Tag: deciding

steps to filing bankruptcy in California

Essential 11 Steps to Filing Bankruptcy in California

Essential 11 Steps to Filing Bankruptcy in California

Step-by-Step Guide for filing bankruptcy in California, from a trusted Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer

Here are 11 steps to filing bankruptcy in California. I’m Hale Andrew Antico, an established Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney, and have helped thousands of people in Southern California get a fresh start by filing bankruptcy for the past twenty years.  You really should at least meet with an attorney for a once-in-a-lifetime process with serious consequences. As an introduction to how all this works, here is a step-by-step guide to file bankruptcy in California in 2023, with 11 steps to file.

A quick note and disclaimer: This isn’t intended to be complete, as there are unexpected twists and turns in every case. As much as I like helping people (which is why I share all this info with the public), this creates no attorney-client relationship, and there will be no response to questions. That’s like calling and asking a mechanic how to change a transmission.

Warning symbol
Bankruptcy isn’t “just forms,” and can result in losing your property, lawsuits, and where hiding things, jail.

People think bankruptcy is “just forms” but how to complete them, or even whether to do this at all, is an art.  That’s where all the magic is. Our wisdom, knowledge, and experience is why you’d hire a bankruptcy attorney. Information and knowledge is our service, and our value.

Bad things can happen in a bankruptcy, and once a 7 is filed, there’s no backing out. If you’re going to start down this road of doing it yourself, I’m afraid you’re doing it yourself. Before you do anything, meet with an attorney, and let one of us be your guide.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!

1. Understand why you are filing bankruptcy

Why are you doing this? The answer may seem apparent: “I can’t afford my debt, Captain Obvious.” But why can’t you afford your debt?

Is it because you have no income and can’t afford rent or to eat? If so, you have bigger problems than credit card bills.

Is the reason you’re in debt because you spend more for basic living expenses than money that is coming in each month, using credit cards to cover the shortfall?  Maybe it’s due to lavishing goodies and toys on the grandchildren? Or financing that vehicle or luxury that you really want but don’t need?

If the issue that got you here is ongoing, removing the debt is just treating the symptom. You need to attack the cause of spending more than the income provides. Otherwise, after bankruptcy, you’ll just be in debt again, this time unable to file again for a while.

Or is it because there was an unexpected hardship (divorce, job loss, illness, etc), and this caused you to fall behind. The event is behind you now, and you’re trying to pick up the pieces and fix the mess now?

You can’t fix a problem unless you understand what is causing it. It’s really important to understand what the real problem is, and address that squarely.  It’s quite possible that debt isn’t the true issue, and removing the debt would be like bailing water out of a sinking boat. Step one: plug the leak and fix the problem. Step two: then… ditch the water (or debt).

2. Review your options and bankruptcy alternatives to avoid bankruptcy, and risks of filing

The next step is deciding, “should I file bankruptcy?” Of course, people want to avoid bankruptcy, which is understandable. It should really be a last resort. As a bankruptcy lawyer, I’m always looking for bankruptcy alternatives, solutions and options for my potential clients to help them avoid filing bankruptcy.

steps to bankruptcy, in a fancy home that can probably afford them
The steps to bankruptcy may be straightforward, but sometimes life throws us a curve.

You can consider many of these options on your own (negotiate and settle debts, make payments, etc). This is where it helps to have an outside opinion from a trusted professional. First, you are swirling in the middle of the situation, and don’t see it objectively as a professional would, detached and with perspective from the 10,000-foot view.

Second, understandably, there are emotions involved, be they guilt, anger, avoidance, sadness, or something else, and this can affect judgment and decision-making.

Third, a professional who focuses on this specialty can help you review options, knowledgeably with experience, and in an objective and compassionate manner.

At the very least, consider your options, and pros and cons of each one.  Bankruptcy isn’t perfect, and has risks, dangers, and downsides. Sure, a good knowledge of exemptions can allow you to keep things (and I’ve written many articles about California exemptions).

It really does make sense to go over your options with a trusted professional (and if you’re in Los Angeles county or the surrounding areas, schedule time with me). We can see issues you may not have even thought about. Can you make the decision on your own? Of course. Like surgery, just because you can do something yourself, doesn’t mean that you should.

3. Once decided, prepare, download software, gather documents

Once you’ve decided you’re going to file bankruptcy, you’re going to need to get your ducks in a row.  Before you do anything, look at my list of 12 crucial tips for people preparing to file bankruptcy. These are the things that bankruptcy attorneys wish their clients did or knew beforehand (like avoiding transfers), and I’m sharing them with you.

