Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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How Can Bankruptcy Help Me?

For the average person, financial help is sometimes hard to come by.

Fortunately, bankruptcy courts were set up to act as a safety net. They are there to help people.

Most of us are only one health scare or layoff away from needing financial help.

On the other hand, people sometimes think bankruptcy is something people do only as a last resort. This isn’t the case.

It is often people with assets and good income who can benefit most from filing bankruptcy.

Filing bankruptcy allows people with overwhelming debt to protect their assets and income and avoid wage garnishments, bank levies, and judgment liens.

Bankruptcy can also help people reduce their monthly debt-related expenses. They can then start saving for retirement, a home, or higher education expenses.

In other words, bankruptcy is a tool that can help you protect what you already have and help you reach your financial goals.

Learn more about how bankruptcy helps people: How Can Bankruptcy Help Me? What Kinds of Problems Can Bankruptcy Solve?

Considering filing bankruptcy in the near future? Learn more about bankruptcy planning: Considering Bankruptcy? Mistakes to Avoid

Give us a call at (805) 284-0760  for a free consultation. Our free consultation includes a thorough discussion of both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options for resolving your debts.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharges Debts Quickly

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what most people think of when they hear the word “bankruptcy.”

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to be a quick and efficient process.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually wipes out (or “discharges”) most unsecured debts.

Some additional advantages of Chapter 7 are:

  • Chapter 7 takes only 3-4 months from filing date to case closing date (for an average case.)
  • Chapter 7 completely wipes out most unsecured debts like credit cards, personal loans, old judgments, medical debts, car repossessions, old utility bills, and other debts.
  • Chapter 7 can stop debt lawsuits, collections, garnishments, evictions and repossessions.
  • Chapter 7 can help you get back funds if they were garnished or levied within 90 days of your bankruptcy filing date.
  • Chapter 7 can discharge some tax obligations.
  • If you choose to do so, you can usually keep your house and vehicle when you file, assuming you can exempt any equity.
  • Most people keep all their assets when they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In California, we have very generous bankruptcy exemptions.
  • To learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, visit our Bankruptcy FAQs.
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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Buys You Time to Pay Back Debts

What if you have debts you can’t discharge, or you want to catch up on mortgage or car payments while keeping your house or car?

You would want as much time as possible to pay back those debts.  Chapter 13 can “buy” you the time you need. 

Chapter 13 can also help if you are not eligible to file Chapter 7, or  you have assets you can’t exempt in Chapter 7.

Some additional advantages of Chapter 13 bankruptcy are:

  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you stop foreclosure and save your house if you are behind on payments.
  • Chapter 13 allows you to stop car repossessions and catch up on payments.
  • A “cramdown” in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reduce the principal balance of a debt to the value of the property it is secured by. 
  • Chapter 13 lien stripping  allows people who have first mortgages exceeding the value of their house to remove or “strip off” junior liens such as second or third mortgages. (This is pretty rare in California these days; but who knows what the future holds for our crazy real estate market.)
  • Chapter 13 payment plans are based on your ability to pay. This allows you to make manageable payments on non-dischargeable student loans.
  • Chapter 13 stops credit card interest. 
  • Chapter 13 allows you to avoid debt lawsuits while you are under the protection of the bankruptcy court.
  • You can discharge many “leftover” unsecured debts at the end of your repayment plan. 
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Alternatives to Bankruptcy

What if bankruptcy isn’t right for me?

Bankruptcy solves many– maybe even most– debt problems. But, bankruptcy is not the right solution for everyone.

If you have significant assets or you need to apply for new credit in the near future, bankruptcy might not be the best approach for you.

Or maybe you don’t have enough debt to justify filing bankruptcy. While there is no minimum amount of debt “required” to file bankruptcy, as a practical matter you don’t want to file bankruptcy for a small amount of debt.

For all these reasons, our clients sometimes need help with a debt issue and they need a strategy other than bankruptcy.

To help with these situations, we also offer the following services: