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Sherman Oaks Bankruptcy Lawyers

Debt is one of the most common causes of stress, divorce, and unhappiness in America. Millions of people lose sleep every night lying awake worrying about their poor financial situation, regretting their past and feeling hopeless about the future because of it. But there is hope, and the Sherman Oaks bankruptcy lawyers at Wadhwani & Shanfeld can help you realize it.

Debt Protection Methods We Offer

We live in a consumerist society that depends on people rebounding from debt. As such, there are many options to pursue if you are being hounded by creditors, in danger of losing your home due to foreclosure, or unable to get out of the mountain of student debt that was required to take on in order to gain your education. These methods include:

  • Loan modification
  • Debt settlement
  • Refinancing
  • Bankruptcy
  • Student loan repayment plans
  • Short sale
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure

Secured Vs. Unsecured Debt

Unsecured debt includes credit card debt, medical debt, personal loans, and other debt that does not have attached collateral. Secured debt includes vehicle loans, home mortgages, and other loans that do have attached collateral.

Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be used to fully and permanently discharge unsecured debt for those who meet a specific income to debt ratio threshold. Chapter 13 debt, on the other hand, does not specifically discharge debt. It is used to stave off home foreclosure or repossession of collateral in secured debt by creating a repayment plan ranging from three to five years, after which any remaining debt is discharged.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including tens of thousands of Californians, find relief from overwhelmingly burdensome debt by taking full advantage of the protections offered by the nation’s bankruptcy laws. Consumer (non-business) bankruptcies are typically filed under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. While both forms of bankruptcy share some common features, there are also striking differences that make Chapter 7 better for some people and Chapter 13 better for others. How do you know which form of bankruptcy is best in your individual case? Read below for a discussion of the differences between the two, and call Wadhwani & Shanfeld for immediate assistance and personalized attention from a skilled and experienced Sherman Oaks bankruptcy attorney.

When to Choose Chapter 7

If you have a relatively low income and are saddled with bill payments you can’t afford, Chapter 7 could be your ticket to financial freedom. Chapter 7 can be used to eliminate some or all of your unsecured debt, which can include credit card bills, doctor and hospital bills, personal loans, and other debts that aren’t secured by collateral. To qualify for Chapter 7, either your average monthly income must be under the state median income for your household size, or you must qualify via a “means test” that considers all of your monthly income and expenses to determine what kind of disposable income you might have left over to pay your bills.

The Board-Certified bankruptcy attorneys at Wadhwani & Shanfeld can help you determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7, but that’s not the only reason it’s essential to get an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to help you file. Theoretically, the Bankruptcy Trustee in a Chapter 7 case could force you to sell your non-exempt property to pay your creditors before allowing any discharge of debt. A skilled bankruptcy attorney can make maximum use of the allowable exemptions to help you hold on to your property. Chapter 7 clients of Wadhwani & Shanfeld almost never have to sell any property to get their debts discharged.

When Chapter 13 Is Better

Chapter 13 does not have the low-income threshold that Chapter 7 does, so it’s easier to qualify for Chapter 13. Also, the Trustee in Chapter 13 won’t liquidate any property, so that’s something you don’t have to worry about or bother working through the property exemptions as in Chapter 7. However, Chapter 13 doesn’t eliminate as much debt as Chapter 7. Instead, you work out a plan to back your debt over time, usually three or five years, with a single monthly payment you can afford to make. Many of your debts can be adjusted, extended or reduced to make them more affordable, and debts that remain at the end of the plan can often be eliminated. Your creditors are bound to accept the plan and can’t hound you for more. If you have a steady job, Chapter 13 can help you take the reins and put you back in control of your finances.

In addition to the breathing room afforded by Chapter 13, this form of bankruptcy can also be used to get rid of a pending foreclosure on your home. You can roll your missed payments into your Chapter 13 and reduce your mortgage balance or interest rate in some cases; you can even get rid of a second mortgage altogether in certain circumstances. Chapter 7, in contrast, can’t do much to directly deal with a secured debt like a home mortgage. Chapter 13 is a powerful tool for homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage payments or who have already received a notice of default from the bank.

Student Debt Options

Student debt is the second largest type of debt in America. 45 million Americans, in fact, have student loans. Many are unable to get ahead because of their student debt and the high interest rates that student loans often come with. There are numerous ways to modify these loan payments, which we can help you achieve.

Our Full Range of Debt Services

Myths About Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a bad thing. This is the first myth about bankruptcy. There are many more that the Sherman Oaks bankruptcy lawyers at Wadhwani & Shanfeld can dispel for you. Bankruptcy is simply a financial tool, which can give you a fresh start in life and help you get back on track, that is at your disposal. Below are some of the most common myths that people have about bankruptcy and the ways that it works to discharge or modify their debt.

You Have to be Broke to Declare Bankruptcy

While there are income to debt ratios that must be met to declare bankruptcy, you do not have to be penniless. In fact, filing for bankruptcy is a great way to ensure that you do not lose everything and that you do not become penniless.

Creditors Can Take Everything From You

One of the major advantages offered by bankruptcy is that it usually allows the debtor to keep their personal property. Chapter 7 discharges your unsecured debt and almost always saves all of your other personal property from the hands of creditors, while Chapter 13 saves your home from foreclosure or your vehicle from being repossessed.

You Will Lose Your Job

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees by firing them for filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Your Credit Score Will be Ruined Forever

While bankruptcy can decrease your credit score and make it harder for you to get loans and good interest rates, bankruptcy will not ruin your credit forever. Lenders will likely offer you loans at higher interest rates in the near future, and as your credit improves you will likely get back to what it was before, or even better.

