When families face the prospect of bankruptcy, their lives are usually filled with stress and anxiety. While bankruptcy can be a way to get your life back on track, it is important to work with a bankruptcy attorney who is attentive, knowledgeable and makes you feel at ease. Many consumers obtain significant relief from crushing debt, wage assignments, bank levies and foreclosure through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Most good bankruptcy law firms like the Shakoori Law Group will offer a free initial consultation so that we can assess your situation, discuss your options and help you develop a strategy that will best serve your goals.
You should carefully consider your choice of bankruptcy attorney so the free initial consultation is an opportunity to assess whether a bankruptcy attorney makes your feel comfortable and is the person with whom you wish to go through the bankruptcy process. It is a good idea to evaluate whether the attorney makes you comfortable and is considerate. You can also use this first meeting to assess whether the attorney and his or her staff are organized, punctual and work well together. The attorney will typically explain fee arrangements during this initial meeting so that you can also evaluate the cost and payment terms.
When meeting with an attorney during the initial consultation, it is a good idea to find out such key issues as the following:
How long has the attorney been in practice?
Does the attorney regularly handle bankruptcy matters?
How much experience does the attorney have handling bankruptcy issues?
What can you expect in terms of communication regarding your case?
What expectations should you have about how your case will proceed?
How are fee arrangements handled?
Will your attorney handle the case or will it be delegated to staff?
Will your attorney personally appear at any court or trustee proceeding?
How long will filing the bankruptcy and completion of the process take?
The number of bankruptcy cases the firm handles?
You should ask all the questions you can so that you feel comfortable in choosing the attorney. Though the fee of an attorney is an important consideration, it should not be the only factor or even the most important factor when making a choice. Bankruptcy fees do not vary widely between law firms so it is better to choose the attorney who makes you feel most comfortable. It is important to choose the best attorney to fit your needs and personality rather than one that might be moderately cheaper.
Before you finally decide to retain a specific bankruptcy attorney, the most important thing that you should do is to check their professional reputation. The best and most reliable way to do this is to contact your state bar association. The California State Bar Association provides online access where you can check to verify that an attorney has no professional record of discipline. You want your bankruptcy experience to go smoothly so it is a good idea to check this website before going to meet with a Southern California bankruptcy lawyer.
The Shakoori Law Group has helped many families facing staggering debt and the potential loss of their home throughout Southern California. The Shakoori Law Office is conveniently located in Santa Ana, California and assists clients throughout Southern California including but not limited to the following: Santa Ana, Tustin, Fullerton, Orange, Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Westminster, Garden Grove, Orange, Buena Park, Placentia, Yorba Linda, Irvine and throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Call today for your no obligation free initial consultation 800-578-0922.
Why Chapter 13 Bankruptcy vs. Debt Consolidation
Many families are facing difficult economic times and may not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy either because sufficient time has not passed since their last bankruptcy discharge or they cannot qualify under the means test. A Chapter 13 allows you to make monthly payments to repay all or a portion of your dischargeable debts in 3 to 5 years by making one payment to the bankruptcy trustee who will disburse the payments out to your creditors. In most cases, your payment under Chapter 13 will be significantly less than what you would pay if you continued to pay each of your creditors separately. Many people have seen advertisements for debt consolidation programs that also are based on monthly payments, which can make it confusing to understand the difference between a debt consolidation program and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Generally, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a significant number of advantages over a debt consolidation program. At The Shakoori Law Office, we will carefully evaluate your financial situation to determine whether a Chapter 7, Chapter 13, debt consolidation program or some other alternative is best for you. Some common advantages of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy over a debt consolidation program are provided below:
Protection of the Automatic Stay: Once a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been filed, creditors are required by law to stop most debt enforcement activity. The stay prevents or suspends wage garnishments, bank account levies, collection judgments, repossessions and foreclosures (unless formal relief is sought and granted). The automatic stay will also stop harassing phone calls and letters from collection companies and creditors. There is no such legal protection from creditors provided by debt collection programs.
Protection of Family Home: A Chapter 13 protects your family home from foreclosure or repossession as long as you make the plan payments. You may have significant equity in your family home which can be protected by making Chapter 13 plan payments. Your home becomes an asset that is effectively protected under the plan with a Chapter 13.
Elimination of Debt: A Chapter 13 is a plan that allow you to extinguish your debts by paying off the debts or a portion of the debt over a three to five year period. Once the Chapter 13 plan is completed, you emerge from the bankruptcy with a discharge and free of debt. Debt Consolidation programs often result in consumers paying for long periods of time without making a significant reduction in the outstanding balance.
Protecting Most Important Assets: A Chapter 13 plan prioritizes the payment of creditors so that a families most important assets like a car and home are paid first and protected against repossession or foreclosure. Unsecured creditors are paid after secured creditors, which helps a family keep their vehicle and family home. A Chapter 13 plan also addresses all creditors whereas a debt consolidation plan typically only includes certain types of creditors.
If you need debt relief, the Shakoori Law Group can help. We offer a free no obligation initial consultation so that we can review your assets, debts and income and assess your options. Our knowledgeable attorneys will discuss your options and the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy. We can answer your questions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt consolidation programs and other viable options. We have helped hundreds of families just like yours throughout Orange County and Southern California. The Shakoori Law Office is conveniently located in Santa Ana, California and assists clients throughout Southern California including but not limited to the following: Santa Ana, Tustin, Fullerton, Orange, Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Westminster, Garden Grove, Orange, Buena Park, Placentia, Yorba Linda, Irvine and throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Call today for your no obligation free initial consultation 800-578-0922.