You are being harassed by creditors throughout the day. Your wages are being garnished. You are about to lose your house. It is time for a fresh start. It is time for you to contact a bankruptcy lawyer at MacLean Chung Law Firm to begin putting your financial life back together. Our bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations for new Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, contact us today to learn about your options. After you review this page, please don’t forget to check out our “Frequently Asked Questions” page for answers to the most common bankruptcy questions.
Our law firm has helped thousands of people file chapter 7 bankruptcy over 10+ years. Our success rate is over 99% on the cases we file. And throughout the years, we have consistently offered one of the lowest fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Los Angeles County matched with our high quality service. Our attorney’s fees start at $925 for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Attorney’s fees are based upon the complexity of each case. A quote of our fees can be obtained in a short 10 minute free consultation. Our combination of quality representation and low fees is what sets us apart from other bankruptcy firms.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as liquidation bankruptcy. It is the most popular and commonly filed bankruptcy case by a very large margin. The most important aspect of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it creates a bankruptcy estate around all your property, assets, claims and anything else of value that you may possess. If you have any property that does not have a bankruptcy exemption to protect it, you may lose that property to the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee who will “liquidate” it for the benefit of your creditors. Although the vast majority of Chapter 7 filers do not lose any property, it is vital that everyone who is contemplating filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer should be able to quickly inform you if any of your property is in danger of being liquidated.
There are usually no payments required in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If none of your property is unexempt under the bankruptcy code, you will not lose anything and your creditors will not be receive any payment. You will receive a discharge with no additional payments required to your creditors.
It is important to understand that not everyone is eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In order to qualify, one must pass the “Means Test”. The “Means Test” takes your income for the past 6 months and compares it against the median income of people who are in a similar situation as you are (based on household size). The “Means Test” is one of the most difficult aspects of preparing a bankruptcy petition. If your gross income is below your applicable median income figure, then you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is above your applicable median income figure, then certain deductions and expenses are taken into account. Some expenses will be based on an average (set by the government) and others will be based on your actual expenses. If the resulting net income is low enough, you will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the resulting net income is too high, you will not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will have to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, requires that all filers attend a Meeting of Creditors (also known as Section 341(a) Meeting). The Meeting of Creditors happens approximately 1 month after your case is filed. Your meeting time and date is automatically set by the Court when your case is filed. The location of your Meeting of Creditors is based upon your Zip Code and is automatically assigned. The Meeting of Creditors is a hearing, but instead of a Judge there is a Chapter 7 Trustee. Although your creditors have the right to show up, it is very rare for them to do so. In fact, they show up in less than 1% of the cases filed. The Chapter 7 Trustee checks ID (must be government issued) and social security number (actual ss card) and then usually asks approximately 10 YES or NO questions. The entire process takes about 3 to 5 minutes once you are called by the Trustee.
A typical Chapter 7 case will take approximately 4 months to complete from filing to discharge. However, the overall time it takes from the moment a client retains our firm to represent them to the end of their case can vary from case to case. The timeline of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is explained in detail in one of our extensive blog posts.
In order to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must first complete a credit counseling class. Credit counseling courses are available online and via telephone. We recommend www.debtorcc.org ($14.95) or Allen Credit and Debt Counseling.
You will then work with our office to prepare your bankruptcy petition. We will send you a questionnaire and we will also need certain documents from you. Documents required include tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, financial statements, etc.
Once you have completed your credit counseling course and have work with our office to complete your paperwork, we will file your bankruptcy case. When your case is filed, the Automatic Stay will prevent your creditors from pursuing any means to collect against you.
Approximately one month after filing, you will be required to attend the Meeting of Creditors.
You will receive your Discharge about 2-3 months after your Meeting of Creditors and your case will be done.
Please see our post on the Process of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for more detailed information.
Rebuilding credit after bankruptcy can be a fast process. However, many factors can determine how quickly your credit score goes up after bankruptcy. Once bankruptcy is completed, old debts will be discharged and it will be up to you to rebuild.
There are many ways to rebuild credit after bankruptcy. One of the most common ways is to open a secured credit card after bankruptcy. Some other ways include being added as an “authorized user” on a good account; completing a reaffirmation agreement, and using self lending through www.self.inc.
We have had clients whose credit scores rose to 670 just 6 months after bankruptcy, 690 1 year after bankruptcy, and 720 2 years after bankruptcy, and others who have purchased homes 2 years after bankruptcy. Every situation is different but if you take the time and effort to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, it can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make to fix your credit score.
For other Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions follow the link.
Although it is a powerful remedy to discharge debt, it does not discharge every kind of debt. Debts such as student loans, spousal support, and child support usually survive Chapter 7 bankruptcy and there are complex rules surrounding the dischargeability of tax debt.
Most Chapter 7 filings are considered “zero asset” cases, meaning that none of your property can be seized by the court because it is protected by an applicable bankruptcy exemption. As such, unsecured creditors receive no additional money from you. In most cases you will be allowed to simply walk away from your debt and keep all of your property. If your property exceeds the exemption amounts, we will work with you to protect your property and maximize your exemptions.
You may be focused on the negative stigma attached to the filing of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. You may view bankruptcy as an admittance of failure. This is simply not true. Filing for bankruptcy gives you an opportunity to get a fresh financial start, to move forward in your life and to not be saddled with a mountain of debt for the remainder of your life.
WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY. WE HELP PEOPLE FILE FOR RELIEF UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY CODE.
The bankruptcy lawyers at MacLean Chung Law Firm provide legal advice and representation in communities throughout Los Angeles County with offices in Burbank, Pasadena and Valencia. Our office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, but our bankruptcy attorneys are available to meet with clients at any time by appointment. Our main office is in Burbank. For your convenience, we can meet by appointment at our branch offices in Torrance, Valencia and Pasadena, California.