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Palmdale Bankruptcy Lawyers

Debt in America has grown to unprecedented levels, and many individuals are struggling just to make ends meet. You could be saddled with personal debt, mortgage, and other obligations that drag down your financial situation. Even as you try to keep up with minimum payments, late fees and interest are mounting. It seems like you do not even make a dent in overall debt, and creditors could already be starting to reach out. Their harassment and threats add to your stress.Your situation may seem grim, but there are opportunities to take control over your debt through bankruptcy. It may be possible to wipe out your balances or pay them at an affordable monthly payment, easing financial distress. Our team at Wadhwani & Shanfeld will guide you with bankruptcy, as it is our firm’s primary focus. We have in-depth knowledge of the laws, backed by years of experience helping clients manage debt. Please contact us to set up a consultation with a Palmdale bankruptcy lawyer, and read on for some information about what we do.

Bankruptcy Cases We Handle

You can count on our firm to tackle the tasks and legal requirements for some common options for debt resolution:

  • Chapter 7 is the preferred solution, since it eliminates your debt and gives you a fresh start once the process is over.
  • With Chapter 13, you reorganize your debts into a single, affordable monthly payment. You complete the debt repayment plan over three or five years.
  • If bankruptcy is not the right fit, debt settlement is a way to reduce what you owe by agreement with the creditor.

There are some factors in bankruptcy that could affect your case for both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 case. We will advise you on how the laws apply in the following areas:

  • Foreclosure: Bankruptcy may be a wise move if you are facing foreclosure, since all creditor efforts to collect must stop under the automatic stay.
  • Student Loan Debt: Despite some misconceptions, it is possible to discharge student loans if you meet the very strict eligibility rules.
  • Credit Card Debt: A major source of debt in the US, credit cards can be discharged in Chapter 7 or reorganized under Chapter 13.

Additional areas of concern for your case may include personal loans, IRS tax debt, second mortgages, investment properties, retirement, and many more.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are overwhelmed by debt and looking for solutions, bankruptcy may be a wise decision to ease your financial distress. One option is Chapter 7, in which you discharge debt and no longer owe creditors once the case is complete. Another is Chapter 13, a process for restructuring your debt into an amount you can afford. There are benefits for each of these types of bankruptcy, but numerous factors affect eligibility. Plus, even when you qualify for both, one may be a better strategy for your situation.

Determining your options with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is complex, and going through the process is even more challenging. It is wise to get legal help with the type of bankruptcy that suits your situation, ensuring you take advantage of the benefits. To learn how Wadhwani & Shanfeld can help, please contact us to set up a consultation. A Palmdale bankruptcy attorney will advise you on specifics after reviewing your circumstances. Some background is also useful as a summary.

Comparing Two Common Types of Bankruptcy 

When you look at certain factors that are at the core of a bankruptcy case, you can assess whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 makes the most sense.

  • Eligibility: The key test for Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge is your disposable income. If it is above the state median amount and does not satisfy the Means Test, you are disqualified. Chapter 13 is the only option for higher earners.
  • Protecting Assets: In Chapter 7, you could be forced to sell non-exempt assets to pay creditors, though the list of exemptions is favorable to you. Those seeking to protect assets should consider Chapter 13.
  • Speed of the Process: Chapter 13 is debt reorganization, and it will result in a repayment plan that is to be completed over three to five years. Since Chapter 7 discharges debt, the process can be finished in around four months.
  • Your Credit Score: A Chapter 7 filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years and Chapter 13 is 7 years, important points for your future. 

We Will Support Your Needs 

Our team at Wadhwani & Shanfeld is dedicated to advising you on your options and helping you understand details about the factors described above. We will guide you in making the right decision for your situation, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is more advantageous. Our Southern California bankruptcy lawyers are ready to take care of all tasks throughout the process, including:

  • Organizing your financial documents;
  • Preparing and filing the bankruptcy petition;
  • Attending the meeting of creditors for a Chapter 13; and,
  • Finalizing all details to close the bankruptcy case.

Why Hire a Bankruptcy Specialist

When you are in a deep hole of debt and considering bankruptcy as a way out, it is natural to be protective of the financial resources you do have. Keeping expenses low is wise, but there is one area where you do not want to skimp. Legal representation is absolutely critical for bankruptcy cases, which many people find out too late. They are unable to get a discharge, filed in the wrong court, or did not adequately protect exempt property.

