Sworn in President Hale Antico

Hale Andrew Andrew To Lead CDCBAA, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers

Hale Andrew Andrew To Lead CDCBAA, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers

Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Hale Andrew Antico was named president of one of the nation’s largest groups of bankruptcy lawyers in late 2019. 2021 Update: Attorney Antico was honored to be chosen by some of the top attorneys in Los Angeles to lead this prestigious bankruptcy lawyers’ association for a second term.

The CDCBAA, a group of Southern California bankruptcy attorneys, elevated and swore in Attorney Antico to lead the group at its annual Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner. It’s an honor to be chosen to lead such a talented and dedicated collection of bankruptcy professionals.

Below is Hale Antico’s first president’s message for the CDCBAA‘s January 2020 newsletter.

President’s Message

Happy new year, and allow me the word play of wishing you great “2020 vision.” As incoming President of the CDCBAA, it’s easy to see an organization that is vibrant, successful, and thriving.

This success is due, in large part, to past presidents, including my immediate predecessor, Roksana Moradi-Brovia. As her Vice-President the past two years, I was privileged to see up-close how much Roksana cares about the CDCBAA as evidenced by her contagious passion, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. Roksana will remain on the CDCBAA board of directors, and continue helping provide the excellent programs to which we’ve grown accustomed.

Looking Back

With some recent hindsight, I look back at the success in November of the Calvin Ashland Award Dinner. The CDCBAA Trustee of the Year in 2019 was Howard Ehrenberg. Howard was introduced by a wonderful speech from Peter Anderson, the United States Trustee for Region 16. Howard himself gave an amusing but insightful address, where he highlighted the time-consuming, but often-fruitless search for assets in many offbeat types of cases which Chapter 7 trustees have the duty to perform. Our bankruptcy system relies on a balance of judges, trustees, and attorneys, each important for its smooth operation. Howard’s sense of professional courtesy, compassion, and fairness make him a key member of our community.

The Present

Looking around at the present, we see a bankruptcy landscape where filings remain down overall (28,861 new chapter 7 cases filed in 2019, just above the year prior), continuing a decade-long trend since the Great Recession. The CDCBAA is a valuable community of information-sharing, knowledge, and learning. Members can stay informed with important case decisions, news that affects consumer lawyers (both nationally and locally), and dive deeper in lesser-known areas of our specialty. The slowdown in filings creates an opportunity to invest time in the CDCBAA and to share knowledge with and learn from the community.

Moving Forward

Peering ahead into the future, 2020 is sure to be an exciting year. We are about to kick off the year with the always-popular Ninth Circuit Review of the prior year’s bankruptcy cases, and the James T. King Symposium coming up this summer, with other valuable programs in between. Later this year, we’ll honor a Judge of the Year, and I’m excited to see who this will be. But mostly, I look forward to the CDCBAA keeping a sharp focus on strengthening the bonds between the debtor bar and the judges and trustees, in elevating the practice of bankruptcy law, and keeping our goal of benefiting the consumer debtor who needs our help, truth, and compassion.

Hale Andrew Antico is President of the CDCBAA, and has practiced bankruptcy law in Palmdale and Santa Clarita for over 15 years.

Woman Facing Jail

Woman Facing Jail for Bankruptcy Fraud

A woman in Michigan recently pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Wait, jail? Bankruptcy is just forms, right? Just before filing bankruptcy, she had received a $12,000 workers’ compensation award. She, then made it disappear. After that, she lied about the whole thing. Now she faces five years in prison, $250,000 fine, or both.

When you file bankruptcy, you’re signing a stack of papers under oath. You’ll then be asked, under penalty of perjury, whether they list all your assets, income, and about any recent transfers. The wrong answer, a lie, could land you in jail for bankruptcy fraud.

The sad kicker is this: in California, this likely could’ve been avoided. All she has to do was everything disclosed everything. With a good bankruptcy attorney, it could then properly exempted. She’d be free today, enjoying her discharge and money.

She only had to tell the truth to her bankruptcy lawyer. Then, she needed to be honest in the bankruptcy papers. a good Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney could have exempted the award, and she’d have it to spend when the bankruptcy is over.

By trying to save a few bucks on maybe the best bankruptcy lawyer, she’ll not only lose $12,000, but maybe twenty times that, and her freedom.

Contact me today for a consultation, and let’s guide you to a honest fresh start.

Guide to pick the Best Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney

Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

When you find yourself with debt and trapped, you might find yourself wondering “who is the best bankruptcy attorney near me.” There probably is no one “best bankruptcy attorney” but there are some criteria you can evaluate. Then, maybe you can find who might be the best bankruptcy lawyer for you.

best bankruptcy attorney lawyer

You’re shopping for a bankruptcy lawyer, and while you’d like him or her to be the “best bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles” (or “best bankruptcy lawyer near me” wherever you happen to be), what you really want is someone experienced, skilled, and qualified.

Their lawyer websites can tell you a lot about the person you’re evaluating. Look around them, explore. Read. This is what they put out there to public as their resume, their billboard. They’re expecting you to judge them by their attorney websites. And after that, if one really appeals to you, ask them questions in person.

Between their websites and in-person interviews, try to find out how they stack up with the following factors.

Best Bankruptcy Attorney should know…. bankruptcy

Firstly, when you’re looking for someone that’s the best at something, insist on someone who does it, and only it. So, for your possible bankruptcy filing, insist on a bankruptcy lawyer. And that means someone that does only bankruptcies. You don’t want someone who dabbles.

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” applies here. Bankruptcy is a very specific specialty. There are lots of nuances, and twists and turns. You don’t want a part-timer here. Expect someone who makes their living in this, who is immersed in it.

