HELPING GOOD PEOPLE GET A FRESH START
The Law Office of David P. Gardner is a Debt Relief Agency. Debt relief has been the focus of my practice for many years, because I have found that the best way to serve my clients is to focus on a few areas of law. I have chosen to practice in this area because I can help real human beings and the
HELPING GOOD PEOPLE GET A FRESH START
The Law Office of David P. Gardner is a Debt Relief Agency. Debt relief has been the focus of my practice for many years, because I have found that the best way to serve my clients is to focus on a few areas of law. I have chosen to practice in this area because I can help real human beings and their families and dramatically improve their lives.
No one is immune from misfortune, and 99% of Americans are only one medical crisis, job loss, divorce or unexpected emergency away from needing a debt relief or bankruptcy attorney. Let me get your creditors off your back, and prevent foreclosure of your home, repossession of your vehicles and garnishment of your wages. All while helping you keep as many assets as possible to secure your fresh start.
Learn about debt relief and start down the path to a future free of the debt that has controlled your life. Compare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and Debt Settlement to get an idea of the differences and your options.
Every client’s initial consultation is always with me personally and is always free. We will analyze your situation, evaluate your options, and discuss everything. To schedule a free consultation contact me online or call (707) 658-2739 today.The great majority of personal bankruptcies are the result of misfortune. 85% of personal bankruptcies are caused by job loss, medical crisis, divorce, loss of a home, or combination of those factors. Good people who have had some bad luck, not deadbeats. When trouble comes people try to work with their banks and credit card companies, only to find that their interest rates, penalties and minimum payments skyrocket. The banks, mortgage companies and credit card industry make record profits, pay lobbyists huge sums, and get the laws changed in their favor. The deck is stacked against the ordinary consumer.
But federal bankruptcy laws are the great equalizer, and are powerful financial tools. Creditors are required to comply with the bankruptcy code and must stop harassing collection calls, garnishment of wages, lawsuits, repossessions, and foreclosures. And most people are surprised that they are actually able to keep all of their real estate and personal property, including their homes, cars, retirement accounts, cash, household goods and furnishings, and clothing
Bankruptcy sparks intense emotions in many people. There is a stigma attached to it, despite the fact that debt-forgiveness is first referenced in the Bible and that the founders of our country wrote it into our Constitution. When you consider your personal circumstances objectively, and approach your personal finances as if you were a business, bankruptcy and a clean slate is a valid and necessary option for many people.
Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate unsecured debt and start over with a clean slate.
The two biggest advantages of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy are high speed and low cost. There are no payments to creditors. We simply prepare the necessary bankruptcy schedules and file the case. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy completely eliminates your unsecured debt, usually within three to four months.
A third advantage of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which is often overlooked, is that your credit can potentially be rebuilt faster after bankruptcy than by not filing at all. Unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, signature loans, repossession deficiencies, and judgments can drag down your finances quickly, and stay on credit reports at least 7 years. Many people will try to work their way through their own debt problems, “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” as they say, by transferring balances to new cards to enjoy a few months of reduced interest. It is very common for people to work for years at paying off debt and just end up worse off than when they started.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a responsible way to reorganize your finances, clear your debt, and obtain the fresh start you deserve.
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
The process and timeline for completing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is usually just a few months. The first step is to come into our offices for a free consultation. You will sit down with David Gardner, and together evaluate your debt and income situation and discuss your bankruptcy options.
After the initial consultation, if Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is right for you, we will work with you to prepare your bankruptcy petition. We then review your case and ensure that we have all the necessary documents for the bankruptcy court. While we are preparing your formal paperwork, you will take a brief and inexpensive on line credit counseling class required by the Bankruptcy Code before your case can be filed. Once you have taken the credit counseling class and everything is in order, we meet with you and review every page of your petition and schedules, sign various forms, and then file your case.
Approximately one month after your case is filed you are required to attend a brief hearing, also called the Meeting of Creditors, with the Chapter 7 Trustee assigned to your case. This meeting normally lasts only five to ten minutes. It is not in a courtroom and is not in front of a bankruptcy Judge.
Approximately two to three months later you will receive your Discharge. The Discharge is the court order that eliminates your legal obligation to pay a debt. There are two online courses that you will need to complete, a credit counseling before you file your case, and financial management after you file your case. We can provide an in-office computer for you to use, as well as personal assistance from our staff.
So for most people, the entire Chapter 7 process takes only four to six months. For others, timing is more important than speed. For those clients we engage in a careful pre-filing process to maximize your qualifications and protections before your case is filed. It is similar to tax planning or estate planning in that respect.
Restriction on Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress in 2005, set limits on which consumers will be eligible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Individuals and couples are eligible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if they have not received a bankruptcy discharge from a Chapter 7 filing in the past eight years, a Chapter 13 filing in the past six years.
Congress also set limits on how much consumers can earn and still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We must therefore calculate a “Means Test” to determine whether you are under the income limit for your family sized, and whether you have sufficient disposable income to repay some of your debts. The Means Test is calculated by taking your average gross wages or self-employed net income for the past six months and comparing it to the median household income for California.
