Do I qualify to file for bankruptcy?
If your monthly expenses are greater than your monthly income because of debt, you may qualify to file for bankruptcy, but there are exceptions, so we give free consultations. During your consultation we will collect general financial information and then let you know if it appears that bankruptcy is right for you. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation 661Justice (661-587-8423).
Do you take payments?
Yes, as part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will work with us to set up a reasonable payment plan for money owed to us for assisting you with the bankruptcy as well as for your other debts. However, we cannot accept payments as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because as soon as the bankruptcy is filed, we are legally not allowed to collect payments from you.
Can I save money by using a document preparation service or a paralegal?
In the long run, we are generally much less expensive than just using a paralegal or a document preparation service. Paralegals and a “petition preparers” cannot explain the law, help you decide which exemptions to take, or even select which type of bankruptcy is best for you. Many of these document mills are offshore and charge low fees to do bad work. Even worse, some firms start with a low price and then charge for each additional step of the bankruptcy, so the “low cost” fee of $99 may result in a final cost of several thousand dollars. Further, if a document preparation company makes a mistake, they are generally not liable for their errors. You are responsible for reviewing documents prepared by document preparation services, so you risk losing assets and misfiling your papers, which can result in dismissal. With an attorney firm, such as ours, the attorney ensures that the documents are prepared correctly. Our office is run by a skilled bankruptcy attorney, Michael Akhidenor, and a staff of Licensed Document Assistants, Paralegals, and clerical staff. With our firm, you get the benefits of a law firm but at a price comparable to a high-end document preparation service. We are able to keep our prices low because the LDAs and paralegals do the busy work, and the attorney reviews the documents for accuracy.
How much do you charge?
We charge a flat rate of $2,500 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There may be a court filing fee of $335, but this fee can be waived if you meet certain requirements, which can be found on Official Form 3B. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, our fees depend on the amount of debt being reorganized, but our fees can be paid in installments.
What are all these “schedules” I keep hearing about?
Schedules are used to disclose the state of your finances. These schedules are the heart of every bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy schedules are designed to put the state of finances in an easily readable format. Complete and accurate responses to all of the questions in the schedules are vital to a bankruptcy case. The schedules are:
- Schedule A/B – List of real property
- Schedule C – List of property claimed as being exempt from creditors
- Schedule D – List of secured debts
- Schedule E/F – List of unsecured debts
- Schedule G – List of contracts and leases
- Schedule H – List of co-debtors
- Schedule I – List of income
- Schedule J – List of expenses
What is the meeting of creditors?
Shortly after a bankruptcy case is filed, a meeting is held to allow creditors and the bankruptcy trustee to ask the person filing bankruptcy about their finances. This is a required meeting that is presided over by the trustee assigned to the case or by one of his agents. The person filing bankruptcy must attend in person, but creditors rarely attend, so the matter is generally called and the trustee may ask the person filing bankruptcy a few short questions about the state of their finances.
What are the classes I have to take?
A person seeking bankruptcy protection must take two classes: Credit Counseling and Personal Financial Management. The Credit Counseling class must generally be taken within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy, and the Financial Management class must generally be taken within 60 days after the meeting of creditors.