Some giveaways would be the following. Look at the lawyer web site. Does the lawyer do only bankruptcy cases? Or do they also do dogbites and divorces. Does the website include helpful descriptions that go into detail about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13? Or does it say the lawyer specializes in civil litigation, which means, pretty much, everything.

Is the website URL bankruptcy-specific, or just a law firm name or person’s name? And when you talk to them, ask the question “what percent of your practice the last five years is dedicated to bankruptcy law?” Anything under 75% and you may have a dabbler. Run away!

You should expect the “best bankruptcy attorney” to at least focus on, you know, bankruptcy. And not just when the economy tanks or inflation and interest rates are high.

Their Clients Say So

There are two ways to get a feel for client satisfaction and overall skill and excellence. What clients say about the bankruptcy lawyer as a group, and as individuals.

The bankruptcy attorney has won awards.
best bankruptcy attorney award
Best Bankruptcy Attorney 2017

When searching for the best bankruptcy lawyer, one of the criteria should be they’ve won awards saying they are. Newspapers and magazines regularly ask readers to vote for the “best.” There are lots of attorneys out there. Why not choose the one who’s been voted Best Bankruptcy Attorney. Better yet, choose a bankruptcy lawyer who’s won the award four times! We’ve been honored as Best Bankruptcy Attorney by the largest newspaper in Santa Clarita. Prior to that, we won the honor three times in a row by a different publication. And in 2018, we were nominated as best attorney in a city with over 300,000 people. Not best bankruptcy lawyer, best lawyer, overall, period.

The best bankruptcy lawyer has great Yelp and Avvo reviews

The best bankruptcy attorney should also have happy clients who were pleased with the experience. No one is thrilled about bankruptcy. People generally hate lawyers. People aren’t proud to boast publicly they filed bankruptcy and loved it. So it probably means something special when a lawyer has a 5-star average on Avvo and Yelp.

The Best Bankruptcy Lawyer should be… a Lawyer

Secondly, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it: you’re doing a once-in-a-lifetime professional service. Insist that the person performing it is licensed by your state bar. Don’t cut corners here by saving a few bucks with a bankruptcy paralegal. It can cost you a lot more in the long run if you lose your house, file the wrong chapter, or the case ends up getting dismissed.

There are even lawyer websites that brag about how awesome the paralegal is. You’re not looking for the best unlicensed petition preparer. You’re looking for the best bankruptcy attorney. If the website is touting a paralegal and not the, you know, bankruptcy lawyer, this is a clue this may not be the best bankruptcy lawyer.

Also, beware of paralegals who say they know as much as a lawyer. While this may be true, only an attorney can give legal advice. Even telling you which chapter to file under is legal advice, and the unauthorized practice of law. Do you want a shady unlicensed law practitioner doing your one-and-only bankruptcy? Probably not the best bankruptcy attorney if they’re not a lawyer.

One Price Does Not Fit All

Thirdly, when looking for the best bankruptcy lawyer, you want quality, not to be shoved through a mill. The “best” anything isn’t going to be the lowest price who makes it up on volume. Don’t google “cheap bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles” and expect to find quality. McDonald’s is good, but maybe it’s not the best burger. A bankruptcy lawyer ad for $x99 for anyone and everyone is maybe not the best. Who would bid the same price for something that takes very little work and something that would take a lot?

If someone asked you to rake their yard, would you charge everyone the same price? Or would you maybe want to know a few things about their yard, like if it’s tiny with a pine tree or a huge orchard with maple trees? Bankruptcy law is a tad bit more complicated than raking leaves. There are more than a few things a good bankruptcy lawyer should ask to be in the running for “best bankruptcy lawyer.”

An accurate price means getting to know you

Expect the bankruptcy attorney to want to spend time with you. To get to know you, and your situation. Then, only after he or she understands everything in fairly good detail, they should give you a price. Anyone advertising all comers for the same dirt cheap price is either going to give you a higher price once they got you. Or they’ll treat you like a commodity at the lawyer factory. Either way, maybe not the best bankruptcy attorney. You are not a commodity. Don’t expect a price on the phone, let the bankruptcy lawyer get to know you, and don’t expect to be treated like a burger at a fast-food restaurant. You’re not one-size-fits-all. You’re unique. Expect to be treated that way. You don’t want “cheap bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles” but the best one.

Getting to Know you Means Taking Time

Fourthly, the best bankruptcy attorney should ask questions. As we read above, every situation is different. The bid for an easy job should be different than the one for a hard job. But to know that, any service provider — but especially a bankruptcy attorney — should take the time to ask questions. They need to spend time learning about your assets, your debts, how recently you incurred them, your income, your budget, changes to your income in the past months, gifts and insider payments. And we didn’t even talk about lawsuits, tax refunds, payments you’ve made to friends and family yet. To get to know you means asking questions.

Complete the Intake Questionnaire

Bankruptcy attorneys are famous for having oppressive intake questionnaires that are as heavy as a phone book. You know what, complete it anyway. You’re doing yourself a favor. This is because you should be getting 30 or 60 minutes you’ll be consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer. You don’t want to waste that time with them asking “what is your year make model of your car, and what is the loan and balance and did you intend to keep it.” That and your answer just ate up 5 minutes.

Expect your valuable time spent with them explaining bankruptcy, pros and cons, going over other options, etc. You win by investing the time on the intake papers. We’ve narrowed ours down to 8 pages, unless you want to do it online. I’d rather use our time sharing information and helping you understand things than asking a million questions.