Do research. Read bankruptcy FAQs. Soak up all the information on this website, including my ultimate guide for filing Chapter 7.

Next, you’re going to need a couple of tools and documents ready and at your disposal.

Download a PDF app for your phone or scanning app for your computer. There are a million of them, and they mostly do the same thing. But you will need to learn how to create PDFs; in 2023 PDF is the standard for sending a document. And if filing bankruptcy, you will be sending documents, either to your bankruptcy lawyer (which you should totally have), or to the bankruptcy trustee.

Download and install Zoom to your computer or phone. It’ll help if you arrange for a Zoom consultation, but will be necessary for your 341a Meeting of Creditors.

Also go to your bank and download your most recent six months of bank statements. These will typically already be in PDF format.

Get your most recent 6 or 7 months of paystubs or proof of other income. Make sure the pay stubs show all your deductions and how much is going to taxes, Social Security, retirement loans, and so on.

Download a credit report or three. You can get a free credit report yourself, and again, it should save as a PDF (see a trend yet?).

Get ready your last two years of tax returns in PDF format, both state and federal. Didn’t file because you’ll owe? File your tax returns anyway so you can say you’ve filed for at least the last four years, and learn what the tax debt is. Taxes generally aren’t dischargeable, but the tax debt can be dealt with in a Chapter 13.

There are other things that will likely crop up, but this is a good start.

4. Download the bankruptcy forms from the California bankruptcy court website and complete the Chapter 7 means test

The bankruptcy means test tells whether you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13. After you’ve downloaded the form for the Chapter 7 means test, with median income numbers, and you’ll find out if it would be a presumption of abuse to file as a 7. As with the disclaimer above, it’s beyond the scope of this article to explain how to complete this form, or any other bankruptcy-related document.

You’ve got the supporting documents ready, so now it’s time to get the forms. Go to your local bankruptcy court website for your state, and download the bankruptcy forms for the appropriate chapter you’re filing (this link is for the Central District of California, where we mostly practice).

Bankruptcy is a federal system, which stems from the Constitution, so bankruptcy forms are generally uniform across the nation. However, each area is allowed to add a form requirement, or make small tweaks to an existing one. This is a local bankruptcy form, and of course, they’re different all over. For example, the Los Angeles-area list of local bankruptcy forms is quite long. The good news is most of the local forms aren’t required for filing a bankruptcy case. They may be different where you are, whether you’re filing bankruptcy in California, or somewhere else.

steps to filing bankruptcy
Sometimes the steps to bankruptcy make you choose which direction to go

5. Complete the bankruptcy forms, petition, schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs

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Like the disclaimer above says, how to complete the forms is beyond the scope of this article, and is the practice of law. If you’re doing this yourself, you are your own attorney. In law school, a professor told the class, “Do you know how to pass any test in law school? Easy, three simple words:

“Know the law.”

Those three little words meant a whole lot of work. Know the law. That meant reading, analyzing, studying, memorizing, outlining, researching, and memorizing some more.

Similarly, filing bankruptcy is “complete the forms.” Three little words, but within them there are a lot of decisions to make, a lot of work, questions, research, and judgment calls. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your federal district, and consider hiring them. I say this not because I’m a bankruptcy lawyer, but because I’ve seen people get in trouble and lose their house or car because they cut corners. And make no mistake: it looks deceivingly simple, but this process has no backing out, and can result in losing assets, having friends or family sued, or jail for bankruptcy crimes.

As there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the author, or this law firm, I cannot advise you how to complete the forms. The good news is most forms have instructions which hopefully are self-explanatory.

There is value in hiring an attorney. There are no guarantees in law, but if you could make an investment which had a likelihood of a return 20-50 times its value in return, would you do it? If you could work with an expert, affordably, in a way that would save you a ton of time and headaches, save your assets, and save you sleep, would you find a way to do it?

Bankruptcy lawyers do this for our clients, after we’re given the necessary info and documents in step 3.

6. Finish the prefiling credit counseling course

Congress has required not one but two courses be completed for every person filing bankruptcy. The first is called credit counseling, the other debtor education.

There is a list of approved providers you can choose from, and they often bundle the two courses.  Cheapest isn’t always best.

You need to complete the first course before filing, and have the certificate. It can’t be older than 180 days before filing.

Bankruptcy lawyers normally submit the certificate to the court.

7. File the bankruptcy petition papers with the bankruptcy court

It’s time to actually, literally, file the bankruptcy case. This will require driving to bankruptcy court and

steps to filing bankruptcy
The steps to the bankruptcy courthouse do not look like this.

court clerk, paying for parking, standing in line and then paying the filing fee (it’s over $300) as you hand in your papers.

