Santa Ana remains bankruptcy hot spot as OC filings hit five-year peak

More than 1700 new Orange County bankruptcy cases were filed in July, an almost 25 percent increase from a year ago, further indication that for many Southern Californians facing high unemployment and the depressed economy, financial woes are far from over.

From the Central District to Los Angeles County, Californians everywhere are fighting a similar battle fueled by surging credit debts, underwater mortgages and depleted retirement plans, the Orange County Register reports.

For those who are continuing to struggle, finding and talking with an experienced, understanding, Santa Ana bankruptcy lawyer or Ontario bankruptcy attorney can assist you in determining a course of action that will allow you to regain control of your life.

L.A. County alone has seen a more than 50 percent spike in filings from a year ago, while markets from Sacramento to Santa Ana to San Diego continue to make the “top 15” hardest-hit counties for bankruptcy filings.

And it isn’t just homeowners who are taking the hit. According to a recent post on, it’s small business owners around the state and nation who are adding to the fresh wave of bankruptcies flooding the courts.

A recent study of quarterly business filings by the American Bankruptcy Institute found that last year alone more than 60,000 companies filed bankruptcies nationwide, a number that has been steadily tracking upward since 2006 and is highest on record since 1994.

Meanwhile, ABI reports, more than 28,000 companies nationally have filed for bankruptcy during the first two quarters of 2010. If the trend continues, the country is on track to see another 60,000 companies fold this year as well.

With the closure of these small businesses, unemployment numbers continue to climb, further fueling the downward economic spiral ravaging the savings, credit ratings and dreams of California workers and entrepreneurs alike.

The Shakoori Law Group, a law firm dedicated to bankruptcy, debt collection defense and consumer protection, offers a free consultation to consumers throughout the Los Angeles area. Call (877) 529-2188.

For struggling Orange County residents, new consumer credit protections a mixed bag of goods

New regulations on how banks and gift card issuers can assign fees went into effect on Sunday. While they do offer consumers a veil of protection by requiring better communication in how and when overdraft and “activation” fees are issued, they do not reverse or amend the strategy of paying highest-to-lowest charges most banks practice.

It is this practice, which maximizes a bank’s ability to charge overdraft fees, that most hurts consumers, particularly those who carry a low-balance account, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Our Riverside bankruptcy lawyers and consumer protection attorneys fight for the rights of consumers who have been mistreated by banks, credit card companies, debt collectors or other businesses. The consumers most devastated by these kinds of charges are working class families who use their ATM cards, pay their bills on time, and work to set money aside for college educations for the kids and retirement for themselves.

Given the 9.8 percent joblessness rate in Orange County and a five-year spike in bankruptcy filings in the first quarter of 2010 alone, many Santa Ana and Riverside residents and consumers struggling to manage out-of-control debts on limited and diminished incomes are now seeking advice from Orange County bankruptcy attorneys with the hopes of better understanding their rights regarding bankruptcy and consumer debt.

Anyone with an ATM card knows that keeping track of your real-time balance can be a challenge. When a bank employs this higher-to-lower pay-out method, they are basically depleting your account of funds that may otherwise be available to cover multiple smaller charges.

What happens next is your account is then dinged with a $35-39 overdraft fee for each little charge, instead of one overdraft charge on a bigger ticket item. So, they cover your car payment, for example, but that gas purchase and run to the grocery and doctor visit co-pay comes with an overdraft fee that quickly adds up to hundreds of additional dollars.

What most consumers and certainly consumer protection advocates would rather see is a return to the chronological system of balancing consumer accounts wherein charges are processed in the order they are incurred.

The Shakoori Law Group, a law firm dedicated to bankruptcy, debt collection defense and consumer protection, offers consumers in the Los Angeles area a free appointment to discuss their rights. Call (877) 529-2188.

Divorce of Dodgers owners illustrate how dissolving joint finances can drive couples to LA bankruptcy court

Divorce is seldom a painless process, but for power couple and Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt who face off in a Los Angeles courtroom this week, much more is at stake than 30 years of memories, the LA Times reports.

Divorce is a leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the Los Angeles area. Consulting a Santa Ana bankruptcy lawyer or a bankruptcy lawyer in Orange County can help protect your rights.

The LA Dodgers is a hundred million dollar a year franchise, one which neither Frank nor Jamie wish to lose interest. Both are now fighting to establish ownership rights and at least some control over the big-money future earnings the team promises.

While such grand stakes are uncommon to most Orange County couples contemplating divorce, the financial reorganization that frequently accompanies the painful process of divvying up a lifetime of community property can often land either or both in an L.A. bankruptcy court.

Splitting up assets, deciding who takes control over which bills and who reaps the benefits of formerly joint income can be a financially devastating process during a time already rife with emotional stress. Seeking the advice of a bankruptcy attorney, who understands divorce, can help protect the rights of a spouse now facing bankruptcy along with the dissolution of their marriage.

For the McCourts, what is up for debate is whether or not Jamie signed away her ownership rights to the Dodgers in exchange for sole possession of the couple’s many residences, the LA Weekly reports.

Jamie says she never read the document, “trusting her husband when he said the document was designed to protect the couple’s home from creditors,” the LA Times article reports. Frank counters that his wife knew exactly what she was signing whether she read it or not. Now, a judge will decide whether the document they both signed gives Frank sole ownership of the team.

For those struggling with divorce and contemplating bankruptcy, finding and talking with a Santa Ana, Ontario or L.A.-based bankruptcy attorney who understands the law and your rights can assist you in determining a course of action and help you regain control of your life. The Shakoori Law Group, a law firm dedicated to bankruptcy, debt collection defense and consumer protection, can be reached at (877) 529-2188.

Bankruptcy is an option for everyone

Tony Braxton, the famous R&B singer, is a great example of the fact that bankruptcy protection as provided for under the Bankruptcy Act is meant to extend to all citizens (and legal residents.) Ms. Braxton recently filed for protection under the bankruptcy laws. This is Ms. Barxton’s second time filing for bankruptcy. According to reports the 43 year old singer owes money to American Express, Tiffany & Co., Neiman-Marcus and other creditors including medical providers. Many observers were incensed when Toni showed up to a football game wearing expensive jewels and clothing and by the fact that she had filed for bankruptcy in 1998 as well.

However, what our Orange County Chapter 7 attorney, Rachelle Shakoori, always tells her clients, the code does not discriminate against those who seek its protection. The fact that Ms. Braxton may have filed for bankruptcy more them ten (10) years earlier will not prevent her from filing for bankruptcy again. Nor will the fact that many of her creditors are luxury shops mean that she cant discharge those debts. Also, how much jewelry Toni will be able to retain is all controlled by the federal and local exemptions that apply to all petitioners. For instance our Anaheim bankruptcy lawyers will rely on exemption in the California and federal codebooks, while Bankruptcy attorneys in Georgia will look for protection in Georgia and federal laws.

In these hard economic times the option to restart one’s life and be able to renew one’s goals and aspirations is an important part of the American dream and one that should be cherished by us all. At the same time, we should all be concerned that no one takes advantage of the system by abusing it. The more the system is abused, the more likely that the major corporations will be able to push through legislation like the one in 2005 which drastically reduced the rights previously available. Our experienced Orange County Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney is available to answer any questions you may have about filing for bankruptcy and whether you qualify or not. Call us today at 714-542-2188 for a free consultation.

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