The Means Test is used to determine if there is any realistic chance that you might be able to pay off part of your debts. The vast majority of debtors who previously qualified under the old bankruptcy laws still qualify with the “new” bankruptcy laws. Most consumers who come in for a free consultation and evaluation qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
There is an important exception to the Means Test for small business owners: if more than one half of your debt is business debt, then it does not apply and you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
From the media reports, a person might get the impression that the foreclosure crisis is easing. Don’t believe it. Foreclosure is still a huge problem.
For those who simply cannot afford to keep a house, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can at least stop a foreclosure temporarily, sometimes for months, and give you time to find a new residence and get ready to move in an orderly and rational manner. The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy also wipes out your debts and can make you a better candidate to rent, since sophisticated landlords know that if your other debts have been eliminated then you can better afford to pay rent.
For those who have regular income but are simply too far behind on their mortgage payments to get caught up before the house is lost through foreclosure, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy gives you three to five years to bring your mortgage current. In many cases, we have been able to stop foreclosures entirely and help people keep their homes for good.
You don’t have to live in your current state of worry and fear. Make the choice to take control of your financial situation by contacting me.
Medical debts are included in 60% of all bankruptcy filings, according to a report in the August 2007 American Journal of Medicine. Even with the health care reform acts passed by congress, the cost of medical care isn’t likely to go down.
Bad things can happen to good people. An unexpected medical crisis can cost you thousands of dollars. Being out of work with not enough insurance to cover your expenses can cause your debts to spiral out of control quickly.
Your health and recovery shouldn’t be hindered by debt collectors harassing you. Find out how bankruptcy can help you clear your medical debts. Let me help you through the hard times.
Fighting the IRS over back taxes can really take its toll. Wage garnishments, tax liens, judgments can add stress and uncertainty to an already difficult situation. Bankruptcy may be able to help you deal with the problems your tax debts are causing.
The IRS is not very forgiving when it comes to avoiding what is owed to the government, but there are some cases when a tax payer simply just does not have any means of paying their back taxes. In most cases the IRS will take a lien on any property that you own, confiscate it, and sell it in order to recoup some of what you owe.
To clear your IRS taxes in bankruptcy you must qualify to file under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It will mean that you have no means to pay back the government what you owe them. The IRS will carefully look into your history of income and bills and try to determine if you could have at one point paid your taxes. It is very rare that the IRS will allow your unpaid taxes to be written off without some type of payment. That said, there are some cases where a taxpayer has been able to claim Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and avoid paying any back taxes.
In most cases the tax payer will file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy which gives them a longer period of time to pay back any unpaid IRS back taxes. The government will make arrangements to help you pay back what you owe. Usually penalties and fees are dropped and you will only be charged just what you owe the government in tax dollars. In order to get the best deal and not have such a high interest rate you may want the services of a tax lawyer by your side to handle the negotiations with the IRS tax agent.
Repossession laws differ across the country. State laws dictate how a repossession is handled in California. California residents facing repossession of a car need to understand what the law is and what protections may exist for them.
With car loans, the secured lender has the right to claim possession of collateral upon the default of a loan unless other agreements were made in a legal contract. This means that if you stop making payments on your vehicle, the repo-man can come and take it with no judicial process.
You have the right to redeem the property, but only if you can work out an amended payment plan with the lender or pay the full amount owed on the loan.
Under your contract, you must not try to hide from or avoid the lender if you fall behind on the payments. The vehicle must be available for them to take possession.
Filing bankruptcy can stop repossession and help you pay off the debt owed on your car note.
If necessary due to an emergency such as the imminent foreclosure of your home or garnishment of your wages, we will meet with you early before work, evening, and weekends. We have two offices for your convenience, and we even make house calls for disabled, elderly, medical conditions, and other needs.
The bankruptcy code permits a special “skeleton” petition for emergencies, which consists of only three simple documents that take 10 minutes to sign. Upon payment of attorney fees and filing costs, your case can be filed immediately. We have kept many families in their homes this way.
The major drawback of the emergency procedure is that all of the other paperwork needed for a regular case must then be filed within 14 days or your case will be dismissed, so there is substantial work that needs to be accomplished quickly. However, with our experience and guidance we have successfully completed every emergency petition filed by our clients.
NO MORE HARASSMENT
One of the worst parts about being in overwhelming debt is the harassment from creditors. The constant phone calls at home at all hours of the day and night and even on weekends, calls to family members, calls to your employer, the steady stream of dunning letters and creditor billing statements.
When you retain our office the first thing we do for you is stop the harassment. Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and California’s equivalent Rosenthal Act, once you inform a creditor that you have an attorney and give the creditor the attorney’s contact information, the creditor must immediately cease and desist all contact regarding your debts with anyone the attorney.
Pursuant to federal law 15 USC § 1692b(6) the creditor may not communicate with any person regarding your debts other than this office. Any further attempts to communicate with you or anyone else will subject the creditor to civil liability under 15 USC Sec. 1692k and may lead to recovery of damages, including actual damages, statutory damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
CALL ME FOR A FREE CONSULTATION (707) 658-2739