Where is your nearest bankruptcy court? In the Central District of California, here is a list of the bankruptcy courts. If you’re anywhere else, research your local bankruptcy court in your judicial district.

Bankruptcy attorneys routinely do this for our clients.

8. Complete the second postfiling debtor education course

Remember step 6? There are two courses. Once you’ve filed, it’s time to do the second course, called debtor education. Make sure you or the provider files the required form and/or certificate with the court. If you don’t do complete this or it’s not filed, your case will close without discharge, costing you a few hundred dollars more to reopen the case. Make sure the second course is done, and the necessary documents filed.

Bankruptcy lawyers file the certificate and related form with the court for our clients.

You may need to reaffirm your vehicle loan.

9. Attend the 341a Meeting of Creditors on Zoom

The 341(a) Meeting of Creditors is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll be under oath, and testifying about the papers you signed under penalty of perjury.  The good news is that these days, the 341a meetings are all done remotely by Zoom. That means you need to get the trustee your tax returns and valid identification using those PDF apps. Read my article about what to expect at the remote Zoom 341a Meeting of Creditors.

From consultation to signing appointment, every question I ask my clients is preparing for this day, as if I were the trustee. I’m looking for problems, probing for issues, assessing any risk areas. I share this and then we try to resolve it together so you’re not blindsided at the hearing when it’s too late.

Bankruptcy attorneys prepare their clients for the Zoom 341a meeting and attend with them.

10. Wait 3-6 months for your bankruptcy discharge

Assuming no issues at the 341a, now comes the waiting. All the heavy lifting was done in the preparation of the papers, due diligence, timing, and research. The arrow has been aimed, and is now in flight. Don’t call the trustee or court. The discharge will come when it comes.

If you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s time to take care of a punch list so the trustee can recommend confirmation and the judge orders it confirmed. Then you just make your payments until the term is complete, and then you get your discharge.  Bankruptcy lawyers work very hard to do all they can to get the case confirmed.

11. Rebuild your credit after bankruptcy

Lastly, you’re done, you got a bankruptcy discharge.  Congratulations! Now it’s time to rebuild your credit after the bankruptcy discharge.

Let’s chat.

Thanks for reading. I hope this was helpful. If you have already filed your case, or are committed to doing this yourself, thanks for your time reading this, and I wish you the best in your future.

However, if you are still unsure and want to have a case evaluation with a qualified professional, let’s work on that, the most important step: finding a bankruptcy attorney (not a bankruptcy paralegal) to walk you through this process.

If you’re outside of Southern California, here’s a good place to find a qualified local bankruptcy attorney near you.

If you haven’t yet filed and are in the Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County areas, contact me with the quick form below to arrange for a consultation, or book your own appointment now.  I would be honored to help you. Thank you again.

    California bankruptcy exemptions can save your house.

    New! 2023 California Homestead Exemption Increased by Inflation

    2023 California Homestead Exemption, increased by inflation

    Brand new! Now with the maximum 2024 California Homestead Exemption amounts

    The 2023 California homestead exemption numbers are already available, and different from last year, and even the original range of $300,000 to $600,000. In fact, in 2023, they top out even higher than $600,000, which helps you save more of your home from creditors than the homestead exemption could in 2022. Why? Because of inflation. The new California homestead exemption is tied to the CPI, or consumer price index.  And everyone knows things lately aren’t cheap.

    August 2023 update: The new inflation-adjusted 2024 California homestead exemption is now known. See below what it will be for cases filed after Jan 1, 2024.

    Basics about exemptions

    Chapter 7 bankruptcy is liquidation; the bankruptcy trustee can take your stuff. They don’t take the shirt off your back, but at some point they draw the line regarding what you can keep. These are the bankruptcy exemptions, and each state has its own. The California exemptions include a way to protect home equity.

    Continue reading “New! 2023 California Homestead Exemption Increased by Inflation”

    exceptions to bankruptcy discharge 523

    Bankruptcy Discharge Exceptions of 523: Explained in Simple Terms

    Bankruptcy Discharge Exceptions of 523: Explained in Simple Terms

    In bankruptcy, debt is discharged unless there’s an exception that makes it nondischargeable. That’s the rule: all unsecured debt is eliminated in bankruptcy unless the exception is in Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code. What kind of things are listed there? You can guess: recent taxes, most student loans, and so on. Here’s a look at the the bankruptcy discharge exceptions of 11 USC 523.

    The statute: 11 USC 523(a)

    The rule is all unsecured debt goes away in bankruptcy, and 11 USC 523(a) is the list of exceptions to the rule. In some cases, there are exceptions to the exceptions. That is, the list below is not absolute; sometimes debts in 523a can be discharged in bankruptcy.