You don’t deserve rushing, but explanations and answers

Explaining things also takes time. Even with the most completed intake form (and if you actually do complete it, you’re my new favorite client), I can explain all your options, pros and cons, bankruptcy both chapters, the means test, and how the process works in no fewer than twenty minutes if I talk fast. And I can talk fast if we’re watching the clock. But truth is I’d rather not rush and explaining everything can easily take 30 minutes, often an hour. I guarantee people leave our consultations with peace of mind, with relief, hope and a good night’s sleep.

If an intake session only takes ten minutes, maybe this isn’t the best bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer guaranteeing you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but didn’t ask about your income? Chances are they’re not the best bankruptcy attorney. When they’re rushing you off the phone because they have 45 other ten-minute calls to get through today, maybe you found a bankruptcy mill, and you deserve better.

They’ve helped lots of people

Fifthly, to be the best bankruptcy attorney, they should have experience. With experience, a bankruptcy lawyer would see all kinds of situations and challenges over time. You don’t want to be your lawyer’s guinea pig.

Yes, we were all new once. All attorneys need someone to trust them as their first client. Maybe that person will be the best bankruptcy lawyer after they’ve helped a thousand or two people. A new attorney, though, almost by definition, isn’t the best… yet.

Ask the attorney how many Chapter 7 cases they’ve done. The answer should have four-digits. If not, they may be a smart person. They may be a good attorney. They may even be a good bankruptcy attorney. But is this person the “best bankruptcy lawyer near me?” Probably not.

Don’t settle for less than a thousand total Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, and at least a hundred Chapter 13 cases when considering the best bankruptcy attorney.

The Best Bankruptcy Lawyer Maybe Doesn’t Have 9 Offices

Look at the law firm’s website. How many offices does it have? If your bankruptcy attorney has multiple offices, it’s a sign that maybe it’s too big to give individual service and attention. Your personal bankruptcy deserves personal service. A law firm in 7 locations is likely a high-volume enterprise.

Where one person does intake. Another person does the signing. A third person will be at your 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. Which one is your bankruptcy attorney? They all are, and none of them is. The massive law firm is. And you deserve better. A law firm small enough to have one or maybe two attorneys in one office, maybe two. Where your attorney is your attorney, and they know you, your situation, your circumstances.

They Should Be There For You

And most importantly, demand that the same person you bonded with at the consultation and signing will be there for you when you’re giving your sworn testimony… not busy chasing down the next client with the next rushed ten-minute phone call.

The Best Bankruptcy Lawyer Should Explain Things Well

So far, we’ve established that someone who is the best bankruptcy should do only bankruptcy, and not be a dabbler. That they should be big enough to have done lots of cases, but small enough that they’re going to take time with you. That they should get to know you before giving a price. And take the time to get to know you, and explain things.

But none of that is any good if they can’t explain things well, in a way that makes sense to you. So, the best bankruptcy attorney should be able to explain things to you in a way that you understand. Bankruptcy is a mysterious field of the law, not well understood by many. You want a bankruptcy lawyer who can explain things to you in a way that connects with you, in simple terms with analogies. I wrote this website for that very purpose.

READ MORE: See how I put bankruptcy information in simple terms

With Feeling

Bankruptcy is also a very gut-wrenching and emotional decision.

You want a bankruptcy attorney who listens to you, your feelings, and can empathize with you. Some attorneys judge people, making them feel like criminals. Their personalities are cold and unfeeling. Others put their heart and soul into helping people. When you interview your potential bankruptcy lawyer, can you feel their compassion and caring? If so, you may have found maybe not the “best bankruptcy attorney,” but the best bankruptcy attorney for you.

Involved in the Legal Community

Can we agree that for someone to be the best bankruptcy lawyer that they’re involved in the legal community? Not just staying on top of their continuing legal education credits; we all must do that. Volunteering to improve the profession. Serving on boards of directors. Volunteering their time to serve other lawyers in professional organizations. Providing feedback and time working with judges and trustees on committees. Ask your potential bankruptcy attorney about what organizations they aren’t just members of, but serve in as an officer or some other capacity. It’s certainly possible to be a good bankruptcy attorney without that. However, volunteering time to improve the bankruptcy profession may be a sign of someone who is better, maybe best.

Go With Success

Finally, the best bankruptcy attorney should be experienced, but should have accomplishments under his or her belt. One accomplishment is having neighbors in their community vote them, literally, “best bankruptcy attorney.” But if a lawyer were fortunate to have that happen, that’s probably a good indication they’re the best bankruptcy attorney. And Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Hale Antico has been blessed to have been voted Best Bankruptcy Attorney four times, the most recent in 2017.

Further, how does the bankruptcy lawyer compare against their peers? Are there actual statistics that measure lawyers in cold hard numbers? It turns out, there are. A bankruptcy judge in the district in which Los Angeles sits ran the numbers on successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. The judge found the following:

Consumer bankruptcy filers under Chapter 13 in his division without an attorney succeeded 0% of the time.

Folks who filed Ch 13 bankruptcy petitions in the entire Central District of California (where Los Angeles is)with an attorney succeeded in only 3% of cases.

Nationally, the success rate of Chapter 13s is better, but still 33%.

But Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Hale Antico filed Chapter 13 case during the most recent busy period in which 59% were successful. That’s double national average, and twenty times the average in the Los Angeles area. Cold hard numbers can tell you how an attorney compares to their peers, and if they’re better, or the best bankruptcy lawyer.

