When debts become unmanageable or overwhelming, as they often do after a job loss, illness, or unexpected additional household expenses, people often struggle and stress while trying their best to manage the situation. The same is often true when the threat of a car repossession, home foreclosure, collection lawsuit or wage garnishment appear on the horizon. Many find themselves in a difficult financial situation, doing their best to pay what they can on their debts, while not realizing that the partial payments offer no real path to resolve their obligations. Many simply tighten their belts and struggle to make ends meet, hoping that their financial situation will improve, such as with a pay increase.
However, more often than not, assertive creditors and debt collectors do not offer individuals a real chance to better their financial circumstances and to pay off their debts. High interest rates and penalties gobble up the monthly payments that individuals are struggling to make and aggressive collection tactics by creditors usually leave little or no room to resolve outstanding debts completely and cost effectively. Creditors often want it all and they want it now! So, short of winning the lottery, what do you do if you are unable to pay off all of your debts?
Here, at The Kurta Law Firm, PC, we want you to know that resolving your debts does not have to be a stressful and expensive struggle with no end in sight. Whether the best solution for addressing your debts is debt settlement or bankruptcy protection, we help you to fully understand and weigh out your options. Good legal advice is the key. During your initial consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney at The Kurta Law Firm, PC, we will review your specific circumstances and goals. With these in mind, our attorney will identify your best legal options and thoroughly explain each alternative and the path to resoling your debts once and for all. The consultation is free of change. Yet, the legal advice you receive will be very valuable. So, give our office a call at (925) 385-8586 to discuss your best options for debt resolution.
Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy A Good Option for Me?
Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy relief. It was created by Congress to help save individuals from drowning in debt. A Chapter 7 offers a clear, sensible, and very affordable path for individuals to get control of their finances, to wipe away most or all of their outstanding debts, and to obtain a fresh financial start. Within a few short months, typically 4 to 5, a Chapter 7 can completely wipe out most kinds of unsecured debts, such as credit card debts, medical bills, past due rent or utility bills, older tax debts, personal loans, etc. Car repossessions, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and home foreclosures can be stopped in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Moreover, by eliminating debts that are weighing down your credit score, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can actually improve your credit score in the very near term by cutting away the anchor of debt that is weighing you down and increasing the credit to debt ratio that is a big part of your FICO score (i.e. the comparison of your available credit vs. your outstanding debts).
Will I Lose Property By Filing For Chapter 7 Protection?
Many of our client initially come to us with a concern about possibly losing their hard-earned property (e.g. cars, bank accounts, retirement account, etc.). However, as many of our clients learn first-hand during their initial consultation with our experienced bankruptcy attorney, for a vast majority of people filing of Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, there is no risk of losing any property. Most people are able to safely keep all of the property that they own and wipe away most or all of their debts in the process. Simply because you may need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection does not mean that you risk losing any property. On the contrary, we have many sizeable and well-established legal protections, which are called “exemptions,” that are generally more than enough to fully protect your assets. Different states and the federal system have different sets of exemptions–California actually has 2 separate sets of exemptions. So, navigating through these exemption sets can be tricky. But rest assured that an experienced bankruptcy attorney at The Kurta Law Firm, PC will be able to explain these protections in detail and answer any questions you may have about them.
Benefits of Chapter 7
Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection if often the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective path to debt relief. Here are some of the most important benefits that a Chapter 7 offers:
- A stop to collections, including harassing calls and letters, vehicle repossessions, home evictions and foreclosures, lawsuits, wage garnishments, etc.;
- Strong protection for your hard-earned assets, including bank accounts, vehicles, home equity, and retirement accounts;
- Improvement of your FICO credit score by eliminating the debts that are currently weighing it down;
- A fresh financial start and freedom from financial struggle and stress that’s currently hampering your life.
Bankruptcy’s Shield — The Automatic Stay
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts into effect protection called the “automatic stay” under Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code. The automatic stay immediately stops creditor collections, including lawsuits, evictions, vehicle repossessions, home foreclosures, wage garnishments, and harassing calls. This valuable legal protection generally lasts through your bankruptcy and prevents your creditors from being able to latch on to and take your assets.
Who Can File For Chapter 7 Protection?
Qualification for a Chapter 7 is largely determined by your average gross monthly income over the 6 months prior to the month in which you file your case and your household size. However, as those individuals who file a Chapter 7 without the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney far too often find out the hard way, qualifying for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and correctly navigating the complex forms that make up the 50+ page Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is not quite as straight-forward as it may seem at first glance. Do not gamble with your financial future. Entrust your case to an experienced attorney from The Kurta Law Firm, PC and have the peace of mind that you case will be handled right.
How Much Does It Cost To File A Chapter 7 Case?
We work on a flat-fee basis when representing our clients in a Chapter 7. While the fee can range slightly due to the relative complexity of any given case, we offer flexible and affordable payment plants at no additional cost.
The Court usually asserts a filing fee of $338 when a Chapter 7 case is filed. However, individuals of modest means qualify for a waiver of the court fee. We can also request that the court filing fee be broken down into 4 monthly payments, if we are not able to get your court fee waived.
What Information/Documentation Is Needed To File My Case?
Here at The Kurta Law Firm, PC, through many years of experience, we make the filing of a Chapter 7 case pretty easy for our clients. From the onset, we will provide you with a clear and concise list of information that we need to prepare your petition. You likely already have these documents handy. They include your tax returns for the last 2 years, your recent pay stubs, a list of assets that you have an interest in, a list of your regular household expenses, etc. We do all of the hard work for you, and we can prepare you petition for filing pretty quickly.
As any experienced bankruptcy attorney will know, it is also critically important to ensure that every bankruptcy petition filed with the court is prepared correctly. Significant errors or oversights can be disastrous. But, with the help of a detail-oriented and experienced attorney from The Kurta Law Firm, PC, you will have the peace of mind in knowing that your Chapter 7 case will be handed properly.
To learn more about your legal options and whether a Chapter 7 is the right fit for you, call us at (925) 385-8586 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at The Kurta Law Firm, PC. We can help!