    Before launching into the long list, Section 523(a) of the Bankruptcy Code says:

    A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1192 [1] 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any debt:

    That’s the preamble. It basically says that a discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy doesn’t eliminate the following debts.

    Continue reading “Bankruptcy Discharge Exceptions of 523: Explained in Simple Terms”

    Can one person file bankruptcy separately

    One Spouse Filing Bankruptcy: Everything You Need to Know

    One Spouse Filing Bankruptcy

    All you need to know about one spouse filing bankruptcy individually or separately

    Can one spouse file bankruptcy without the other?

    Can one spouse file bankruptcy without the other? In consultations, that’s one question I get asked a lot. When we’re married in California, everything is presumed to be joined and shared. So, can a married person claim a bankruptcy? The answer is, “Yes.” Even though someone is married, they have every right to file bankruptcy without the other spouse. They have their own Social Security number and their own credit history. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    Continue reading “One Spouse Filing Bankruptcy: Everything You Need to Know”

    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.

    Continue reading “Ultimate Guide to Find the Best Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney”

    bankruptcy dos and don'ts

    12 Crucial Tips Before Filing Bankruptcy

    12 Crucial Tips to Do (and Avoid) Before Filing Bankruptcy

    Los Angeles Bankruptcy lawyer explains what to do and don’t before seeking a fresh start

    If you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy, what you do you beforehand has more of a bearing on the success of your case than how well the papers are completed. As a longtime Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney, I must make the best of the circumstances that are presented to me. Sometimes these situations are, shall we say, less than ideal.

    What follows, in no particular order, are just some of the things I wish the people I meet with had done, or avoided doing, before we met for the consultation.

    Continue reading “12 Crucial Tips Before Filing Bankruptcy”

    bankruptcy attorney

    3 Reasons You Need a Bankruptcy Attorney

    3 Reasons Why You Need a Bankruptcy Attorney

    Technically, you don’t need a bankruptcy attorney. But going through this process without one is crazy, and the few pennies saved can cost you your bank account, car, or house. To help explain, here are five reasons why you should retain a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer.  (Specifically, one who’s been voted best bankruptcy attorney four times and chosen by L.A. bankruptcy lawyers to be President twice).

    1. Bankruptcy lawyers can give legal advice

    Trust a licensed lawyer.

    Sure, you can have a paralegal prepare your documents. But that’s all they can do. They cannot practice law, and cannot even tell you whether you should do a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. Only a lawyer (and preferably a bankruptcy attorney) can give legal advice.  Sometimes, legal document assistants give advice, and they’re violating California law.

    Only a bankruptcy attorney who has passed the California Bar can give you legal advice. There are lots of people who didn’t pass the bar who claim to know as much as a lawyer. But legally, without a bar license, they’re only allowed to type the information you give them. You are completing the papers yourself, and they just take what you say and type it up. They may offer to do more, but now they’re veering into practice of law territory. And if they’re wrong, you have no one to complain to. They’re not accountable for their mistakes and innocent consumer debtors get burned.

    A bankruptcy attorney, not a dabbler.

    Once you’ve decided to retain an attorney for your debt solution, you don’t want just any lawyer. You will want a legal professional skilled and experienced in this very specialized field of law.  Not just anyone, but a bankruptcy attorney.

    Just because a counsel files bankruptcy cases doesn’t make them a bankruptcy lawyer any more than riding in an airplane a dozen times makes you a pilot. There are lots of attorney dabblers out there who will file bankruptcy cases. They’ll also take car accident cases, divorce and custody matters, and then help you plan your will and living trust. But they lack the experience and insight to stay focused on the changes (and danger spots) of this narrow field of law.

    At Los Angeles Bankruptcy, I only file bankruptcy cases, and have stayed focused as a laser beam on this field for two decades. When the law changed in 2005, a lot of bankruptcy lawyers fled the field or diversified taking on dog bite cases or whatever because things became slow. I kept doing only bankruptcy. When the housing crisis and Great Recession came in 2009, I got busy, and saw a flood of new dabblers trying to make a buck off the disaster.

    When the economy recovered in the years after 2014, bankruptcy filings went down, but I remained specialized on just bankruptcy. Now that COVID and lockdowns wrecked havoc with the economy in 2021, the future is uncertain. But what is certain is that I continue to practice bankruptcy cases, and only bankruptcy cases. I’ve helped thousands of people and discharged over $50,000,000 in credit card debt. This dedication is what makes a bankruptcy attorney, and is what you want. There are just a handful of us in Los Angeles. I’m one of them, and would like to help you, too.


