The decision of whether to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Orange County is not one that you should take flippantly.
In fact, Bankruptcy Attorney Vincent Howard recommends that you ask questions, get informed and move beyond the misconception that it's only a last resort.
The truth of the matter is, too many people wait far too long to file, and in the meantime, end up wasting money to creditors they'll never be able to pay off anyway.
That said, there are going to be pros and cons to any big decision. Weigh them carefully, talk to an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer and then make your choice.
To get you started thinking about the process, consider the following pros and cons:
On the plus side:
- With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you're likely to have the majority of your debts discharged. This means that you are totally free from the obligation to pay. There are a handful of debts that you can't get rid of, but even then, a bankruptcy will free you from other obligations so that you will have the means to pay.
- Protection of your property - mostly. There are of course going to be some exceptions and there are no clear-and-fast rules for every case. However, if you're trying to hang onto your home, your vehicle or other valuables, there are a lot of scenarios where that will be possible. Your first move should be to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can help you explore all your options.
- Relief from harassing creditors. This is called an automatic stay, and it's an aspect o bankruptcy that prevents your creditors from continuing to press you for their money. If they violate this automatic stay, they can be found in contempt of court, be made to pay attorneys fees and other damages. This time period of the automatic stay allows you to sort through your options without the anxiety of these persistent collectors breathing down your necks.
- The effect on your credit. You will probably be penalized somewhere between 70 to 200 points. This is going to affect your ability to be able to purchase big-ticket items like a car or a house. And as far as a home purchase, in a Chapter 7, you have to wait 24 months anyway. It's about half that following a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, you may also see this a chance for you to gather up the pieces and reevaluate your budget before moving forward.
- Possible discrimination. With regard to employment, there is specific statutory protection that prevents companies from using your bankruptcy against you. However, it's a thin line because companies may express concern about your future financial responsibility following a bankruptcy. However, more people than ever are filing for bankruptcy protection, and many employers today, as opposed to years ago, understand that often, these situations arise as a result of circumstances beyond your control.
No matter what your hesitation, our Orange County bankruptcy lawyers are here to help you decide whether it's the right move for you.
Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney Vincent Howard at Howard Law can help. You can reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.