Calabasas Bankruptcy Attorney Provides Efficient Debt-Relief Services
Dedicated law firm serves individuals and businesses in the San Fernando Valley
At the Law Offices of Michael Jay Berger, I have decades of experience helping individuals and businesses in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere in California use the bankruptcy process to solve their debt problems. From my office in Calabasas, I represent clients in Vista Point, Hidden Hills, The Oaks, Calabasas Park Estates, Calabasas Highlands, Park South, Calabasas Village, Bellagio, West Ridge, Mulwood, Mulholland Heights and other parts of northern and western Los Angeles County.
Guiding individuals and families through personal bankruptcy cases
There are two bankruptcy options available to individual debtors. I analyze my clients’ financial situations and needs and help them decide which of these alternatives is right for them.
One option is Chapter 7, also known as liquidation. Its use is restricted to debtors who do not have the financial means to substantially pay back creditors. Upon the filing of a Chapter 7 petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that prevents creditors from taking debt-collection measures. A court-appointed bankruptcy trustee inventories the debtor’s property and determines which of it can be sold off to repay creditors. Much or all of the debtor’s assets may be exempt from liquidation under California law, which means the debtor can keep them. Following the liquidation, the bankruptcy court discharges the debtor from all or most of their debts.
To qualify for Chapter 7, most debtors must show either that their income falls below the state median income or that their household expenses are too high to pay their debts, using a complex formula known as the means test. I can determine if you qualify and guide you through the process.
The other type of personal bankruptcy is Chapter 13, also known as a wage earner’s plan. This form of relief is designed for individuals who do not qualify for Chapter 7 and who have substantial amounts of assets that are not exempt from liquidation. To be eligible for Chapter 13, a debtor’s secured and unsecured debts must be below specified statutory thresholds. A court-confirmed plan can provide for repayment of unsecured debts within a three- to five-year period. The debtor can also restructure certain secured debts for repayment over the term of the plan. The debtor makes all payments under the plan to the bankruptcy trustee, who serves as a debt coordinator. My office has successfully prepared and secured confirmation of hundreds of affordable Chapter 13 plans.
Protecting businesses from creditors in bankruptcy court
San Fernando Valley businesses can also seek bankruptcy protection. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the business stops all operations. A court-appointed trustee takes possession of business assets and sells them off to repay creditors in order of priority. Businesses can file for Chapter 7 without satisfying the means test, but business entities distinct from individual owners can’t take exemptions.
Chapter 11 allows businesses to reorganize their debts to save the business while paying off debts on a more affordable schedule. The business owner generally remains in control subject to the supervision of the bankruptcy trustee. For small businesses with debts below a maximum set by law, there is a streamlined process known as Subchapter V, which makes debt reorganization more cost-effective and manageable.
Contact a Calabasas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation
I am a California board-certified specialist in bankruptcy with deep experience representing individuals and businesses in the San Fernando Valley in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 cases. Call the Law Offices of Michael Jay Berger at 310-271-6223 or contact me online to schedule a consultation at my Calabasas office.