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Author Archives: Michael J. Berger

The Perils of Not Responding to a Collection Lawsuit

When you are served with a summons and complaint in a collection matter, ignoring these papers will likely have costly consequences. You might not only lose the opportunity to defend yourself, but also put yourself at risk of collection measures that can take your assets and income from you, or even force you into bankruptcy. […]

How Courts Evaluate Whether to Convert a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 11

An individual seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection must demonstrate a lack of disposable income to repay debts, but that isn’t the end of proving eligibility. The bankruptcy code allows a court to convert a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 11 under certain circumstances. This is typically done at the request of creditors who show they […]

Getting the Most Out of California’s Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy

Homeowners who fall on hard financial times often rule out bankruptcy because they fear it means they might lose their home. But in reality, many owners are able to use California’s homestead exemption to file for Chapter 7, receive a discharge and keep their home. For 2022, the exemption is $300,000 or the median sale […]

Using Cash Collateral to Pay Expenses During a Chapter 11 Case

Most Chapter 11 bankruptcies involve a number of “first day” motions, which are applications made to the court at the very start of the case to give some immediate relief to the debtor. These motions might seek approval of financing for the debtor, preference of certain creditors over others and other changes in how the […]

What Happens at the Creditors’ Meeting in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The creditors’ meeting is a required procedure in all Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. The idea of facing your creditors in person may seem intimidating, but in practice most of these meetings are quick and painless. In fact, even though it is called a creditors’ meeting and they have the right to appear and ask questions, […]

How DIP Financing in Chapter 11 Can Help Turn a Company Around

The goal of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is to help struggling businesses reorganize and become financially viable again. But every company — even one in Chapter 11 — needs adequate cash flow to keep operating. Debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing is a feature that can help a company get access to the cash it needs to remain operational […]

Overcoming the Presumption of Abuse in a Chapter 7 Case

Debtors filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are subject to a qualifying “means test.” The purpose of the test is to confirm that the debtor is truly incapable of paying his or her outstanding debts. The means test requires disclosure of the debtor’s income and expenses. If the debtor’s current income is greater than the median […]

Keys to a Successful Chapter 13 Reorganization

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy — also known as a wage earner’s plan — a portion of the debtor’s outstanding unsecured debts are paid over a period of three to five years, with the remainder then being discharged. Chapter 13 is often an attractive option for debtors with steady incomes because it allows them to […]

Pros and Cons of Filing Bankruptcy Jointly With Your Spouse

Married couples who are financially distressed have a choice whether to file for bankruptcy individually or jointly. Generally, a joint bankruptcy is most beneficial for both spouses, but in some situations it makes sense for only one spouse to file while the other stays out of bankruptcy. Several factors should be weighed in deciding on […]

What Can Delay Completion of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a financially struggling business to get back on its feet by reorganizing its debts. But there is no definitive timeline for the Chapter 11 process. Depending on numerous factors, winding up a reorganization plan can take anywhere from six months to five years or even longer. There are multiple procedural stages […]


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