My Promise as Your Bankruptcy Attorney
I encourage questions and explain issues clearly without overly complicated legal terms. Your legal matter will handled by me, and not by an associate or assistant.
I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). This organization is the only national group focusing on the interests of consumer debtors facing bankruptcy.
Stops collection lawsuits and foreclosures
Eliminates nearly all credit card, medical debt, and personal loans
Can eliminate some liens on homes
Can eliminate some tax debts
In many circumstances, you can keep your vehicle or home even if you are behind in payments.
Resets your credit score instead of suffering ongoing negative reporting for many years.
Stops garnishments (except child and spousal support)
The Bankruptcy Process
In exchange for disclosing everything about your finances required by the Bankruptcy Code, you receive a “discharge” of most or all of your debts. A “discharged” debt means you owe nothing and cannot be asked to pay the debt. When a case is filed, an “estate” is instantly created and comprises everything you own and all your debts. Then, some or all of what you own is removed from the “estate” and becomes “yours” again. If something you own cannot be removed from the “estate” then it must be sold for the benefit of your creditors. In a majority of bankruptcy cases, nothing is paid to creditors because everything was protected and the "estate" had nothing left of value.
Most of the work is done before your case is filed. There is no charge to you for an initial conversation during which we determine if filing bankruptcy is a good choice for you, and if there are good non-bankruptcy options. Once you decide to file bankruptcy, you will provide me a lot of information about your finances (paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, monthly budget, etc.). I will prepare all the necessary bankruptcy paperwork (typically 50-70 pages), and after you review and sign six or seven forms, I file your case under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Most people file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. This is a 3-5 month process. I charge a flat fee depending on the complexity of your case. Generally, this is between $1700 - $2000, and this includes the court filing fee (currently $338). The full amount does not have to be paid before your case is filed. What makes a matter complicated and more time-consuming are tax debts, the process to reaffirm a debt (reaffirming a debt means you want to keep your car or house and continue to make payments), if your income is “above” the median for your household size, and if there are liens we can remove from your home.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a 3-5 year process. You must make a monthly payment to a bankruptcy trustee; the monthly amount could be as little as $100 - $200 or as much as what is required for you to qualify for a “discharge” of debts. Although it is more costly and lasts longer than a Chapter 7, it is a good option for a variety of reasons, most commonly: (a) you are behind on car or house payments and want to keep the car or house (b) you have too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 (c) you owe a lot of tax penalties or traffic fines (d) some of what you own is not fully protected in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you did not want to give up that property. For example, if you have a lot of equity in your home, then in a Chapter 7 you could lose your home but in a Chapter 13 you may keep it.
Bankruptcy Is Not For Everyone
In most instances, filing for bankruptcy protection does not:
Eliminate student loans (if you are able to work there are only a few circumstances in which you can get rid of student loans).
Stop evictions (filing bankruptcy can temporarily stop an eviction proceeding, and it can eliminate the unpaid rent, but if you still want to live or use the space, you have to pay the unpaid rent).
Eliminate criminal fines or fees.
Eliminate debts incurred after the case is filed.