Our job is to work with the trustee to make sure you can afford your monthly plan payment and to keep the monthly payment as low as possible.
The Law Offices of Kevin Simon has a very good relationship with all the trustees, which makes working with them much easier and provides huge benefits to our clients.
Chapter 7 – Once the Chapter 7 is filed, all creditors must stop all collection. You will have a meeting with the Chapter 7 trustee, who will issue a “no asset report,” meaning they are not taking any interest in your assets. Approximately 60 days later, you will receive a discharge order from the court. This is a federal order that says you are not liable for certain debts. You now have a fresh start.
Chapter 13 – Once you complete Chapter 13 (over a period of three to five years), the trustee will issue a document listing what you paid in your case and the court will issue a discharge order, which states you are not liable for certain debts. You now have a fresh start.
Selecting the Right Attorney
Just because a person is an “attorney” does not mean they are honest and experienced or can be trusted to look out for your best interest.
Follow these tips to ensure you choose the right bankruptcy attorney in Lancaster:
- Make sure the attorney has experience in Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.
- Meet the attorney for at least one hour before deciding to retain them.
- If your visit consists of meeting with only the paralegal, and the attorney will not meet with you, or if the attorney only spends a couple of minutes with you, move on; this is a red flag for future problems.
- Ask family, friends, or other trusted professionals for a referral.
- Ask the attorney to show you court dockets or cases they have filed and look at the results.
- Google the attorney and check with the California State Bar website to see if the attorney has been disciplined or sued.
- Make sure everything is in writing when the attorney gives you a plan of action; if you do not understand, get clarification.
- If you do not feel 100% comfortable with the attorney, you have the right to leave and find another attorney that you feel is honest and forthright. Do not rush into an agreement or sign documents if you do not understand.
BENEFITS OF BANKRUPTCY
Filing bankruptcy is a financial, emotional, and psychological decision. Every situation is unique, and debt affects people in different ways. Anyone considering bankruptcy will need to decide for themselves when it’s right to file—ideally under the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Some people will file when they owe $5,000, while others will file when they owe $500,000. Some people file even if they are current on payments if their debt is causing a financial strain. Others wait until they are sued. Each person’s situation is unique.
Everyone deserves a fresh start. No one should go to sleep each night worrying about how they will pay their debt. Bankruptcy is your cure if you want to:
- Eliminate credit card debt, old taxes, personal loans, and personal guarantees.
- Stop lawsuits, wage garnishments, and bank levies.
- Stop harassing creditor calls.
- Stop car repossession and foreclosure of your home.
Some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, which is why you need to speak to an experienced Lancaster bankruptcy attorney.
WHAT DOES BANKRUPTCY DO TO MY CREDIT?
Ironically, bankruptcy helps credit for most people. That’s because a person’s credit score is generally low prior to filing due to late payments or debt-to-income issues. Bankruptcy corrects this.
If you decide not to file for bankruptcy and continue as you have been, your credit score will remain low indefinitely.
If you decide to move forward with filing, the bankruptcy will be on your credit record for seven to ten years—but your credit score could be up to 700 within two years of filing.
Call our Lancaster bankruptcy attorneys to find out if bankruptcy is the right solution for you.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE BANKRUPTCY?
We have developed an extremely efficient system during our 25 years as bankruptcy attorneys. This allows us to keep our legal fees very reasonable compared to our competition.
We know our clients are struggling financially, and we are very aware of what they can afford. We state in writing what you will pay, and you can rest assured that this amount will not change once you retain us. Our fees include filing costs, preparing the petition, and court appearances.
Chapter 7 fees range based upon the complexity of the case, but a typical case is $1,375 to $1,575.
The up-front fees for Chapter 13 range from $500 up, depending on the case. The balance of the fees is paid through monthly plan payments to the trustee. You will pay the fees over a period of 36 to 60 months.
WHY CHOOSE THE LAW OFFICES OF KEVIN SIMON IN LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA?
Our Lancaster bankruptcy attorneys and staff have decades of experience managing bankruptcy cases. We have filed more than 8,000 cases throughout Lancaster and the surrounding areas.
We treat our clients with respect, dignity, and honesty. It’s why 80% of our clients come from referrals by family, friends, and other professionals.
Our law firm offers big firm expertise at low rates, due to our efficiency and our commitment to our clients.
You can call, text, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lancaster bankruptcy attorney. We represent clients in Lancaster, Palmdale, and the entire Antelope Valley, as well as the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles.