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BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY IN ORANGE COUNTY
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Our Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney is an experienced attorney in handling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases. Like many other regions through the U.S., Orange County has experienced an increase of unemployment, and home values. As a result, many individuals have had to seek the legal assistance of an Orange County bankruptcy attorney. Our founding attorney, Norma Duenas, has experience in working with Orange County residents to eliminate their unsecured debt, stop the foreclosure of their homes, stop an eviction if filed in time, stop embarrassing wage garnishments, stop creditor lawsuits, and stop the harassing creditor calls. Our attorney will provide you with a free initial consultation and answer any questions you may have about filing for bankruptcy.
Call now to setup a free initial consultation with our Orange County bankruptcy attorney Norma Duenas. During your initial evaluation our attorney will review your case and assess your situation. The initial consultation will ensure that our attorneys can gather valuable information to assess your situation accurately.
We can successfully help stop creditor calls, get rid of credit card debt and medical bills, stop foreclosure, and stop garnishments. Many people wait to consult with a lawyer about their financial situation until they are being sued or garnished by a creditor. If you are having financial difficulties, you should consult with an attorney early to learn about your options. Consulting with an Orange County bankruptcy attorney early avoids you finding yourself in an emergency situation where you are being sued by a creditor or being garnished and do not have the funds to pay to file for bankruptcy. We will provide you with an affordable payment plan and low fees to file for bankruptcy.
Once your bankruptcy case if filed the automatic stay will stop creditors from calling you, filing a lawsuit, and placing liens on your home or personal property. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
Our Orange County bankruptcy law firm serves:
What Type of Bankruptcy Can I File?
The type of bankruptcy case that you can file will depend on looking at your current income, assets and what makes financial sense in your current situation. There are two main types of consumer bankruptcy cases filed:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy– This type of bankruptcy is generally referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you discharge credit card debts, medical bills, personal loans, pay day loans and older tax debt.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not a repayment plan. In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must pass the means test formula that looks at your last 6 months of income. Even if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy it is not always advisable to file this type of bankruptcy. An experienced Orange County bankruptcy attorney can determine whether filing for Chapter 7 is a good option.
The bankruptcy laws provide exemptions that protect assets in bankruptcy. It may not be advisable to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if the bankruptcy exemptions will not protect your assets. When an asset is not protected in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then a Trustee assigned to your bankruptcy case may sell the asset for the benefit of your creditors. A bankruptcy attorney can review your assets and determine whether they are protected in a bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy–A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often referred to as reorganization bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Plan provides for repayment of creditors in a 3 to 5 year plan. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy then you may need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also a good option where you have unprotected assets that would have been sold in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy your assets will not be sold, even if the bankruptcy exemptions are insufficient to protect them. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not necessarily require a full repayment of all of your creditors. How much of the debt you will need to pay back will depend on a number of factors including looking at the means test, the value of your assets, and debts that you need to pay back (priority taxes, arrears on home, child support, etc). Chapter 13 plan payments to unsecured creditors can range from 0% to 100%.
The Process of Filing for Bankruptcy in Orange County?
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires that you file a petition with the bankruptcy court that includes schedules and statement of financial affairs. The documents that you need to file can be found here: Bankruptcy Petition Forms
The forms are lengthy and can be confusing. Hiring an Orange County bankruptcy attorney can save you a lot of time and effort in getting your bankruptcy case complete.
When you file for bankruptcy in Orange County your case will be assigned to the Bankruptcy Court located in Santa Ana. You case will also be assigned to a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee for Orange County. A Orange County bankruptcy attorney can guide you on what each bankruptcy trustee requires you to provide to them as part of your bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Orange County you will be assigned one of the below trustees:
Chapter 7 Trustees in Orange County
- Weneta M. A. Kosmala
- Jeffrey I. Golden
- Richard A. Marshack
- Karen S. Naylor
- Thomas H. Casey
You can learn more about what a Chapter 7 Trustee in Orange County requires by going to:
If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will be assigned:
Chapter 13 Trustee:
- Amrane Cohen, Chapter 13 Trustee
You can learn more information about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Orange County by going to: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Orange County
After filing your bankruptcy you will have a 341 hearing conducted by the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee in Orange County. At the hearing the trustee will ask questions regarding the documents that were filed in your case. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must provide your last filed tax return at least 7 days prior to your 341 hearing. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you must provide the last 2 years of filed tax returns. In addition to tax returns, each trustee may have additional requirements and documents that you need to provide prior to your hearing.
