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Bankruptcy | San Diego Attorney Michael Nichols

Bankruptcy Relief


Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to provide relief to honest and unfortunate individuals who are in debt.  There is much to consider when filing bankruptcy, and each case is different. We have  substantial experience having represented hundreds of bankruptcy clients.  We offer thoughtful, personal, and professional analysis, and a fee structure suited to your situation.  For more information, please call us today.



Also called "liquidation bankruptcy", Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges or absolves liability on many types of debt including unsecured credit card debt, auto loan deficiencies, medical debt, and certain types of tax debt.


When a petitioner files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy it establishes a bankruptcy estate comprised of the petitioner's assets.  A petitioner has the ability to claim certain assets exempt from the bankruptcy estate, and in most cases it is not necessary for the trustee to administer assets and the bankruptcy estate is abandoned by the trustee and returned to the petitioner.


Upon filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a petitioner receives the benefit of an automatic stay, which places a legal hold on many collection activities including garnishments, foreclosure auctions, and collection calls.  


Anywhere from 20-50 days after the filing a bankruptcy petition, a petitioner is required to appear at a 341a Meeting of Creditor's Hearing.  The Trustee assigned to administering the 341a hearing resides over the hearing.  Although the hearing provides an opportunity for creditors to ask questions regarding the nature and extent of a petitioner's assets, more often than not, no creditors appear at 341a hearings.


In the Southern District of California, it generally takes about 90 to 120 days from the time a petition is filed until a disharge is issued.





Referred to as a "wage-earner's plan", Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides an opportunity for individuals to reorganize his or her financial affairs. There are two threshold eligibility requirements for filing a Chapter 13 bankrupty.  The petitioner must have a "stream of income" and the amount of a petitioner's debt must be under the debt eligibility limits.  


In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a petitioner proposes a plan for partial or in sometimes complete repayment of their debt.  The plan must provide for repayment to unsecured creditors the amount prescribed by the means test and the plan must provide that unsecured creditors are repaid equivalent value of any assets that they would have received if the petitioner had filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  


One of the benefits to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it allows petitioners to retain assets that would be subject to liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It also allows individuals to catch up on past due mortgage payments and vehicle payments.  As a result, homeowners frequently use Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to retain ownership of their homes.


The bankruptcy code requires that individuals complete their plans within five years; however, individuals with under median household income may qualify for a three year Chapter 13 plan.



Sometimes called "reorganization" bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides an opportunity for businesses and individuals to emerge from financial ruin.


The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California recently streamlined the process for individuals to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy; however, the fees and costs associated with Chapter 11 bankruptcy remain substantially higher than those associated with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  


In some instances, particularly if an individual is beyond the debt eligibility limits for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and has substantial assets, Chapter 11 may be the only viable option.  



We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. The services or benefits which we offer our clients are with respect to bankruptcy relief under Title 11 of the United States Code and the assistance which we provide may involve bankruptcy relief under that Title.

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