Chula Vista Bankruptcy Attorneys
Conquer Debt Through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Dealing with debt can be embarrassing. No one wants to be unable to pay for bills or field calls from angry creditors. Many improperly view debt as a reflection of personal failure, but the reality is that debt can quickly take over someone’s life due to factors beyond their control. Even someone with steady income and strong financial literacy can face unexpected injuries, the loss of a job, a damaging divorce, or other unexpected but catastrophic costs.
The good news is you do not have to face debt alone. Bankruptcy has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals and their families address their debt and work toward a more sustainable financial future.
Our Chula Vista bankruptcy attorneys at The Sexton Law Firm can help you explore if bankruptcy is right for you. We are intimately familiar with how bankruptcy cases of various types are adjudicated in California and can work to help you maximize the institution’s benefits. Our chief goal is to help you address your debt problem and retake control of your finances.
Should I File for Bankruptcy?
A few missed payments here and there may ding your credit, but they are not reasons to file for bankruptcy. Filing is a serious commitment that can come with significant consequences, especially if you are attempting to navigate the process alone.
If you are struggling with mounting debt and know that you do not have the means to repay, it may be time to consider the option of bankruptcy. This includes situations where you have no reliable stream of income, leading to compounding bills and obligations, as well as scenarios where you do have a job but are nonetheless drowning in insurmountable debts.
You should absolutely consider bankruptcy if you are suffering from creditor harassment. Collection agents will generally only begin to hound you when you have become seriously delinquent on one or more debts. This means that, at this point, your credit ratings will already have begun to suffer, and you could soon become the subject of collection lawsuits. Filing for bankruptcy puts a swift stop to all creditor communications and keeps lawsuits from proceeding.
You can also use bankruptcy to stop an imminent foreclosure. In California, the act of filing for bankruptcy will freeze the foreclosure process so long as it occurs prior to the sale of the property. While neither type of consumer bankruptcy will absolve you of mortgage-related debt, it will give you an opportunity to reorganize finances and buy you valuable time.
The direct efficacy of bankruptcy depends to some degree on the specific types of debt you owe. Successful completion of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically entitles you to discharge unsecured debts. This includes credit bills, medical debt, personal loans, and utility bills. You will not generally be able to discharge secured debts, tax debt, or student loans. If most of your debt is unsecured, bankruptcy becomes a very attractive option. However, bankruptcy can still be extremely useful for those who have high levels of secured debt.
Bankruptcy is not right for everyone. Our team can work with you to review every detail of your situation and help decide whether filing for bankruptcy makes sense. We can guide you through possible outcomes to help you make an informed decision.
What Type of Bankruptcy Should I File For?
Though its liquidation process can seem intimidating, many prospective filers wish to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as it does generally require any further payment to creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy avoids any liquidation but instead reorganizes and consolidates debt, mandating that filers pay monthly installments for several years.
The reality is that you do not get much choice in what type of bankruptcy you can file for. Most individual consumers will only qualify for either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Eligibility is decided by the California Means Test, which measures your ability to at least partially repay your creditors. You will need to evaluate your average income over the past 6 months and weigh it against the average median income for your household size.
If you have little to no income, you will likely qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you have ample disposable income – common in cases where you still have a well-paying job – you will likely need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We can help determine your eligibility.
Our Bankruptcy Services
Our team offers a full suite of consumer bankruptcy services. We can guide you through each step of the process, including assessing eligibility, preparing and filing the necessary documents, and representing you in bankruptcy court. We are familiar with how to maximize bankruptcy’s abilities while minimizing any impacts to your estate.
Our Chula Vista bankruptcy attorneys can assist you in the following areas:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is primarily intended for those who need relief but do not have the fiduciary means of repaying debts. Filers will undergo a liquidation process, where nonexempt assets will be sold to compensate creditors. California allows Chapter 7 filers to exempt assets in numerous categories, including equity in their home and vehicle as well as several types of personal property. We can help you leverage state exemptions to protect as much of your estate as possible.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. If you have a substantial amount of disposable income, you will need to at least partially pay some of your obligations. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your outstanding debts will be reorganized into single monthly installments that you will need to pay for 3-5 years. The amount of this monthly payment is determined by your means to pay, not by the total amount you owe. We can help determine an accurate level of disposable income and negotiate a fair and reasonable repayment plan.
- Creditor Harassment. Creditors may begin calling or even visiting when you miss too many payments. Collection agents employ several types of unscrupulous tactics, many of which are unlawful under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. We can help you understand and exercise your rights under these federal protections as well as help you address the underlying debt through bankruptcy.
- Foreclosure Defense. Filing for bankruptcy can help save your home, even if the foreclosure has already begun. The bankruptcy’s automatic stay takes effect as soon as you file and precludes all creditor actions, including foreclosure. So long as you file before the sale of the property takes place, you can halt foreclosure proceedings and work to keep your home. If you are in immediate danger of losing your residence to foreclosure, we can work quickly to help you file for bankruptcy before a sale can take place.
Get Help with Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex, sometimes overwhelming process, especially if you are not intimately familiar with the constantly changing California bankruptcy code. Our Chula Vista bankruptcy attorneys at The Sexton Law Firm have a complete working knowledge of the relevant state laws and can help you efficiently and effectively move through your filing. We understand how stressful living with debt can be and are ready to support you however we can.
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