At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, many of our clients come in after suffering delays or adverse outcomes because they tried to pursue bankruptcy on their own. We are able to get them back on track and help navigate the legal proceedings, but time and money is already lost. To avoid hassles, you need a Palmdale lawyer from the start. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. Plus, here are a few reasons why qualified legal help is crucial.

Shut Down Creditors 

One of the key benefits to filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the automatic stay on creditor efforts. All creditors must immediately cease activities to collect, including harassing phone calls, wage garnishments, and foreclosures. To get the automatic stay in place, you need to file your petition, which your lawyer will handle for you. 

Legal Knowledge 

Bankruptcy rules are complicated, and any errors or omissions with your paperwork could lead to delays and headaches. A bankruptcy specialist is well-versed in these topics, especially the important rules on eligibility. For Chapter 7, you must either have an income below the state median income level or meet the Means Test. If you cannot satisfy one of these, Chapter 13 is your only option.

Another area where legal knowledge is critical is exemptions. There are many items you can protect from the bankruptcy process, and you need to leverage your exemptions appropriately.

Meeting Deadlines and Filing Requirements 

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 impose important time restrictions, so there may be problems with your petition if you miss deadlines. Plus, your petition will not move forward if you do not complete the forms properly. You also need to include supporting documentation, and there can be hassles if you do not include all paperwork the court needs. 

Peace of Mind 

Above all, our Southern California bankruptcy specialists seek to ease the stress of the process. We guide you in making appropriate decisions about bankruptcy, and will take care of all tasks as we prepare to file your petition. Wadhwani & Shanfeld will also appear in court as necessary, including the Chapter 13 meeting of creditors and the final hearing to wrap up the process.

California Bankruptcy FAQs

The idea of filing bankruptcy is daunting and intimidating, as you worry about what might happen with your credit score and whether you will lose assets. However, many of your concerns about the process may come from not fully understanding how it works. There can be confusion about the different types of bankruptcy, preventing you from seeing the benefits.

At Wadhwani & Shanfeld, we realize that bankruptcy can be a life-changing decision. Our team is knowledgeable and experienced with the process, enabling us to show you how the change to your life could be for the better. Please contact us to set up a consultation with a Palmdale bankruptcy lawyer today. Plus, some answers to frequently asked questions are helpful.

What are the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13? The key distinction is that Chapter 7 wipes out your debt if you qualify, while Chapter 13 offers an opportunity to pay back creditors under a repayment plan. Qualifying under Chapter 7 is a matter of your income, which must be below certain levels. 

How do I get creditors to stop harassment? You can immediately cease all efforts to collect a debt by filing for bankruptcy because of the automatic stay. When you file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the stay goes into effect and creditors must stop calling, wage garnishments, and any other collection efforts. 

Can I stop foreclosure through bankruptcy? The automatic stay on creditor actions also applies if you are behind on your mortgage and the lender has taken steps toward foreclosure. You will not lose your home, and you gain some time to work out how your mortgage will affect bankruptcy. 

Do I have to have a minimum debt for bankruptcy? No, the key qualification is your income as it pertains to filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. In fact, you should not wait until your debt gets to a completely unbearable level. Talk to Wadhwani & Shanfeld today about getting started. 

Will I lose my assets? Certain assets are exempt from the bankruptcy process, so they cannot be taken by the trustee. This category includes your home, vehicle, some cash, and qualifying retirement. However, it is possible to lose non-exempt assets in Chapter 7 because they are subject to liquidation. They could be sold to pay your creditors, before discharging your debts. Our Southern California bankruptcy lawyers will ensure that assets are appropriately protected under exemptions rules. 

How long will I have to pay under Chapter 13? The debt repayment plan that will be entered as part of the process will be either three or five years, depending on your income. The Means Test is an important factor for determining the timing

Myths About Bankruptcy

Legal topics can be confusing if you do not have a background in law, and bankruptcy is certainly an area in which misinformation is prevalent. Much of the focus is on the negatives, especially how it affects your credit score and the potential that you could lose assets through the bankruptcy process. Myths stand in the way when there are significant benefits you could achieve.

Our team at Wadhwani & Shanfeld is dedicated to clearing up the confusion and explaining how bankruptcy could provide advantages you did not expect. Filing for bankruptcy is an extremely important decision, but it is one that may support your financial future. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with a Palmdale bankruptcy lawyer. We are also happy to debunk myths about bankruptcy that could be holding you back.