The Best Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Summing up, when researching bankruptcy lawyers, find someone who does only bankruptcy, but doesn’t do so many of them that they’re part of a bankruptcy mill. Someone who is a bankruptcy lawyer, but also a bankruptcy lawyer. Stay away from fixed prices: you’re a person seeking a legal professional, not a carpet cleaner. Someone not part of a lawyer factory with tons of locations. Someone who gives personalized attention, and will be at your hearing. They can explain things in ways that connect with you. They take the time to learn your situation and explain things at the consultation. And where they have a track record of success.

Thanks for reading. Use this as a guide when you read lawyers’ websites and interview people to be your bankruptcy attorney. And while I don’t presume that I’m the best bankruptcy lawyer, I’m hopeful that perhaps I’m the best bankruptcy attorney… for you.

    credit after bankruptcy

    Study: Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge is Likely

    Study: Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge is Likely

    A bankruptcy study recently debunked a myth. You know the one, that bankruptcy will ruin your credit forever. Last week, LendingTree, the largest online lender, released study results about credit after bankruptcy discharge. It followed people after their case was completed. This is consistent with my article asserting that there is indeed credit after bankruptcy discharge.

    READ MORE: How to Build Credit after bankruptcy

    credit after bankruptcy
    Yes, Virginia, there is credit after bankruptcy.

    The researchers learned that a credit score of 640 or more was achievable after bankruptcy:

    • one year after bankruptcy for 43 percent of borrowers
    • two years after bankruptcy for 65 percent of borrowers

    In fact, the researchers concluded:

    People recovering from a bankruptcy are in a similar position to anyone who needs to repair their credit standings. The study finds no indication that people in the aftermath of a bankruptcy will have a harder time accessing credit than their peers who did not file for bankruptcy (except for potential mortgage loan embargos caused by the Fannie Mae policy discussed above). Some people may even find themselves in a much better position to recover, thanks to a reset of their debt-to-income ratios.

    See alsoLendingTree’s pointers for how to rebuild credit after bankruptcy discharge. This validates everything we’ve been teaching people, and shows that even if you feel trapped by bad credit, a bankruptcy can provide the fresh start you need.

    bankruptcy debt limits

    Is There a Debt Limit to Chapter 7

    Is there a debt limit to Chapter 7?

    One question people ask is, “How much do you have to be in debt to file Chapter 7.” Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no debt limit to Chapter 7. It just becomes a matter of practicality. There are financial benefits to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but these must be weighed against the costs, monetary and otherwise..

    Too little debt for Chapter 7

    The Bankruptcy Code has no lower limit to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7. The only limit is common sense. One the one hand, if you owed someone a dollar, and the Chapter 7 filing fee is $335, most people would just pay the dollar. No brainer. Another example: if you owed someone $1000, the debt is greater than the filing fee, but now there are other costs you’d weigh, like the hit on your credit. Is it worth it to discharge $1,000 of debt but have a bankruptcy on your credit report? Most would say no. Each individual weighs their own personal limit line differently. Many people would agree that $20,000 or $30,000 of debt is a lot to ditch in a bankruptcy discharge. A debt amount that high may outweigh the cost of the bankruptcy filing fee, paying a bankruptcy attorney, and the credit report ding. While there’s no debt limit to Chapter 7, we bankruptcy lawyers do see a typical range of debt.

    Too much debt for Chapter 7?

    On the other hand, there’s nothing written in the law that has a specific dollar amount that becomes too much debt to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (note: this is in contrast to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which has a maximum debt limit set by law in 11 USC 109(e), which periodically adjusts, so check current chapter 13 debt limits).

    There are other factors though that can stop a bankruptcy with too much debt. Firstly, the government looks at whether the debt was obtained in good faith. If someone unemployed for years has $250,000 of credit card debt, were they really intending to pay it back? Secondly, they look at the nature of the debts: were they luxuries like travel? Another factor is if the debts or discharge was obtained by fraud. Too much debt is situation specific. It may make sense for a business owner to have a lot of debt, but maybe not so much for a retired grandma.

    Summing up the Debt Limit for Chapter 7

    In short, there is no debt limit to file Chapter 7. Common sense factors would make it not worthwhile to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy for some. There is an upper limit that will get you on the trustee’s radar, though it’s not sure exactly what that number is. Like most things, if it’s reasonable it should work, though your mileage may vary.

    modern debtors prison

    Modern Debtors’ Prison: Why We Need Student Loan Reform Now

    Modern Debtors’ Prison

    Why We Need Student Loan Reform Now

    2022 update: The Biden administration recently announced a process to ease up student loan forgiveness in bankruptcy. There’s a student loan bankruptcy bill active in the Senate which would provide student loan forgiveness, and meaningful student loan reform.

    A long time ago, in the days of Charles Dickens and chimney sweeps, people were incarcerated until they satisfied their debts. These debtors’ prisons resulted in a Catch-22. You can’t get out of jail until you paid your debts. And you can’t pay your debts until you get out of jail. There’s now a new modern debtors’ prison.

    The New York Times recently had a piece describing a new program to enforce debt. If someone falls behind on their student loan payments, they can lose their professional license and their job. Without income, this guarantees only one thing: debtors for sure won’t be able to pay their student loans.

    [I]n 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work.

    Student Loans are the Problem, not Debtors

    debtors prison
    We’ll set you free once you pay your debt.

    It’s bad enough that student loans are the second highest kind of household debt, after mortgages. There are a lot of reasons for this. Firstly, the federal government subsidizes the Big School industry. The government encourages high tuition costs by guaranteeing them with programs like Direct Loans. If payments aren’t made, Uncle Sam can seize a tax refund, bank accounts, garnish wages, and seize other assets. And bankruptcy court isn’t a safe haven for the graduate with unaffordable student loans, as education debt isn’t dischargeable.

