Thousand Oaks Bankruptcy Attorney
If you’re drowning in debt, at risk of losing your home, your car, dealing with harassment or lawsuits by creditors, you’re not alone. Millions of people in the U.S. struggle with debt every day.
A medical emergency, job loss, divorce or inflation can turn your financial life upside down. Bankruptcy may be the right solution to help you get a fresh start and breathe easier.
Bankruptcy is a path to financial freedom for many people, but it’s an important decision. If you’re considering bankruptcy, you need solid legal advice and the peace of mind that comes from having a reputable, experienced Thousand Oaks bankruptcy attorney, who understand the financial, emotional and psychological toll debt has on individuals.
Our bankruptcy law firm has over 25 years of experience representing clients throughout Ventura County. We’ve helped more than 8,000 people file for bankruptcy and get a fresh start. Our professional bankruptcy attorney has the experience and skills to provide the right legal advice and service to help you receive the best result.
Contact us for a free consultation. We will help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right choice or if another debt-reduction plan is best for your situation. Our team will answer all your questions and walk you through your debt-relief options.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that can help you eliminate many types of debt and get your financial life back on track.
Since bankruptcy is mandated under federal law, it overrides state law. This means it can put an end to legal actions filed in state court, such as lawsuits for back rent, unpaid credit card debt, garnishments and bank levies.
There are two major types of bankruptcy that most individuals or married couples file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for individuals or married couples who are having trouble paying their bills or making monthly payments. Chapter 7 puts a stop to harassing calls, lawsuits, garnishments and levies by creditors, and it’s an efficient way to eliminate debt quickly. The entire process takes approximately 90-120 days from start to finish.
Chapter 7 filers can keep all of their property, including their home and car(s), by using the proper bankruptcy exemptions, but it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Thousand Oak bankruptcy attorney to make sure Chapter 7 is right for your situation.
Who Can File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You must pass a “means test” to qualify for a Chapter 7 filing, so it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney review your income . In general, Chapter 7 may be a good option for you if:
- Your family income passes the “means test”
- Your property and other assets can be protected by Federal exemptions
- You have debt that can be wiped out in a Chapter 7 filing, such as credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, and old taxes
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 is a good option for an individual or family that does not qualify for Chapter 7 or is behind on mortgage, car or taxes . A Chapter 13 filing gives you breathing room to catch up on past due payments over a period of 3-5 years.
It’s often called the “home saver bankruptcy” because it stops the foreclosure process and lets you keep your home. Chapter 13 also stops car repossession, wage garnishments, bank levies and lawsuits, and it allows you to pay back taxes without accruing penalties.
Some people are reluctant to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy because the repayment plan includes unsecured debts like credit card bills and personal loans.
But it’s important to know that the plan is structured so that most of your monthly income goes toward important bills like overdue house and car payments.
As a result, many Chapter 13 filers end up paying pennies on the dollar or nothing at all toward their unsecured debts. It is essential to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney prepare the case, as they know the best way to keep your payments low. Also, our attorneys deal with the Trustees, Judges and creditors daily so their experiences and relationships help your case proceed smoothly.
Who Can File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
In general, Chapter 13 may be better suited for:
- Individuals who are behind on mortgage, car or tax payments
- Those who may jeopardize losing their assets if they file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Those who have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 8 years
After you have completed your Chapter 13 repayment plan, your remaining debts will be discharged, and you will have a fresh start.
Note: The debt limit was recently increased to $2.75 million for individuals filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and both secured and unsecured debt now count toward the single limit. These changes make Chapter 13 accessible to more people.
Facts About Bankruptcy
Creditors can be incredibly aggressive and intimidating when attempting to collect on debts. They don’t always tell the truth about your rights, and they may even attempt to discourage you from filing bankruptcy. It’s important to have the facts. Here are some things to know about bankruptcy:
“Bankruptcy” has existed over 2,500 years
Debt forgiveness has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, debt forgiveness is prescribed in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.
Financial problems can happen to anyone. It’s why modern bankruptcy law exists and is codified under the U.S. Federal Law.
Filing for bankruptcy puts an end to creditor harassment.
When you file for bankruptcy, you are protected by the “automatic stay,” which prohibits creditors from contacting you to collect payment.
People who file for bankruptcy can keep their belongings.
Creditors often try to scare debtors into believing that they will lose their house, car, and personal belongings in bankruptcy. The reality is people who file for bankruptcy are able to keep their home and important possessions, but they must seek guidance from an experienced Thousand Oaks attorney, who will make sure all your asset are protected by advising on what type of case to file and preparing the case correctly.
Bankruptcy can help you save your home and cars.
Filing for bankruptcy stops foreclosure on your home and repossessions of your car. This gives you room to breathe and catch up on late payments.
Bankruptcy can help you rebuild your credit.
Once your debt is discharged in bankruptcy you can work on repairing your credit score. Many people acquire a new credit immediately after discharge of the case and are able to get their credit score up to 700 within two years.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?
The fees for Chapter 7 vary based upon the complexity of the case, but a typical case is $1,000 to $1,300 (not including the filing fee and credit report).
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 36-60 months.
The Law Offices of Kevin Simon has developed an extremely efficient process for bankruptcy filings. Our system is based on 25 years of experience and more than 8,000 cases filed.
We strive to keep costs low and keep our fee structure transparent. There are no hidden fees or surprise costs when you use our services. We will provide you with a written statement outlining what you will pay. This amount will not change once you retain us.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Just because a person has the word “attorney” behind their name does not mean they are experienced or can be trusted to look out for your best interest. Here’s how to protect yourself when choosing an attorney:
- Make sure any attorney you are considering has experience in Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy. Ask to see court dockets or cases they have filed.
- Meet with the attorney for at least one hour before deciding to retain them.
- If the attorney refuses to meet with you or only spends a few minutes with you, move on; this is a red flag for future problems.
- Ask family, friends, or other trusted professionals for a referral.
- Check the California State Bar website to see if the attorney has been disciplined or sued.
- Read online testimonials and reviews of the attorney.
- If you decide to retain the attorney, get a plan of action in writing.
- Never sign anything you don’t understand. Ask for clarification.
- Walk away if you feel uncomfortable. You have a right to an attorney you feel is honest and forthright.
Why Choose the Law Firm of Kevin T. Simon?
Filing for bankruptcy can put a stop to collection attempts, wage garnishments, and levies. But the process can be complex. You need an experienced attorney on your side to look out for your interests and ensure your paperwork is filed properly.
The Law Offices of Kevin Simon has decades of experience managing bankruptcy cases. Our law firm has filed more than 8,000 cases for our clients. It’s how we’ve earned a reputation as one of the most trusted bankruptcy law firms in Ventura County.
Thanks to an extremely efficient system refined over 25 years, we’re able to keep costs much lower than our competitors. We will work with you every step of the way to make sure you get the legal protection you need throughout the bankruptcy process.
Call, text, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Thousand Oaks bankruptcy lawyer. The Law Offices of Kevin Simon represents clients in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Moorpark, Camarillo, Santa Paula, and cities throughout Ventura County.