Do you have to foreclose?
In many cases we are able to stop foreclosure in as little as a day by filing your bankruptcy.
Are your wages being garnished?
When you have our managing attorney review your case (for free!) we will develop a plan to stop the garnishment.
Do you have negative equity in your residence or investment properties?
Based upon our review of your case we may be able to help you "strip" your second mortgage and advise you on how to reduce your first mortgage.
Do you have credit card debts that cause sleepless nights?
Generally speaking all debts can lead to sleepless nights. We can help you get rid of some of the anxiety that's troubling you by eliminating that credit card debt. Imagine being able to sleep well, knowing that you're in capable and caring hands.
What do I do when I take a payday loan?
In times of need we do things that we may later regret. Payday loans may help us out of our immediate problem, but the interest rate can kill us! As part of your free consultation our managing attorney will go over all of your concerns and when it comes to payday loans, we'll help you get back on your feet.
What happens when I’m in a lease I can no longer pay?
Things change in our lives. A demotion or a layoff can seriously cripple our finances. When you're stuck in a lease that you simply cannot afford to pay any longer, it seems difficult to see a way out. We can apply all of our significant experience to your case and help you find a way to get out of your lease.
Am I being sued by creditors?
One of the scariest things someone can go through is a lawsuit. In many situations, they're trying to take money that you don't have, or money that you plan on using for food. At Law Offices of Langley & Chang, we know that suits can be terrifying, but we can hold your hand throughout your bankruptcy legal process and get you to a point where things are better and you don't have anything else to fear.
Can I stop the bill collectors from calling?
One of the major benefits of filing for protection under Chapter 7 is that many creditors’ collection actions are stopped. This means that debt collection efforts, including foreclosure, are halted.
Is it true that I can wipe out all my bills?
The underlying policy of bankruptcy law is that the honest debtor who is in debt beyond his/her ability to repay the debts should be given a fresh start through the discharge of debts in a bankruptcy proceeding. However, not all debts are dischargeable. Generally speaking, the following debts will not be discharged: taxes; spousal and child support; debts arising out of willful misconduct and or malicious misconduct by the debtor; liability for injury or death from driving while intoxicated; non-dischargeable debts from a prior bankruptcy; student loans; criminal fines and penalties and Forfeitures. Those debts which are secured will be discharged. However, expect the creditor to take the necessary legal steps to take back the property. In most cases if the debtor's equity interest in the property is exempt, the debtor may retain the property by redemption or reaffirmation.
Who deals with the creditors and bill collectors during the bankruptcy?
Your attorney deals with your creditors. You will now have the opportunity to say, “You’ll have to speak with my lawyer.”
Can I go to jail if I file bankruptcy?
No. There are no debtors' prisons in the United States.
How much does filing for bankruptcy cost?
It depends on which chapter you file, the complexity of your case, and the number of creditors you have. The Law Offices Of Steven P. Chang is happy to provide you with a FREE in-person consultation to analyze your financial situation. The filing fees are $274 for a Chapter 13 cases and $299 for a Chapter 7 case. Our median fees for all cases are approximately $2,000.00. We offer flexible payment plans to help our clients through this difficult time.
How do I stop my creditors from harassing me at work or calling me at home?
All creditors must stop any attempts to collect debts after you file for bankruptcy. If they continue, you may refer them to talk to your attorney.
How long will bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
Any records of bankruptcy filing will stay on your credit report for approximately 7 to 10 years. However, that answer alone can be deceiving. The truth is that a person is unable to re-file a bankruptcy for 6 to 8 years (depending on the chapters of bankruptcy).
Can I remove a bankruptcy from my credit report?
No. However, you can file an explanation with the credit bureaus briefly describing the cause of your bankruptcy.
Do I need an attorney or lawyer to file bankruptcy?
Since 2005, BAPCPA (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act) has made filing for bankruptcy a more complex process than ever before. There are also many options available prior to filing bankruptcy, and sometimes filing bankruptcy has significant benefits including discharging delinquent taxes. There are also many pitfalls to avoid which one may or may not realize. The courts will not provide individuals with any legal guidance or assistance with mandatory forms. Working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney gives you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on improving your finances while rebuilding your credit rather than worrying about meeting the legal requirements of the bankruptcy law. Working with our experienced attorneys will also ensure that you are properly advised in avoiding any activities that would cause the court to dismiss your case, to deny some debt from being discharged therefore eliminating your chance at a fresh financial start.
What should I avoid when filing bankruptcy?
Note that certain behaviors during a bankruptcy filing may reduce your chances of getting a discharge and fresh financial start from the court. Be sure you don't make any of these common bankruptcy mistakes. Going into more debt just before filing: This looks bad to a court, which may see such action as intentional on your part (that is, as if you took on new debt assuming it would be discharged during bankruptcy). Repaying loans to friends: Again, this is frowned upon. Every creditor deserves a fair portion of what money you have, so friends shouldn't come first. Concealing property: Purposefully hiding any of your assets is considered fraudulent. You could end up in jail or owing serious cash if you're caught. Giving incorrect or incomplete information on bankruptcy forms: Even if mistakes and omissions are unintentional, they can work against you during a bankruptcy filing. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you with the paperwork.
What are my state's bankruptcy laws?
Bankruptcy laws are regulated at the federal level, which means that the actual laws are the same no matter where in the country you live. But each state has its own set of bankruptcy exemptions, which will affect you if you choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. State exemptions outline the property you're allowed to keep during a Chapter 7 liquidation sale. That is, when your bankruptcy trustee raises money to pay your creditors by selling some of your personal possessions, he or she cannot sell those items that are exempted by state law. Most states exempt a house, a car, some or all of your wages and various other personal and household belongings. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand your state's exemptions and how they may apply in your case.
