Until recently, California consumers could count on a number of federal laws to protect them from overly-aggressive debt collectors. Federal courts have recently eroded some of these rights, particularly with regard to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As a result, moneylenders are more aggressive than ever. They begin using borderline illegal tactics to collect on debts after only one or two missed payments.
Your family may not be able to count on much protection in this area, but they can count on a Gonzalez bankruptcy attorney. At Miranda, Magden & Miranda, we provide assertive, non-judgmental help for people who are experiencing financial distress. This assistance includes the Automatic Stay, debt discharge, and other bankruptcy benefits. Our help also includes solid advice throughout the complex bankruptcy process. That is something that no bankruptcy petition preparer can offer.
Bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay
Most people file bankruptcy because of job loss, divorce, or another cause almost completely out of their control. In an unstable environment, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code provides instant stability. The Automatic Stay halts all forms of adverse creditor action, including:
- Wage garnishment,
- Foreclosure, and
Section 362 is not just a one-time fix. In most cases, it remains in effect as long as the bankruptcy is pending. That could be up to five years in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. During this time period, moneylenders may only start or resume adverse action if they receive special permission from the bankruptcy judge. An aggressive Gonzales bankruptcy attorney can usually foil any such attempts.
Types of Bankruptcies in California
If your family is struggling with unsecured debt, like credit cards or medical bills, Chapter 7 may be a good option. This type of bankruptcy is often called “liquidation.” But in California, most assets can be exempted. That usually includes your car, retirement accounts, and personal property. Vacation homes, yachts, and other luxury property may not be exempt. Even still, a skilled Gonzalez bankruptcy attorney may be able to prevent bankruptcy seizure.
About six weeks after the petition is filed, a trustee (person who oversees the bankruptcy for the judge) interviews the debtor, and makes a recommendation to the judge. If that recommendation is debt discharge, and it usually is, a judge usually signs such an order straight away.
The trustee’s role is different in a Chapter 13. In these proceedings, the trustee reviews the debtor’s monthly income and expense numbers. Then, working together, the trustee and your Gonzalez bankruptcy attorney come up with an affordable monthly debt consolidation payment.
As long as this income-based payment satisfies all secured debt arrearage before the protected repayment period ends, most moneylenders must take what they get. In other words, you pay what you can afford when you can afford it, and not whatever the moneylender demands.
Furthermore, Chapter 13 bankruptcies often also involve some advanced options. For example, if there is a legitimate dispute as to the amount owed, a bankruptcy mediator often sides with the debtor. Other advanced options include lien stripping and financial redemption. These options could save you thousands of dollars on things like your second mortgage and auto loan payments.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
Distressed debtors in California have several legal options. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Gonzalez bankruptcy attorney, contact Miranda, Magden & Miranda LLP. We routinely handle matters in Monterey County and nearby jurisdictions.