Orange County Chapter 7 Lawyer2021-04-27T14:27:25+00:00

ORANGE COUNTY CHAPTER 7 ATTORNEY

Orange County Chapter 7 Lawyer

Although most people never predict their financial situation will decline to the point where they can no longer cover their obligations, declaring bankruptcy can be a helpful option when facing serious economic hardship. If you are experiencing mounting bills, endless harassing phone calls, and threats of foreclosure on your mortgage, your circumstances can quickly become a situation that seems impossible to recover from. Filing for bankruptcy can serve as an effective debt navigation strategy that provides much-needed stability, allowing you to finally regain a sense of control over your life.

Because of the advantages that bankruptcy provides people struggling to maintain financial solvency, millions file for bankruptcy each year. However, before you file, it is imperative to understand the types of bankruptcy, the eligibility requirements of each, and how the bankruptcy process works so you can make the right decision for your future.

Bankruptcy can be a valuable solution, but it is not the right choice for everyone. An experienced Orange County Chapter 7 lawyer can help you review your options and determine the best course of action for overcoming your financial obstacles, protecting your assets, and getting your life back on track. Learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy by considering the information below, then contact The Law Offices of Christopher P. Walker today to discuss your circumstances and discover how we can help you.

Types of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy exists in two primary forms: liquidation and reorganization. A liquidation bankruptcy involves debtors surrendering their property for eventual sale, with the proceeds from the sale disbursed to creditors to cover their debts. A reorganization bankruptcy allows debtors to retain their property in exchange for agreeing to a payment plan that reimburses creditors a percentage of the total owed amount.

To file for bankruptcy, a debtor must submit a petition to the bankruptcy court, along with a fee of approximately $300 for personal bankruptcy cases. This petition includes sworn statements from the debtor regarding how much they owe to different creditors, their income, their typical expenses, and a full inventory of their assets. The court then holds a hearing to review this information and finalize the terms of the arrangement.

What Is Chapter 7?

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are the most filed type of bankruptcy in California. These liquidation bankruptcies require debtors to surrender all “non-exempt” property to an official called a bankruptcy trustee appointed by the court to administer the case. Exempt property typically includes household items, tools needed for work, clothing, and, in some cases, vehicles and homes.

A bankruptcy case compiles all legal and equitable interests belonging to the debtor into an estate, which becomes the temporary owner of the property usable to pay creditor’s claims. The goal of the bankruptcy trustee is to liquidate all non-exempt assets in a way that maximizes the compensation provided to the creditors. This official has the authority to collect assets and property free of liens and sell it to recover funds to pay creditors, as well as recover any additional funds or property.

Depending on the amount of non-exempt property that exists, creditors may only receive a small portion of the debts they claim. However, filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy means all loans and other financial obligations experience discharge and legal forgiveness. Creditors cannot attempt to collect these debts in the future without facing severe federal penalties.

Eligibility for Chapter 7

To be eligible for Chapter 7 relief according to the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor whose current monthly income exceeds the state median must submit to a means test to determine if this filing would be “presumptively abusive.” The bankruptcy court will presume abuse if monthly income amounts to over $12,850 or represents 25% of nonpriority unsecured debt, if that amount equals a minimum of $7,700. The debtor can overcome this presumption by demonstrating special circumstances requiring additional expenses or modifications of the current monthly income. If unable to do so, the court will usually dismiss the case or convert it to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy with the debtor’s agreement.

While subject to the means test, some form of debt relief is available to debtors regardless of the total amount of the debts owed or whether the debtor remains solvent or insolvent. A solvent debtor is an individual with assets that surpass their debts and can pay all creditors using these assets within one year. An insolvent debtor has debts that surpass their assets and is unable to pay creditors. A debtor seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy must accept credit counseling from a court-approved agency within 180 days before filing a bankruptcy petition. If the debtor creates a debt management plan during counseling, they must file it with the court.

Debtors cannot file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or another chapter of the Bankruptcy Code in the following circumstances:

  • The court dismissed a prior bankruptcy petition during the previous 180 days because the debtor refused to appear in court or comply with the court’s orders
  • The debtor dismissed a prior bankruptcy petition after creditors pursued relief from the court for the purpose of recovering property liens

HOW CHAPTER 7 WORKS

From beginning to end, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process occurs in six steps:

  1. Complete credit counseling either online or by phone.
  2. Contact an Orange County Chapter 7 lawyer to file a bankruptcy petition with the court that serves your area. Along with this petition, you must also file the following documents:
    • A list of creditors with the nature and amount of their claims
    • Information on the source, frequency, and amount of your income
    • An inventory of your assets and property
    • A schedule of monthly living expenses
    • A list of exempt property according to state law (you must consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available to you)
    • Information about all financial transactions that occurred throughout the preceding two years
    • A list of any assets or property you sold or gave away during that period

    The court will charge fees for case filing, miscellaneous administrative costs, and a trustee surcharge. Typically, the debtor must pay these fees to the court clerk when filing, but they may pay via installments with permission from the court. Failure to pay filing and administrative fees can lead to the court dismissing the case, so securing the assistance of a skilled Orange County Chapter 7 attorney is key. Filing the petition and supporting documents will automatically stop most creditors from pursuing collection actions against you and your property, including debt claims, wage garnishments, and communications demanding payment.

