Bankruptcy is a complicated process that entails making important decisions. An experienced Chatsworth bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the bankruptcy procedures and paperwork. Even before you file for bankruptcy, an attorney will guide you on the bankruptcy process and help you know whether bankruptcy is ideal for you. After a critical look at your debts and assets, an attorney will know whether bankruptcy is the right approach to deal with your financial crisis. If you seek the best guidance on California's bankruptcy process, the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney can assist. Our attorneys will walk with you until the end of the bankruptcy process and advise you on dealing with life after bankruptcy.

What to Expect from Your Chatsworth Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is a great way of dealing with burdensome debt. You will probably experience a sigh of relief after the completion of the bankruptcy process. However, it's often a daunting task to understand the bankruptcy process and all the paperwork involved. This is where a bankruptcy attorney comes in. A bankruptcy attorney will provide you with the necessary guidance, making the bankruptcy process hassle-free. What should you expect from your Chatsworth bankruptcy attorney?

Bankruptcy Planning

Your bankruptcy attorney will help you plan accordingly before you even file for bankruptcy. An experienced attorney understands all the potential hiccups or obstacles that might arise during the bankruptcy process and will help you avoid them. Bankruptcy is not the only way of dealing with debt. During bankruptcy planning, your attorney will help you consider other alternatives to bankruptcy like debt consolidation. If bankruptcy is not the best alternative to help you achieve financial peace, your attorney will suggest the best bankruptcy alternative.

An attorney will also advise you on whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy serve different purposes and accomplish different goals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help you wipe out many debts in a short time but will also lead to property loss. Chapter 13 bankruptcy entails reorganizing your debts and creating a manageable repayment plan. Your bankruptcy attorney will consider your financial situation carefully and recommend a bankruptcy option with the best outcome.

Preparing for Bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy attorney will also come in handy in helping you prepare for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy preparation entails:

  • Applying the means test

  • Valuing your property

  • Choosing and applying for exemptions

  • Determining the discharge of debts

The means test calculation will help you know if you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It will help you determine if you can afford to make payments or meet the monthly installments under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The calculation will also help you know whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on your financial status.

While filing for bankruptcy, the proper valuation of your assets is paramount. An attorney will help to ensure that you do not undervalue or overvalue your property. They will ensure that value and disclose all your assets realistically.

California has an exemption system applied in determining the property to keep or retain in bankruptcy. Your attorney will help you to distinguish between the exempt and the non-exempt properties. Your attorney will also use the exemption rules to ensure that you keep as much property as possible after bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy attorney will help you know the debts that will be discharged after bankruptcy and the ones that can't be wiped away. Some debts can't be discharged in bankruptcy, and others will only be dischargeable when you meet certain conditions. An attorney will help you understand both your dischargeable and non-dischargeable debts.

Completion of the Necessary Paperwork and Schedules

Some people may opt to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, commonly referred to as filing proper per or pro se though it's somewhat unusual. You may have a hard time getting your repayment plan approved by the court if you attempt to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on your own. The ultimate success rate is higher when you involve a bankruptcy attorney.

Your bankruptcy attorney will help you complete the necessary paperwork and schedules. When filing for bankruptcy, you have to file your financial information outlining your expenses, income, debts, assets, and recent financial transactions. Your attorney will guide you on the information to disclose and how to value your assets. An attorney will help you determine what constitutes income and help you identify your relevant and reasonable expenses.

After providing your attorney with all your financial information, they will prepare the necessary bankruptcy forms and go through the completed paperwork with you to ensure it's accurate. The court or the bankruptcy trustee may request you to provide additional documents or forms. A bankruptcy attorney will ensure that you provide all the relevant information without missing the deadline. Missing the bankruptcy deadline may lead to:

  • Delay in the bankruptcy process

  • Bankruptcy case dismissal

  • Other adverse consequences

An attorney understands all the rules and the bankruptcy filing procedures. They will ensure that everything goes according to plan.

Representing you at the Bankruptcy Hearings

After you file for bankruptcy, you have to attend several bankruptcy hearings. You have to attend a compulsory hearing known as the 341 meetings of creditors. Depending on your bankruptcy case, you and your attorneys may have to attend additional hearings.

Other bankruptcy hearings in which your Chatsworth bankruptcy attorney will represent you include the Chapter 7 reaffirmation hearings and the Chapter 13 confirmation hearings. An attorney will also represent you in other objections or motion hearings filed by you, the bankruptcy trustee, or your creditors. Before you even file for bankruptcy, your attorney will advise you on the bankruptcy hearings you should expect to attend.

Your bankruptcy attorney will guide you through the bankruptcy process and help you prepare for what is ahead. For instance, a bankruptcy attorney will help you understand the role of a bankruptcy trustee and the judge. An attorney will help you understand the steps you should follow to qualify for bankruptcy discharge and the legal actions creditors can take against you.

