Are you facing a difficult financial situation? Bankruptcy may be the answer to getting your financial life back on track. At OakTree Law, we can stop foreclosures, wage garnishments, and creditor harassments whether you earn a low or high income.
Get Help from an Experienced Riverside Bankruptcy Attorney
OakTree Law specializes in helping clients with bankruptcy, loan modifications, and foreclosure in the Riverside area. Serving clients throughout Southern California, we’re proud to have a presence in the Inland Empire. Whether you’re struggling to pay bills or face potential repossessions or losing your assets, we can provide credit counseling and debt relief, or help you navigate the often-complex bankruptcy process.
We know there’s no one size fits all approach to handling an individual’s financial situation. That’s why our team crafts a unique legal plan for each client, whether they face excessive debt or are struggling to pay their mortgage. But debt problems come from all angles. A health crisis, death in the family, or job loss can set you on a downward spiral, but a handcrafted legal process can get the results you need to get above water.
Our bankruptcy lawyer in Riverside can:
- Educate you on the laws pertaining to your situation, and what your rights are. Patient attorneys will take as long as necessary to explain what you need to know.
- Help you get information you need to understand your situation and obtain documents required to get your case started. Personal assistance and guidance are available all the way.
- Give you an honest assessment. Other law firms in Riverside might immediately ask for a fee, but we do not; you’ll get a thorough analysis and honest answers, along with an up-front quote so you know our fee in advance, whether your case is handled in or out of court.
- Focus on your goals, while helping you decide on the best course of action, and then do what it takes to accomplish key objectives.
Your attorney will be on your case until the matter is resolved. The staff at OakTree Law is also highly skilled and trained and can answer any of your questions. When you request your attorney, we’ll forward your inquiries if you want to keep matters confidential between you and your legal advisor.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Right for You?
Bankruptcy is generally a last resort for debtors who have tried other methods to resolve their situation, including debt consolidation. If you are overwhelmed by debt, there is help. Your creditors don’t have to take over your life; you have many legal rights you can exercise.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts an automatic stay on collection actions, although it can also prevent foreclosure and vehicle repossession. For the most part, it protects anyone with excessive credit card debt, personal loans, and medical bills, as well as IRS debt. Depending on your situation, you can qualify to receive a discharge on your debts; those most eligible for this option are people whose:
- Debts would take five years or longer to pay off.
- Debt adds up to more than half their yearly income.
- Disposable income is significantly limited.
Once your debts are discharged, you are no longer liable to pay creditors and collection actions cannot be taken against you. Creditors can no longer call you or garnish your wages. By eliminating your debts, you can protect your assets and keep your home, vehicle, and other valuables, although second homes, second cars, coin/stamp collections, and family heirlooms are non-exempt.
For the most part, Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings are “no asset” cases, meaning you get to keep assets needed in your daily life.
Although a Chapter 7 filing will appear on your credit report, and you’ll need to let future lenders know about it, bankruptcy is much better than missing years of credit payments.
A bankruptcy option available to businesses with high amounts of debt. To qualify, the long-term income of your business must be predictable and exceed its assets’ liquidation value. You can reorganize your business once you file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as well as work out a payment plan.
Under a structured payment plan, your business can achieve stability in the long-term. If there is debt attached to properties in your estate, lien stripping services are provided by OakTree Law, which can reorganize and strip much of it off your property.
When you file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, you are empowered as a debtor in possession, and become your own fiduciary. In short, you become the administrator of your own bankruptcy. Your Riverside bankruptcy lawyer will account for all your property, examine claims against you, and even manage your relationship with creditors. OakTree Law will devise a payment plan best suited for your family property or corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership that keeps your business functioning.
The wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is most suited for Riverside homeowners with large amounts of debt and who earn a steady income. Debt reorganization bankruptcy may be used by people with multiple properties and who want to avoid foreclosure. Even if you’re behind on a second mortgage, for example, you can regain control and improve your future financial situation. It may also be used by small business owners who haven’t established a corporation or partnership.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can pay off car payments or past due mortgage arrears. While your repayment plan is active (debts are typically paid off over 3 to 5 years), you retain your property. Specific rules are used to structure this plan. Its length is based on your current monthly income, while your creditors can accept or reject the plan or provide other types of input.