    Big Education is an Overpriced Service Churning Out Poor Product


    Because tuition costs are subsidized by government and a loan industry, there are disincentives for schools to compete in the open market. Let’s face it, if you knew you could sell a glass of lemonade for $1000, that you could get people to go into hock for it, and get Uncle Sam to use his muscle to help collect, why would you ever settle for only get 25 cents a glass? Especially if your competition had the same guarantees?

    Colleges are not encouraged to compete with each other in the market to be the most affordable. Since there’re no market forces in play. The average student leaves school owing almost $40,000. Schools get the tuition paid from the government. The government can get it from you. As a result, very few can pay their way through school. Over 70% of graduates leave college with debt, starting their new career with a burden on their back.

    More Competition for Jobs

    Because everyone is encouraged to go to college, standards for getting into college are getting lower. Schools have an incentive to admit as many people as possible. Students are sold a bill of goods and pot of gold on the other side of graduation. As a result, more and more people are getting into college, leading to more competition for jobs once they graduate.

    The Student Loan Bubble

    Consequently, there is a student loan bubble, or student loan crisis. More and more graduates are in the job market leading to a saturation, some settling for lower-paying jobs, causing more and more unable to pay for their student loans.

    The schools aren’t lowering the costs; why should they? Universities win, because they can charge whatever they want, independent of market forces. The government wins because it knows it can collect this debt because the graduate can’t ever escape from it.

    The optimistic incoming student isn’t comparing costs as much as they look at school prestige, or maybe how well-known its sports programs are. They think they win. That is, until they graduate. Then they realize that maybe they can’t find a good-paying job as easily as hoped, or the job they could find pays much less than needed to make ends meet.

    Faced with a choice between paying the student loan or paying rent and food, they choose the necessities. So they let the student loans go.

    A solution is to reduce the payments for the student loans, and (cut future tuition costs). Another idea is to get the government out of student loan business. Yet another fix is to do all they can to bring the wayward sheep back into the fold. To increase forgiveness programs that waive interest and penalties to get the student loan out of default.

    We Need Bankruptcy Reform on Student Loan Debt

    Under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code, student loan debt is not discharged in bankruptcy. There are rare instances where it can be discharged, but the exception is so narrow as to hardly exist. “Undue hardship” requires a showing that the debtor is mostly dead, and even that isn’t always good enough.

    We need student loan reform of the bankruptcy code. Student debt reform is needed in bankruptcy so that more people can discharge their school debt. What good is bankruptcy to the consumer debtor is the second largest form of debt is untouched by bankruptcy? Lower the bar a bit, so that after, say, five years after graduation if the student isn’t earning the median income, the schools don’t get paid the tuition. Imagine what that would do to admission rates.

    License-Pulling Makes Repayment Less Likely, Not More

    The government should be enacting change that makes it more likely the defaulting graduate can pay their student loans. It should not cutting the source of income. We’re through the looking glass to believe that if you don’t pay your bills we’ll take away your job so you can’t pay your bills. The license-pulling job-killing measure that’s spreading only ensures the jobless graduate earns less income. It makes it more likely they’re dependent on government programs. Finally, it puts defaulting graduates in a modern debtors’ prison that says they’ll get their license to earn money back as soon as they give enough money to pay their debt.

    save home

    Chapter 13 can Stop House Foreclosure

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy can Stop House Foreclosure

    Save your Home and Catch up on the Mortgage

    by Hale Andrew Antico, Esq.

    In August 2005, just before the bankruptcy laws changed, I wrote in this space that there was a perfect storm brewing for the average consumer. Since then, the bankruptcy laws have changes (in the name of reform), and indeed, it is harder — but not impossible — to get a fresh start.

    One area where we can get into debt trouble and feel a financial squeeze is with regard to mortgage payments. The past few years, property values have been soaring here in Southern California. This has led to many people to refinance their homes and take “cash out” — in essence using their house as an ATM. The result of this is that it leads to less equity and a higher mortgage payment.

    What happens if these homes with tapped out equity drop in value? We’re conditioned to believe that property values only go up Up UP! in Southern California. However, in 1989-1991, the real estate market peaked, leading to dropping property values. The result is that many people were “upside down” in their homes, meaning that that they owed more than it was worth. We expect this from a car loan since a car almost always depreciates faster than we can pay it off. But with a house? Yikes.

    Some experts believe that history may be repeating itself. Recently, economics experts are looking at reliable benchmarks like Price-to-Income Ratios and Price-to-Rent ratios and noting that home value are much higher than normal levels. Even houses in your neighborhood are no longer selling within the same week they’re listed with someone offering $10,000 over the listing price. Instead, we’re seeing “Reduced!” signs nailed onto those For Sale signs, and reading advice like that in theLos Angeles Daily Newssuggesting that you list your home in the lower 25% as related to the comparable homes in the neighborhood. Is there a real estate bubble which will shortly burst, or is the housing market temporarily resting before it continues upwards and onwards? No one knows for sure.

    If you find yourself in the awful situation where you fall one or two payments behind on the mortgage, there is still hope to stop foreclosure. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the solution. This option allows you to get some “breathing room,” stop the collection calls and headaches, and even stop a foreclosure. People can fall a few months behind, they want to catch up but the lender won’t accept anything but a massive lump sum payment that the troubled homeowner doesn’t have. A Chapter 13 case can allow you to catch your breath as you demonstrate how you will catch up on your past due mortgage payments, but on a schedule you can actually stick to and afford. This very helpful type of bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your debt and save your house in Southern California and stop foreclosure.

