Bankruptcy Lawyer in Thousand Oaks, CA
Dealing with debt is a reality for many people. Maybe it's due to sudden medical expenses, job loss, or simply living beyond our means. Often, we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of debt that seems impossible to break free from. As a bankruptcy lawyer in Thousand Oaks, California, I've helped many individuals facing similar circumstances.
Life is full of unpredictable events - a sudden medical condition, unexpected home repairs, or losing your job. These events can lead to a financial strain, leading to an increasing debt load. This is where bankruptcy comes in. It's not a sign of failure or a reason to be ashamed. Rather, it's a legal provision made for folks facing financial difficulties, providing a fresh start.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
There are two common types of bankruptcies for individuals – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is often referred to as "liquidation bankruptcy," where your assets are sold to pay off creditors. However, you might be able to keep some assets under certain exemptions. On the other hand, Chapter 13, also known as the "wage earner's plan," helps people with a regular income create a plan to repay their debts over a period of three to five years. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn't involve selling your assets.
Are You Eligible for Bankruptcy?
To qualify for bankruptcy, it's necessary to meet certain stipulations that vary depending on the type of bankruptcy you're filing for. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the two most common types, each have unique prerequisites.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the "means test" is a critical element. This test serves as an evaluation of your financial situation, specifically your income and debt levels. The means test examines whether your income is below the median income for households of similar size in your state. If it is, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is above the median, additional calculations concerning your debt, income, and expenses will need to be performed to determine if you're eligible. The purpose of this is to assess whether you have enough disposable income to repay some of your unsecured debts.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires the applicant to have a regular source of income, because it is essentially a debt reorganization plan. In this case, you agree to pay off a portion or all of your debt over a specified period, typically three to five years. The amount you're required to repay is determined by your income, expenses, and the types of debt you have. So, a consistent income is crucial to ensure that you can maintain the agreed-upon repayment schedule over time.
The specifics of bankruptcy law can indeed be quite complex and vary from case to case, therefore, obtaining personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer, like myself, is a wise course of action. It's important to fully understand the process, the implications, and the potential impact on your financial future before making any decisions.
How Does the Bankruptcy Process Work?
Filing for bankruptcy starts with completing and filing various documents with the court, along with paying a filing fee. An automatic stay is then issued, stopping creditors from contacting you or trying to collect debts. You’ll need to attend a creditors' meeting and complete a debtor's education course. After this, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets are sold, and the money is used to repay your debts. In Chapter 13, you start your repayment plan.
Reaching Out for Help
Facing debt is stressful and emotionally draining. If you find yourself in such a situation, you don't need to go through it alone. Reach out to a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you take steps toward a brighter financial future. If you’d like to learn more about this, I’d be happy to talk to you about it. Just reach out. I don’t bite, and your consultation is free. Call me today at (805) 307-7713 or contact me online for a free initial strategy session and get the help you deserve.