What is an Automatic Stay?
When you file a bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy court issues an order called an "automatic stay." The automatic stay prohibits most creditors from taking any collection actions, which means creditors can't call you or flood your mailbox with collection letters anymore! The bankruptcy automatic stay also stops foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishments, and lawsuits.
What property can I keep if I file chapter 7 bankruptcy?
If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court has the option to sell your non-exempt property to repay your creditors. But don't worry, this doesn't happen that often. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers are allowed to keep all of their property. State bankruptcy exemption laws vary from state to state, but generally, there are exemptions for a homestead, personal property, a portion of your wages, a vehicle, and your tools of trade.
Will I have to repay debts after bankruptcy?
If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most unsecured debts are discharged and you won't ever have to repay them. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are restructured into a repayment plan and you will repay all or some of your debt over an agreed-upon time.
What's the difference between Secured and Unsecured Debt?
Secured debts are secured by a lien of some type on your property, either by an agreement or involuntarily with a court judgment or taxes. Unsecured debts are not connected to any type of property. Car loans and mortgages are examples of secured debts, while credit cards and signature loans are unsecured debts.
How do my creditors find out that I filed bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy court notifies all of your creditors by mail. This notification includes the bankruptcy case number, the automatic stay, the name of any trustees assigned to the case, the date of the meeting of creditors and information about filing claims and/or objections.
If I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, will all my debts and bills be eliminated?
Generally, yes. All unsecured debt (i.e. medical bills, credit card debts, and income taxes over three years old) will be permanently eliminated in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, certain debts cannot be discharged, including alimony, child support, student loans, criminal penalties and fines, and income taxes less than 3 years old.
Can I be fired from my job if I file for bankruptcy?
No. It is illegal under the U.S. Bankruptcy Law to specifically discriminate against a person based upon their need to file for protection under bankruptcy laws.
Will my credit be ruined for 10 years after bankruptcy?
After your bankruptcy filing your FICO credit score may initially decrease, but your score will gradually improve after your bankruptcy discharge. Your score will improve because the amount of outstanding debt will be eliminated or substantially reduced. In most cases, you can reestablish a good credit rating in 1 or 2 years.
Will I lose my property if I file chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to keep all of your "exempt" assets. In most cases, this includes everything you own, including your primary residence. Exempt assets differ from state to state, but usually include your primary residence (including a mobile or modular home or houseboat), motor vehicle (including a motorcycle), household goods and furnishings, clothing, jewelry, life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts and pensions, IRS earned income credit or refund, wages, bank accounts, social security benefits, disability benefits, spousal and child support, etc. If you owe money on your home or motor vehicle and want to keep them, you must reaffirm these debts with the creditor and continue to make regular payments or, alternatively, pay the creditor the "fair market value" of the property. The fair market value of property is usually determined by an appraisal.
Where will my bankruptcy be filed?
A bankruptcy petition must be filed in the federal bankruptcy court district where you have resided for the last 6 months.
Am I required to obtain credit counseling prior to filing bankruptcy?
Yes, you are required to consult with an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency to learn about your available options before filing for bankruptcy. The consultation can be done by phone, online or in person. The credit counseling agency must provide you with a certificate acknowledging that you completed such pre-bankruptcy counseling. The certificate must be filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court when you file bankruptcy. The fee is approximately $50.
Am I required to complete an instructional course for filing bankruptcy?
Prior to obtaining a final discharge of your bankruptcy, you must complete an approved instructional course in personal financial management. The instructional course typically takes about 1-2 hours and can be completed online or through the mail. An approved instructional course is approximately $50.00.
Will I have to appear in court?
No, in Chapter 7 you meet with a bankruptcy trustee. About three to five weeks after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you will need to meet with a bankruptcy trustee at a meeting known as a "341(a) meeting" (also known as a "meeting of creditors"). A typical 341(a) meeting lasts about three to seven minutes and is usually held in a meeting room at the bankruptcy court or federal building in your area. During the meeting, a bankruptcy trustee asks you if your bankruptcy petition is true and correct, if you would like to add or change anything in your bankruptcy petition and about your financial situation. Approximately 60 days after the trustee meeting you will receive your final discharge order in the mail. Your debts will be formally discharged and your bankruptcy proceeding will be closed.
Can my creditors object to my bankruptcy discharge?
Creditors rarely have grounds to object to your bankruptcy discharge unless a particular debt was fraudulently incurred.
What happens if my wages are currently being garnished?
When you file bankruptcy, all wage garnishments (other than child support garnishments) stop immediately. Any funds that have not yet been turned over to the creditor will usually be released to you or to the bankruptcy trustee pending the conclusion of your bankruptcy case.
Do I have to list all of my debts on my bankruptcy forms?
Yes, you are required to list all of your debts on your bankruptcy forms. Any debt that is not listed will not be discharged. You may voluntarily reaffirm and repay some debts such as a mortgage, automobile loan, personal loan, credit card, etc. When you choose to reaffirm a particular debt, that debt will not be discharged or affected by your bankruptcy.
After I file bankruptcy, will I be able to add debts that I forgot to include?
Yes. You can amend your bankruptcy forms to include debts that were not included when you originally filed. However, the debt must have been incurred prior to the date you filed bankruptcy. You cannot add new debts incurred after the date you file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court will charge you a one-time amendment fee of $26.00 regardless of how many debts you add.