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
- 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
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Bankruptcy & Divorce
- Bankruptcy & Retirement
- Credit Card Debt
- Creditor Harassment
- Debt Settlement
- Financial Stress
- Foreclosure Protection
- Investment Property Foreclosure
- Lawsuits & Judgements
- Loan Modification
- Means Test
- Medical Debt
- Personal Loans
- Rebuilding Credit
- Second Mortgage Debt
- Small Business Bankruptcy
- Student Loan Debt
- Student Loan Repayment
- Tax Debt
- Wage Garnishment
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.