AV Bankruptcy
Local, honest help for Palmdale and the Antelope Valley

Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions | Bankruptcy FAQ

Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file bankruptcy, and what is the bankruptcy process?

First, we meet. Go over options, figure out if this is even a good idea for you. No pressure, just a chat.

Then, you go home, think, pray, sleep on it, decide.

After that, you return and sign a contract and bring a payment. Then I start work. When you finish paying the amount on the contract given at the consult, I finish working.

Then we sign the papers. I’ll personally sit with you for about 30-90 minutes reviewing each page.

Then I get the papers to the court for you.

Finally, you have hearing date called 341 Meeting of Creditors that I typically drive all the way to downtown to attend with you. Most other lawyers don’t.

In a typical Chapter 7 case, a few months later we got a discharge and all debt that qualifies is no longer yours. Hooray!

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Do I have to list all my debts?

Yes, you must list all your debts, and all those of your spouse, if married. All means all. Now, they’re treated differently in bankruptcy depending on what they are (cars, student loans, etc), but you must disclose everything.

Let’s talk about it at our consultation.

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What does bankruptcy cost?

What does it cost to paint a house? It depends if we’re talking a small shed or a two-story home with 4 bedrooms. Any painter that tells you a price for any house is probably not being honest with you. Same with bankruptcy and legal services.

For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court fee is $335. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even though it’s ten times the work over many years, the court fee is $310. Attorney fees vary, and really depends on the specifics of your unique situation.

Anyone that charges the same ridiculously low price to all people regardless of creditor list or paystubs is likely going to do a rushed job on a time-consuming case or is just trying to reel you in before they drop the boom.

Let’s say your attorney fees are between $1300 and $1900 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A skilled professional will assist you in finding California bankruptcy exemptions for your property, often up to many thousands of dollars. An attorney (usually the same attorney) will appear with you in court down below and be there for you if your creditors fight you on an issue or want you to give something back or say that some major thing is nondischargable. An attorney can prepare a Chapter 13 plan saving you $10,000s of money you’d have to pay back. Finally, only an attorney can give you legal advice about your situation. No one else can, not even (and especially) those paralegal services.

Call to meet and I’ll give you a set price that doesn’t change once I know what I’m getting into. It’ll be fair, affordable, and you’ll get BMW quality at a Kia cost.

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Is the attorney fee fixed?

Yes, in the overwhelming majority of Chapter 7 cases, the fee quoted is all we charge. Usually it only goes up for reasons you control, like adding a new creditor, after the case is filed. Generally, the quote we give at the consultation is set and never goes up.

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Do you have a payment plan?

Yes. You pay us when you can, however much you can. We work as we’re paid, so there are no refunds. When you finish paying, we finish working on data entry and preparing the thick stack of papers we’ll be signing. So you control the payment amount, and no, I don’t to auto-debit from your bank account like other lawyers try to get on the very first meeting.

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Do I qualify for Chapter 7?

Heck if I know. There’s actually someone in the AV that tells people after a 10-minute phone call that people qualify without ever asking their income. There’s a means test that is all about your budget and household gross income. Often I have to input 6 months of paystubs, and all the deductions, since hours fluctuate to give a more certain answer. There’s more to it than knowing you have a lot of debt.

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What happens at the consultation?

I need to learn about your entire financial situation. Not just debts, though that’s a part of it. But why you have the debts, your budget, the nature of the debts, how recent they are, all sources of income, all of your assets, or potential assets, transfers, it goes on and on.

I have a questionnaire that helps me get this info so I can spend more time going over your options. Pros and cons. No selling, just explaining and helping. I don’t want you to sign a contract at the consultation. I don’t want you to start paying me at the consultation. You decide all that later. We’re just two neighbors having a chat.

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Will I keep my home?

It depends. Do you have equity? Are you current on payments? If you’re late, do you want to catch up but the bank isn’t working with you?

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Will I lose my car?

Generally, no. We’ve successfully helped thousands of clients get a fresh start, and not one had their car repoed without them wanting it to be taken.

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If I'm married can I file without my spouse?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy without your spouse signing the documents and having a bankruptcy on their credit report against their SSN. You will have to, of course, include your spouse’s assets, debts, and income.

Will it affect your spouse? Probably. You’re married, and in a community property state you also have to list their debts, because they’re also your debts, to be paid with community property income. And them not paying their credit cards anymore will probably affect their credit.

However, should you file bankruptcy with them or alone? What are the pros and cons? Set up a consult and let’s discuss.

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Isn't there a way to make affordable payments to my debt?

Yes, that’s Chapter 13, a way to make payments with a trustee disbursing them to your debts each month. It freezes interest and unlike other debt consolidation options, you cannot be sued.

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How much are the Chapter 13 payments?

It depends. The basic answer is: it’s often whatever you can afford after reasonable expenses, and it’s set. Chapter 13 has lots of twists and turns that make it hard for even most attorneys to be successful at it in our district. But we’re 20 times more successful than most local bankruptcy lawyers because we know how to create a payment that’s affordable and you can live with until discharge.

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Do I have to pay all my debt back in Chapter 13?

Generally, no. It’s a set payment for a set time, and then you’re finished. There are nooks and crannies where this answer can change. You really want an experienced Chapter 13 attorney as your guide.

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What's your success rate?

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, we have almost 100% success. In Chapter 13 cases, our success rate is over 20 times higher than other attorneys in Los Angeles area.

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Do you have testimonials I can read?

Yes, we’re blessed to have many happy clients who’ve written to us expressing their appreciation and gratitude. Many mail us thank-you cards, some even bake us cookies!

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Why should I select your law firm?

We realize that you have options. But with our unique blend of experience, success, and customer service, we believe we’re one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles County.

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Get More Answers

These are just the common questions, but I'm sure you have more. Contact me and let's sit down and I'll give you answers how this is all applied to your situation to help you with a fresh start!