Orange County Bankruptcy Lawyers Provide Debt-Relief Assistance
Experienced law firm manages cases throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Bankruptcy is a legal remedy for individuals and businesses that face heavy burdens of debt that they can’t realistically pay off on the terms demanded by their creditors. At the Law Offices of Michael Jay Berger, I have decades of experience helping debtors throughout California navigate the bankruptcy process. From my office in Orange, California, I represent clients in Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine, Yorba Linda, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, San Clemente and other parts of Orange County.
Representing individuals and families in personal bankruptcy cases
If you need relief from overwhelming debt, my firm can help you take advantage of one of the two types of bankruptcy available to individual debtors. I analyze my clients’ financial situations and needs and help them decide which of these options is right for them.
One type is Chapter 7, which can discharge most of your debt and give you a fresh start financially. Once a petition is filed, an automatic stay prevents creditors from taking measures to collect from you. A court-appointed trustee makes an inventory of your assets and determines which of them can be sold off in satisfaction of a portion of your debt. However, much or all of your assets may be exempt from liquidation by law, which means you may not have to forfeit your home or other valuables. After liquidation, the bankruptcy court discharges most of your remaining debt. Chapter 7 debtors, with a few exceptions, must pass a means test, showing either that their income falls below the state median income or that their household expenses are too high to pay their debts. The lawyers at my firm can determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 and if so will guide you through the process.
The other type of personal bankruptcy is Chapter 13, also known as a wage earner’s plan. It is a form of debt reorganization, available to individuals who do not qualify for Chapter 7 and who have secured and unsecured debts of amounts lower than limits specified by law. Chapter 13 is well-suited for people who have steady incomes and/or substantial assets that can support a structured repayment plan. Such a plan, which must be confirmed by the bankruptcy court, calls for paying a portion of unsecured debts over a three- to five-year period, after which the remaining debts are discharged. Secured debts remain in force but generally can also be restructured for payout over the term of the plan. My office has successfully prepared and secured confirmation of hundreds of affordable Chapter 13 plans.
Protecting businesses from creditors in bankruptcy court
Orange County businesses can also seek the protection of the bankruptcy laws. Two options are available. In Chapter 7, the business winds down and a court-appointed trustee liquidates its assets for satisfaction of creditors. Although this means the end of the business, the owners can get out from crushing debt and make a new start. The other option is Chapter 11, which allows businesses to stay in operation while paying off debts according to a court-approved plan. A simplified and more cost-effective version of Chapter 11, known as Subchapter V, is available to small businesses with debts below a certain threshold specified by law.
Contact an Orange County bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation
I am a California board-certified specialist in bankruptcy with wide experience providing debt-relief assistance for individuals and businesses throughout Orange County. Call the Law Offices of Michael Jay Berger at 310-271-6223 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.