Negotiating with Creditors

A bankruptcy attorney will also come in handy in negotiating with the creditors on your behalf. Your attorney can negotiate for redemption or a reaffirmation agreement with secured creditors to allow you to retain some of your assets like your car or your house. Your attorney will negotiate with creditors on your repayment terms if you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Negotiating with creditors will help make your repayment plan affordable.

An attorney may also help you seek a modification of your Chapter 13 repayment plan if your circumstances change in the course of filing for bankruptcy. An attorney will request the court to make a permanent or temporary adjustment of the terms of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. If need be, your attorney may request for an early discharge due to hardship.

Dealing with Creditors who violate the Automatic Stay

Your Chatsworth bankruptcy attorney will also help you deal with creditors who do not honor the terms of an automatic stay. Some creditors do not take no for an answer and may not know when to quit collecting. An automatic stay is an order that prohibits further collection activities when you file for bankruptcy. If creditors continue to push you to repay their debts despite the automatic stay, your bankruptcy attorney can demand compliance. Your attorney may also request the bankruptcy court to hold the creditor in contempt.

After hiring a bankruptcy attorney, you will not face further harassment from creditors. One major problem that most people face after filing for bankruptcy is the unending phone calls from creditors. When creditors call you after bankruptcy, you will politely tell them to liaise with your bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will face the creditors on your behalf, and you can relax.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Increases Your Chances of Eliminating Debt

An experienced Chatsworth bankruptcy attorney will help you to eliminate all your eligible debt. An attorney will help you identify all the debts that you can discharge in bankruptcy. They will also help you to choose a bankruptcy option that will work best to discharge your debts. By fully discharging your obligations, you will not have lingering debts after the completion of the bankruptcy.

An annual report released by the United States Bankruptcy Court reveals that individuals representing themselves have a lower bankruptcy success rate than people represented by a bankruptcy attorney. Debtors represented by an attorney in Chapter 13 bankruptcy are many times likely to reach a successful outcome than those who represent themselves.

Certain debts are not dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Therefore, if your main goal is to eliminate these non-dischargeable debts, it would not make much sense to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some of the debts that can't be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy are:

  • Alimony obligations and back child support

  • Student loans- student loans may be dischargeable if it is evident that repaying them would cause you undue hardship

  • Recent debts incurred for luxuries

  • Income taxes that are less than three years past due

  • Court judgments for death or injuries of another person resulting from intoxicated driving

If a creditor objects to a discharge in a bankruptcy court, the judge might rule that some debts are nondischargeable. Debts that the bankruptcy court may consider non-dischargeable if the creditor objects are:

  • Debts incurred from willful or malicious injuries to another person or damage to another person's property

  • Debts incurred through fraud, for instance, by presenting a bad check or lying on your credit application

  • Debts incurred through theft, embezzlement, or breach of trust

  • Debts arising from a divorce decree or marital settlement that are not dischargeable automatically as alimony or support

If the vast majority of your debts consist of debts that creditors might object from being disposed of, you need an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you sail through. Fraud accusations in bankruptcy could have adverse effects on your bankruptcy case.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Saves You Time

Working with a bankruptcy attorney saves time and speeds up the bankruptcy process. You do not have to spend time reviewing or researching bankruptcy information. An attorney will streamline the scheduling process. An attorney will guide you through the intricate bankruptcy procedures and keep you informed at every stage. Bankruptcy attorneys often have established relationships with judges, bankruptcy courts, and bankruptcy trustees.

An experienced attorney goes through the bankruptcy process severally and is familiar with bankruptcy courtroom etiquette. The attorney's established relationship with the people involved in the bankruptcy process will make the process easier for you. If the court or the bankruptcy trustee requests additional information, the bankruptcy attorney will know the right action to take.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Prevents You from Making Mistakes

Making even a slight mistake while filing for bankruptcy could greatly cost you. For instance, if you file a bankruptcy case incorrectly or if the filing is incorrect, the bankruptcy judge might dismiss your case. If this happens, it may take you a long time before you can re-file the bankruptcy case. If you incorrectly list your assets while filing for bankruptcy, you might end up losing the assets you intended to protect. A bankruptcy attorney will do their best to successfully protect your assets and lead you through the bankruptcy process.

Errors while filing for bankruptcy could lead to fraud or perjury charges, which might land you in jail. You might feel tempted to hide or conceal some of your assets or income from the judge or the bankruptcy trustee. A bankruptcy attorney understands the law; they will help you disclose your assets accordingly to prevent legal implications.

Find a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Contacting a bankruptcy attorney immediately when you start experiencing financial difficulties will help you explore all your debt relief options. An attorney will help you determine whether bankruptcy is the best option for you and whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An attorney will also help you to prepare for bankruptcy, compile the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court. For the best legal representation while filing for bankruptcy, contact the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney at 424-285-5525. Our bankruptcy attorneys will be happy to assist you.