Bankruptcy FAQ

Learn from an Orange County Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy is not right for everyone, but for many it is a viable solution to unmanageable debt. Although the best way to learn the correct path for you is to contact an attorney directly, we have provided some answers to the most commonly-asked questions about bankruptcy. Due to the complexity of bankruptcy and other debt-relief options, there is not enough space here to detail the entire process. What we hope is that these answers provide you with a brief overview of the process. To learn more, we encourage you to contact our firm directly.

What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a process conducted by the federal courts that is aimed at helping individuals and families who are inundated with debt. The purpose of both types of bankruptcy that are usually declared by individuals (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) is to give relief from debt. Through this legal process, you will legally declare that you are unable to pay your outstanding mortgage payments, credit card payments, car payments and other similar debts.

What type of bankruptcy is best for me?
Without meeting with you and discussing your situation in detail, it is impossible to tell you instantly which Chapter you are eligible to declare. Generally speaking, individuals are able to file Chapter 7 if they can prove that they have insufficient income to cover their outstanding debts. Individuals who are able to file Chapter 13 might have enough income to allow them to continue living day to day, but it is not reasonably enough to pay back their debt within a few years. An experienced Orange County bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Office of Bruce C. Bridgman can meet with you to give you a better idea of what to expect in your circumstances.

What is Chapter 7?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or “liquidation,” technically involves selling your assets to cover the most amount of your debts that you can and you are then freed from most of your unpaid bills. However, it is important to remember that there are bankruptcy exemptions that allow you to keep certain types of assets, such as your house, your car and other necessary assets. Many of the clients that work with a Chapter 7 attorney at The Law Office of Bruce C. Bridgman are able to retain most, if not all, of their assets.

What is Chapter 13?
The other type of bankruptcy that is commonly declared by individuals is called Chapter 13. This type of bankruptcy involves a restructuring or reorganization of the debt that an individual currently has unpaid. Your debts will be paid over a period of years, usually 3 to 5 years, depending upon your circumstances. To determine if you are eligible for Chapter 13, you can speak with an experienced Orange County Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Office of Bruce C. Bridgman.

How can you help me consolidate my debt?
An attorney who is skilled in debt consolidation can negotiate with your creditors in order to consolidate and reduce your debt. This can result in combining all of your monthly bills into one payment, usually also resulting in a lower overall amount owed. With the current economic climate, there are many companies advertising their debt consolidation services – it is important to remember that only an attorney has the actual legal knowledge and qualifications necessary to help you with your debt.

Will debt collectors stop calling me if I declare bankruptcy?
If you successfully declare bankruptcy, lenders and debt collection agencies will have to cease contacting you in attempt to seek payment. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) there are many other things that debt collectors are not able to do. To learn more about how bankruptcy and the FDCPA can protect you against debt collectors, contact us.

Will I have to liquidate all of my assets if I file for bankruptcy?
No. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy does technically state that you must liquidate certain assets, there are many exemptions that allow you to keep most, if not all, of your property and assets. To learn more about the types and amounts of property exemptions that you may qualify for as a resident of Orange County, contact the firm.

Again, this information is not meant to be conclusive or provide an answer that fits everyone’s situation. Everyone has different finances and other varying circumstances that play a large role in their case. If you would like to speak with an Orange County bankruptcy attorney from our firm for a free evaluation of your case, don’t hesitate to call today!

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