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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Orange County
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In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy the court will discharge most types of debt including credit card balances, medical bills and finance company loans. Some types of debts like recent income taxes, student loans and child support obligations are not dischargeable. On secured debts, like a home mortgage or car loan, you have the option to keep the property and keep making the payments, or surrender the property to the lender and discharge your liability. You generally are able to keep all of your property, unless you have substantial equity in the property beyond what California law allows you to protect.
At The Law Offices of Joseph M. Tosti, our highly experienced legal team will sit down with you during a free case evaluation and help you determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If so, we can help you determine the best course of action and immediately start working on a strong case strategy for you. You can count on us to be there for you when you need us most.
How Do I Qualify for Chapter 7?
There are several requirements that need to be met to qualify for a Chapter 7. If your income is lower than the Median Income (see the Median Income Chart below), then you automatically qualify for a Chapter 7.
Even if your income is substantially above the Median Income, we can often times get you qualified for a Chapter 7. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you will be stuck in a Chapter 13 making payments for the next 5 years. This is the last thing any of my clients want. Chapter 13 bankruptcies work very well when you are attempting to save a house that is in foreclosure.
Under the Means Test, if the majority of your debt is non-consumer debt (which is defined as business debt, taxes and certain other debts), then you automatically qualify for a Chapter 7 under the Means Test.
Also, certain expenses will help you qualify under the Means Test. If you have large mortgage payments, past taxes, child support, alimony, multiple car payments, large insurance payments, childcare, disability, large out of pocket medical expenses and certain other expenses.
It is not unusual for a client to earn $20,000 to $30,000 over the median income and still qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is important that you call Joseph M. Tosti to find out if you qualify for a Chapter 7. He will give you a free consultation to discuss your individual financial situation.
What is the California Median Income For Chapter 7?
California Medium Income
The median standards may change. To ensure that you qualify under the means test, reach out to the Law Offices of Joseph M. Tosti to see if you qualify.
How Can Chapter 7 Help Me?
Once the Chapter 7 petition is filed, the United States Bankruptcy Law prohibits all collection attempts by your creditors including telephone calls. Approximately forty days after your case is filed there will be a Creditors Hearing. Typically no creditors actually show up at the Creditors Hearing. Usually it is just the bankruptcy Trustee that is present to ask you questions about your assets and income. In most cases, the hearing will last less than five minutes with a court appointed Trustee. It is the trustee's responsibility to see if you have any large assets that could be liquidated to pay your debts, like business equipment or substantial equity in real estate. About twelve weeks after the court appearance you receive the order of discharge of your debts by mail.
What Debts Are Discharged?
In Chapter 7, unsecured debts may be discharged. They will be discharged about 4 to 6 months after the bankruptcy is filed.
Below are some examples of debts that are discharged in Chapter 7:
- Credit card debt
- Medical debt
- Utility bills
- Business debt
- Some tax penalties
- Some unpaid taxes
- Personal loans from your family, friends, or employer
Are There Fees For Filing?
The court costs to file a Chapter 7 case are $335 which must be paid by you when the case is filed. The attorney fees for Chapter 7 cases depend on the nature and complexity of your case, finances and assets. In most cases, we can have the fees paid in installments. During your free consultation we will be able to quote you an exact fee and discuss a payment plan.
It is important to remember when choosing a bankruptcy attorney in Orange County, that not all attorneys have the requisite knowledge and experience in handling these cases. The Law Offices of Joseph M. Tosti has been committed to representing those consumers and businesses that have been suffering from severe financial hardship for over a quarter of a century.
Call us at (949) 245-6288 today to schedule your free consultation with our Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Irvine.
Advice & Guidance Invaluable
“Joe's advice and guidance, before, during, and after my bankruptcy were invaluable!”
“Kathe kept me abreast of the entire process and was very communicative.”
“It was a great experience for what it is, with everything completely done with out complications. Joe tosti law offices is honest , quality attorney.”