FILING BANKRUPTCY AFTER COVID-19
COVID-19 is causing financial distress for people worldwide. Unemployment, wage garnishments, evictions, collection calls, lawsuits, and foreclosures are only some of the reasons people are looking for a reliable bankruptcy attorney.
For years, The T.L. Brown Law Firm has been one of the top bankruptcy law firms in Southern California. Since we began operating in San Diego, hundreds of clients have chosen Attorney Tristan Brown as their bankruptcy attorney for a reason:
- More than 99% of our bankruptcy clients successfully discharge their debts WITHOUT losing any property.
- We have low affordable payment plans for our services.
- TLB give clear instructions to our clients and hold their hands every step of the way. We even set up the classes our clients are required to take during their bankruptcies. Other law firms force clients to handle this process themselves.
- We stop collection calls and creditor harassment as our clients prepare to file their bankruptcies.
- We are familiar with the bankruptcy trustees and thoroughly understand their requirements, ensuring your filing will be conducted smoothly and without problems.
It’s no wonder our clients leave our offices satisfied with their bankruptcy service and consistently refer their family and friends to T.L. Brown.
Seeking a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney? Contact Tristan for your free consultation.
What is bankruptcy?
Simply put, bankruptcy is the federal government’s way of giving you a fresh start. It allows debtors to completely discharge their debts or manage their overwhelming debt payments. In essence, bankruptcy is a lifeline when you are drowning in debt.
What’s the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Most debtors who successfully file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not have to pay back their debts, but certain properties can potentially be seized if they exceed certain values. On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to keep their property, but it also requires certain debts to be repaid in a payment plan.
Of course, most people prefer Chapter 7, but unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7. For example, those who make too much money for their household size may not qualify. Others prefer to avoid Chapter 7 if they risk losing valuable property.
After a free consultation, T.L. Brown can determine if you qualify for Chapter 7.
What are the steps to filing for bankruptcy?
- People preparing to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy must first complete a credit counseling course. Most bankruptcy lawyers expect their clients to find credit counseling on their own. However, we’ll personally set up your coarse, provide clear instructions, and answer any questions to ensure you complete the class.
- T.L. Brown Law will prepare and file your bankruptcy petition. You simply provide us with the information and documents that we request.
- You will attend a short hearing called the Meeting of the Creditors. It’s not as scary as it sounds and most of the time creditors do NOT show up. However, you will have to answer questions from a bankruptcy trustee. Thankfully, you will not go to this meeting alone. T.L. Brown will make sure a bankruptcy attorney goes to this hearing with you.
- You will take a debtor education course. Again, T.L. Brown will set you up for your course and give you clear instructions to ensure you complete it.
That’s it. T.L. Brown will simplify the bankruptcy process for you. We’ll provide clear instructions and be at your side every step of the way.
Can bankruptcy stop my paycheck from being garnished? Will it stop an eviction or foreclosure? Will it prevent a bank levy? Debt collection lawsuits?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Bankruptcy can stop wage garnishment, evictions, foreclosures, bank levies, and debt collection lawsuits.
Why are people afraid to file bankruptcy?
The term “bankruptcy” carries a stigma. Oftentimes, filing for bankruptcy suggests failure. However, bankruptcy does not always mean that you failed. People have used bankruptcy to stay afloat and further their success. Bankruptcy is often used proactively to stop the bad stuff (i.e., collection calls, foreclosure, wage garnishment, eviction) from happening. So in essence, it can be used to PREVENT failure. Sometimes, bankruptcy is the only way a person can continue living a life of peace and stability.
Be mindful that bankruptcy can have negative repercussions. Filing bankruptcy can hurt a debtor’s credit score or cause him/her to lose property and be denied new credit opportunities.
Will I lose my house or cars if I file for bankruptcy?
T.L. Brown is proud to say that more than 99% of our bankruptcy clients filed Chapter 7 and did not lose any property. In the State of California, debtors are allowed to protect a lot of their assets, including cars and the house they call home. However, if you have assets that exceed a certain value, the bankruptcy trustee may wish to take this property and sell it for the benefit of your creditors.
If your bankruptcy attorney sees any risk of you losing your property, we will notify you before filing the bankruptcy petition. Therefore, you will have an opportunity to decide whether or not you wish to move forward with filing. This is why it is important that you are truthful and disclose ALL property that you own to Attorney Tristan Brown. We can’t protect you if you do not disclose all of your information to us.
Do I have to go to court if I file for bankruptcy?
Generally, people filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 must attend the “Meeting of the Creditors” hearing. It more closely resembles an administrative hearing than a court proceeding. A bankruptcy trustee (not a judge) presides over these hearings. Though court hearings are sometimes required (i.e., for reaffirmation agreements), the majority of T.L. Brown’s clients have not been required to attend court hearings before a judge.
Note: Due to COVID-19, bankruptcy hearings are being conducted via telephone or video conferencing. So while social distancing is required, there has been no requirement for the debtors to physically attend hearings at the present time.
Will bankruptcy affect my credit score?
Filing for bankruptcy does affect your credit score. However, we notice that most of our bankruptcy clients already have poor credit scores prior to filing for bankruptcy. They usually begin rebuilding their credit score after filing bankruptcy by discharging their debt and not having any more missed/late payments.
Following a bankruptcy filing, debtors can also rebuild their credit score by using credit more responsibly. Since, they can’t file bankruptcy again for another 8 years, many debtors tend to get offered new credit cards and car loans immediately after filing their petitions.
Can I discharge all of my debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Most of T.L. Brown’s clients file bankruptcy due to credit card debt, commercial loan debt, and medical debt. Those debts are dischargeable. However, certain other debts are not usually discharged, such as domestic support obligations (child support, alimony) and debts owed to the government. Additionally, taxes and student loans can only be discharged under special circumstances.
How long does the entire bankruptcy process take?
T.L. Brown clients usually complete the entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process in about three to four months. A Chapter 13 repayment plan can range from three to five years. How quickly we can file your petition largely depends upon how quickly our clients can provide us with the required documents and information.
Do I need a bankruptcy attorney to file for bankruptcy?
No. Anyone can file a bankruptcy on their own. However, having a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer will help ensure you are successful and don’t unnecessarily lose your assets.
Think of it this way: criminals can represent themselves in court, but they are more successful when they have a lawyer that understands criminal law. Similarly, your bankruptcy will likely to be easier and more successful if you have a bankruptcy lawyer.
Additionally, a bankruptcy lawyer can also help stop the collection calls and creditor harassment as you prepare to file for bankruptcy.
Where can T.L. Brown Law help me file my bankruptcy?
T.L. Brown successfully files more than 30 new bankruptcy cases per month in the counties of San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Imperial, and Orange. In order for us to file your petition in California, you must be a resident of California for at least 730 days (two years) prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Can I avoid bankruptcy with debt settlement, credit repair, or debt validation?
There are a few ways you can resolve your debt problems and avoid filing for bankruptcy. Hundreds of our clients have avoid bankruptcy by enrolling in a debt resolution program that consists of debt negotiation and debt repayment plans. T.L. Brown can negotiate your debts so that you pay less than what you owe. If you receive a summons or complaint, it is possible for us to work out a settlement or payment plan with your creditor so you don’t have to step foot in court.
Additionally, T.L. Brown Law has been successful via the process of debt validation. We may be able to improve your credit score by requiring your creditor to validate your debts before they continue collecting. If the creditor cannot validate your debts, they may not have legal grounds to collect from you. Successful debt validation can remove illegitimate debs from your credit report.
Our clients may consider debt settlement, debt validation, and others before filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.