  3. Mail a copy of your most recent income tax return to the bankruptcy trustee, along with any other documents they request.
  4. Between 21 and 40 days after filing the petition, attend a creditors’ meeting conducted by the trustee. You must answer questions under oath and provide additional information relevant to your case. The trustee will ensure you understand the potential consequences of bankruptcy, including credit score reduction. At this time, you may convert your case to a new bankruptcy case under Chapter 11, 12, or 13 if you are eligible under that chapter and have not already converted the case from another chapter. Typically, this is the only time you will need to appear in court during the filing process.
  5. No more than 60 days after this meeting, attend budget counseling and provide the court with proof of your attendance. Proof consists of a form and a completion certificate prepared by the counseling agency.
  6. Receive a written discharge of debts from the court, typically arriving between 60 to 75 days following the creditors’ meeting. At this point, the trustee will coordinate the surrender of non-exempt property if it exists. Do not sell or distribute any assets or property until you receive written discharge.

At the end of the Chapter 7 process, Bankruptcy Court considers your debts discharged. However, discharge excludes certain debts, like:

  • Debts that survive bankruptcy, including child support, tax debts, and student loans
  • Debts declared non-dischargeable by the court due to objections by the creditor

CONTACT US TO SEE IF CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY IS RIGHT FOR YOU

If you are facing mounting debts and believe that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the solution for you, contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today. As the area’s premier Orange County chapter 7 lawyer, I have spent 25 years helping clients just like you confront their financial obligations with low-cost strategies, offering the chance to discharge debts and regain control over their lives. With in-depth knowledge of bankruptcy law and master litigation skills, I can aggressively advocate for you during every stage of the bankruptcy process.

While other firms use unqualified support staff to handle their cases, I operate as a solo practitioner, meaning I personally work with you to investigate your case, inform you of your options, and protect your rights. I offer dedicated, personalized attention and will communicate closely with you from the very beginning of the case, so you know what to expect and never feel lost or overwhelmed. Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today for a free consultation by submitting my personalized contact form. With my assistance, you can find relief and move forward with a clean slate.

HOW CHAPTER 7 WORKS FOR ORANGE COUNTY, CA

From beginning to end, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process occurs in six steps:

  1. Complete credit counseling either online or by phone.
  2. Contact an Orange County Chapter 7 lawyer to file a bankruptcy petition with the court that serves your area. Along with this petition, you must also file the following documents:
    • A list of creditors with the nature and amount of their claims
    • Information on the source, frequency, and amount of your income
    • An inventory of your assets and property
    • A schedule of monthly living expenses
    • A list of exempt property according to state law (you must consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available to you)
    • Information about all financial transactions that occurred throughout the preceding two years
    • A list of any assets or property you sold or gave away during that period

    The court will charge fees for case filing, miscellaneous administrative costs, and a trustee surcharge. Typically, the debtor must pay these fees to the court clerk when filing, but they may pay via installments with permission from the court. Failure to pay filing and administrative fees can lead to the court dismissing the case, so securing the assistance of a skilled Orange County Chapter 7 attorney is key. Filing the petition and supporting documents will automatically stop most creditors from pursuing collection actions against you and your property, including debt claims, wage garnishments, and communications demanding payment.

  3. Mail a copy of your most recent income tax return to the bankruptcy trustee, along with any other documents they request.
  4. Between 21 and 40 days after filing the petition, attend a creditors’ meeting conducted by the trustee. You must answer questions under oath and provide additional information relevant to your case. The trustee will ensure you understand the potential consequences of bankruptcy, including credit score reduction. At this time, you may convert your case to a new bankruptcy case under Chapter 11, 12, or 13 if you are eligible under that chapter and have not already converted the case from another chapter. Typically, this is the only time you will need to appear in court during the filing process.
  5. No more than 60 days after this meeting, attend budget counseling and provide the court with proof of your attendance. Proof consists of a form and a completion certificate prepared by the counseling agency.
  6. Receive a written discharge of debts from the court, typically arriving between 60 to 75 days following the creditors’ meeting. At this point, the trustee will coordinate the surrender of non-exempt property if it exists. Do not sell or distribute any assets or property until you receive written discharge.

At the end of the Chapter 7 process, Bankruptcy Court considers your debts discharged. However, discharge excludes certain debts, like:

  • Debts that survive bankruptcy, including child support, tax debts, and student loans
  • Debts declared non-dischargeable by the court due to objections by the creditor

CONTACT US TO SEE IF CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY IS RIGHT FOR YOU

If you are facing mounting debts and believe that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the solution for you, contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today. As the area’s premier Orange County chapter 7 lawyer, I have spent 25 years helping clients just like you confront their financial obligations with low-cost strategies, offering the chance to discharge debts and regain control over their lives. With in-depth knowledge of bankruptcy law and master litigation skills, I can aggressively advocate for you during every stage of the bankruptcy process.

While other firms use unqualified support staff to handle their cases, I operate as a solo practitioner, meaning I personally work with you to investigate your case, inform you of your options, and protect your rights. I offer dedicated, personalized attention and will communicate closely with you from the very beginning of the case, so you know what to expect and never feel lost or overwhelmed. Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today for a free consultation by submitting my personalized contact form. With my assistance, you can find relief and move forward with a clean slate.

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