Should I File for a California Bankruptcy?

The decision on whether one should file bankruptcy in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California is an important one.

But many focus on the wrong elements and use incorrect facts to make their decision.

There are many different reasons why one might need, or want, to file a bankruptcy case.

Whether or not to file bankruptcy should only be decided after having a comprehensive consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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At its core, the purpose of any bankruptcy filing is to stop creditor collections and harassment and to deal with the debts that are owed.  This is done either through a discharge of debts with no payments being made (Chapter 7) or with some kind of partial repayment plan (Chapter 13 or Chapter 11). 

Bankruptcy can also eliminate judgment liens against your home and other property.

The various chapters of bankruptcy offer varying solutions to different problems, but the main reason people file is to get relief from their debts.

Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, but most are, and eliminating the legal obligation to pay on them is a very important benefit to weigh. It is important to contact a lawyer to learn your options and determine whether bankruptcy is your best solution. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

Lawyer Assisting Those in Los Angeles in Deciding Whether to File Bankruptcy

It is a sad fact that people typically wait too long to consider their bankruptcy options. Many never contact a bankruptcy attorney. As a result, they often make decisions on alternate, far more expensive options, without all the correct facts.

There are many factors involved in deciding whether bankruptcy is the best solution for your debt problems. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Income-What is your current income, and do you expect it to continue? Your income may determine which bankruptcy chapters under which you are eligible to seek relief.
  • Expenses-What are your necessary living expenses?
  • Assets-What are the values of your assets, both tangible and intangible?
  • Debts—How much debt do you have and is it dischargeable in bankruptcy?
  • Goals-What do you want to accomplish? (e.g.  eliminate debts, save property from foreclosure, repay debts at a discount, stop creditor phone calls, etc.)
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It is important to know all the alternatives and the “pros” and “cons” of any decision. Filing bankruptcy is no exception. As a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer, I provide a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of filing any bankruptcy case to all clients. This will enable you to best decide what you should do. Contact me today to learn your options.

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Who Will Explain Your Bankruptcy Options

An experienced bankruptcy lawyer is needed to properly evaluate your options.

Bankruptcy cases are filled with landmines and traps for the unwary.

Mark J.  Markus has practiced exclusively bankruptcy law since 1991 in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He has counseled thousands of individuals and businesses on their bankruptcy options.

Bankruptcy cases are only filed by our office after weighing all alternatives and analysis of the pros and cons of filing. For many, bankruptcy is not the best solution and for them I do not recommend filing.

From knowledge comes power, and it is important to have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer review your facts and explain the pros and cons of pursuing a bankruptcy case.

bankruptcy attorney Mark J. Markus
Bankruptcy Attorney Mark Markus

My initial consultations are comprehensive and thorough, which is different from most other attorneys who give very short initial consults and guesstimates as to what you can do, without having all the necessary facts. In my consultations, I analyze all relevant information, including your income, expenses, assets, debts, and other factors. That way I can answer any questions you have, and I can tell you whether you should file for bankruptcy, which chapter(s) you may be eligible for, what property/assets you can protect, and identify any problems that might arise in your case.  After my consultation You will know the costs and benefits of filing a case for your personal situation.

My firm serves all cities and counties in California, including counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Riverside, Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, Contra Costa, Shasta, Marin, Alameda, Kern, and San Francisco and cities including Burbank, Glendale, Sylmar, Panorama City, Simi Valley, San Fernando Valley, Irvine, Santa Clarita, Oxnard, Huntington Beach, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Torrance, Agoura, Long Beach, San Fernando, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Anaheim, Hollywood, Riverside, San Bernardino, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pasadena, and many more.


Should I File Bankruptcy With $20,000 of Debt in California?

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The amount you owe in debts is certainly one factor to examine when deciding whether you should file a bankruptcy case in California. There is no minimum debt amount required to file any bankruptcy. But whether $20,000 of debt warrants a bankruptcy filing for you depends on your specific facts and circumstances. I have filed bankruptcy cases for people with debts of as little as $3,000, and some for several million dollars. 

If your income is high, it obviously would not make sense to file a bankruptcy case over only $4,000 of total debt. But in that one case it was very beneficial to the person filing. He had very low income, was not even a high school graduate so his earnings were likely to stay low for the immediate future. He got an unexpected judgment against him from an automobile accident that he could not pay. He also had no credit to speak of.   So, by filing bankruptcy, it enabled him to eliminate the debt, establish a credit record, rapidly increase his credit score, and he is now a home owner, married with a white picket fence. Without bankruptcy, he would have foundered due to having to deal with the automobile judgment and would have had a much tougher time crawling out of the debt hole.

Comparatively, if you were a retired person with $100,000 of credit card or medical debt, living on social security income alone (which is exempt and protected) and no real assets to speak of, filing bankruptcy might not be necessary since you would be “judgment proof”. However, many in this situation opt for bankruptcy because it puts an end to the relentless telephone calls and creditor harassment. Thus, it really depends on your goals.

Also, bankruptcy such as Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 can also be used in cases where one has no unsecured debt, but is facing foreclosure on their home. It can stop the foreclosure and enable “catch-up” payments on the past due mortgage over a period of time.

Should you file bankruptcy with $20,000 of debt? Maybe. The only way to properly make that decision is to have a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Filing Bankruptcy in California?

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Every case is different and each bankruptcy Chapter comes with its own set of pros and cons. Most of the “cons” people think of regarding bankruptcy in California are actually myths. For example, Bankruptcy does not destroy your credit. You do not lose your house, car, and bank accounts. 

The pros really depend on what you need and what your goals are. Bankruptcy can get rid of the obligation to pay on most debts. This includes a lot of debts people often think cannot be dealt with in bankruptcy. For example, you can eliminate certain tax debts, credit card debts, medical debts, debts owed from contracts or leases, and much more.

Bankruptcy can also be used to repay a portion of debts and still retain assets which are not exempt (protected). Bankruptcy can help rebuild your credit.  It can stop foreclosures and allow you to catch up on past due secured debt payments.  And much more.

At What Age Should I File Bankruptcy? At 21? 25? 35? 40? 50? 60?

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While your age does factor into certain pros and cons of filing any bankruptcy case, it is not usually a determining factor. What is key is to what degree does filing benefit you? Everyone’s situation is different. That’s why I examine the full picture, including age, of each individual client.

Certainly a 25-year-old fresh out of college and entering the workforce is going to have different issues and goals than a retired 65-year-old living on Social Security. Bankruptcy might be a good option for either of them, or neither of them. It just depends. It is important to examine all options for debt relief, including bankruptcy, with an experienced attorney whenever you have debt you cannot pay.  Age-related factors will enter into the final decision, but will likely not control it.