At the 341 hearing the trustee will ask you questions regarding the filed petition and documents in your case. When you have hired an Orange County bankruptcy attorney, they will generally appear at your hearing and help guide you on the types of questions and issues that may arise in your bankruptcy. Below is a list of some of the common questions that bankruptcy trustees ask at the 341 Hearings:
- Please state your name for the record.
- I have viewed the original State of California Driver’s License and original social security card and they match the name and social security number on the meeting notice and tax returns.
- Is the address on your petition, your current address?
- Did you read and sign the petition, schedules, statements and related documents filed with the court?
- Are you personally familiar with the information contained in those documents?
- Is the information contained in those documents true and correct?
- Are there any errors or omissions in those documents?
- Did you list everything you own or have an interest in, in your schedules? a.Do you have any interest in any real estate? Any in last 5 yrs?
- Did you list all of your creditors? 10.Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?
- Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?
- Do you have a domestic support obligation? (Are there any outstanding orders for you to pay child or spousal support?)
- Is the correct address of your current employer, listed in your schedules?
- Did you read the bankruptcy information sheet
- The information sheet that they generally require that you read can be found here:
Bankruptcy Can Save Your Orange County Home -Talk to an Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney
Many Americans struggle each month to make their mortgage payment. If you find yourself in a home you can no longer afford, the federal bankruptcy laws can provide a legal means to save your home on terms you can afford.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is commonly used to “catch up” home loan payments or pay delinquent real estate taxes over time. The Chapter 13 debtor proposes a repayment plan to pay any arrears over three to five years. Once the debtor’s plan is confirmed by the bankruptcy court, it becomes a federal court order and the creditor is bound by the terms of the Chapter 13 plan. The creditor cannot foreclose or otherwise collect on its debt during the bankruptcy. However, the debtor must pay all future mortgage payments, or the lender may seek permission to foreclose.
Lien stripping is another powerful tool in the bankruptcy attorney’s arsenal. It is important to note that current law prohibits bankruptcy court judges from changing the interest rate, length, or amount owed on a home loan. However, Chapter 13 does allow a bankruptcy judge to strip away an entirely unsecured second mortgage lien. Lien stripping is useful for an individual who has multiple mortgages, and the value of the property is less than the amount owed on the first mortgage.
For example, let’s say you purchased your home three years ago for $500,000, paid a cash down-payment, and obtained two mortgage loans. After three years of payments you now owe $405,000 on the first mortgage and $70,000 on the second. Unfortunately, property in your area has depreciated and your home is now worth $400,000. During a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case a bankruptcy court can strip away the second mortgage lien because it is entirely unsecured by your home (i.e. the value of your home is not more than the first mortgage debt). The stripped second mortgage is reclassified as unsecured debt and is discharged along with other unsecured debt at the end of your bankruptcy case.
Lien stripping is not available if the second mortgage is secured by the value of the home by any amount. Consequently, lien stripping largely depends on an accurate appraisal of the property. Lien stripping is especially useful to homeowners who have Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) secured by a second mortgage on their primary residence, or homeowners that purchased a home using 80/20 loan financing.
While the bankruptcy process cannot modify the terms of a home loan, the negotiating power between the debtor and the mortgage lender shifts once a bankruptcy is filed. The debtor may apply for one of the federal government’s Making Home Affordable programs, or simply deal directly with the lender to modify mortgage terms. Your lender is likely to pay special attention to a modification request from a bankruptcy debtor. The lender is acutely aware that many debtors use bankruptcy to walk-away from their mortgage obligation leaving the lender with no recourse against the debtor. In this situation the lender may work diligently to modify the terms of your home loan(s) to keep you obligated on the home loan.
To Learn More Information on the New Law Protecting the Equity in Your Orange County Home go to: Protecting Your Orange County Home in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Orange County Location
Our office is conveniently located in the heart of Orange County. Our office provides easy access from both the 22 freeway. 5 and 55 freeway.
Southern California Law Advocates P.C.
2112 E. Fourth St. Ste. 103 Santa Ana, CA 92705
Our Santa Ana, CA office represents clients in Anaheim, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Stanton, Costa Mesa, Brea, Newport Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim Hills, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach & surrounding cities.