You must be broke to file. There are some income criteria when filing for bankruptcy, but you do not have to wait until you are destitute. Moving forward quickly means you keep more of your income because you are not sinking it into a black hole of debt. 

Creditors will sell everything you own. This is a myth because there are rules about what can be sold to satisfy debts. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only non-exempt assets can be liquidated. The proceeds go to creditors during the process. However, all exempt assets cannot be touched. You will not lose your home, vehicle, retirement, and other items listed as exemptions. 

You should dip into retirement to pay debts. This is a huge mistake, because retirement accounts are protected from the bankruptcy process. You are taking from your future to pay for your current debt, and you may not even be making a dent in the total amount you owe. Plus, premature distributions carry tax implications and penalties.

You cannot stop creditors from hounding you. Not true, as you can immediately shut them down when you file bankruptcy. As soon as Wadhwani & Shanfeld starts the process on your behalf, an automatic stay goes into effect. All creditors are put on notice that they must cease all effort to collect, including phone calls, wage garnishments, and foreclosures. 

Bankruptcy discharges all debts. You cannot wipe out all debts through either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. At the conclusion of the process, you will still owe alimony, child support, some personal injury lawsuits, and other debts. 

Your credit is forever destroyed. Do not be fooled by this myth or let it hold you back from considering bankruptcy. After the case concludes, the matter will remain on your report for 10 years for Chapter 7 and 7 years for Chapter 13. There are strategies to rebuild your credit during this time and after, and our Southern California bankruptcy lawyers will help.

Our 4-Step Process to Serve Clients

Our Southern California bankruptcy attorneys at Wadhwani & Shanfeld work through a documented process to support your needs, including:

  1. Conduct a detailed consultation to assess needs and strategy.
  2. Determine the most beneficial option to resolve your debt.
  3. Tackle all important tasks to meet your goals.
  4. Give you a fresh start.

Contact a Palmdale Bankruptcy Lawyer Right Away

Our goal at Wadhwani & Shanfeld is to help you find the right solution for your debt, whether we are assisting with bankruptcy, debt settlement, or other options. Please contact our firm to speak to an experienced Palmdale bankruptcy attorney. We can schedule a consultation to provide personalized advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions Get Answers To Your Questions About
Bankruptcy And Debt Reduction
  • Will my employer find out I filed for bankruptcy?

    Your employer will not automatically be notified if you file for bankruptcy. Unless you tell them, there is no reason they will find out about it, except in certain circumstances. For instance, your employer could find out about your bankruptcy in the following situations:

    • If you owe your employer money for some reason, they are a creditor who will be notified of the bankruptcy.
    • If your wages are currently being garnished to pay debts, a bankruptcy filing puts an automatic stay on that garnishment. Your employer will be notified about the stay and ordered to stop garnishing your wages, so they’ll find out about your bankruptcy that way.
    • If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the repayment plan might include wage deductions to go toward the plan. This is for your benefit to help you stick to the plan, but your employer would become aware of the bankruptcy when ordered to make the deductions.

    Even if your employer does find out you filed for bankruptcy, that fact should not get you fired or subject you to otherwise unfavorable job treatment. If you become the subject of some adverse job action after filing and think you are being unfairly treated, a labor and employment lawyer might be able to help you.

    If you are applying for a new job and have a bankruptcy on your record, this fact will come to light if the employer runs a credit check. Government employers are not permitted to use a bankruptcy against you in making a hiring decision, but private employers are not prohibited from doing so.

  • Can I save my property if I file for bankruptcy?

    Yes! One of the biggest worries we hear from people who have heard the word “liquidation” in connection with bankruptcy is the fear that all of their property will be seized and sold to pay their creditors as part of the bankruptcy process. Chapter 13 does not require you to relinquish any property at all, and in Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee can only take assets that are “non-exempt.” We work diligently through the entire list of available exemptions, and in almost every case we handle, our clients don’t lose any of their property as a result of filing for bankruptcy. They do lose most or all of their debt, though!

  • How much of my wages could get garnished by a creditor?