You Have to Use Up All Your Savings and Retirement Funds Before Filing Bankruptcy

You do not have to use all of your savings before bankruptcy. In fact, your retirement funds, including pension, 401(k), IRA, and other accounts can and should remain untouched even if you are in serious debt. As for your other assets, you are allowed to retain a significant amount when you file bankruptcy. Most people can keep everything they own.

You Will Lose Your Civil Rights

You do not lose any civil rights if you file for bankruptcy. This means you will still be allowed to vote, Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, collect unemployment benefits, SNAP benefits, workers’ compensation, and everything else.

You Cannot File For Bankruptcy If You Have a Job

While most employed people can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (and discharge their unsecured debt) you have to be earning an income in order to file for Chapter 13, as Chapter 13 requires a repayment plan.

California Bankruptcy FAQs

It is entirely understandable that you have questions when it comes to bankruptcy. After all, bankruptcy is a big decision that should be thoroughly looked at from every angle. If you are in danger of losing your home, or if creditors are harassing or suing you for the debt they are owed, it is time to speak to an attorney. The Sherman Oaks bankruptcy lawyers at Wadhwani & Shanfeld are here to help in every way they can.

What Type of Bankruptcy Should I File For?

There are only two types of bankruptcy that likely apply to you: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 discharges unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and medical debt, while Chapter 13 can be used for secured debt, such as vehicle or mortgage debt. An attorney can help you determine which is best for your situation.

Will I Lose my Possessions?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the debtor to keep all (or most) of their possessions while their debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy saves the debtor’s house, vehicle, or other collateral. As such, it is unlikely that you will lose your personal property if you are successful in filing for bankruptcy.

Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy?

There are certain income thresholds that apply to Chapter 7 bankruptcy that you may or may not qualify for. An attorney will be able to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 by analyzing your financials.

Will Bankruptcy Save My Home From Foreclosure?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be used to save your home from foreclosure by creating a repayment plan that lasts between three and five years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one of the only ways in which it is possible to save a house or condo that is in danger of foreclosure.

If we are Married, Does My Spouse Have to File For Bankruptcy Also?

If your debt is marital property, you can file for bankruptcy together. You do not each have to file separately. If one spouse has non-marital debt, they should file for bankruptcy on their own in order to save the credit of the other spouse.

How Can I Restore My Credit After Bankruptcy?

There are many ways in which to restore your credit after bankruptcy, including applying for additional credit, making timely payments on the loans you still have, being named on another party’s credit card, securing or retaining full time/regular employment, and much more.

Will Everyone Know I Filed for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is public record. As such, it is not possible to “seal” your bankruptcy. But it is not like bankruptcies are not published anywhere for your community to see, and it would be very unusual for any of your friends, family, or neighbors to find out about it.

Why Hire a Bankruptcy Specialist

Bankruptcy may have a negative connotation in the minds of many Americans, but it is simply a financial tool that can be expertly used to get your life back on track. For most people, there are really only two types of bankruptcy to choose from: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13—as an agricultural worker or fisherman, Chapter 11 is also relevant—so it may seem like a simple choice between the two. As such, some people decide to file for bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney. While entirely possible, this is usually not recommended for most debtors. There are pros and cons of both types of each type of bankruptcy, and part of an attorney’s job is to carefully analyze your financial situation to determine which is best for you. But this is just the first reason, of many, why you should consider hiring a bankruptcy specialist. The Sherman Oaks financial bankruptcy lawyers at Wadhwani & Shanfeld can guide you through the bankruptcy process to not only make it easier on you, but to save you money in the long run.

An Attorney Will Quickly Get Creditors Off Your Back

There are certain rules and regulations that creditors and collection agencies must follow when contacting you. A knowledgeable attorney will not only ensure that creditors follow the law, but will make sure that the law is enforced if creditors attempt to violate it by continuing to contact you after filing for bankruptcy.

A Bankruptcy Specialist Will Meet Deadlines and File Correctly

Bankruptcy means filing a considerable amount of paperwork, keeping careful records, locating various financial documents, and so much more that it can quickly become overwhelming for the average person, even if they have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to finances. As such, using an attorney for this purpose alone will save you considerable time and money.

An Attorney Has a Better Chance of Success Filing For Bankruptcy

If you file for bankruptcy alone without any assistance, your chance of success is roughly one in two, which is not great, considering the importance of the matter. If you work with an attorney, your chance of success goes up to around 94 percent.

A Bankruptcy Specialists Gives You Peace of Mind

The peace of mind alone is reason enough for most people to work with an attorney. By hiring a bankruptcy specialist, you ensure that:

  • You will not accidentally commit fraud
  • You will meet all filing deadlines
  • Your paperwork will not contain any errors
  • You will no longer have to deal with creditors or collections (your attorney will do this for you)
  • Your financial future is in the best hands possible

Call a Sherman Oaks Debt Relief Lawyer Today

No matter your specific situation, we can help. Whether you are just weeks away from losing your home to foreclosure, your spouse’s medical condition has accumulated a terrifying amount of credit card debt, or you have a quarter million in student loans that you are incapable of ever paying off, the Sherman Oaks bankruptcy attorneys at Wadhwani & Shanfeld are confident, experienced, and ready to do whatever it takes to help you get back in black. Call us today at 899-996-9932 to schedule a free consultation.

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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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5 stars very very helpful. walked me through filing .

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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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