Bankruptcy And The Automatic Stay: How Does It Protect Me?
One of the most significant benefits of filing a bankruptcy is that it puts an immediate stop to almost all collection efforts by creditors. As soon as your initial bankruptcy petition is filed, whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, all collection efforts, legal proceedings regarding debts, wage garnishments and the like must immediately cease. If you are experiencing the stress, anxiety and fear that comes with phone calls and threatening letter from bill collectors, the value of the automatic stay should be immediately obvious. The automatic stay is designed to freeze all debt collection efforts and provide a debtor a chance to catch one's breath. If you have had your bank account levied or your wages garnished, the value of the automatic stay cannot be overstated. Not only must creditor collection or debt enforcement efforts stop upon being served with the filed bankruptcy petition, but the creditor can actually be penalized for violating the automatic stay. At the Shakoori Law Office, we represent those throughout Orange County and elsewhere throughout Southern California faced with wage garnishments, bank levies, judgment debtor exams and other oppressive debt collection practices.
The filing of the bankruptcy petition by a qualified Orange County bankruptcy attorney will create an injunction that prevents almost all debt collection and enforcement efforts including but not limited to the following:
Any court action to enforce a debt or judgment
Telephone calls and letters from creditors
Repossessions of collateral (i.e. automobiles, real property)
Foreclosure sale of real property
Garnishment of wages
Bank account levies
The automatic stay suspends these collection efforts so that the rights of the debtor and all creditors can be balanced. The duration of the automatic stay was limited somewhat by the 2005 bankruptcy reforms. The stay now automatically expires 60 days from filing a bankruptcy petition in most situations and within 30 days for those who have previously filed a bankruptcy within the last year. If a debtor has filed two bankruptcies within the prior year, a stay may be requested under certain circumstances, but no stay takes automatic effect.
While the automatic stay provides protection against most forms of debt enforcement and collection efforts, there are a number of notable exceptions:
Certain family court obligations including enforcement of child support obligations
Enforcement of actions against real property that were lifted within 2 years prior to the current filing
These are just common and representative examples so it is advisable to consult with a qualified California bankruptcy attorney if you have questions about the automatic stay and relevant exemptions from its protections. 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.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy?
The attorneys of the Shakoori Law Office have been providing legal advice and representing those faced with staggering debt throughout Orange County and Southern California for over 16 years. We commonly have people come to us who believe they need to file bankruptcy. Under the bankruptcy law reforms of October 17, 2005, you must wait eight years after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge before seeking another Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. We often counsel clients that they do not have enough debt to justify filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. You will want to save this valuable option until you really need it. You also may not need to file bankruptcy even though creditors are threatening you because you may have no nonexempt property or wages. This means you have nothing the creditors can take from you.
Sometimes a debtor is better off waiting to file because their debt load is not particularly high or they have assets or transactions that make delaying a bankruptcy strategically beneficial. For example, purchases of certain luxury items and cash advances made within 60 days of filing a bankruptcy are presumed nondischargeable, which may make it advisable to delay filing a bankruptcy. At the Shakoori Law Office, we will review your income, assets, debts and entire financial status to determine available alternatives and options so that you can make an informed decision about your best course of action.
Our knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys can help you assess when and if to file a bankruptcy. They will review your financial situation by analyzing your budget based on realistic monthly expenses including living costs, car payments and house payments. We will then analyze whether you have the ability to pay off your debts in three years. You may be able to reduce expenses, negotiate interest rates down, or sell assets that allow you to avoid bankruptcy. However, there may be penalties associated with certain assets, such as, liquidating an IRA or 401K, which may leave you in a worse position. The bottom line is that the Shakoori Law Office does much more than help you file a bankruptcy. We explore your financial situation and give you legal advice on possible options and alternatives.
The goal of our knowledgeable attorneys is to put you back on the road to financial security, which may or may not include filing a bankruptcy on your behalf. We know the stress and anxiety that comes with feeling you are struggling to tread water financially. Let our attorneys provide a financial life raft and guide you to safety. 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.