    A creditor with a court order in hand can seek to garnish your wages to cover what you owe them. They can take a pretty big bite out of your wages, but there are limits. Under federal law, creditors cannot garnish more than 25% of your disposable income or the amount of your disposable income that is over 30 times the federal minimum wage. California provides even stronger consumer protections. Here, creditors are limited to 25% of your disposable income or half the amount of disposable income that is over 40 times the California minimum wage (or the local minimum wage if higher than the state minimum). It’s also possible to get an even bigger exemption in California based on a showing of need.

    Filing for bankruptcy invokes an “automatic stay” on all debt collection, including wage garnishments. Wage garnishments stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy, and if the debt behind the garnishment is dischargeable, bankruptcy can make the garnishment go away for good.

  • What if I previously filed for bankruptcy and need to file again?

    Although bankruptcy can be a great solution to get you out of present financial difficulties, it’s not uncommon that some people later find themselves back in financial trouble. You can file for bankruptcy even if you have done so previously, subject to limitations. After a Chapter 7 discharge, you would have to wait four years to file for Chapter 13 or eight years to file another Chapter 7. After completing a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you would have to wait two years to file for Chapter 13 again or four years to file for Chapter 7.

  • How can I get a bankruptcy removed from my credit report?

    Unfortunately, only the passage of time will take a bankruptcy off your credit report, despite any claims to the contrary from so-called “credit repair” companies. By law, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven years, while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years. That said, you can still start repairing and rebuilding your credit even while the bankruptcy is on your record.

  • Which is better, bankruptcy or debt settlement?

    A lot of factors go into answering that question, including the number of creditors you have and the amounts you owe, who your creditors are, your overall income and expenses, what kinds of property you own, and more.

    We can answer that question for you after we have talked to you and learned about your personal situation. So call us now, and talk to an attorney now to answer your questions and address your concerns.

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If you are in over your head with credit card bills, mortgage payments, personal loans or other debts, you are likely stressed out over the situation, and rightly so. But a lot of worry and anxiety in this situation comes from not knowing your options or what you can expect to happen.

What Clients Are Saying Success Stories In Their Own Words
“I will not hesitate to recommend this firm and Raj to all my family and friends”

From the very first contact, this firm gave me a good impression. It was the only firm that answered the phone! I said, "this one´s it! They´re serious. They want to work!!" so, from the very beginning I was sold.

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Very professional, easy process and always available to answer questions, Thank you

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I very much liked Raj and his staff and I would give them 100 stars if possible. I was kept informed and very happy with the end results. Thanks again...Steve

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Wadhwani & Shanfeld was very professional and always answered my questions. We are so grateful for them.

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“Thanking Attorney Raj for a thorough and quick solution to my financial issues.”

Thanking Attorney Raj for a thorough and quick solution to my financial issues.

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I filed bankruptcy with the help of Atty. Greg Shanfeld. His service was very professional, quick and effective. I highly recommend this firm. I am extremely grateful for their service.

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Raj and his staff were very knowledgeable and professional. I appreciate all the help and service you all have given to me. Thank you!

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Meet Your Legal TeamDedicated To Helping You Get Back On Your Feet After A Financial Crisis
Raj Wadhwani Raj WadhwaniShareholder

Raj is a founding shareholder of Wadhwani & Shanfeld. Raj earned his Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law. He also became a Board-Certified Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification in 2009. His vast bankruptcy experience includes over 7,000 bankruptcy case filings for both consumers and businesses. In 1998, Raj helped pilot the Best Case Bankruptcy Software which is used today by bankruptcy attorneys throughout the country. Raj also participated in the pilot program and had the distinction of being the first attorney to electronically file a bankruptcy case in the Central District of California. Beyond bankruptcy and debt settlement, Raj is also very experienced in estate planning. In his spare time, Raj enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, playing golf, and cheering on the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Greg Shanfeld Greg ShanfeldShareholder

Greg is a founding shareholder of Wadhwani & Shanfeld. He earned his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. Prior to law school, he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a B.A. in Economics. Greg specializes in bankruptcy law and debt settlement and is a Board-Certified Bankruptcy Specialist with the American Board of Certification. His previous work experience includes serving as a partner and managing attorney at a leading bankruptcy law firm. Prior to that, Greg worked an associate attorney in the real estate division at Stern, Neubauer, Greenwald & Pauly. Greg is extremely knowledgeable about bankruptcy law and has published articles and taught seminars on the subject. When Greg is not in the office, he enjoys spending time with his family, mountain biking, and playing basketball. He also enjoys attending Los Angeles Kings games.

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