Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Los Angeles
If you are struggling to repay your debts and are considering bankruptcy as a possible option, it’s time to consider hiring an attorney. The bankruptcy attorneys of Wipe Away Debts are here to offer their representation, support and expertise. When faced with bankruptcy, people are typically offered two options: chapter 13 and chapter 7 filings. Our attorneys can be an asset to you during the bankruptcy process no matter which path you choose.
Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an effective option for those below a certain income threshold but it is only available to a specific population and may result in the loss of non-exempt property. Chapter 13 is a common choice by those seeking to file bankruptcy because it is available to those of median income levels, but the process does require a strict repayment plan that takes anywhere from 3 to 5 years to complete.
Though the repayment process can be lengthy, there are many good reasons to file chapter 13 instead of chapter 7. Homeowners who wish to stay in their residences in the event of a foreclosure will be able to do so through the automatic stay, which effectively prevents all creditors from being able to contact someone during throughout the bankruptcy process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not offer the same protections and non-exempt property may well be seized in order to repay debts. As repayment is built into to process of filing chapter 13, those looking to retain their property would be best served seeking it out as their bankruptcy path.
If you believe that filing chapter 13 bankruptcy is the right choice for you, know that there are some restrictions involved. Whereas chapter 7 filings are limited to those within a set income bracket – those below the median household income for their state – those who file chapter 13 must be in a financial situation that allows for debt repayment of the agreed amount. In fact, the person filing must either be employed or be able to point to the source of a steady stream of income in order to qualify for chapter 13. Further, disposable income needs to hit a specific threshold, and it can come from any number of sources (wages, pension, social security, unemployment benefits, etc.) as long as it is reliable income.
Another important qualification is that debt has to be within certain limits. The types of debt that a person can have falls into two categories: secured and unsecured debt. Secured debt is tied to specific property that can be used as collateral (homes, vehicles, etc.), whereas unsecured debt is non-specific to an owned property (hospital bills, student loans, etc.). These categories are combined when one’s total debt quantity is considered. Finally, it is essential that the person seeking chapter 13 has completely up-to-date tax filings with the IRS. Every aspect of their financial state (including debts, assets, income, expenses) will need to be disclosed to the U.S. government in order to successfully file chapter 13.
Now, assuming you are qualified to file, should you hire an attorney if you are filing chapter 13? The process of filing can be done by yourself, but the benefits of hiring an attorney to aid you in filing chapter 13 are numerous and easily offset the negatives. Individual, pro per filings have far lower success rates than those that involve legal representation. Many are rejected quickly due to small errors, missing information or failure to qualify for chapter 13 due to financial limitations. If you choose to file by yourself, always file in person at the courthouse, as certain errors can be fixed in person, rather than having an entire mailed filing be rejected immediately without thorough explanation.
Clerical errors and missing information can be sidestepped entirely by the aid of a skilled chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Those who have representation at their side when filing are far more likely to have a smooth and successful bankruptcy process. To begin with, the amount of paperwork involved can be overwhelming, costing precious hours spent filling out documents and waiting at courthouses that could be spent elsewhere. The qualifications involved in filing chapter 13 are quite strict and some may not even be certain if they qualify – a chapter 13 attorney can help sort out these matters. Those who are concerned about adding legal fees to their debts can rest easy knowing that fees can often be bundled into existing repayment plans, mitigating their impact.
If you have considered your options and choose to seek legal representation for bankruptcy, you may be asking if there are there chapter 13 attorneys near me? The answer is yes! Wipe Away Debts is located in the Los Angeles area and their attorneys possess all of the skill and experience you need to guide you through the journey to debt-free living.