Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy. It discharges most unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, and payday loans. In order to qualify for a typical consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass a “means test” which takes into account your household income. In most situations, you will also need to show that you have no disposable income to repay your creditors. If your income is too high to qualify for a Chapter 7, you may want to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy or debt settlement (see below). Chapter 7 is a relatively quick process. You will typically receive a discharge in as little as four to five months after the filing of your case.
A common misconception associated with Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that one cannot keep any assets if filing a Chapter 7. Most people are able to keep their cars, house, pension fund, furniture, jewelry, and other assets of value, which an experienced bankruptcy attorney can protect through exemptions. Another misconception is that if one has income that’s too high, that’s an automatic disqualification from a Chapter 7. Certain situations allow for Chapter 7 eligibility despite high income. For example, if a debtor is deemed to have mostly “nonconsumer” debt such as business debt or medical debt, he or she may qualify for a Chapter 7 without having to pass the means test. This is why it’s crucial to discuss all alternatives with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to help debtors reorganize on their debts through a three to five year repayment plan. If you’re able to pay back at least a portion of the debts that you owe, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option. A Chapter 13 is also a good alternative for those who make too much to qualify for a Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 has certain advantages over a chapter 7, especially for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage and are facing foreclosure proceedings. Filing a Chapter 13 will often help debtors save their home by stopping foreclosure proceedings and allowing debtors to repay their mortgage arrears through a Chapter 13 plan. Similarly, if debtors have fallen behind on their car payments, Chapter 13 will enable them to catch up and keep their car. In certain situations, you may be able to get your second mortgage/home equity line stripped in a Chapter 13. Assets are not liquidated in a Chapter 13. You’ll get to keep all of your property, including nonexempt assets. However, you may have to pay a portion of your unsecured debt back. The amount you pay is highly individualized based on your budget and disposable income. With an experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side, you can often get a low percentage Chapter 13 payment plan confirmed. Chapter 13 is also a good option if you owe income or property taxes or alimony and child support, as it will enable you to repay these non-dischargeable debts over several years while still allowing you to discharge your dischargeable unsecured debts.
Bankruptcy is not for everyone. We understand that. Some people simply don’t qualify while others don’t want a bankruptcy on their record. Whatever the reason, debt settlement is an alternative. You may be able to settle your debts for a fraction of the balance. Don’t fall for “debt consolidation” tactics that offer installment plans to settle your debt over a long period of time. Often times a large bulk of your payments goes to pay these companies for their hefty fees and the remainder goes to interest. Debt settlement is a more effective approach to dealing with your debts. Contact an attorney to discuss the best strategy.
Contact Us Today!
If you or any of your loved ones need help with or are currently considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact Karadjian & Escobar, P.C. today. We offer consultations free of charge. Your case will be personally handled by an experienced, caring attorney from start to finish. We have offices throughout Southern California for your convenience. We can meet you at our offices in Orange County (Irvine) or Los Angeles County (Glendale or Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley). We can meet you during weekends, early mornings, or late evenings if typical office hours don’t work for you. If we don’t have an office near you, we can meet you at your home or a local coffee shop if you prefer (coffee on us!). We look forward to getting you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Contact us at 323.426.8300, 949.705.4630 or 818.574.1202. You can also reach us via email at email@example.com.