Bankruptcy Law - Overview

At the Law Offices of Devin Sawdayi, our goal is to help people who are in debt and burdened with unrelenting creditor phone calls start over with a clean slate. Bankruptcy is an area of federal law specifically designed to give debtors a fresh start through a “bankruptcy discharge.” An established Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this process, and help you get your financial life back on track.

What Does it Mean to Obtain a Bankruptcy Discharge?

Obtaining a Bankruptcy discharge is a process that releases the personal liability of a debtor for specific debts. Among other things, it prevents creditors from filing lawsuits to collect debts. This can give you the peace of mind and the debt relief necessary to create a better financial future for yourself.

The bankruptcy process is set forth in the Bankruptcy Code, Title 11 of the United States Code. Filing for Bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure on your home and eliminate credit card debt. It will also prevent vehicle repossession or require a creditor to return a vehicle that has already been repossessed. It halts wage garnishment as well as harassment and threats by debt collectors.

Certain “secured” creditors have rights that cannot be eliminated through the bankruptcy process. The debts that cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy include child support or loans obtained by giving false information to a creditor who relied on the false information in giving you the loan. An experienced attorney can help you discharge your debts and identify those that cannot be discharged. We have over sixteen years of experience assisting those who need help to get back on their feet through bankruptcy, and can help you through this difficult, uncertain period.

Who Oversees the Bankruptcy Process?

Every state has one or more federal bankruptcy courts. Bankruptcy judges preside over these courts, and have decision-making powers over the debt issues faced by individuals and businesses. The Central District of California has a bankruptcy court in Los Angeles, and other locations in Southern California. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops creditors from trying to collect debts until the process of overseeing and discharging certain debts is concluded.

Most of the process of bankruptcy is administrative, however, and debtors rarely have to appear in court. A trustee appointed to oversee a particular case carries out the administrative process.

What Kinds of Bankruptcy Relief Are Available?

The Bankruptcy Code, as amended in 2005, provides for six types of cases. Four of these are available to individuals: Chapter 7 (liquidation), Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13 (adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income). The two types of cases most common for the average consumer are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. These two types of bankruptcy deal with consumer debts, or those that have been incurred for a family, personal, or household purpose.

One of the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code added a “means test.” This is a test that determines whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 relief based on your current monthly income. In a Chapter 7 case, our office files a petition with the court asking it to discharge your debts. If, however, you need to file a Chapter 13 case, we help you file a plan with the court that shows how you intend to pay off various debts over a 3-5 year period, often for pennies on the dollar.

The Supreme Court has remarked that the purpose of bankruptcy law is to give honest debtors “a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort.” If you or your spouse is struggling with debt and debt collection harassment, bankruptcy may be the right choice for you. Call the experienced Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Devin Sawdayi for a free consultation at 310-475-9399 or contact us online. Our goal is to minimize or eliminate your financial stress. We can help you start over.