Experienced Bankruptcy Representation
The majority of the work at SW Smyth LLP is in the area of consumer bankruptcy law. Our attorneys represent debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. In addition, we represent clients in bankruptcy litigation know as adversary proceedings.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to give the debtor a “fresh start.” In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all dischargeable debts will be eliminated. Most of your debts will be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Credit card debt and medical bills are almost always dischargeable. Income taxes are dischargeable in certain situations.
The filing of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop creditors from collecting on their debt. This includes stopping bank levies, wage garnishments and repossessions. Most clients will be able to keep ALL of their property in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes your home and car(s).
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed as a “reorganization plan” for a client’s debts. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be able to repay your debts over a period of three (3) to five (5) years. For many clients, this allows repayment of any missed mortgage payments over a period of five (5) years, while keeping you in your home and preventing any foreclosure proceedings.
In addition, you may be eligible for a “lien strip” of your second mortgage. A lien strip allows you to remove or “strip” off your second mortgage so that you do not have to pay it anymore. If the value of your home is less than what is owed on the first mortgage, then you qualify for a lien strip.
In terms of other unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills, you will only be required to pay a percentage of that debt which will be determined by what you can reasonably afford.
To qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be able to show that you have enough income to pay your secured debt, mortgages and car payments, and any priority debt, recent income taxes or child support. Income can be in the form of payment from a job, social security, pension or retirement, or a promise by a friend/family member that they will contribute a monthly amount to your Chapter 13 plan.
Please call us today to speak directly with one of our attorneys who can evaluate your situation and advise you as to whether bankruptcy is a good option for you.
In some bankruptcy proceedings, debtors may receive a lawsuit known as an adversary proceeding. An adversary proceeding is frequently brought by the trustee or by a creditor in bankruptcy court. Generally, these lawsuits are challenging some aspects of your bankruptcy case, often involving a preference payment to another party or alleging some type of fraudulent transfer.
An adversary complaint can be confusing and intimidating. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience working with these proceedings and can help. There are many defenses that are available to fight these complaints. Our offices have successfully defended numerous clients facing adversary proceedings.
For more information on bankruptcy and adversary proceedings, please go to our frequently asked questions page or feel free to call our Los Angeles office at 323-486-0731 or use our convenient contact form to make an appointment to meet with our attorneys.