    Even for people who don’t have a home, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide a light at the end of the tunnel. It can provide a way to pay what you can afford, and in return, stop lawsuits, wage garnishments, collection headaches and yes, even foreclosures. And then, yes, you can be debt-free in three or five years. That time will tick off the calendar either way… why not be out of debt in that span?

    So, just because you’re a payment or three behind on that car or home and don’t think you can stop the house foreclosure, don’t lose faith. There is a way to get some space and time to catch your breath. You can be out of debt and most importantly, save your home. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. We don’t intend for things to work out the way they do. But when “life happens” and there is an unanticipated debt problem, when you’re ready to solve it then a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be the solution to your problem.


    Hale Andrew Antico (aka Attorney Antico) is an attorney who specializes in consumer finance.

    Rebuilding credit after bankruptcy

    Credit After Bankruptcy | How to Rebuild

    Credit After Bankruptcy

    “Will I be able to establish credit after bankruptcy?” The short answer is, “Yes!” Often much higher than it is now. The slightly longer answer is: it helps to understand how they calculate credit scores, and the relationship between bankruptcy and credit.

    Credit Scores, or What We Guess is in the FICO score secret sauce

    No one knows for sure how they compute FICO scores. It’s kind of like the secret formula for Coca-Cola or the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices. However, some educated guesses include the following factors, assigned mysterious weights:

    • available credit
    • percentage of available credit used or maxed out
    • recent performance – are you current lately
    • payment history overall
    • length of credit history
    • new accounts

    So it’s possible that you were outstanding and current for years (history), but if you’ve been wobbly the last 12 months (recent), your score goes down. Plus your credit utilization gets higher as you get more and more maxed out and approach your credit limit.

    Now look at the flip side of that coin: A bankruptcy this year would hurt the score (recent negative mark). However, what you do next year and the year after help put the bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror and are more recent. So bankruptcy and credit are intertwined, yes, but paying on time the credit after bankruptcy will have a greater impact on the future than the bankruptcy itself.

    The Credit Report Hit

    Yes, your credit report will contain a bankruptcy, and that will be bad. And it will be reported for ten years after filing. The good news is, that is shorter after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge.

    It is largely a myth that a scarlet “B” on your credit report will prevent you from ever getting credit again. This myth is largely perpetuated by credit card companies. Yes, the same companies that helped lure you into credit card debt by constantly drumming into your head that it was good to spend money and buy things; extend to you a higher credit limit; tell you that you are “pre-approved”; give you checks for thousands of dollars to turn into cash immediately; and that you can transfer balances to them with a low introductory interest rate. The lie is that bankruptcy means that you won’t get credit again.

    Bankruptcy and Credit: They Want You Back

    The truth is just the opposite. We live in a capitalist society. There are too many companies in business to make a profit. And yes, you can help them make that profit. This win-win situation is how you re-establish credit after bankruptcy.

    The Gouge

    Firstly, realize that you can help them make a profit. With a bankruptcy on your credit report — even a new one — one thing happens immediately that makes you more attractive to a prospective lender: you suddenly have no debt. With no debt, you are all of a sudden in a position to repay the next debt you get. The same cannot be said if you have a mountain of debt before bankruptcy.

    You’ve Used Your ‘Get out of Jail Free Card’

    Secondly, after a bankruptcy, you are a lower risk, since you cannot file bankruptcy immediately again. Typically, you need to wait eight years after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to file another one. The lenders know this, and know that if they lend to you after a bankruptcy, that you will be around for at least five or six years. This is time that they will make their profit. And again, this is what they are in business to do.

    credit after bankruptcy
    You can only file Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years.

    How, though? How do you help them make a profit? It’s all in the mix, part of the process of your re-establishing credit with your new fresh start.

    For starters, acknowledge that you will be paying extra money to get a new start with your credit. This is ok, though. Remember, they are taking a risk on you. All they know about you is that you just wiped away a bunch of debt from companies just like them. They’re a little skittish, so for comfort, you will pay for the privilege of starting over. This will show up in the form of: monthly charges, application fees, and, of course, higher interest rates.

    Accept Some (Not All) Offers

    Additionally, accept some offers. Not too many. Just a few. Yes, there will indeed be offers. You’ll be surprised to find that you will get offered credit cards not long after your bankruptcy discharge. Higher interest rates and maybe even a security (ie: your own cash which you’ll be charging against) may be part of the bargain, but this is how the process starts. You’re a blank slate on paper. All they know about you is that you just wiped the slate clean. Let them have their reassurances (but reasonably, of course).

    (Surprisingly, it will be easier to buy a car within the first year after you file BK, and you can qualify for a mortgage after bankruptcy one year after the discharge — two years after, you will be eligible for a mortgage at the lowest and best interest rates. If you doubt this, call a few mortgage brokers and ask them.)

    Use Credit After Bankruptcy Responsibly

    After that, use these credit cards, but in moderation. Use them not because you have to, but because they are credit-rebuilding tools. Just a few purchases a month, and certainly not anywhere near your new (lower) credit limit. You’re using them. They’re using you.

    Pay Them On Time

    Lastly, make your monthly payments. Here is the kicker, though: don’t pay them off each month. Normally, sound financial advice would tell you to do just the opposite, and that is true for managing your finances and keeping spending under control. You’re not doing that. You are rebuilding your credit. Remember, these companies are gambling on you because they get to charge you more interest rates. So, give them their interest rates.

    Let them Profit Off You, But Just for a While

    Give them their profit. How? By going in a spend-and-pay cycle. Pay your credit cards off in full every two months. One month of interest charges to carry over, and the next month back down to a zero balance. This is the dirty secret of how you rebuild credit. Paying it off in full every month doesn’t help Providian or whoever took a chance on you. Give them their reward, and you’ll see your credit limit start increasing. And naturally, you will keep your spending in control. Use your new credit card not because you have to, but because you want to. It’s merely a credit-rebuilding tool, nothing more.