Depending on the type of claim, you will be required to repay all or part of your debts (you may not be liable for all credit card, past utilities, judgements, or medical bills). Instead of paying a creditor directly, you make payments to an assigned trustee, who distributes funds to your creditors. Filing for Chapter 13 also stops foreclosure procedures, puts an automatic stay on collection efforts, and protects your property and possessions from a forced sale. The process may also discharge significant amounts of debt.
The process can strip a lien from property, or you can employ loan modification. For example, a second mortgage can be eliminated. Second loans are no longer secured by your home, as the fair market value of your home is less than your first mortgage. This works if you have a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as well.
Given a second mortgage and HELOC have a junior lien instead of a senior lien like a first mortgage, Chapter 13 can let you strip the HELOC. It becomes unsecured debt and is discharged once your repayment plan is completed.
If the plan includes mortgage payments with back payments, you will not lose your home. In fact, Chapter 13 can be filed so that you can keep your home; should you lose your job or be unable to make monthly payments, a court-filed moratorium can request a suspension of payments for a period of time.
Obtaining credit depends on court approval, although you may have to wait a few years for approval on some types of loans. Over time, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can improve your debt-to-income ratio and credit worthiness.
Chapter 20 bankruptcy is the most complex option. If you qualify, you can stay in your home by using this step-by-step approach. First, you need to discharge your debt through a Chapter 7 filing, and then eliminate liens with a Chapter 13 filing. You can then discharge debts you couldn’t do with the former option alone. A repayment plan and automatic stay then apply.
A Chapter 20 filing involves a lot of paperwork, as well as time. You’ll also incur the costs of both bankruptcies. However, you can get to keep your home if you have excessive amounts of unsecured debt and are behind on you mortgage payments. With the help of our bankruptcy attorney in Riverside, you can get through a complex case and attain goals of debt relief you could not before.
Debt Consolidation and Relief
Consolidating your debt might seem like an easier option, but it can be risky. Creditors don’t have any real incentives to agree to your decision. Your debts will continue to build interest if the debt consolidation company forces you to wait. Aside from these risks, costly upfront fees could offset any savings, and a consolidation company probably won’t negotiate on what you owe. Also, your creditors might still continue harassing you.
Our Riverside bankruptcy lawyer provides a more effective alternative—filing for bankruptcy— which can have numerous other advantages. It can eliminate your debt. While consolidation doesn’t stop creditors from taking collection actions, the federal bankruptcy code does and prevents additional interest and penalties. Protection from wage garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures is available as well.
Experienced with the bankruptcy process and A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau, OakTree Law can provide legal guidance and assess your situation to find a plan that best helps address your debt. Our Riverside bankruptcy attorney always works on your behalf.
Bankruptcy Filing Process
Deciding on the type of bankruptcy that is right for you can be challenging. That is why you need an attorney with insider knowledge to represent you. The general process involves:
- Gathering documents including paystubs (6 months worth) or other evidence of your income, verification of your debts from creditors, and details on your assets including bank accounts, retirement accounts, whole life insurance policies, and vehicle valuation.
- Taking a credit counseling class with an approved agency. You must complete the class within six months of filing for bankruptcy.
- File a petition and schedules with the court; your attorney will fill these out, review the information with you, and file them with the bankruptcy.
- Submit two years of federal and state tax returns to your trustee, unless it’s a Chapter 13 filing, in which case you’ll need four years of tax returns.
- Attend a 341 hearing of creditors and any other hearings that may be required. You’ll be asked questions about your filings, creditors, assets, and income; you’re attorney will be present at the hearing.
- After filing your bankruptcy petition/documents, you will be required to complete a debtor education class, after which a B23 form will be submitted to the court stating you’ve completed an approved class.
Call a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Riverside Today
Founded by Julie J. Villalobos in 2009, OakTree Law is a multi-faceted financial services firm ready to help high and low income individuals regain control over their financial future. Whether you are facing a foreclosure, harassment by creditors, or a bank levy, we’ll take your unique circumstances into account and find the best solution to achieve debt relief and protect your home. Our Riverside bankruptcy attorney applies vast amounts of knowledge, expertise, and technology to prepare your case and manage bankruptcy proceedings.