South Bay Bankruptcy Lawyer
Overwhelmed with Debt? Get the Fresh Start You Need.
To many people, bankruptcy is a word filled with negative connotations. It is often wrongly associated with carelessness, poor judgment and being given a "free ride." At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we deal with bankruptcy every day and we see it for what it is: A very common personal decision that allows people who are overwhelmed with debt a chance at a fresh start. If you are dealing with a difficult financial situation, our South Bay bankruptcy attorneys are here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about your options.
See how our knowledge in bankruptcy can help you in the following areas:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Foreclosure & repossession
- Creditor harassment
- FDCPA claims
- Bankruptcy litigation
- Wage garnishment
Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to protect consumers from debt collection and develop a way to give them a fresh financial start. The two major types of bankruptcy we assist clients with are:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Offers people an opportunity to wipe out a large majority of their debt
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Restructures people's debts into a manageable payment schedule
We know that every situation is different, and we tailor our approach to suit the needs and goals of each client. At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we will guide you through every step of the bankruptcy process.
Call us at (310) 626-4404 to discuss your debt relief options.
Is Bankruptcy the Right Choice for You?
At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we have extensive experience helping people explore their debt relief options. One of the most effective ways to discharge debt is through bankruptcy. In determining whether or not bankruptcy is right for you, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
Are you tired of:
- Giving every cent of your disposable income to credit card companies?
- Borrowing more money to pay your existing debts?
- Receiving threatening phone calls and letters from debt collectors
- Worrying about losing your property through foreclosure and repossession?
- Having your money taken away through wage garnishment and bank levies?
While we would need to fully review your financial situation before we suggest filing for bankruptcy, if you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you may want to discuss the option of bankruptcy.
Understanding the Bankruptcy Process
There are many stages to filing for bankruptcy, but our attorneys are very good at guiding people through the process from the initial call to the debt settlement. If you are overwhelmed by debt, we can help.
- Scheduling your free consultation: Call us at (310) 626-4404 or send us an email using the contact form at the bottom of this page to schedule a free consultation with our law firm. We will spend as much time with you as you need to discuss your situation and explore your debt relief options.
- Signing up with us: For a relatively small fee, you can enlist our legal services. This step alone will prohibit creditors from harassing you; all further communication with you must go through our office.
- Gathering documents: We will ask you to gather tax returns, pay stubs, bills, mortgage and loan documents, and letters from your creditors so we can fully explore your debt situation.
- Getting your case ready to file: Once we have reviewed all of the documents listed above, we can file the initial bankruptcy motion. We can do it immediately or gradually over several months.
- Helping with credit counseling: New bankruptcy laws require that you partake in a credit-counseling course before filing. This course is relatively brief and can be completed online.
- Filing your case: At this stage of the process, you will come to our office for a final signing appointment. Once you have signed the final documents, we will file your bankruptcy case with the court.
- Enforcing the automatic stay: As soon as your case is filed, the court will notify your creditors to stop all actions against you, including foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment, and bank levies.
- Meeting of creditors: Approximately 25 to 45 days after filing, you will be required to attend a meeting with your creditors and your bankruptcy trustee. We will attend this meeting with you.
- Getting your discharge or repayment plan: For Chapter 7, your debt will be discharged within three to four months. For Chapter 13, you will begin a debt repayment plan (lasting three to five years).
Bankruptcy may sound like a complex, forbidding process, but with an experienced attorney on your side, it can be relatively painless. At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we understand that thoroughly handling the details of this process is the best way to avoid complications and achieve the debt relief our clients seek.
Common Bankruptcy Myths: Get the Facts
There are many myths surrounding the bankruptcy process. If you have questions about bankruptcy or think filing may be the best option for you, look to the Law Offices of James C. Shields to provide quality advice and representation. You should also consider the following myths before making your decision.
Myth: It's too late to file for bankruptcy if you have been sued by a creditor.
Filing for bankruptcy will stop all debt-related lawsuits against you, foreclosures, sales of your property, and/or wage attachment immediately (with few exceptions). This means that you can use bankruptcy as a way to put an automatic stay, or automatic injunction, on all actions against you – even a creditor lawsuit.
Myth: You should cash in your 401(k)/retirement before filing for bankruptcy.
Retirement funds cannot be touched by bankruptcy, which means it is typically best to leave them as they are. You can retain your retirement funds as long as they remain within the account. Withdrawing this money can bring about heavy taxes at the end of the year and potential cuts on the amount you receive.
Myth: The bankruptcy filing of one spouse will ruin the other spouse's credit.
If a spouse does not join the other in filing for bankruptcy, their credit will likely be unaffected. The key is that the spouse filing for bankruptcy must only have individual debt. If debt is from joint credit cards or accounts, it may mean the couple will have to file together – in which case, both spouses' credit would be affected.
Myth: You have to be behind on your bills in order to file for bankruptcy.
Even if you are making regular minimum payments on your debt, your creditors will try to get much more out of you than the principle amount by way of interest. So while you may not be "behind" on bills, declaring bankruptcy will stop your creditors from sending you bills and taking any further action against you.
Myth: You will lose your job if you file for bankruptcy.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against anyone who declares bankruptcy. Additionally, it stands to reason that, after filing for bankruptcy, you will have more time and energy to focus on your job rather than your debt. Regardless, if your employer does try to fire you, you can take legal action against them.
Schedule Your Free Bankruptcy Consultation Today
If you have further questions about bankruptcy, please do not hesitate to contact our premier bankruptcy law firm in the South Bay. You can reach us by telephone at (310) 626-4404 or you can fill out our online form below to schedule your free initial consultation. Our office is open on Saturdays, and we can make ourselves available before or after regular business hours when needed if you set up an appointment.
Call us today at (310) 626-4404 for your FREE case review.
We Can Help You Find Financial Freedom
We Diligently Represent Your Interests
Over 50 Years of Collective Experience