    You’ve seen how companies are in the business of making money, and you can help them make money and benefit personally at the same time. You can establish and rebuild your credit after bankruptcy discharge. There is a way to spend and pay with the new credit card that helps them and helps you. Most importantly, it should be obvious by now that there is credit after bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is not for everyone, it may give you the fresh start you need. Fear of not having credit in the years ahead should not be a reason that stops you from doing what will help you and your family get the peace of mind you deserve.

    READ MORE: LendingTree Study Shows People Improve their Credit After Bankruptcy

    Contact us now to set up a consultation!

    should i file bankruptcy

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

    Should I File Bankruptcy?

    Whether to File Bankruptcy – Do Not Feel Guilty

    You didn’t choose this path, but here you are. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We have plans and they sometimes don’t work out. You never thought you’d be asking yourself, “Should I file bankruptcy?” No one does. But you’ve tried other options and they’re not working. So now you’re searching, researching, hoping. And that’s what bankruptcy is about: new life, relief, starting over, hope.

    It’s Not Your Fault

    Events are swirling around you, the ocean we all swim in has turmoil all around us.

    • Gas prices are higher.
    • Dangers from recession
    • Inflation is at record levels
    • Housing prices are dropping
    • Stockholders and 401k owners hurt by recent stock market “corrections”
    • Global COVID pandemic affecting jobs, businesses, and pay
    • Uncertainty about war and trade.
    • The credit crunchis in full swing.

    All of this is not your fault.

    Life Happens

    On top of this, we all have individual surprises. Some can be good, but many can be disastrous financially. Every person that reaches out to me had something unexpected happen in their life. Something they didn’t plan for. No way to see it coming. It can be any number of things:

    • Pay Cut
    • Medical Emergency or Sickness
    • Law Suit
    • Divorce
    • A Failed Business
    • Job Loss
    • Accident

    Just one of these things is enough to put people behind. This Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney has seen situations where 3 of these happened to the same person at once. No one can plan for this. You didn’t plan for it.

    But it happened. If you’re lucky, you had savings before the disaster. But then you drain the savings, maybe even empty your retirement, as you hope things turn around tomorrow, next week, next month. But life doesn’t turn the corner. And along with your savings getting emptied, your hope gets drained with it.

    Things are swirling out of control, you feel powerless, caught in an ocean, bobbing with the tide, trying to keep your head above water.

    Swallowing your pride, you ask, should I file bankruptcy?

    Credit Cards Are Not Blameless

    The big credit cards are not innocent victims here, for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, since you were a tiny tike, the marketing companies have been trying to get you to buy into neighbor Jones’ dream. Be like Barbie. Get whatever you wanted. Go for it. If you didn’t have the cash, “charge it.” Older generations saved for things. Now, we’re just told to get what we want. Delayed gratification is for suckers.

    Secondly, we’re bombarded by messages from the credit card companies. We have famous celebrities asking us, “What’s in our wallet?” Do you think Samuel L Jackson is helping the credit cards for free? Of course not. Because Capital One knows we will trust a Jedi Knight urging us to carry a logo and charge to it.

    We have clients who were making over $100,000 last year and live in homes worth over half-million dollars. Then again, we have an 18 year old who started out in life with $35,000.00 in debt (thanks a lot, Master Card, Visa and Amex) due to “free” credit cards. Who gives an 18 year old a $5,000.00 credit line? The irresponsible credit card companies.

    The Credit Card / Debt Trap

    Thirdly, credit card companies have been enticing — pleading — for you to charge up at 23% (some 28.99%) for years. How many “account balance” transfer offers have your received? How many new extensions of credit card debt have you gotten? Here’s the trap: after you have established a decent payment history with a credit card company,they increase your credit limit. “Congratulations,” they say. Now that you have more credit, go out and spend it. Here are some additional checks that are as good as money. Spend away. They willkeep upping that credit limituntil you can barely make the minimum payment. When this happens (and it happens to a lot more people than you think), they own you.

    If you pay only the minimum payment on your Mastercard or Visa,you’ll be paying the minimum payments on that debt for 35 yearsor more. Is it any wonder people are stuck in this minimum payment trap? This is their game. It’s rigged against you. That you and millions of Americans struggle to pay minimum payments each month is not an accident.

    Don’t feel any shame. It’s time to take back control.

    Yes, but Should I File Bankruptcy?

    A lot of people ask should I file bankruptcy. Maybe. It’s an option. It may not feel like it, but you have choices at your feet. Granted, none of them is perfect. Each has its own drawbacks. But each also has it advantages.

    My goal is to help people. And the best way to help people is to empower them, inform them, let them know their choices. One of these choices is a bankruptcy. It’s certainly not your only option. My heart is to teach you about it, then we can discuss it. That’s why I’ve taken the time to write all the bankruptcy information on this lawyer website.

    Then, when we talk, I don’t try to “sell” or push this or any option. We’ll do this if and only if we both think this is what’s best for you. But it’s only worthwhile to me if it’s something that will truly benefit you. I don’t know that until I see the circumstances, we talk, and we’ve met.

    No website can answer “should I file bankruptcy” and even a lawyer can’t without knowing all about your unique situation. But after we’ve spoken, after I’ve explained your options, if you ask me then should I file bankruptcy, I’ll tell you my honest opinion about whether it would be best for you.