    2. It’s affordable with a payment plan

    Affordable payment plan

    A good Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer has an affordable payment plan. This is how we’ve been able to stay in business for two decades, helping people who don’t have a lot of money.  When you consider that you’re going to discharge tens of thousands of dollars of debt, paying a skilled professional a fraction of that is smart insurance.

    You are able to file bankruptcy on your own to try to save a few bucks. But at what long-term cost? “It’s just forms!” Many people who try to do all their own forms end up having their cases dismissed, and maybe have to wait 6 months or more to file again, even if they want an attorney to help them. In the meantime, all their bills and debts and creditors can call again at home and at work or even sue or foreclose.

    Protecting your assets

    And even if the bankruptcy case you file yourself doesn’t get dismissed, you have to worry about whether the bankruptcy trustee can take some of your stuff. You can try to research yourself exemptions and whether you can use a wildcard and homestead, but it can be confusing. And again, a paralegal can’t help you with bankruptcy exemptions because that’s practicing law without a license.

    A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can advise you before you even file your case what risk you may have. Then, in preparing to file, can take steps to minimize any exposure or risk you’ll lose things by properly filling out exemptions.

    And while you might think, “how hard can this be?” There’s still a lot of confusion among bankruptcy attorneys about the California homestead exemption, the L.A. County median home sale price, and gotchas on how to lose the homestead exemption.  There are tons of ins and outs, nooks and crannies, and one wrong step and you lose your house. Trust a professional with your valuables. Otherwise, you’re literally betting your house.

    3. We’re respected by peers and appreciated by clients

    So you’ve reviewed bankruptcy FAQ, learned about the types of bankruptcies,  know you need to file bankruptcy and now decided to retain a bankruptcy lawyer. But now you just need to find someone that can trust. A lawyer who specializes in consumer debt to help you with something that will shape your financial life for years to come.

    Respected by other bankruptcy lawyers

    We are humbled to have been chosen by some of the best Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys to be President of the cdcbaa, the largest association of consumer debt lawyers in Southern California. Then after guiding the organization through the COVID chaos, Hale Andrew Antico was elected President for a second term in 2021, and continues to serve on its board of directors. Mr. Antico doesn’t just attend continuing legal education webinars, he hosts and moderates the panels attended by other bankruptcy lawyers.

    Prior to leading cdcbaa, Mr. Antico was selected by his peers and bankruptcy judges and trustees to be President of the Southern California Bankruptcy Inn of Court. This is an organization of bankruptcy judges, bankruptcy trustees, and of course debt lawyers. The Inn of Court’s focus is on elevating the practice of law with presentations while also building relationships between the different groups of members above

    Appreciated by clients

    Hale Antico was honored to be voted best bankruptcy lawyer in local newspapers not once or twice, but four times.  This shows a level of trust and appreciation by clients who know the level of service we provide.

    Further, we are blessed to receive so many 5-star reviews on Yelp and Google.  This is important when trying to find an attorney not only skilled and experienced in this nuanced specialty, but with the care and compassion for what can be an emotional decision and process.

    Summing Up

    In short, you want not just an attorney, but a bankruptcy lawyer to help you with a confusing maze-like procedure.  You’re also going to want someone with an affordable payment plan, who is able to protect your assets so you don’t lose things in the bankruptcy. And finally, you want someone who is respected by other Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys, and appreciated by the thousands of clients he’s helped for twenty years.

    The choice is simple: Hale Andrew Antico of Los Angeles Bankruptcy .net. I’d be honored to have the opportunity to help you.


    Contact us

    For most people, it really pays to contact a lawyer who knows this area. You get what you pay for. Don’t delay: set up a consultation with an affordable bankruptcy lawyer and let us help you now.

      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 crunch is 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 will keep upping that credit limit until 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 years or 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, including articles to help you decide.

      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 the credit card companies fear is 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 are funded 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… a negative entry that tells creditors that you are a bad credit risk. Finally, and most importantly, debt management does 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 you don’t lose anything. Read more about Chapter 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 13 forces creditors to settle up 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 you back in control. Learn and read more about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

      Do I need a Bankruptcy Lawyer to File Bankruptcy?

      Of course, you are free to file bankruptcy on 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. There are 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 complicated Means 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 ? You will get credit after bankruptcy. This is a new 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! You can buy 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 certainly is possible to get a loan for 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 a helpful bankruptcy consultation. We are here to help you take back control of your financial future.


        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.

        Continue reading “Study: Credit After Bankruptcy Discharge is Likely”