Experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Serving San Joaquin, Fresno, & Merced Counties
Filing bankruptcy should be the last resort. However, it is important to know that bankruptcy is an important tool in your tool box when you are dealing with financial difficulties. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy in the United States. It is a good option for people who have too much debt or have too many creditors for debt settlement.
As long as you have not received a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge in the past eight years and depending on your income and the nature of your debts, you may be eligible to file. The Srai Law Office helps individuals with filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our attorneys have helped many people and small businesses get debt relief from creditors and get a fresh start. For more information or to learn how we can help you achieve your financial goals, contact the Srai Law Office.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is commonly known as a liquidating bankruptcy, personal bankruptcy, or just plain “bankruptcy.” A Chapter 7 wipes away most of your unsecured debt and allows you to retain your exempt assets. An exempt asset is the assets that can be protected during bankruptcy. Unsecured debts are debts not secured by a collateral or real property, such as:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
- Overdraft charges or balances on closed accounts
Once you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee has the authority to examine all of your financial records in order to review the bankruptcy petition. The trustee’s job is to verify that the information you provided to the court matches your financial documents. The trustee has the power to sell all of your non-exempt assets to pay off your creditors. There are some exemptions that will allow your Stockton Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to protect some of your assets, including:
- Clothes and personal effects
- Ordinary household goods, such as furniture and appliances
- Vehicle equity
- Retirement plans
- Insurance policies
- Tools of the trade
- Workers compensation and personal injury claim income
- Other assets
Each person who files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy has his or her own unique financial facts. As such the outcome in court can vary. It is best to have an experienced Stockton Chapter 7 BK attorney helping you with the process.
Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In order to qualify for Chapter 7, your monthly income must pass the “means test.” This means that your monthly income must be below the California median income. If your income is above the state median, you may still be able to file for Chapter 7, but you must pass a full means test (or you may need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead).
Our Stockton bankruptcy attorneys will look at the specific facts of your case to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you are not eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we will help you decide what is the next best step to regain financial security.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
The petition for bankruptcy must be filed with the bankruptcy court that serves the area of your residence or your business. Once you have filed a petition for bankruptcy, most creditors are stopped from collecting debt from you.
Next, the bankruptcy court appoints a bankruptcy trustee who will review the filing, run the debtor-creditor meeting, and determine eligibility for a debt discharge.
About one month after filing, you will need to appear for a 341(a) Creditor’s Meeting. The Court sets the exact date and time. Your bankruptcy lawyer can go to the meeting with you to help answer any questions you may have. It can typically take 3 to 4 months for you to receive a notice of discharge of the bankruptcy.
Advantages of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally a good option if you are drowning in debt and trying to come up with a solution. With the help of the Stockton Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys at the Srai Law Office, you can regain control of your finance. Generally, a Chapter 7 is a promising option because it can:
- Provide a new financial start
- Put you on a track to improving your credit score
- Allow you to keep assets including your home and car
The best things about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what it can stop:
- Bank levies
- Creditor/debt collector harassment
- Public benefit overpayments collections
- Tax collection (depends on type of tax)
- Utility disconnection
- Wage garnishment
What Happens To Your Credit Score After Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to ten years after filing. Other accurate negative reports on your credit, such as late payments on credit cards and foreclosures, must be removed after seven years. Despite what most people think, this is not as big a problem. Credit lending agencies are aware that you will not be able to file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for at least 8 years. As such, these agencies do not have that risk to bear.
After filing a Chapter 7, you will not get as high a credit limit as you once had or may not be able to borrow a large amount of money. However, you should be able to get some credit, such as a secured credit card. Moreover, you can rebuild your credit over time.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can have a negative impact on your credit. However, with the help of an experienced Stockton Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, it may be the best option to rebuild your financial future. The legal team at the Srai Law Office can you make sure filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for your specific circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy issues can be complex process in California. An experienced Stockton bankruptcy lawyer can make sure that your legal rights are protected. The legal team at the Srai Law Office will make sure your creditors understand their rights under the law. We will help you get back on your feet and take back control of your life.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Stockton Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys, please call us at (209) 323-5558, or complete our online form.