    Should I File Bankruptcy?
    Should I File Bankruptcy? Take back control from credit card debt

    The Thing Credit Card Companies Fear

    The only thing thecredit card companies fearis the United States Bankruptcy Code and a bankruptcy attorney. That is why, in 2005, credit cards lobbied Congress to the tune of over $100,000,000 in so-called bankruptcy reform to get the bankruptcy laws changed to protect the credit card companies from you. They made it harder to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7, forcing more people to repay debt. If you are considering bankruptcy, the bankruptcy lawyers at Los Angeles Bankruptcy offer a helpful consultation to help you come to terms with your financial future. We understand.

    Take control, and feel no shame.

    You cannot control the economy, you cannot control pie-in-the-sky investors, and you cannot control voodoo accountants at multinational corporations or subprime loans or anything going on in Washington DC or Wall Street. But you can take control of your own financial situation back by contacting a bankruptcy lawyer.

    A Fresh Start

    Bankruptcy is about starting over and getting a fresh start. If you file bankruptcy, will get back in control of your financial future. Do not feel any shame for considering bankruptcy. In today’s economy, many people, from all walks of life, are in your situation.

    Credit Card Debt Management and Consolidation Services

    With Debt Consolidation Companies You Lose Control

    Credit card counseling and debt management services – it doesn’t work, in our experience. Numerous clients have come to us after using a debt management company like CCC and their ilk. Recognize “nonprofit” organizations like CCCS arefunded by the credit card companies– are they on your side? No. Further, some counseling services require you to give them your paycheck. They take their fee, pay the credit card companies a payment, and then give you a monthly stipend. Don’t do this.Take control.

    Learn more of the frustrating side about consumer credit counseling services.

    Take Control of your Financial Future

    Don’t lose control of your financial future to debt consolidation companies. Did you know this: firstly, if you breach your contract with a debt management or consolidation company (aka credit counseling), you lose all the benefits you have gained – penalties and interest all gets put back. Secondly, the CCCS or DebtFreedomCryingEagle company doesn’t protect your credit but report negatively against your credit report as Debt Consolidation Service or Credit Management… anegative entrythat tells creditors that you are a bad credit risk. Finally, and most importantly, debt managementdoes not stop credit card lawsuits.

    Consumer bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy attorneys and lawyers are about empowering you. Don’t let someone else control you.

    Consumer Bankruptcy

    Consumer bankruptcy comes in two flavors: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. There’s a big article I wrote if you follow the links below, but here I’ll just give a quick summary.

    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is where you can’t pay your debts because you don’t have cash flow. It’s relatively quick. However, you can lose things if you have valuable assets. If you qualify here, you force the creditors to get nothing more. You’ve paid them enough! File bankruptcy, and you will likely keep your home and your car (if current) under the current state of the law (these are called California bankruptcy exemptions). But you’ll want to have a skilled bankruptcy attorney to help so youdon’t lose anything. Read more aboutChapter 7 Bankruptcy, with regard to liquidation.

    Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

    Chapter 13 Wage Earner Bankruptcy is all about forcing creditors to take payments based upon whatever you can afford, pending a bankruptcy trustee’s and bankruptcy judge’s approval. Filing bankruptcy under Chapter 13forces creditors to settleup for dimes on the dollar. Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcy applies when your income exceeds your monthly expense to some extent such that you are able repay some portion of the debt back. Once again, recognize a Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcy puts youback in control. Learn and read more aboutChapter 13 Bankruptcy.

    Do I need a Bankruptcy Lawyer to File Bankruptcy?

    Of course, you arefreetofile bankruptcyon your own. That is your right. Beware the lure of thinking that because you can do your own taxes, you can do your own bankruptcy forms. Thereare many legal decisions to make just in the listing of your assets. Which value do I list? (The amount paid? Current value? Garage sale?) Do I need to list every CD and DVD I own? And this doesn’t even get into the topic of bankruptcy exemptions and protecting your assets. Let alone the complicatedMeans Test for Chapter 7! Making a wrong move could cost you possession of your goods and property. It really does pay to hire a bankruptcy lawyer.

    Getting Credit After Bankruptcy

    Will I get credit offers after my BK ?Youwillgetcredit after bankruptcy. This is anew beginning, and a fresh start. Some clients have been very concerned about the state of their credit after filing bankruptcy. It is a fact: a bankruptcy entry will appear on your credit report for 10 years following the discharge. This does not mean that you will not get a credit card, buy a home, or car for 10 years.

    Far from it; remember: creditors want you to borrow. Shortly after your bankruptcy discharge, we can almost promise that you will receive a credit card offer to help you get back on your feet (possibly from Providian). The fact is, you no longer have the majority of your debt; you have an ability to repay (income is freed up), and you can’t declare bankruptcy (Chapter 7) again for eight years. Further, the probability of a consumer declaring bankruptcy a second time in their lifetime is low (it does happen, but after most people do it once, they change their habits).

    Mortgage After Bankruptcy

    Can I Buy A House or Car After I File Bankruptcy?Yes! Youcanbuy a house after bankruptcy. A home loan is up to the discretion of the lender, obviously. However, many of them want your business. They may charge you a higher interest rate or points on your loan, but it certainlyis possible to get a loanfor a house after bankruptcy. How long? Figure on waiting two years: the bankruptcy will still be there on your record, but it will be a diminished factor which they consider. We work with mortgage lenders we can direct you to which will help you into your next home. So yes, you can and will get a mortgage after you file bankruptcy. You will get a fresh start.

    Read more about Credit After Bankruptcy

    The Caring Bankruptcy Attorneys Here Understand

    Los Angeles Bankruptcy offers ahelpful bankruptcy consultation. We are here to help youtake back controlof your financial future.